Staying Organized Under Pressure

We all know that being calm under pressure helps staying focussed and improves performance. The question is how to do it; most of us were not taught this skill and out culture often seems to encourage hysteria and over-reacting. The holiday season in particular seems to be a period of greater stress for many people. Here are some ideas to help you thru it with good humor and productivity intact, that will also serve you very well throughout the year.
Here are some techniques that will help you stay cool no matter what is going on:
* Practice conscious relaxation on a regular basis so that you will have the skill well developed when you need it and will have a generally calmer, nicer approach to life. Study and practice the skills taught in the Basic Relaxing Techniques paper.

* Give yourself positive pep talks about your tasks and projects.

* Squash negative thinking about your projects or tasks whenever it pops up. I like to use the word "REJECT" to overcome the inveigling of negative thoughts, but any word that works for you is just fine.

* Lay out your tasks and projects on paper - this is magic. The idea is not to create another to-do item or list (although these are very useful), but to write your list so that you see where the opportunities for efficiency and combining tasks. Another thing that writing a list helps with is to clarify priorities, to see which items really need to be done soon versus which ones can wait or don't need to be done at all, and which items can be delegated or handed off. I like to use spreadsheets to plan big projects as this allows creating lots of sub-lists (breaking tasks down into smaller components), and to easily track the status of each element, but you can also do this on paper (probably using a lot of sheets).

* Big projects can also be kept organized and managed using flipcharts on the wall that lets you, and anyone else who might be concerned, stay constantly aware of the status of each element of the project.

* No matter how busy you are, take time each day to take care of yourself. Yoga, meditation, exercise, or whatever other activity you find rejuvenating need to be part of your daily routine. No one can stay at the top of their game if they don't attend to their own needs.

* Anytime you feel tendrils of anxiety creeping into your thoughts, STOP whatever you are doing and work on vanquishing that feeling. Trying to plow ahead with fear in your mind will undermine your focus and thus your ability to be organized.

* Resist the pressure to rush or cut corners on organizing when you are super-busy.Taking the extra second to put that file away where it belongs rather than toss it in a pile will save you time and upset the next time you need it. Taking the additional moment to check your calendar before scheduling something will prevent double-booking and consequent embarrassment or over-committing.

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