How to deal with stress (and get your mojo back) if you’re not a superhero

There’s an old saying that goes, “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” I think it’s German in origin. I remember reading it as an imprint on a wall. I think it’s in a historical home like the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee. This saying comes into play when, thinking we’re superhero types, we take on way too many things for the time available, and about halfway through trying to make it all happen, we lose our “mojo.”

This can be a cause of great stress. Who hasn’t had a stressful day, week, month, or year? I’m pretty sure all of us have had at least a day when we just couldn’t get it together because we had too much to do. I read somewhere that almost 90% of people experience high levels of stress a least once a week.

I always thought I was a time-management guru. I haven’t forgotten lessons that management professor Elaine Beaubien taught on the subject. Elaine practices what she preaches — that one has to be selective in taking on outside projects. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with things that one feels passionate about and really wants to help with, but overload can create stress that rules one’s life.

Multitasking doesn’t allow one to “get into the zone.” When all the things one is involved in get in the way, it might be time to simplify. Lately, the word “simplify” is being used a lot in magazine and newspaper articles. I have business friends who swear by this word. They practice simplification right down to eliminating something before buying something new. And then I have friends who are afraid to get rid of anything because “it might come in handy someday.” These are also the folks who can’t say no when any, and every, good cause asks for help, and then they complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day.



After our latest company move, when I eliminated a lot of things before buying new, and when I learned the importance of saying “no” to taking on any obligations that would decrease focus on our relocation, I found that saving my yeses for activities that are really important to me, including certain volunteer work, fundraising, and mentoring, makes the things I do say “yes” to more special to me. Taking on and working on outside projects, without the pressure of having too much on one’s plate, feels good.

Now that our company is pretty much settled into our new home, I have my mojo back. No more multitasking and trying to get several days’ worth of work done in a day. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.