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. Read More…