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7 Steps to De-Stress Before Moving

7 Steps to De-Stress Before Moving

Have you ever moved… a big move from your mom’s basement or a little cross-country move to take a new direction with your career? Are you making that huge leap to living abroad?

Right now, I am in the middle of a move. It’s a little move for me, but a big move for my soon-to-be husband, as he has lived here for almost 20 years. As you might imagine, there is more than a little stress.

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Change is stressful.

Change, regardless of why you are doing it, is stressful. There is always a feeling of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. You feel as though your entire life is being turned upside down. There are a thousand little details that have to be planned, organized, and executed. There is a huge overwhelming feeling. This sense of fear and being overwhelmed comes from our natural desire for comfort and stability. Any time the things around us change and move us out of our comfort zone, it messes with our heads and our emotions.

Moving is a double-dose of stress; you are in the middle of stress and you are leaving your comfort zone behind. Yikes! Doesn’t it make you long for the days that you had a blanket and could take your comfort zone with you? Maybe we can’t do that, but we can make it through with some sense of sanity.

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While there is no way to remove all the stress, you can make things so much better by getting a plan together and staying organized. Set up your iPad/iPhone or a simple daily planner to keep you on track. Take the time you need to plan, whether this is 30 minutes or 2 hours. You will benefit tenfold by eliminating all the worry.   You can easily set aside half of your stress by not worrying about what you have forgotten.

Here are some quick tips that will help you stay organized.

Step 1: Write everything down. Get in the habit of writing down all of your thoughts, tasks, and plans. This will help you get out of your head and into action. Many times, we are so worried about getting stuff done that we actually can’t move.

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Step 2: Declutter, declutter, declutter.  You know those boxes that are still in the basement, unopened, from the last move? Just take them right out of your house now!  You can choose to drop them at your local charity or throw them out; either way, get rid of the stuff. You do not need to move clutter. Do you really even need all the stuff that you have? Have you thought about living with 100 items or less? Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but think about how much less stuff to move you would have.

Step 3: Keep a notebook: a central location for all of your lists, appointments, and phone numbers that you will need. There are often a lot of little details. Making sure they are all in one place will make a huge difference. Dare I say, break out the spreadsheet and use it to plan each step of your prep, move, and post-move to-do lists.

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Step 4: Designate. Whenever you can assign tasks to other family helpers, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of the time, the resource that you are the shortest on is time. Let the teenager next door entertain the kids, or have the kids go to a friend’s or grandma’s house. It is surprising how much you can get done without the distraction.

Step 5: Always take care of yourself. It is very easy to say you have no time for the gym or to eat correctly, but you need these things to keep your energy high and to relieve stress. Connect with a support person: your best friend, your minister, or a life coach.

Whether moving is something you want to do or need to do, it is going to be stressful. You are going to have some good days and some bad, so take each day one at a time. Really focus on staying organized, taking things in bite size pieces, and taking care of yourself. With a little planning and organization, you will make it through with your sanity.

Good luck with your move!

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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