How to Increase your blood Pressure, Stress and Anxiety

by Brad Isaac on August 25, 2005

This is a daily battle for me. Deciding between the important tasks and the seemingly important/emergency tasks. Sure, there are real emergency situations out there. An associate calls and says they are due to present in 10 minutes and their powerpoint equipped laptop won’t boot or the CFO sends word through your boss that she needed that financial report you never heard of yesterday. But how many of these are actual emergencies and how many are simply deferred decisions that have come back to haunt us? A few weeks ago, Seth’s blog discussed this and it really touched a nerve with me.

My personal “albatross” is the phone. When a client calls and needs something done, I try to impress by getting it done NOW. Yes, that leads to all sorts of kudos and an impressed client, yet who knows what project I put on hold to do a non-urgent task on the spot? By operating in this manner, I have to keep pushing my important projects later and later into the day.

There are some days like this where I end up thinking “I didn’t get anything done!”, when I’ve been working the whole day and rushing around like a lunatic. I find that fascinating. How is it you can work hard all day long – skip lunch, please all your clients and at the end of the day feel like you did nothing? The reason, I believe, has to do with the early decisions and not sticking with them. If nothing is on my calendar between 3:30 and 4:30 and I schedule an hour of development, taking the phone off the hook and turning off email makes sense. If there is a real emergency, someone will bust into my office to let me know.

Link: Seth’s Blog: Hurry!.

There are two ways to catch a plane. The first, which happens to be the most common, is to leave on time, do your best to park nearby, repeatedly glance at your watch, and then start moving faster and faster. By the time you get to security, you realize that you’re quite late, so you cut the line (”My plane leaves in 10 minutes!” you shout). You walk fast. As you get closer to your gate, you realize that walking fast isn’t going to work, so you start to jog. Three gates away, you break into a run, and if you’re lucky, you barely make the flight.

The second way is to leave for the airport 10 minutes early.

The easiest way to deal with change and with all the anxieties that go with it is not to deal with it at all. The easiest thing to do is to allow the urgency of the situation to force us to make the decisions (or take the actions) that we’d rather not take. Why? Because then we don’t have to take responsibility for what happens. The situation is at fault, not us. The beauty of the asymptotic curve is that at every step along the way, running ever faster for the plane is totally justified. The closer we get, the more we’ve invested ourselves. The more we invest in making our flight, the easier it is to justify running like a lunatic to make it.

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