A couple of years ago I was really stressed out. During my last year at the university I was involved with two startups, one of which I cofounded.
Sure, I had been stressed before but this time it was different.
I wouldn’t sleep, I had no appetite and I started working in the most unproductive ways like answering email WHILE having breakfast.
Finally, I worked up the courage to tell my cofounders and customers about this. About the fact that I couldn’t deliver on the level they were expecting. Turns out, the only one expecting me to deliver on that level was none other than myself.
So it was all in my head.
Even though (or because of) I studied to become a psychologist I choose to talk to one about my issues with stress, expectations and pressure from myself. We talked about a lot of stuff and he gave me a lot of tools, one of which I have been using daily for more than five years. I call it: today’s priorities.
Before I go into details I must admit: I still get stressed. Running a startup is sort of having a kid. Since I already have a kid (which is sort of running a startup) I tend to find myself constantly on the losing side. You stress at work to get home to your kid, you stress at home because you haven’t gotten enough done at work. And around it goes.
Anyways, back to the tool.
Everyday (or sometimes on the night before) I create a three lists in my notebook. I call them A, B and C.
- List A includes everything that needs to be done today, urgent and important.
- List B is the stuff I should work on as soon as list A is done, but not before!
- In C I add the stuff that’s not really urgent or that important but still takes up space in my head. These could include stuff like “buy a new lightbulb for the office” and “ask lawyer about best way to offer stocks to important team members”.
I then carry the notebook with me all day. If something comes up I place it in anyone of the lists. When my day is done I have a look of what I have accomplished and move tasks to tomorrow’s list.
Simple, right? It has changed my life.The one thing I do on a daily basis to avoid stress - by @laninge Click To Tweet
If you’d like to learn more about productivity I asked the psychologist I turned to years ago to create a microcourse for my learning service Daily Bits Of.
His name is Alexander Rozental and nowdays he’s a bestselling author, highly cited expert and researcher on procrastination at Stockholm University. You’ll find the course here, for free!
Over to You!
What are you doing on a daily basis to avoid stress?
Let us know in the comments!