Swap Stress for Serenity

Swap Stress for Serenity

Founder and managing member Ron Slee writes today about the need for greater calm in our daily lives, and trying to find a way to swap stress for serenity.

It has long been a goal of mine: to find serenity in my life. 

As time has passed and that goal of serenity continues to be elusive, I am adjusting and adapting my outlook. Serenity just isn’t in the cards for me. I have much too busy a mind. Perhaps it is a reflection of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), or some other acronym that I can blame or use as an excuse. It really doesn’t matter.

As many of you who follow me know I am taken by a book titled “Indistractable” by Nir Eyal. I am learning, yes at long last, how to better manage my time and accomplish things. I was being much too precise in how I managed my To Do List. Now I have assigned “Time Blocks” to my life and it seems to be working better for me.

Can I really move from stress to serenity? Putting the two words together like that has helped all by itself. There is stress, for me, associated with a specific goal and a specific time allocation. I suspect the same is true for you as well. How does that become stressful? Our minds seem to work on deadlines. When we are up against a deadline, our To Do List, we feel stress. It seems that this is all very normal. We get interruptions all the time and those get in the way of our To Do List. More Stress. As a result of that realization, I went to time blocks. I assign the work I want to accomplish a block of time. No goal just a block of time. I have been trying to assign eight hours of time to work and sixteen hours or time to life. Imagine that?

It seemed weird looking at it. I had assigned all of the work elements I needed to get done in my work day. 

  1. One hour of email and social media 
  2. One hour on product development for LWS
  3. One hour for sales calls for LWS
  4. Half an hour to work on the quarterly newsletter
  5. Half an hour working on advisory boards
  6. One hour communication with the LWS team
  7. One hour of Zoom meetings

Total Eight Hours

Seems pretty simple yet rather strange looking at it, doesn’t it? Gone are finite goals with specific time lines. And after two or more weeks my level of stress has become much less problematic. I am calmer. Perhaps, dare I say it our loud, more serene.

The other sixteen hours are simple as well. Two hours for personal time. Exercise or reading or whatever it is that I want to do. Fourteen hours of living with my family and friends and sleeping.

When I look at it, I am stunned that it took me so long to come to this type of approach. It took a Behavioral Scientist to penetrate my thick head. I have been on this pursuit for most of my life. Finding easier ways to do things. Find my effectiveness or efficiency. My Industrial Engineering roots are showing. I was involved with Continuous Improvement as a teenager. I called it laziness. It wasn’t really. I was just trying to find a more effective way to do things. In fact, everything. It is in my genetic makeup.

At the same time many of you know I have been pushing a book called Ikigai. Which is the Japanese Pursuit of Happiness.

After all the only real goal to have in life is to be happy. To seek happiness. It has taken me a long time to get here but I am here now. The word “happy” dates back to the 14th Century when it was used to describe luck; someone who was “happy” was prosperous or favored by fortune. But as with many of you I had trouble and still do have trouble defining my understanding of my happiness. This concept can be very imprecise and perhaps that is what bothers me. There needs to be clarity and precision in things. Yet it turns out that there is no proven way to determine the factors of happiness or increase significantly a person’s level of happiness. That sounds like Don Quixote “tilting at windmills.” Perhaps that is why I have not achieved it. Don’t get me wrong I am a happy person. The glass is always more than half full. No matter what the problem is in my life or my work I can handle it. Nothing is too great an issue that it can’t be dealt with properly. 

And yet… What do you think? 

Care to join with me and swap some of your stress for more serenity? 

The Time is Now.

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