How to stay sane on a project

I’m leading my first project since I fell ill last year. Personally I thought it would easy managing my stress as after all it had been a year since I got ill and I’ve learnt. Plus, I managed to apply to business school and pass an exam. I mean how hard can it be?

My manager asked what objectives I had for the study; I have one. Stay sane (or not go nuts) during fieldwork. I’ve been finding out this is not so simple in practice.

Techniques to stay sane
So here are the hints and tips I’ve picked up from a friend to help me achieve my objective;

  • It’s normal to be wobbly; so no need to worry about the odd panic attack.
  • Takes a lot of positive reinforcement to break bad thinking habits and develop new ones. There some useful CBT techniques admittedly I’ve learnt most of them, but I need to write them down; not just do them in my head.
  • Regular breaks are important. So going for a coffee or tea break is a good way to break up the day.
  • Ideally daily cardio exercise; it burns off the stress hormones. So when it gets busy, exercise becomes more important! So I go swimming most weeks on a Wednesday lunchtime. I’ve signed up for summer hockey and started a 5k training plan. Oh, I’m due to start tennis lessons. So, yep this should keep me occupied. (Tennis ended quickly after I had a bit of a meltdown. Now going to stick to the running.)

Here’s some other stuff I’ve put in place

  • making the effort to go to lunch everyday and have a break away from my desk.
  • my calendar now tells me when I should leave the office. I hope it will help work life balance. (This is working really well, I now have to consciously chose to work late.)
  •  Built in socialising during the week to give myself a break.
  • Updated my ereader with lots of trashy books.
  • Trying to well behaved about bed time; doesn’t always work when I have a good book on the go.
  • I’ve also signed up to the cycle for work scheme. I have this bright idea of cycling to work during the summer. Will let you know whether that happens. (just picked up the bike today…next step finding the route to work.)
  •  Booked holidays in advance; so I have no excuse not to take them! Next trip commonwealth games.

2 responses to “How to stay sane on a project”

  1. Lucas says :

    I used to work through lunch hours in order to have an hour of uninterrupted time when no one was going to be around, but discovered that I ended up less productive than if I simply put my BB on silent, went out for a proper lunch nearby (not a hastily devoured sandwich), and returned after 1 hour. The downtime really matters a lot, especially if you’re working in the private equity or financial sector.

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