for a strong, fast pick-me-up
If you are like most people – you are under increasing stress these days. You feel squeezed. Too much to do. Not enough time.
Here’s a simple technique you can use to reduce your stress and encourage a state of productive calm – even in the stressful office.
I’m a corporate communication consultant – and these days so many of the requests I get from clients are to help them deal with workplace stress and anxiety – especially how to communicate calmly and confidently when you are under so much stress.
Anyway, there is so much “advice” available – I like to “test” different techniques for myself.
Many of the techniques sound very “arty-farty” and can sound “flakey” to a Western business audience that is so concerned with squeezing the most out of every worker and every moment.
I’m currently “testing” techniques based on the SELF memory device.
The S stands for Serenity (the opposite of Stress) and recommends taking a few minutes to get serene before you embark on stressful work tasks.
This is particularly helpful when I help clients write calm responses to more challenging messages or requests.
I advise clients to not just jump in and out of all their e-mails and messages – but to:
1. collect and “bundle” messages requiring a calm and considered response
2. get into a calm state – by seeking serenity
3. responding to the messages while you are in a calm and serene state.
OK – what’s this got to do with computer screen savers?
Usually, I just jump into answering my e-mails – but this morning when I went to my computer my screen saver was on with beautiful images my son had selected for me. He knows I love beaches and images of the sea and palm trees.
Anyway, I decided to change my normal behaviour and to take 2 minutes to enjoy and to really observe the screensaver images.
To be honest, in the past, I was too busy to pay attention. I had these amazingly beautiful images – but I never took the time to enjoy them.
I can certainly vouch for the benefits of taking 2 minutes to get into a serene state before plunging into serious work e-mails.
I calmed down and slowed down. I knew I had a lot of serious work to do – but choosing to take 2 minutes to enjoy these screen shots helped me focus – and actually felt quite empowering!
The screen shots added a little serenity and even sunshine to the start of my day. After sending important e-mails requiring delicate and diplomatic responses – I chose to take time to write this post.
Mindfulness – BS or Business Booster?
I always remember being taken by surprise when I was in a very serious training session – and the person who organised the session insisted that before the training everyone in the room go through a mindfulness exercise. It took 60 seconds.
The business part of me thought: We don’t have time for this mindfulness stuff!
Then, I saw how this mindfulness exercise helped the participants be “in the moment” of the training session and to put aside past concerns or future worries. I compared these participants to participants in other sessions where we just jumped straight into business.
This organisation also did a mindfulness exercise at the start of every meeting to encourage people to be “in the moment”.
I suggest a similar technique to my serious financial clients trying to have more effective meetings or briefings – but I don’t call it mindfulness. I call it FOCUS or FOCUS for EFFICIENCY!
I can understand if you think these ideas of SERENITY and MINDFULNESS seem too flakey and art-farty for Western business culture.
I was cynical too! However, I encourage you to “test” these ideas on yourself to see the difference.
It’s easy to start with 2 minutes of calming screensaver images – if you have them. Really look at and notice the images.
I’ll check to see if there are any short calming videos on youtube.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.