by Wendy Keller
• Five tips for a peaceful planner mind
Has your significant other shaken their head and mumbled, “Here we go again?”
Has your child ever looked at you quizzically and said, “But Mom! I told you already!”
Chances are, these reactions to you are more likely to happen in the crazy months leading up to a live event. You’ve got so much going on at work that your home life may be taking a little hit here and there – or maybe a big hit!
Here are a few quick, easy tricks to get yourself back in control when the stress in any part of your world is causing the rest of it to teeter on the brink of anarchy.
1. Eat the Elephant
“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” - Creighton Williams Abrams, Jr., US Army Chief of Staff, 1972-1974
You can only do what you can do. The bigger the project, the more important it is to chunk it down into bite-sized pieces. Then choose which to delegate (if you have support) and prioritize the rest.
2. Turn on Your Tomato
Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? “Pomodoro” is the Italian word for tomato. The guy who started this technique had a kitchen timer on his desk in the shape of a tomato. The core genius of this technique is human nature – once we begin, it’s easier to keep going. Pick a task from your priority list, set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes, and dedicate every ounce of your energy to working on the task for “just” 10 minutes…unless you’d like to add another 10…and another 10…and voila! It’s done.
3. Write the Wrongs
Your brain picked out which hand you write with long ago. There’s a deep rut in your neural network that makes you always prefer that hand. There’s also a deep rut in your brain about the things that bug you about work, your home life, yourself, and other people. When things are in chaos, get off track! Claim 15 minutes for yourself, and go off with a pen and notebook. Spend precisely 15 minutes writing all the things that are making you crazy right now. The trick: do it with your opposite hand. It doesn’t have to be legible, it just has to be the effort. This simple, easy trick yields astonishing results in gaining emotional self control!
4. Wriggle Your Nose
Did you know our sense of smell is our most ancient sense? Called our “olfactory” sense, it is the one that is most powerful – and least considered. More memories are tied to your nose than your eyes or fingertips! Use this fact to your definite advantage when you’re feeling stressed. When you notice things are about to explode inside your head, get up and go outside. If that’s not possible, go to a bakery, a flower shop, or stop by some shrubs or even cut flowers near you. Anywhere you can smell something different – and natural. Take some deep breaths, naming in your head what you smell. Believe it or not, this scent-association exercise will eradicate your inner frazzle instantly.
5. Pitch In
When things are going absolutely nuts, it’s time to do something completely counter-intuitive. Help do something for someone else. This releases endorphins in your brain. Endorphins in your brain lower your stress level and can allow you to think more calmly because your brain is mellowed out a little. It doesn’t have to be taking a week off to go help your cousin paint his house. It can be as simple as throwing away a paper towel someone left on the counter in the public restroom; helping your kid with some homework; taking time to iron your partner’s shirt; or handing your shopping cart to the person who is waiting for one behind you. Helping another person, even just a little, is like a pressure release valve on your life.
These are five simple strategies that can calm down any meeting planner in the midst of chaos. They force your brain to stop thinking, “Oh my gosh! I’m so busy! What am I going to do! I’ll never get all this done!” Instead, they make you reconnect with yourself, your planet, and other people.
Experiment with them. You may just find your life taking a turn for the better.
Wendy Keller encourages people through her dynamic speeches, articles, and blogs to develop resilience in every area of life, using methods she’s discovered after her own shocking life tragedy. See more at www.WendyKeller.com