Help, My Business Is Driving Me Mad!
People think that in medieval times, serf were worked like dogs and had no free time.
This is not so. They had many 'holy-days' and took long lunches. The pace of life was slower.
Fast-forward to the post-industrial era.
Electric light and the internet mean that one can work 24 hours a day, if one wishes. Or even if one doesn't. City of London interns can clock off at 11pm and clock on again at 3am.
No man is an island in 2015. Letters can be sent while commuting, walking or eating. A man's secretary can ask him a 'quick question' on his mobile even if he's on the WC.
What does this lead to?
What is stress?
Stress is a modern term for anxiety; chronic, irrational fear which leads to the release of hormones in response to a perceived threat. Unlike the caveman, we don't have a fight-or-flight option; we have to suffer it.
Suffering stress leads to psychological and physical effects. If these are chronic the effects can be serious: psychologically, a deterioration in sound judgement and physiologically, flu-like symptoms, leading to cardiac, digestive or neurological ailments.
So what can we do to make the stress, less?
1. Get 8+ Hours Sleep A Night.
People who say they can manage on four are deluded. Why is being sleep-deprived seen as macho? We are not in the trenches. The enemy is not advancing at dawn. We are on the 7am commute from Shenfield, yawning.
Lack of sleep affects judgement generally. In particular, it affects our judgement of how tired we are! So we keep staying up late and sleepwalking at work.
This leads to monotonous thinking and thus, bad business decisions.
Tip: Wind down as soon as you come home. Dim the lights, eat wholesome, plain food and read a book. Retire 9pm-ish. One needs to cue the brain that the sun has gone down and there are no threats to be deal with.
You'll wake up fresh.
2. Do Only What's Essential.
It's possible to send 50 emails a day and not advance your cause a step. Set goals in writing and refer to them. I bet a lot of what you do is mere admin, generated by other admin.
Eyes of the prize, sub out the dull stuff and develop detachment. Be brutal with mere house-keeping; some calls do not need to be returned, some emails can be ignored.
3. Take Some Exercise.
Get up from your PC and go for a walk outside. Have lunch. Sit on a bench and watch the world go by. Turn off your phone.
At the weekend, go to the beach or the countryside one weekend in two. The idea is to clear your head and get your muscles working. Within four walls the mind closes in on itself and the body loses tone.
Sitting in front of a PC is the worst place to get inspired; it's mostly passive behaviour and one is bombarded with irrelevance.
4. Become A King.
A king doesn't care too much about other people's opinion. A king is master; of himself and his domain. If he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't do it and no one can make him.
The idea is to develop a regal cynicism about just what is and is not important. Tomorrows meeting with Roger in accounts can probably be postponed. Until next month. Tuesday's meeting with your banker ... maybe next week.
That hour could be better spent sitting on the terrace with a coffee looking into space ... until A Clever Idea Leading To Great Success bubbles up into your subconscious.
You go home with more energy, wind down, have a meal and a wash and wake up better prepared to meet the next day.
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