I have a full-time job supporting a portfolio of almost 500 courses, a staff, an international team who asks questions literally seven days a week, two kids under five, a dog, and a husband who I’d love to see more often than I do (somehow while we are feeding kids, making bottles, and exchanging car seats, it just doesn’t count as quality time). To say I constantly run a long list of tasks that I need to do each day is an understatement.
Thank goodness, I have eBay. Some people like to unwind with movies (I can’t sit still), read a good book (still can’t sit still), learn how to cook (waaaay too involved plus my kids probably won’t eat it), or enjoy a bubble bath and glass of wine to unwind (did I mention I can’t sit still?). I eBay. It is a fairly mindless activity that allows me to temporarily disengage from the world to focus on something that has no major ramifications. I suppose someday I could bid some ridiculous amount for an item I really don’t need, but since I shop for kids clothes there is pretty much no chance of that. I need a way to ignore the mental registry of things that I need to get done, that are soon due, the emails I have to send, the calls I need to return, and just take five and relax.
I’ve found that you can’t be effective in your job if you constantly ping pong from activity to activity without allowing yourself to breathe. Taking five for yourself makes you a better contributor to the office. Getting up, walking away, doing yoga, walking around the lake, whatever your eBay is, you should make sure that you allow yourself to enjoy that activity without guilt or remorse every day as it makes you a better project manager. Google wisdom tells me that some great ways to refocus and relax include:
- Deep breathing
- A walk outside
- Distraction techniques (can you name all the states that start with A?)
- Go to your happy place (visualize whatever vacation spot you really want to be in)
Laughter is also great medicine for stopping stress so find a favorite website with funny stories, amazing pet tricks, weird pictures, whatever. The next time you find yourself wanted to choke the person at the other end of your phone call, clenching your fist, rolling your eyes, or doing whatever behavior you do to exhibit frustration at your team, stakeholder, project, etc. take five and find your eBay…
What’s your eBay?