The Key to Managing Stress Effectively

Like many, I have fallen into the trap of inducing great amounts of stress into my life. This stress derives from the unknown, it derives from the gargantuan sized workload that is in front of me, with no understanding of how to complete it. However, over time I've developed a practice that truly helps to reduce the amount of stress that I feel when grappling with mountains of workload.

Firstly, I want to note that some stress is good. Stress is there to push you into working with excellence. It keeps you caring, and it helps you deliver a solid end result. If you aren't stressed, you probably aren't doing an excellent job. Secondly, too much stress is bad. We all know this.

Thirdly, stress derives from not knowing how to tackle a problem or tackle a problem quickly. Therefore, we must break down our workload. We must break it down to the point of the smallest actionable steps. It is much easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time. Example:

I could tell myself one of two things.

1. I have to write a twenty-page business plan by Friday.

2. I have to open my word document now and write the title on the first page.

The first one is a lot bigger and a lot scarier. It isn't truly actionable. On the other hand, the second one is only the first step to writing the business plan. It is a smaller, truly actionable, clear and concise direction of work. It is much more manageable and less anxiety-inducing because of this.

The key is that action begets action. By completing the first small step, I feel accomplished. I then have the energy to move on to the next seemingly small step, and I more than likely will because it won't take much effort. Before I know it, I will be 10 or 20 small steps into my business plan and have half of it written.

I have used this break-down method many times, and not just when it comes to work-related mountains, but also when anything that requires massive work in the abstract. By breaking it down from the abstract into real concrete steps, the huge task that was once before me becomes seemingly a lot more manageable.

If you suffer from stress in anxiety in the workplace or in life in general, I invite you to try this technique out. If you do, leave a comment and tell me about it!