“Many of us have felt anxiety at different times in our lives to differing degrees. I think we can all agree it doesn’t feel nice at all. For some it can present as a shortness of breath, a rapid heart beat, a knot in the stomach or nausea, a racing mind, or a feeling of loss of reality and perception. However you may feel it, the great news is there is something you can do to help yourself in these moments. Let’s start by understanding anxiety.
Anxiety put really simply is when our mind runs ahead to imagining the worst-case scenario. We often then believe this worst-case scenario is true (because it feels that way) which can lead to further anxiety or a panic attack. Our mind has become disassociated from our body and from reality.
Anxiety-driven thoughts can be about anything, from COVID19 related issues to love or family relationships, jobs, shopping, driving and anything else. I want to teach you a 3-step process to help combat anxiety and calm down the escalation from a thought or fear to an anxiety-driven thought.
Many people think that Step 1 is taking deep breaths but if you are feeling anxious or having a panic attack, you are not yet ready or often even able to take a deep breath.”
People often ask me how I manage to be so productive whilst maintaining a lifestyle that is enjoyable and stress free. I live in Thailand (yes by the beach) and am an author. Beautiful no doubt, but this doesn’t exactly pay for all of my lifestyle choices. So, I freelance as a writer of websites, a copy editor of books and blogs, I am a counsellor, writing mentor, writing therapist and workshop facilitator.
I have to travel to various locations to do re-cons for new websites and run my workshops in different places (including different islands). All of this means I have to juggle schedules, management, students, clients, travel and those who work on ‘Thai time’ (a bit like the Spanish ‘mañana, mañana’).
I just published a book. I also need to give a progress report on my next book in about six weeks. I have A LOT to do. That is just the basics. Every day there are follow up emails, Facebook and other social media around my published book that seem never ending. Yes there are days I wish I had a P.A.
I also want to maintain my lifestyle. I am trying out Tai Chi for the first time and have a two-hour class three times this week to fit in. I have a session this week on women’s sexual health and vitality (why not!) and I have a friend coming to visit with her daughter. Reading the above three paragraphs could definitely stress me out if I let it. I don’t.
I am organised. This keeps all stress at bay. Many people think that getting or being organised is time consuming and can be stressful alone. It doesn’t need to be at all. So here is how I do it. You can too!
Let’s start with a quick list of what you need.
They are all very cheap and easy things to have:
A clean and empty desk/working space
A lined note book
Another note book – your ideas book
A small fit-in-your-daily-bag note pad (or phone with notes)
That’s it. Let me explain.
I hope the clean desk is obvious. Messy desk, messy mind. Simple. The lined note bookis your daily ‘to do’ list. Depending on how busy you are, you can do this daily, every few days or each week. I do it daily. Every morning (or the night before) I write down what I need to do. This de-clutters my headspace and clears the mind of trying to remember everything.
If this is your first time then write down everything that needs to be done this week. Now on a separate page, write down what needs to be done today only. If your weekly list is long or busy, you will feel stressed out. Be realistic about what truly needs to be done today. Make the list doable! Simple tasks.
For example I would not put on my list ‘social media’ because that is stressful and could take all week (or year!). I would break it down to ‘link my amazon page to my LinkedIn page,’ ‘put photos from the book launch on my Facebook page,’ ‘send newsletter’ etc. Get the picture? They are doable and guaranteed to be ticked off that day and provide a great level of satisfaction. One small task at a time and my ‘social media’ will get done – without stress!
Don’t Forget To Tick
Each time you have finished a task, tick it off your list. Revel in the absolute satisfaction of penning that tick. Ooh it feels so good. It also stimulates you to tend to the next task.
What About You?
Do I need to remind you to put something for you on your ‘to do’ list? Do you put tasks first and you last? If your answer is yes then make sure you put ‘go for a walk’, ‘have a coffee with a friend,’ ‘meditate’, whatever it is, on your list. Factor it in to your day. It should be in your diary AND your ‘to do’ list. There are 24 hours in a day – gift yourself some of those moments. Don’t let life pass by knowing you attended all your tasks but had no ‘you time.’
The other note book is more of an ideas book. This is for bigger projects or something you want to get around to, but just not this week (or month). For example, my next book started in my ideas book and wasn’t brought over to my daily ‘to do’ list until my social media felt under control. When it was brought over I again brought it in small tasks, ie: ‘research a specific topic’, ‘send one email’ etc. It still remains in my ideas book with scribbled notes and thoughts all over. This is the space to be messy if you need to. Ideas in your ideas book can be big but once they come over to your ‘to do’ list, they must be small, simple and achievable.
The diary/calendar is for deadlines and appointments. This serves as a reminder when writing your daily lists – check how much realistic time is available that day to tend to this list. It should be kept neat and organised so you can actually see at a glance what is there.
The small fit-in-your-bag note pad (mine is always a kitch cheap note pad) actually lives in your bag. That way you always have paper and pen if you have a thought or something you want to tend to later (yes phones do the same thing but I am old school). Don’t forget to transfer these to your ‘to do’ list if you need to.
Once you own all of these things (note books, diary etc), it is SIMPLE. Truly.
It will take you about 5 minutes a day to keep it clear and doable. Just 5 minutes. This morning I looked at my ‘to do’ list and it had gotten too big (and messy). It happens. It’s OK. I looked at my dairy to see what appointments I had today and how much time available. I opened a new page and wrote 12 things I wanted to do today. At least half will take me only a couple of minutes each (send a particular email for example). I feel completely confident that I can tick off my entire list today. No stress. Just sit at my clean desk with a cup of coffee, my ‘to do’ list and voi la.
Rules: Yes there are rules. Only one actually.
Turn your internet off whilst you are doing anything that doesn’t require it being on. It is amazing how much time we waste on Facebook, youtube or whatever your vices are. Open your email just to send an email. Open your Facebook only to post a message related to your ‘to do’ list. Then minimise it. Turn your sound OFF so you are not distracted by every ping. Or like I said, just close them.
You are organised, whipping through your ‘to do’ list and probably have time spare to do something you enjoy. So go and enjoy.
Happy stress-free day planning. I am off to Tai Chi.
Romi Grossberg is the author of ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’. She also has a newly set up support group on Facebook (with the book title name) for those going through the book – ticked off the list just yesterday. For more information, go to www.romigrossberg.com
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/clear-sky-daydreaming-hammock-914929.jpg9501280Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2016-12-07 21:16:062020-06-28 11:15:56‘The Stress-Free Way To Manage Your Day,’ Huffington Post
People often ask me what they can do about procrastination.
The good news is there is something you can do. Let me share my secrets with you. It might not address your underlying issues for avoiding particular tasks but it will help you achieve your today’s task.
We only really use the term procrastination in a negative way when we are scolding, “Stop procrastinating” or annoyed with ourselves for wasting precious time: “I am such a procrastinator.”
The mere word can bring up feelings of anxiety or guilt for not getting to the task at hand. We instantly feel bad. It doesn’t need to be this way. Why constantly feel frustrated when we can instead use it in a positive way?
Here I will share with you my secrets on:
1. How to make procrastination your friend 2. How to move passed procrastination using The 5-Minute Rule
1. Making Procrastination Your Friend.
First let’s change the way we look at the word. Procrastination literally means “deferment,” “postponement” or “stalling.” We don’t need to feelbad. Let’s take back the control we often give over to the power of procrastination as if it actually holds some power.
It doesn’t, we do. Let’s use it to our advantage.
As soon as you notice yourself avoiding your task at hand and leaning toward doing anything but, stop and recognise it. Awareness is key. It may sound obvious but how many times have you wasted half a day watching television or on Facebook when you just meant to have a quick glance?
Recognize that moment. It is not a bad thing. Nothing to get frustrated over, just notice it. Rather than waste time (which is ultimately what we are doing), use this time in a positive way.
CHOOSE how you want to use this moment of procrastination. TAKE BACK CONTROL. Here is how:
1. Do something that will only take a short time frame (not a few hours). 2. Make it something with your hands; some physical and not mental activity. 3. Make sure the activity provides some level of satisfaction no matter how miniscule. 4. Use this time to clear your mind and start to focus on the task you are avoiding, so by the time you are ready — you are actually ready! 5. Mentally prepare to get to your task by using The 5-Minute Rule (we will get to that shortly).
As an author, my favorite form of procrastination is hand washing and I use it often. I might turn on my laptop to write and find myself looking at Facebook. So instead of “procrastinating” and wasting my morning, I immediately close my computer and grab my washing basket. The washing is a mindless task but allows my brain time to switch on and clear my thoughts.
Using my hands wakes my body up and brings me to an alert state. It may take me ten or twenty minutes but by the end I am feeling good that my clothes are clean and hanging to dry, my body feels awake and my mind alert. I also start to switch my mind to my task, what I want to accomplish in my book today. Clothes clean, laptop back on and ready to go.
So what did I do? I recognized I was about to waste my morning and hand my power away to procrastination and stopped it immediately. I CHOSE how to procrastinate. I made it my friend.
2. “The 5-Minute Rule”
So you have used procrastination wisely and prepared yourself for your task… but maybe you still don’t want to do it. Don’t find another form of procrastination — try using The 5-Minute Rule.
Maybe it is to start doing some exercise, replying to your long list of unread emails or writing in your journal. It doesn’t matter what it is, it is a mental game not a time management one.
So let me ask you a question, in a 24-hour day would you have 5 minutes spare? If I asked you to attend to your task for 5 minutes, do you think you could do it? Just 5 minutes.
Now you can begin moving through procrastination using The 5-Minute Rule.
“I am going to start at the top and go through my emails for the next 5 minutes.” “I am going to go for a run for just 5 minutes.” “I am going to write in my journal for the next 5 minutes.”
If I asked you to spend the next hour replying to your emails, chances are you wouldn’t even begin. But if I ask you to sit for just 5 minutes, you are much more likely to. You can always go for longer, in fact often you will but The 5-Minute Rule helps to get you there (I mean it is only 5 minutes after-all) whilst providing a level of satisfaction for achieving exactly what you set out for.
Try The 5-Minute Rule to get you to the starting block for any new activity or to attend things you just never feel you want to. The hardest part of anything is starting.
So start. Turn up. Open the first page. Stretch your hamstrings, do some sit-ups, open your emails. Whatever it is, start now. It is only 5-minutes.
Disclaimer: I didn’t hand wash in the writing of this article, however I did sweep the floor.
Romi Grossberg is a writing therapist, counsellor, facilitator of ‘Writing from The Source’ workshops and author. The theme of procrastination is part of her upcoming new book, titled ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’ to be released in May 2016. For more information, go towww.romigrossberg.com
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/alone-bed-bedroom-271897.jpg8481280Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2016-04-05 21:40:182020-06-09 18:39:13‘Are You a Procrastinator?’ Huffington Post
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