Thursday 24 January 2013

How to beat stress and get productive

Do you ever have days when you just can’t settle?  When everything is urgent and nothing is getting your full attention?  Being unproductive at work is no fun and although shutting up shop and coming back to it the following day is one option, it’s not a great one.  The work will still be there the following day.

So here’s my top ten list to beat stress and get something useful done.

  1. Go for a walk.  After the first ten minutes my head starts to clear, ideas come to me and I’m less stressed.  I sometimes take a notepad with me to jot ideas down so I don’t forget them.
  2. Have a cup of tea.  This always works.  In fact I often have a cup of tea even if I’m not stressed.
  3. Make a plan.  This really should be at the top of the list.  I find that NOT having a plan is the cause of the stress and once I’ve got something down on paper, even if it’s a simple To Do list, it starts to become easier.
  4. Do the first thing on the plan.  Ha!  Suddenly you are ahead of the game and stress starts to disappear.
  5. Tidy up.    
  6. Call a friend – a problem shared is a problem halved.
  7. Eat toast – it’s not the greatest nutrient in the world, but it has very soothing qualities
  8. Do a small job – it’s better than going round in circles doing nothing
  9. Do a difficult job – you feel massively better once you’ve made a start.  Suddenly the whole world seems brighter.
  10. Have a bath.  It calms me.  My head fills with ideas because I’m calm.  Then I jump out of the bath to get going on one of them.  Difficult in the office though …

What's your best tip to beat stress and get productive again?

Tuesday 22 January 2013

New Year Resolutions Don’t Work – Do They?

There is something a tad bizarre about New Year Resolutions.  What is different about 1st January to the 31st December?  If we are not inclined to do something one day, why should another be any different?  However illogical, New Year resolutions are hard to resist.  It may be a function of my age, but I’m growing weary of making a long list.  Experience has taught me that one will be tough enough – and maybe even too tough.  But as making half a resolution isn’t an option, I’m going with one.

So this is it.  My 2013 resolution.  Drum roll and all that jazz.

It’s to be tidier.  Consistently and thoroughly tidy.

I am annoyingly tidy in certain areas of my life.  And annoyingly untidy in others.  Those close to me might be hard pressed to say which is more annoying, but I’d hazard a guess the untidiness may win.

I can find no evidence that tidy people live longer, happier or more successful lives.  But I guess they spend less time looking for stuff.  Anecdotally I know at least one super-successful person who appears very tidy.  I mean, I haven’t been through his drawers, but the surface of his large desk at least is pristine.

So there you have it – tidiness.  Whether or not it is next to godliness or happiness remains to be seen, but frankly I’d settle for calmness.  Or at least less anguished panic attacks when I can’t find things.

I’ll keep you posted.  If you are even vaguely interested ….

Monday 7 January 2013

Making a Commitment

Well folks, I’m touched.  No, not that kind of touched - the “awe shucks” kind.  Some of you lovely people have noticed that Getting to Excellent hasn’t been updated in a while.  Quite a while, actually.  I guess I’ve been busy doing other things.  Which isn’t really the spirit of a blog, is it?  It should be updated for better or worse, come peaks or troughs. 
So not for the first time I’m making a commitment to keep up with it - as much for me as for you.  Because strange as it may seem I sometimes refer back to it myself – either looking something up or reminding myself mentally of something I know but am not following.  Getting to Excellent has helped me sort quite a few things out in my life.

Like caffeine.  Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to mention it again, but I say a lot of things ….  To quickly recap – I drank a lot of caffeine, then tried to give it up completely for 100 days.  I failed first time, I failed second time.  I might have succeeded the third or fourth time, I can’t remember now.  But to cut a long story a tiny bit shorter, it wasn’t easy.  I found I liked caffeine.  So after years of veering from drinking enough to sink the Titanic, to giving it up completely, I have now settled into a routine where I drink no more than 3 or 4 cups in the morning.  Enough to get me revved up, but not so much that I stay awake at night.  Now I’ve come to thinking about giving up alcohol completely, I’ve thought back to my caffeine experiences and decided teetotal is not the way to go.  Moderation may be more successful.  A novel idea I know, but there should be some benefits to getting older.
All of which is a long way round of saying I’m back.  And making a New Year’s resolution to keep Getting to Excellent updated with my random thoughts.  For me, and you, and anyone else who stumbles into it by accident.  Happy New Year!