April is Stress Awareness Month. When reflecting on your life, how would you rank your stress level from 1-10? Under wraps? Off the charts? What causes it?
Among U.S. adults, work is the second most common source of stress, just behind money, according to the 2014 Stress in America survey from the American Psychological Association. And yes, those go hand in hand, so it is a double punch.
With all of the obligations and demands of leaders today, it is more critical than ever for you to make some time for yourself and your goals.
Leaders, to bust your stress, find your magic hour each work day. Find an hour that you can focus on specific deliverables of your own. Block this time on your calendar and keep it precious. It is quiet time. Time where there aren’t meetings, one-on-ones, and all of your team’s demands. Do not allow the distractions to creep in . Yes, most things can wait.
For me, 7-8 AM is my magic hour when I focus on completing a bigger project or reaching out to someone on my list. Starting my day off like this is rejuvenating, because I feel I have already accomplished something to kick off the day. For non-early birds, any hour can really be this time. Perhaps for you it is before you leave the office. Or before you go to bed.
Whichever hour you choose, here are a few tips:
- Experiment with different hours. You may want to be an early bird, but if that time doesn’t work best for you, let it go. Maybe afternoon or evening will work better.
- Physically block it on your calendar. You don’t have to call it your “magic hour” (people may wonder what you are up to). Call it whatever you want, and physically reserve the time for yourself.
- Have an accountability partner. Ask someone close to you to keep an eye on your schedule and check-in with you for the first month of your new schedule. Ask this person to not allow any excuses from your side. Answer the questions: How is this hour helping me? What gets in my way if I don’t have it?
While stress can be all consuming at times, find your space. Find your time. And protect it.
Will you choose a magic hour? Or do you have another tip to bust your stress?