Managing Stress

Managing Stress

This is a topic we keep visiting here but for good reason. I dare you to find 10 people who can honestly tell you that they are not that stressed right now!

Today let’s talk about managing stress around big undertakings. I feel like I’m getting to practice this one as Bill and I tackle creating The Cedars. Working with others in their big projects has also allowed me insight in to some of the tools that work.

Let’s look at both principles and practical ideas to support them.

Instead of looking at the whole project or transition in front of you, start to break it down in to components. (How do you eat an elephant?)

What tools help here? It can be as simple as creating some color poster boards for the different aspects (buckets). Obviously there are digital tools that can help here too - all the way from Project Management tools to as simple as spreadsheets.

What are your different buckets right now?

Design the high-level series of steps needed from where you are now to the finish line. This can include a timeline or simply the big milestones and steps.

This step is important so that you are not caught at the end having forgotten important pieces or really scrambling simply from lack of planning. Visual tools really help. Plotting items from your different buckets along 1 large timeline can start to give the different parts a home so that you are not carrying the weight of trying to get it all done in your head.

Placing ideas and “to-dos” on paper do not lessen them but it reduces stress because we can start to see how we will get to it all.

Of all that is on your plate right now, what could you apply a timeline too?

Make a resource list. It is critical to start here with who and what can help in any way. I think it helps to separate this from the specific tasks because it is easy to get too narrow in what we ask for.

Who are the people that can help? What can you outsource, even if it’s short-term?

Figure out concrete, super specific first steps in each bucket. The more specific you can be here the easier the next step will be. SMART goals has been around forever but there’s a reason for that. It’s a good starting place! Great website with resources:

Where do you need to start? How much time will each step take?

Match resources to specific tasks and make “the ask”. People often tell us that they want to help but there is a big gap between that and actually having them help. An “ask” that is more likely to end in you getting help is:

Very specific in what the task is (rip out the old plant and put in 20 tomato plants)

Time-bound (e.g. 3 hours)

Offers a couple of specific options (e.g. Tuesday or Thursday afternoon)

What matching could you do in your life right now?

It might include, for the next 2 months I’m going to hire a cleaner or have meals delivered, whatever would allow you to do what you do best.

Here's to your success in your big project and transitions!!!

Until next week,


Marilyn Orr is a Professional Certified Coach, who, through her coaching business “Capacity Building Coaching”, thrives on building both personal and organization capacity through leadership coaching and development.

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