Stress is a poison in today’s society.
The negative effects of stress are numerous. It weakens our immune system, which causes sickness. Because of stress, people produce less. When stressed people are less creative. The list goes on and on.
Problems caused by stress cost our society billions of dollars every year.
On the flip side, this means that anyone who can lower their stress levels and produce at a high level is at an advantage in the workplace. Those people will quickly become the most valued assets in any organization.
Looking to the Future
For many, there doesn’t seem to be any end to the stress. Companies and organizations keep expecting more for less which means we have to work harder, produce more, and get better results.
This means that if we are to solve the situation we cannot look to the outer world. We have to look inside ourselves and make a change.
When I Learned the 80/20 Rule
Most of us get caught up in tasks that really don’t have much of an impact on our future.
I started to think about it this way: 20 percent of the activities we do stand for 80% of the results we produce.
Another way of putting it is that if you have a list of 10 actions, 2 of those actions will have a greater effect on your future than the other 8 put together.
When I looked at my own work schedule this was really obvious.
When I first started thinking about the 80/20 rule, I was working as a sales manager with 5 sales people under me. My task list was as follows:
1. Making sales calls
2. Coach sales people
3. Sitting in meetings with my bosses
4. Prepare marketing and sales campaigns
5. Answer and reply to emails
6. Write standardized offers
7. Create campaign banners
And a few other unimportant things.
When I looked through this list, I realized that 80 percent of the value I created for my company came from coaching sales people and making my own sales calls. Most of the others were unimportant or easy to delegate.
Once I started focusing on those 2 tasks, my numbers and value skyrocketed…which quickly got me a promotion.
How to Focus Your Efforts
A few years ago I was taught a great method for decreasing stress. This guide will help you by getting thoughts, deals and commitments out of your head and on to paper, someplace you know you will be able to go back and review it regularly and that you know you will not forget it.
By not having to keep everything in your mind, you will be able to review it and decide which are activities comprise that crucial 20%, and you will be able to focus single-mindedly on those tasks without having to remember lots of other thoughts and ideas.
Step 1 – What is taking up a lot of your focus and energy?
Write down a list of everything you are thinking about and stressing about.
Step 2 – What would be a successful outcome to this situation?
To each point on the list, visualize what a perfect solution would be and then write it down.
Step 3 – How important is it that this task is done?
By answering this question, you learn if this task is something you need and should do or if it really isn’t that important and can be eliminated.
Step 4 – What action could you take to move the project towards that goal?
Once you know that the idea is an important one, write down what the next action you can take to move the goal towards its perfect solution.
Step 5 – Decide when you are going to do the action
Write it down in your calendar.
Let Go and Relax
Do you feel how much more relaxed you are now that you don’t have to remember all your ideas? Now that you know that they will be done?
This exercise has helped people all over the world get their ideas in writing, find actionable steps to take on their workloads, and start moving towards their major goals. It is a great cure to procrastination and a great way to increase your productivity start living a stress-free life.