5 Surprising Ways to Stay Zen Despite Your Insane Workload


This is a guest post by Linda Coussement, a blogger at Inspired Process. She’s on a quest to (r)evolutionise the business world by helping entrepreneurs build and grow remarkable businesses. Follow her on Twitter.

Your to do list is overflowing…

Heck, your monthly calendar is overflowing…

You feel the tension and sense of dread already setting in…

How on earth are you going to tackle all this and keep your peace of mind?

You could of course simply fall back on your standard routine of getting the job done on sheer adrenaline and will power.

Or you could opt for doing things a little differently!

Doing Things Differently

Don’t feel like you’re giving up your sanity or your ability to sleep because your head is too full. And don’t snap at your co-worker because they breathe too loudly (though that last one could just be me…).

These 5 surprising and practical tips will help you stay cool and collected in stressful times.

1. Keep the End in Mind and in Sight. Keep constant tabs on why you are actually doing all this work and get some visual stimulant on this.

Create a scoreboard on which you tick off the number of days until your holiday, or cross off every learned skill that you need to get your dream job. You could also write out the amount of money you need to quit your job and start working on your startup full time, and watch yourself get closer to that goal every week.

Keeping the end in mind will keep you focused, ease your mind and make crappy tasks worth doing.

2. Stop Using Productivity Apps. Our online applications make our lives run smoothly and organized but when the going gets tough, nothing beats good old-fashioned paper.

Here’s what you do: every morning copy those things you need to do that day from your online action list. Put them in the order of your day and appoint durations for each major task.

Why this works so well is 3-fold:

  • You’ve prepared a structure on paper for the day to come;
  • You’ve prepared yourself mentally and know upfront you’re working on the right things at the right time;
  • You get to tick off every action you’ve done, which immediately gives you a good feeling!

3. Find Yourself a Rock. Yes, literally! It could also be a seashell, a piece of Lego or even a doll’s head; something that’s small enough to fit in your pocket but is still unique and easy to detect.

Here’s why: you use this as a little mindfulness talisman. Every time you see it on your desk or feel it in your purse or pocket take 30 seconds to stop what you’re doing and take 5 deep breaths, or think of the bigger perspective or anything positive that you know helps you (re)find your peace and calm.

4. Build in Time to Complain. We people love complaining! And it’s good for something too; we get things off our chests and if we keep an open mind and find a good person to complain to, we might even learn something of it.

But don’t just complain at anytime and to anyone!

Build in a daily coffee break with a co-worker, or 30 minutes every evening with your significant other and be structured: complain about the 1 big thing that is bothering you that day, get it out, request feedback, return the favor and then let it rest.

This takes some practice but you’ll find that being ‘allowed’ to complain will help you release negative tensions all through the rest of the day.

5. Do 3-Minute Meditations. Do your meditations guerrilla style! It does not take any spiritual background or practice; it’s just you, 3 to 5 minutes and a focus on your steady breath. Simply sit up straight, feet on the floor (or cross-legged), close your eyes and take long and deep breaths through the nose all the way to your stomach. Let the endorphins flow and reduce anxiety immediately.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed or before going into a big meeting do this. It’s also great to quiet the mind before going to bed, though make sure you don’t look at any electronic devices after that!

It’s Up to You

When it comes to dealing with a lot of work, you have a choice.

If you choose to be Zen and cool over stressed and anxious, you can break old negative patterns and learn some new habits to help you.

Question: What tips would you add to the list to help you choose to be Zen? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

5 thoughts on “5 Surprising Ways to Stay Zen Despite Your Insane Workload

  1. Great post! I especially love number 3. I use going through a doorway as my mindfulness reminder – to link that action with a reminder for mindfulness, but I like the idea of something physical or tangible in my pocket too. I’m not sure I’m disciplined enough to keep number 4 under control though!

    1. Thanks Ellen! The doorway is a great idea; especially for us girls who often don’t have pockets 🙂 For number 4 you’ll need to make sure the other person is in on the deal so you keep each other disciplined!

  2. Powerful tips… especially the complaining one …. it is so refreshing when you know you gonno complain whole heartedly n then find something meaningful along the way 🙂

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