Reflection: When preparing to deliver a conference presentation or seminar for a group, I’ll often interview a sampling of attendees ahead of time to find out more about their workplace stresses and satisfactions.
In a recent series of interviews for an upcoming conference, I asked about successful strategies for coping with high demand, stressful times. I heard a predictable assortment of suggestions: adopting time savers, planning ahead, taking time out, celebrating successes and having some fun.
However, one unusual response stood out. This particular fellow described his stress reduction strategy as ‘puttering’. He explained that when life and work grow demanding, he narrows his attention and focuses only on the high priority items.
But, after several weeks of that high level focus, he finds he has sidelined a whole pile of lesser tasks. These smaller, less important bits and pieces build up to create a pressure all their own.
At that point, he devotes a day to puttering. No major projects and no big decisions are allowed. Instead, he putters around clearing away the small stuff.
He calls A, repairs B, stores C, answers D, files E, replaces F, cleans up G, and so it goes.
As he moves from one small task to another with ease and a meandering spirit, he fuels a sense of accomplishment and feels a sense of relief.
Action:What are some of those small bits that get sidelined by the big priorities in your world? How many of them are clamouring for your attention as they buzz around your brain or dance on the edge of your desk or your list?
And, what would happen if you, too, devoted a day (or even a half day or a couple of hours) to puttering? Give it a try and see how it contributes to easing some of the pressure in your world.
Quote Of The Week: Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take. You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack. – Author Unknown
Resource Of The Week: Here’s another brief commentary on the Art of Puttering.
Readers Write: In response to the video, 3 Ways To Boost Your Energy, Pause reader TG writes: While waiting at a red light or railway crossing I take the time to breathe and perhaps do a few neck stretches. I’m there anyway, I may as well do something for myself. I’ve been giving myself a bit of time between commitments. I’ve realized how rushing, rushing, rushing is such a disservice to myself.