|Time Management Information|
Managing Worry: Productivity Tips for High Achievers Who Worry
Are you a worrier? Do you frequently spend time and energy worrying about your finances, your children, your career, world politics? Worry can be a highly useful, brilliantly engineered cue to action or a useless and destructive energy drain. The challenge is to decide which it is, on a case-by-case basis, and manage yourself accordingly.
Here is a quick and dirty, but highly effective way to manage your worrying habit.
1. Learn to recognize when you are worrying.
This takes practice. You may not recognize yourself worrying until you've been at a particular worry for days or weeks. But whether you catch yourself in the first minute or the first month, the most important step is recognizing the pattern. You can develop your "witness" over time and become more proficient in noticing when you are worrying.
2. Determine if something needs to be done.
Ask yourself, "Is the worry a cue to action?"
3. If something needs to be done, get it done as soon as possible.
Often just deciding to take the action can loosen worry's grip on you. But it's critical that you follow through -- take that action as soon as it is feasible.
4. If nothing needs to be done, release the worry.
For most people, relinquishing the worry is the hardest part. If you generally let worry run unchecked, you know that it's a very greedy energy that will take as much of your attention as you let it. It will reduce your effectiveness and productivity. Some serious boundary-setting with yourself is required here.
Experiment with the following strategy. In your mind, respond to the worry with something like this: "Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your concern (this is important). But there is nothing more to be done right now, so I'm going to stop thinking about this." Then get yourself to focus on something else - find something else compelling and engaging to think about. You might line up some contenders in advance. Just about anything that works for you will do.
Sooner or later, the worry will return. Repeat steps 1 through 4 as needed. This is an iterative process. Hang in!
Here is a short list of some of the worries that my clients have learned to deal with more effectively:
Do you need help figuring out whether a worry merits action or how to disarm a stubborn worry-habit? Invest in yourself and get the help you need. Coaching can make a difference. Contact me for an initial consultation at no charge.
Copyright, Sharon Teitelbaum, 2005.
Sharon Teitelbaum is a Work-Life and Career Coach who works with high achieving women with young children, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction or work-life balance. Her book, Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance, is available at her website, http://www.STcoach.com.
Certified as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Sharon works by phone with clients around the world and in-person in Boston.
She delivers keynotes and workshops on work-life balance issues, has been in national publications including The New York Times and Working Mother Magazine, and has appeared on cable and network television. She publishes Strategies for Change, a newsletter offering practical tips for work-life success.
Sharon has been married for 30 years and is the mother of two amazing young women. You can contact her here.
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