Getting To Done: De-stress yourself

Getting To Done: De-stress yourself.

by Keith Robinson

If you're reading this chances are you've got some interest in making your life less stressed. I know it's a big deal for me. I'm a naturally stressed-out person and I'm trying more and more to keep my stress-level low. Lately it's been pretty high, and while I know it'll pass, I'm really trying to spend more time relaxing. It's not as easy as you might think.

In this first installment of a two-part series on stress reduction I''ll discuss some ways you can set yourself up to be less stressed.

Find the right job

Having a job you love and one that can support a good work/life balance is a great way to start down to the road to a less stressful life.

A job where you can simply work less is always good too. If nothing else you need to be able to take a break every once in awhile.

Get to work!

I know! I just told you to take a break from work. Well, working hard has its benefits too. Think about it. How often do you get to work — really work? We spend so much of our work days doing everything but working. Dealing with office politics, digging through e-mail and RSS, having meetings and all the rest. For me anyway once of the best ways to keep the stress level low is to get things done and get head down and do some work.

I feel my best when I'm writing, or designing or coding. Well, either when I'm doing that or just after I've finished a productive four hour stint (I work in three or four hour blocks usually). It's also got the added benefits of keeping the to-do list manageable.

Set boundaries

You've got to know when to say no and when to quit. It seems like every day someone is asking for something new, but you've got to realize that for every new job, new task, new bit of information you've decided to bring on you've got to either take away from something else or find more energy somewhere inside to deal with it. Good work isn't all about getting things done and doing lots of work, it's about doing it right also.

I'm not a perfectionist (perfect is the enemy of the good), but I do expect quite a bit out of myself and those around me. It's sometimes awfully easy to see when someone has too much on their plate as their work suffers and they're always stressed out. Seeing that in yourself is the trick. Give yourself a long inward look and ask yourself if you might need to reduce your workload. Also, it's a good idea to do this before you agree to take something new on.

Stay fit. Exercise.

A healthy lifestyle can do a whole lot toward relieving stress. I know I feel my best and my least stressed after a very draining soccer or kickball game. Join a club, go out for a run or make time on your Sunday afternoon to kick a ball around with friends. It can help in so many ways.

It's important to find activities that work for you. I'm not sure competitive sports is for everyone, for example. The idea is to do something that gets you active, even if it's just going for a walk every day at lunch.

Get clean and organized

One of the reasons people are so interested in David Allen's Getting Things Done and other, similar productivity programs is their promise to keep you less stressed. One of the ways these systems help you do that is by helping you keep organized. A tidy desk, clean home and organized computer can do wonders for keeping your mind of things that cause stress.

Take time off from work.

Make sure you're using your vacation days and getting away from the office and its stress on a regular basis. Don't work through the weekend. In fact, you might try and take Fridays off!

As always if anyone reading this has any more tips they'd like to add, that'd be very welcome in the comments or at tips at Next up: de-stressing through relaxation.

D. Keith Robinson is an associate editor of Lifehacker. His special feature Getting To Done appears every Monday on Lifehacker.  [Lifehacker]

Leave a comment