Monday, September 8, 2008

My Favorite Stress Reducers

My clients and I find these helpful:
  • Remember that it's just not that important. And even if it is, stressing about it is more likely to hurt than help. Just work slow and steady, doing the best you reasonably can. 
  • Remember that all you can control is your effort, not the outcome of that effort. Once you've done your part, let it go. Even if it doesn't work out, unless you have stage 5 cancer, you can survive. (And even if you have stage 5 cancer, soon you'll be at peace, just as though you were sleeping soundly.)
  • Listen to soft instrumental music while working. If that's not permitted (even with headphones),  on the way to work, listen, again and again, to the easiest-to-hum relaxing, short piece of music. It will become an "ear worm," rolling around in your brain, meditatively, as you work.
  • As soon as you start feeling stressed, get up, stretch, and take three deep breaths.
  • Take a five-minute walk, ideally in nature, but down the hall will do.
  • Help someone.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Often, when I'm stressed, it's because I've forgotten to eat. So if it's been at least few hours since you ate, it might be time for a light snack or meal.

Grace said...

When I'm stressed, its usually because I'm trying to think of all my tasks at once. So I stop and make a "to-do" list, writing down all my upcoming tasks, and writing down the actual block of time when I will address them. When I know I have a plan to deal with the other things, I can focus on one task at a time.

Okie said...

Marty,

Thanks for these helpful tips. As I've stated earlier, I also have a very intense personality. I am currently writing user documentation without the help of a subject matter expert. This is similar to driving blind because the software is not intuitive, and the subject matter experts have no time to assist me. I will definitely try the headphones.

Marty Nemko said...

Okie, I'd keep pushing on the subject matter experts, or find other ones. No music will sufficiently reduce the stress of trying to write documentation for a product you don't understand.

Okie said...

Marty,

Thanks for the feedback. Subject matter access has been a battle that I have fought since I entered the field of technical writing as a 40-year-old career changer in 2002. In both private and public sector jobs, I have repeatedly asked for a subject matter expert. Each time I am told that only one person knows the software and they are too busy to speak with me. When I tell the supervisor that the quality of the product will suffer due to this workflow process, I am told that I have poor analytical skills if I cannot figure it out myself. By the way, I am a woman and all my supervisors have been women. No support there! (The Devil wears Prada.) I am now with the federal government and trying to move into another field. However, the big demand in government is for people who have math and science skills.....my weakest link. Unfortunately, my aptitude is in the humanities.

Marty Nemko said...

Dear Okie,

First, I'm delighted you're a woman. I'd suspect that many of my pro-male columns might be a turn-off to women, who have been led to believe that women really only can be victims or heroes. I write pro-male pieces because I believe they truly are treated unfairly, but I am, in no way, anti-woman.

Second, in response to your query, have you considered applying for Program Analyst jobs in the federal government. They are, on average, very good, writing-centric jobs that may make less technical demands of you.

Okie said...

Marty,

Thanks so much for responding to my dilemma. Yes, I have applied for one program analyst position so far. Your friend, Kathryn Troutman, recently rewrote my resume and KSAs. She also found the position. However, I was not called for an interview. I presume the answer is perseverance......even though the Fed is slowwww.

Marty Nemko said...

Yes, persistence is key.

I want to be clear that my recommendation of Kathryn is not because she's a friend. I don't do that. She's a stranger to me, actually.

She is the nation's leading expert on landing a federal job. I first learned of her because I had read her book on landing a federal job and then invited her to be a guest on my show, where she did a fine job.

Okie said...

Clarification received. Middle America uses the term "friend" loosely.

 

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