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01 Dec

Foresight reduces stress


Datum: 2014-12-01 10:18

Mak­ing a con­scious effort to from time to time stop and skim through the cal­en­dar a month back and a month for­ward in time is an excel­lent way to achieve bet­ter fore­sight and enable us to antic­i­pate our near future. I do this once every week.

As I look through the month that passed I remind myself of the meet­ings and oth­er appoint­ments I had and who I met. The pur­pose here is to recall things I promised oth­ers to do or get back to them with so that noth­ing is for­got­ten or neglected.

I then flip through the cal­en­dar and take a look at the month to come in order to get an overview of the dead­lines which are approach­ing and to also get a feel for where I will be when (in terms of trav­els) and how I intend to get there.

With­out struc­ture more to do” will equal more stress”
I uttered this very state­ment dur­ing a lec­ture I held for twen­ty entre­pre­neurs in Ljus­dal, Swe­den, the oth­er week. One of the par­tic­i­pants looked dis­tressed and said Oh my, if I did that I would just become even more unstructured.”
What do you mean?”, I asked him. I would think of so many addi­tion­al things I need to do that I would just end up feel­ing over­whelmed by stress. No, I think it’s bet­ter to just get on with things as they are”, he replied.

Thank you for that response. Why? Because it is the truth. If we stop at only remind­ing our­selves of all the things we promised oth­ers we would do and oth­er things we need to get done some­time soon, but with­out actu­al­ly doing some­thing with this infor­ma­tion, we are only fill­ing our minds with even more should do this”, have to do that” and oth­er things we mustn’t forget”.

The stress increas­es and we will feel scat­tered and unfo­cused rather than calm and collected.

Chan­neled infor­ma­tion is use­ful information
This is why it is absolute­ly cru­cial that we trans­fer what we come to think of out of our mind into a for­mat there we can work with it, for instance by writ­ing it down some­where. The more struc­tured we are when mak­ing note of what we need to do, the eas­i­er it will be to find infor­ma­tion we need or pro­ceed with the task in some oth­er way.

Do this
If you want to, deter­mine that you will prac­tice the way in which you write down all those use­ful and impor­tant things you come to think of.

  1. As soon as you think of some­thing you need to do or have promised some­one else you would do, for­mu­late it as a con­crete and doable to-do-task on your to-do-list. Make sure that you only have one list (or two, if you wish to keep tasks con­cern­ing your pri­vate life sep­a­rate) and that it is in a for­mat which is suf­fi­cient­ly portable. It can just as well be writ­ten on a phys­i­cal paper as in a dig­i­tal app.

  2. As soon as you think of some­thing which is not a to-do-task, but rather infor­ma­tion which you do not know when you might need, write it down in a loca­tion where it will be eas­i­ly acces­si­ble to you lat­er on. There­fore, now take a moment to think about where you write this kind of infor­ma­tion down today. You need to have a giv­en place for every client, project, assign­ment, area of respon­si­bil­i­ty, sup­pli­er, employ­ee, and even every con­tact person.

    I recent­ly met an acquain­tance who told me that late­ly he has cho­sen to write down all his ideas, tips and oth­er types of ref­er­ence-infor­ma­tion in a dig­i­tal tool and this has result­ed in that he moves from thought to action much soon­er. All use­ful infor­ma­tion he gath­ers is now eas­i­ly avail­able in a giv­en and eas­i­ly acces­si­ble loca­tion until the right moment arrives.

  3. Let this be enough for now. Next Mon­day, think back on the week that passed. Have you been think­ing and wor­ry­ing less about if you have for­got­ten some­thing than you usu­al­ly do, and hence had more space and ener­gy to focus on the task you are work­ing with right now? Have you been less dis­tract­ed and more focused? Hope­ful­ly your answer will be yes.

Imme­di­ate­ly is wonderful
If you write down the things you come to think of as you skim through the cal­en­dar one month back and one for­ward imme­di­ate­ly (and of course as well as when you think of things you need to do oth­er­wise too) as to-do-tasks or ref­er­ence-infor­ma­tion, this method for greater fore­sight will feel lib­er­at­ing and reliev­ing. You will go through the most recent past and your near future in order to be able to let go of them and instead be more focused on the task which requires your atten­tion right now.

What is your way?
How do you ensure you have enough fore­sight? Feel free to write a com­ment and share your thoughts. 

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