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Entries in stress reduction (45)


An Escort Service and Work Life Balance

Got your attention with that one, huh? While talking with a client they commented about their long hours at work and how they weren't taking care of their "self ring." But then they said things had recently changed and they were enjoying being at home more and actually eating lunch. What made the difference to her? Being an escort. Let me explain.

She works in a secure building requiring smart cards and a security clearance. She recently added two interns to her staff and they don't yet have their security clearance. So... she has to walk with them to the cafeteria for lunch and then walk them out at the end of their day. This forces her to at least GO to lunch and then end her day at a more reasonable hour. She said she forgot the benefits of lunch and getting home earlier until the interns came along.

That got me to thinking. What could be the triggers we put in place to help remind us of the importance of taking an "intermission" or not overexerting ourself in relation to work hours? For me it could be recording my six year old's voice saying, "Daddy, when are you coming home?" on my phone and then making that the alarm tone when I set it. It could be moving a picture of my family to a more prominent place on my desk before taking on that "one last task" at work to remind me to not work late-especially when I promised my family I wouldn't. Maybe engage the help of a co worker, who could come by your desk as they leave and tell you something fun they plan to do that evening.

What are some things you can think of that would help bring things back into focus for you so that you don't find yourself in the Juggling Elephants routine again?


We don't offer an escort service, but we do help organizations get to a place they can't get themselves. For more information, click here.


Which Elephant Are You Willing To Drop?

If you're overwhelmed because you're facing too much to do, ask yourself this simple question: "Which elephant are you willing to drop?" Some of the elephants you are juggling are elephants because of perfectionist tendencies, negative peer pressure from others, or even a lack of clarity about your purpose. And the only thing that might be hurt if the elephant IS dropped might be your pride or your facade that you can get it all done.

This doesn't mean you don't have legitimate stress, overloaded schedules, and the need to better manage your time. But if the elephant has been inflated by your denial of reality or the facts, it might be best to just let it drop... and not pick up one like it next time.


Do The Three Step With Your Elephants

The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, stop and do three things:

  • Identify your elephants. Be as specific as possible. Don't just list "work." Be specific about work. List the specific tasks that are most overbearing to you.
  • Determine what you have control of related to the task. Too often we see ourselves as being a victim when in reality we can take some steps to manage the elephant.
  • Take action on the steps you just mentioned. As Plato said, "The beginning is the most important part of any work." Making progress, albeit small, gives you the motivation to keep going.



What About You?

Your spouse, children, boss, co-workers, direct reports, customers, vendors, in-laws, parents, siblings, neighbors,  community, church, charities…the list goes on and on of the people, organizations and outside things that are calling out for your time.  But what about you? 

It is important to look outside of yourself and be available for the groups listed above but how can you be available if you are not available.  What if you are sick, have no energy, are mentally exhausted and are constantly distracted that you can’t help others let alone yourself?

Consider right now what you can do to better take care of yourself.  Not just that one time spa trip that you know would make a difference but something ongoing and long term that will enable you to do something that you enjoy, improve your health and cause you to be refreshed. 

Block your activity regularly in your calendar and in your budget.  If the spa day is what you are in need of, schedule and budget to do it regularly.  Exercise regularly.  Take up a hobby.  Go golfing a couple of times each week.  Eat better.  Connect socially with your friends and family.  But, remember that you have to make time for it.  Protect that time.    It is your “me” time.

If you don’t actively plan to take time out for yourself, it will be either hit and miss (mostly miss) or it won’t happen at all. It is not being selfish (unless it turns to excess).  It is making sure that you are mentally and physically available to accomplish those other things that are also important.


Your Plan For Your Intermission

You've finally heeded our frequent directives about the need to step back from your lineup and take a more objective look at your circus. You're enjoying the moment of solitude and chance to reflect on what you ARE getting done. Before you jump back in to tackle those elephants, do these 3 things:

  • Schedule your next intermission. If it's of value, plan for it. Give yourself something to look forward to.
  • Acknowledge your limits and the need to perpetually prioritize. Any moment spent engaging in just a good task is pushing aside the opportunity to engage in the best task for the moment.
  • Resolve to do one thing different in your "next half." Don't leave this time without the chance to initiate a new routine, attitude or behavior that can help you better handle those elephants.

Now get back to work-the elephants are already headed your way!