There was an interesting coffee-shop discussion recently with some friends on what we do to handle the challenges and stresses that impinge on us during daily lives.
These folks handle challenging jobs with built-in stresses which they have to handle regularly, and they also face sudden issues involving their employees, customers and markets.
One guy said that he keeps the blackberry switched off during weekends, and “concentrates” on spending time with his family. Good idea but not practical in this “over-connected” world, where the world expects you to be connected and available.
Another guy said that he spends time on golfing Saturday/Sunday mornings which takes his time from something like 6 AM to 3 PM. No harm in that, but one has to be regular and focused on the game, which depends on a close circle of golfers who usually do not tolerate inconsistencies. Plus, you would hardly get time to attend to family or personal needs over the weekend, and weekdays are like 24 x 7 operation !
Some other guys prefer cricket, tennis or badminton.
The thing which has worked for me during weekends is a combination of 60 minutes gym (per day) plus concentrated putting on a golf patty at home plus of course, blogging, and you won’t believe this – cutting fruits ! Rest of the time is spent with the family or going for forced shopping !! The best stress-buster is at the gym followed by blogging and cutting fruits.
The fruits that I like and therefore, cut, are – apples, kiwi fruit, pomegranate, pears and guavas. Takes some good effort when you are not using any gadgets. I have an apple cutter, but I don’t use it as it is quick and takes the pleasure out of the manual cutting. When you take time to cut in a nice organized manner every late evening, arrange the same and hand out to family members after dinner, that is real good focused exercise.
Of course, sometimes variety is required, and then I would go for some light badminton or golf-putting. It is good to get the concentration, and I can tell you – it helps in your business and people interactions as well. Most of us lack listening skills, and it is critical to enhance the same and that would come with increased ability to concentrate your mind on the job at hand.
I tend to compare the ability to focus on one task vis-a-vis handling a multitude of tasks simultaneously. I used to place more importance on the latter for a long time, as I thought my ability to juggle many tasks would help me move quicker and ahead of others.
But as we absorb the complexity of the corporate world and encounter bigger challenges in business and life, I found that the singular ability to concentrate on one big task to the total exclusion of everything else, even if that is required only for 2 hours, is a very critical and strategic benefit one can have. I had to develop that ability and it took time.
Some of the stress-busters (may be this is an incorrect nomenclature !) that I have mentioned above are helpful. However, to each his own – you got to develop your own “busters” for your own benefit, as only you can determine the specific lack of certain abilities in yourself. May be at a higher level, a mentor or coach that you have assigned for yourself can help point out such deficiencies.
The technique has to be developed by yourself and if that is successful, you would find that religious repetition of the identified stress-buster would help you out in a major manner.
One does not need medicines or medical counselling for beating stress. You can do it yourself and at the same time enhance one of your critical abilities for the future.
12th November 2011