Energy Drains Create Stress; Try This Instead

Stressed woman pulling her hair

Are you out of energy and stressed?

All of us are subject to various energy drains from time to time. Review the list below to determine which eare sapping your vitality and positive outlook. The good news is you can change your behavior and your actions to support yourself and your energy.

Negative people. You are the result of the 5 people you spend the most time with. They impact your energy levels. Avoid complainers, Debbie Downers and bad news mongers.

Incompletions. Projects you have left 1/2 finished, books half read, newspapers and magazines opened but not finished. All of those are sapping your energy. Here’s what to do about it: http://firedupnow.com/could-your-incompletions-be-stressing-you-out/

Lack of sleep. You need 7 hours a night or you are at a cognitive disadvantage.

Sugar Check the research out yourself- sugar is terrible for you and contributes to cancer, diabetes, weight gain and so much more. That candy bar you eat at 2:00 will crash you at 3:00. Avoid it and boost your energy.

Dehydration– 40% of North Americans are dehydrated. Drink 10-12 glasses
of pure water a day, more if you drink soda, coffee or tea. A 5% drop in hydration means a 25% drop in energy.

Sitting and lethargy Many people are now sitting for over 9 hours a day.
(Which is why I am writing this from my stand up desk!) Get up every hour and move around, Get exercise every day. Walk frequently, take the stairs.
For more on sitting, go here: http://firedupnow.com/why-sitting-is-so-bad-for-you/

You make the choices as to who to spend time with, what to put in your body and how much to move. You can be energetic and Fired Up! starting now.

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Is Lack of Boundaries Stressing You Out?

You Must Set Limits on Your Time and Energy

Stress Express; Family FightingMary’s mother demanded enormous amounts of her time, even though she was perfectly healthy.  Instead of declining all the requested visits, Mary spent way too much time with her mother, ignoring her job, husband and health.  She ended up sick and could not work. She desperately needed boundaries.

I often see very bright, accomplished professionals who are completely overwhelmed by the demands on their lives- especially women.  With high pressure jobs, families, friends, volunteer work and aging parents, most of these folks are so stressed they are close to their breaking point.  How can this be fixed?  By setting healthy boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries:

• Start valuing your own time.  Before you commit to anything, personal or professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to do this?
2. Am I capable of doing this?
3. Is it the highest and best use of my time?
4. What do I have to give up to do this?
5. What happens if I don’t say yes?
6. Will this stress me out further?

• Learn to say NO.  When yet another volunteer opportunity comes your way, say “I appreciate your thinking of me.,  I only want to give you my best effort, and right now, I can’t.  May I recommend…. for this?”

Value Your Own Need for Downtime  You cannot be effective at your job, at home, as a parent, partner or friend if you are burnt-out. Play time, quiet time, nap time, meditation time- all of these give your brain critically needed detoxification.  Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with new creative solutions when you step away from the work and relax.

Set boundaries and don’t allow others to take advantage of you- you will be much happier and less stressed

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Reduce Stress with the 5 minute Rule

Clock from Stress ExpressAs I speak around the country to CEO’s, leaders and managers, I am often asked what quick things can be done to reduce stress.  One of my favorites is the 5 minute rule.

As you look around your workspace, what could you handle in 5 minutes or less?  Could you clean off your desk, write an important thank you note, file essential papers, wash out a coffee cup?  Any of those things would give you an immediate sense of completion.

The brain craves completion.  Whenever you have thought and you don’t take action in it, you have incompletion.  This drives parts of your brain crazy.  If your whole office is a mass of piles and incompletions, you will never want to go in there.  If you wake up at night thinking of all the things you did not do, this could be the reason.

Solution:  whenever you have a thought and you can take action on it in 5 minutes or less, do it.  You’ll reduce your stress and be far more productive.

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The Most Important Thing to Do Today

Is Not Necessarily What Your Boss Wants You to Do

Setting priorities in today’s world can be challenging.  All of us have so many demands on us and managing multiple priorities can be like juggling with  boxing gloves on- something’s sure to fall.

The place to start is with meaning.  What is most important to you in your life? Is it taking care of your family?  Making more money? Prestige? Being the top of your field? Showing your wife or husband that you love them?  Getting a new promotion? Being there for your kids since your parents were not there for you?  What drives you?

If it is taking care of your family, then it may well mean doing what your boss wants you to get done first and foremost, so long as you can leave work on time to get to your son’s baseball game.  If you want to be the top in your field, you are going to have to work harder than others, study more, advance yourself and spend a good deal of time away from home.  Is that Ok with you?

Quint & Snow LRSMWe recently took time off from work to visit my brother and his family for my nephew’s high school graduation.  It was a lot of driving (16 hours) but it was worth it.  That’s him with me in the photo.  It was meaningful for me to be there.

The critical element here is you and your joy and purpose.  Know what gives you meaning.  Know what drives you.  And then prioritize your day to fulfill that meaning. Otherwise, you will burn out and not be good to anyone.

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Never Be Late Again

Clock from Stress ExpressAre you one of those people who is chronically late?  Who always rushes from place to place and leaves people waiting on you, creating tension before you even start?  Do you realize that being late is actually a broken agreement, that it says to the person you are meeting “You are not important enough to me to be on time.”  It’s unfair, insulting and unprofessional, and that’s so not like you.

How to Be on Time

Choose and prioritize.  Make the decision to be early instead of late. Set your clock 15 minutes ahead, set your phone alarm to beep you 15 minutes before you have to leave and then 5 minutes so that you make it on time.  Use whatever little tricks you have to get out the door in plenty of time.

Plan on delays, in traffic, in elevators, in subways, etc.  Life is like that, so build in a time cushion.  I have a meeting this morning that takes me 1/2 hour to get to- without traffic glitches.  So I will leave at 45 minutes before to give myself a 15 minute cushion. If you’re early, stay in your car and get things done before you go in.  Showing up 5 minutes early is fine, 15 is probably too much.

Call when you are running behind.  Demonstrate respect for the person you are meeting. Give them an accurate assessment of when you will arrive.

• Prep for meetings and events the night before.  Have everything you need all set to go. That saves scrambling around at the last minute.

Have one place in your house for keys, cellphones, etc.  Leave your keys there.  This prevents last minute rushing and looking for lost items.

Once you make the commitment to be on time, you will find the quality of your relationships improves and you will feel better about yourself, instead of guilt and ashamed.  You’re capable and competent, you know how to handle this.  Just do it and reap the rewards.

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Don’t Let Email Run Your Life

Manage Your Email Time and Reduce Stress

Say No

You don’t have to look at your email all the time….

I’ve heard so many professionals tell me in my speeches that they get hooked by their email and get stressed out.  Some even have an alarm that rings or chimes every time a new email comes in.  Turn that OFF!  No wonder your stress levels are skyrocketing through the roof!
Here are some simple ways to destress your email.

1. Remember Snail Mail?  You know, you go to your mailbox, pull out the letters, flyers and junk mail and trash about half of it before you even get home?  Do that with email.  Organize it into folders: important action, read later, associations,etc. and trash the rest.

2. Only check email 3-4 times a dayDo your HIGHEST PRIORITY money making tasks first always every day. Then check email at lunch, when you take breaks.  No alarms or flashes when you get a new one.  It’s probably spam anyway.

3. Use a SPAM FILTER.  One of my many email addresses (yes I get hundreds of emails every day) has no spam filter.  And now in addition to the Viagra ads, I get Asian character emails which I cannot read.  I keep that email only because I want to make it easy for people to reach me, but I have spam filters on all the others.

4. Have No -Email times every day.  Sunday, my husband and I went to the beach.  Ahh- glorious sunshine, surf, quiet and peace.  No email.  None- just focused time on my family.  Take time like that everyday.  Don’t make your children resent your phone.  It can wait.

 

For a free report on how to get and stay Fired Up!, go here http://firedupnow.com/top20tips/ 

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4. Have email-free times everyday.  We were at the beach on Sunday, and even though I have a smartphone, I did not read my email at all until late in the day. It was wonderful to have that freedom.  It lowers your stress and frees you to appreciate the people around you.

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How to Prevent Last Minute Unpleasant Surprises

Proactive Strategy and Collaboration Make a Huge Difference

Clock from Stress ExpressDo you ever feel you are at the mercy of others when it comes to meeting your deadlines? Are you frequently caught short in terms of time or resources because one of your clients waited until the last minute to ask for your help? Does one of your vendors let you down on the same service over and over again?

In each of these circumstances, it would be ideal if your employees, clients or vendors changed. But in reality, that’s not very likely to happen.

What You Can Do to Be Proactive

A far better approach is to be proactive. Ask your customers and clients what their plans are for the next 12 months. Ask them what projects they might need your support with and when the deadlines are for those projects.

Then mark your calendar and check back in with them regularly to see if they are on schedule. Be proactive and notify vendors that they will have work coming to them at a certain time and have them block out time in their schedule for you.  This way, you work on your terms at your pace and you are not caught by surprise nearly as often. Clients and vendors usually appreciate the advance planning and everything goes more smoothly.

 

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The Why Do It List- TIme Management Tool

Exhausted woman on files

THis woman needs a nap!

What are your true priorities?

Most of us are overwhelmed at work every day with “To Do” lists that never end.  Mike Vardy, author and blogger, says to approach your list differently.
 
He says make a list of the top things you need to do this week, including workfamily, personal, etc. with the answers to the question Why do it” after each. Knowing the WHY instantly clarifies what has greatest value in your life. Then schedule your week. 
 
All too often, we let the real priorities in our lives, people, loved ones, exercise, fun, slide under the overwhelm of work.  And then we end up unhappy and unhealthy and resentful.  Once you know why you want to do something, you can prioritize what is most important and be sure your to do list is meaningful for you.

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©2013 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Time Management Tip- Ignore Email and Focus

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!Email is one of our biggest distractions.  Do NOT start the day with email.  Instead, start with a clear FOCUS of what you most need to get done that day for finance-building and results-driven activities.  Make a list of your top 6 priorities and tackle those.  Check email only at specific times a day and do NOT have an audio bell letting you know every time you get a tweet or email.  It takes 25 minutes to get back to concentration when you are distracted. Use your time to succeed at the most important tasks.

People who leave their email on all day typically change screens 37 times a hour
How productive can you be with that?  Manage your time and be effective by checking email on YOUR schedule.

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©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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I’ll Do it Later, & Other Reasons We Procrastinate

The Illusive Someday….

Clock from Stress ExpressWe all have things we put off, whether it’s the laundry, key tasks at work, filing, etc.  And we have perfectly good reasons, like “I work better under pressure,” “I’ll get to it later,” “It’s not high priority.”

The thing is, enough of those things we have not done pile up into large incompletions, which sap your energy and pull away from what could be much more significant.  Incompletions are a form of self-sabotage which can create anxiety, worry and tension.

Why do we procrastinate and what can we do?  Here are three reasons and solutions….

1. Perfectionism. Let that go. As my friend Paul Evans says, “Done is better than perfect.”

2. “I work better under pressure.”  Most of us don’t really, and it creates unnecessary stress. Map out 90 minutes of uninterrupted time and get the high level high leverage activity done! 

3. Overwhelm. Chunk the project into small steps that you can easily tackle.  Note your progress, record your successes each step of the way and the project can get done smoothly and efficiently.  Learning to manage your time more effectively can have so many benefits, from greater personal satisfaction to increased income to more time with your family.

 

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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