Yesterday, December 7, at the New ED Network meeting attendees discussed tools and practices they use to de-stress, organize, prioritize, and juggle demands as they go through their busy days. Especially at this time of year, activities and year-end demands within organizations actively compete with community and family activities and responsibilities. Days can seem overwhelming at times.
Everyone left with several more tools in their tool bags -- suggestions that can help any time of year!
- See the world around you a different way, every day: take a new route to and from work; turn right instead of left; note an interesting house or new business, watch kids playing in a school yard.
- Use different modes of transportation: bus, bike, walk, drive, car pool. The variation in time and routes is another way to learn about the community and see the world anew.
- Play calming background music, softly, in your office.
- Shut the door for five minutes once or twice a day for a ‘peace of mind’ time-out.
- Take a 15-minute walking break midway through the day; look for new things in the environment, changes in the weather, etc.
- Start the day with exercise and mental focus activities: prayer, meditation, etc.
- Hang a picture in your office that ‘takes you away’ to a favorite spot in the world. Gaze at it as a relaxation focus.
- When needing to write or be creative, turn off overhead and other bright lights; focus on the computer or specific work area.
- Post inspirational quotes and sayings around your office/desk; read them often.
- Practice ‘brain dumping’ regularly to empty your brain of everything on your mental to-do list; reduce activities to exact steps.
- Prioritize activities that can realistically be done in a period of time and stick to it. Don’t respond to requests not associated with those priorities. If ‘emergencies’ come into the day, re-prioritize within the current time period so expectations are achievable.
- Set a specific time when you will read/review/respond to emails and phone calls. Don’t respond in ‘real time’ when it interrupts your priorities.
- Determine the best time of day for you to do certain tasks: writing, planning, responding to emails/calls; holding meetings.
- Proactively set meetings for your most productive times.
- Don’t take work home; don’t bring home to work.
- Lots of sticky notes and lists; reward completed activities by ‘checking them off the list.’
- Review all email content before sending to be sure it ‘reads right’ for the receiver.
- Clarify ‘how you work’ with those you work with: board, staff, volunteers, etc. so expectations and accountabilities are clear.
- Define a ‘work plan’ for a specific period (ex. 3 months, 6 months) and ‘work the plan.’
- Choose foods and beverages that keep your blood sugar and hunger levels consistent through the day.
Hope you find a few ideas that will help you ease stress, stay focused, and do your best work. Let us know your tools and tips and we’ll add them to the list.
ONEplace Nonprofit Roundtables