Monday, August 8, 2011

One Step at A Time — Problem-Solving for Monday

Moving on today to problem-solving from — detachment, creating space, backing off and letting go techniques. The detachment category of stress reduction is often the best way to deal with negative self-talk as well as external stressors,  and it's hard to learn. For some people, any staring into space, mind emptying techniques produce an onslaught of unwanted stressful thoughts and feelings at first. Overwhelming at times. There's something to be said for denial, suppression, and repression occasionally.

A focus on a problem, over which you have some control, helps to move us forward with thinking and action, while leaving some of the emotion effectively behind. This morning when the world is confronting all kinds of problems over which most of us have NO control, pick out one small nagging work problem to take action on today. For example:

• I've asked George three times for the files that I need and I haven't heard anything back from him.
Problem? How can I get the files from George without creating conflict for either of us?

• I'm supposed to give a short presentation on Wednesday and I don't have time to even start on it today.
Problem? Where can I find 15 minutes to at least start thinking and making notes for the presentation?

• The paperwork I need to use for the meeting tomorrow afternoon is totally disorganized.
Problem? Can I run the meeting even if the paperwork is disorganized or do I have to get it in order first?

 Next step in the process is gathering information. I usually go to prioritizing next: Of these 3 small problems, what one will produce the most immediate satisfaction, reduction of stress for me?

• Even though I'm annoyed with George, I don't really need those files right away. Lowest priority.

• If necessary, I can give a decent off the cuff presentation if I've spent a little time thinking through and writing down a structure.
This is high priority for today so my thoughts will have time to incubate.

• I know if the paperwork is disorganized, I tend to be too, and it shows. Best to get those papers in order. Highest priority.

Then I start looking for solutions.

• Let the George thing go for now?
• Jot down some notes about the speech right this minute?
• Delegate the paperwork organizing today? Assistant? Daughter? Friend?

We all have bigger and much more complex problems than these 3 examples, but small nagging stresses are often what drag us down, according to Hans Selye, the noted theorist.
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