Stress and indecision

Bobb Biehl says that 85% of stress is caused by either indecision or lack of control.

What three things are causing you the most stress right now? Of those three, which are stressful because of indecision? Lack of control?

If it’s indecision, the way forward is to act. Decide and move or collect the additional information you need to make the decision.

If it’s an area of life that’s out of control, brainstorm how you can get that area back under control (or even a small section of it), and take a step forward today.*


*Some things we stress about we have no control over even if we wanted it. Letting go of anxiety about things we cannot control is a topic for another post.

Does social media contribute to or distract from your main thing?

John Mayer spoke to students at Berklee College of Music this summer, and one thing he talked about was the impact social media had on his creativity. While it helped him connect with his fans (millions of followers on Twitter), it robbed him of creative power for his main thing – music:

“The tweets are getting shorter, but the songs are still 4 minutes long. You’re coming up with 140-character zingers, and the song is still 4 minutes long…I realized about a year ago that I couldn’t have a complete thought anymore. And I was a tweetaholic. I had four million twitter followers, and I was always writing on it. And I stopped using twitter as an outlet and I started using twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn’t write a song.”

It’s something worth thinking about for everyone. What’s your main thing? Where should your energy go? Some things like Facebook and Twitter can connect us and even make us feel productive, but if it’s robbing us of the core/central thing (if it becomes our main instrument), it may need to be cut back.

I know people in Student Affairs who have used Twitter to connect with colleagues in amazing ways – to learn, to find support, and to share ideas. But for every person who finds #SAChat conversations and a new circle for professional growth, there may be five more who just use it as an escape for the real work of connection, creativity, and getting things done.

So what about you? How has Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Pinterest/Whatever helped you do what you do? What are the temptations that distract you from the main things you do?


Life lessons from a three-month-old: time to refocus

When our kid was just a few months old, everything was new and overwhelming. He couldn’t handle much stimulation or input for very long. He’d begin to get disorganized – flailing about and fussing. He couldn’t focus and his emotional state quickly went downhill.

It doesn’t change much when we get older.

Sure, we hide it better, but most of us need some time during the day to refocus and recenter on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

Maybe we’re flailing about in our to-do list – bouncing from project to project (or blog to blog) not really getting anything done. Or maybe we’re getting fussy in our relationships – hitting that afternoon slump and not really treating people like we truly value them.

Where do you need to get organized so it’s possible to focus on what’s most important?