Often, we have a hard time figuring out what the next best thing is to do. With so much on our plates on a given day, the choice paralysis sets in and we end up not doing anything, and then getting incredibly stressed.
Usually, if we take a few minutes to step back and observe our minds, we can identify from what feels like a third-person perspective the things that are stressing us the most. For example, imagine you have three tasks on your list. You’re sitting at your desk, those three tasks staring you down, and you can’t figure out which one is most important.
If you take a step back, and take stock of what is stressing you out the most, you might find that the most stressful thing in your subconscious isn’t even one of those three tasks, but actually your messy desk.
Or maybe you didn’t eat lunch, and your hunger is causing you stress. Or maybe you have one errand to run that you can’t get off of your mind. Or maybe you need to take a quick jog around the park.
Fixing that single stressor might just be the “click” of productivity you need to get back into the flow.
So, next time you feel frazzled and stressed, and like you can’t make a clear choice, take these three steps.
- Write down your full list for the day. If you haven’t already done this, it can be incredibly helpful, as you are lifting a bit of the mental load of keeping that list in your brain, and a bit of fear that you might forget something.
- Slide your chair back, or take a few steps back into the room you’re in. Close your eyes, take two or three deep breaths, and ask yourself, “if one thing was done that would make me feel better, what would it be?”
- Take a few minutes and imagine your day with that thing done. Cycle through a few different tasks and see which feels the most relieving.
Disclaimer: While this may be really good for mental energy and flow, it may not always align with your business priorities. It’s important to recognize the tradeoffs. If doing something to destress today is going to cause a deluge of stress tomorrow, you might want to reconsider that plan of action.