- A major cause of stress is lack of control. I have crafted my work life to give me a lot of control. Notably, I've chosen to be self-employed, which gives me more freedom to do what I want when I want. That means maximizing time on tasks I'm good at and enjoy doing (counseling, writing, being on the radio, giving talks) on issues I know a lot about (career and education). I don't have to spend much time on things I'm bad at--like working on a team.
- I work long hours because I believe that work-week hours 40 to 60+ are more wisely spent being productive than on what I'd otherwise doing. I try to avoid the health risks of working long hours by trying not to rush or get angry. Being self-employed creates an environment that makes it easier to go slow-and-steady and avoid situations likely to make me angry.
- I also reduce stress by working at home: no stressful commute, and home is about as relaxing a place as exists: I can set up my office exactly as I like: in a room with lots of windows, that's quiet, with lots of plants. And I can take little breaks for gardening, playing the piano, and with my doggie, Einstein.
- I try, not always successfully, to follow the new rule: Get out of your chair at least five minutes every hour. To facilitate that, I do my own housekeeping, laundry, etc.. And because I have a dog, I take him on frequent walks.
- I am scrupulously honest. If I believe a prospective client doesn't need to hire me, for example, if a bit of free advice is what feels appropriate, I always do that. If I feel I can't champion a particular client, I won't work with him or her. If I believe a client would be better served by another career counselor, I make the referral. That all is de-stressing and thus healthy.
- In my client sessions, I balance seriousness with humor. And as appropriate I'll take them out to my garden or play the piano for them.
- I try to eat frequent small relatively healthy meals. Typical day: Coffee and croissant at 9 AM. Plain yogurt with fruit added at 11. A salad with some tuna fish at 1, etc. But I occasionally cheat and take myself out for, for example, an Indian buffet lunch, but try to keep the carbs and high-calorie sauces to a minimum.
Friday, February 20, 2015
WeWork Magazine asked me to write about how I try to make my work life healthy. Here's what I do: