Tuesday, February 14

Enlightenment in the Office - The Notebook

So, I really should research these experiments before I just jump into them. It turns out that the "Little Book of Calm at Work" is full of the most bizarre suggestions: 

"Whenever you are given a deadline immediately think of it as an amount of time you an do whatever you want with. That way you stay in control." Another words when given a deadline ignore it, and get in trouble with your boss. This and many other suggestions that I found as I was reviewing the book were immediately rejected either because
  • They wouldn't be possible to apply in my office. ("Whenever you feel Angry take a 10 minute walk" That way by the time you return to your job they'll be able to fire you for being AWOL) 
  • I didn't understand what they were suggesting (See the deadline one above)
  • It would make people in the office look at me weirdly. ("Go with the flow - Do a Tai Chi routine to help ease stress.")  
  • It was just plain stupid. ("Lean on a tree...") 
Withall that in mind the first challenge was finding a technique I could actually try, whilst working in a insurance call centre.

Moleskine NotepadIn the end I settled on "Take a notebook to work. Write down your worries to make them go away. Write down your tasks to organise your day." I happen to a have a very nice Moleskine Notepad so I took this to work with me, and, when in the morning my stress levels were approaching explosion levels, I wrote down what was annoying me.

Honestly, speaking I can't say it calmed me down. Instead it wound me up as I realised that so many of thees problems were things that I just couldn't fix, things that I would have to keep putting up with until I either quit, get made redundant, or finally get recognised for the hard-worker I am and promoted.

The more I wrote, the more stressed out I became as I realised just how completely hopeless everything had become, and how stressed out I was constantly feeling. I could feel the tension in my forehead, and started worrying that all this stress was giving me (more) wrinkles. 

Eventually, overwhelmed by everything I gave up, and emailed my team leader asking for a meeting so I can talk things through and try to work out a plan as to how to make things better.

And as soon as I did that I started to feel a heck of a lot better all at once.

So, it turns out that writing things down did help a little. It meant that I could pass off the problems that were ouside my control to someone else to deal with and take a little bit of the weight off of my shoulders. Back in my normal role, where I was just a nobody taking phonecalls and no-one expected anything more of me, it was very easy to just get on with my job, and try not to let get to me.

Which I suppose makes my first lesson of the week "Happiness is delegating your problems to others." 
 It seems like rather a stuck-up realisation...

Enlightenment might be harder to find than it first seemed...

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It Will Come said...

I think that the entire point here is, don't get stresses in the first place. Stress is a human product. If you stay in your spiritual mind, YOU will never ever get stresses out. Just remember, you are a visitor to your bones. If you feel a bit of stress approaching, slip out of your bones and float above your head and direct your body by spiritual remote control. IT never fails, try it.

Anonymous said...

About the "writing what makes you stressed out" thing, I share your experience. For years, I believed a lot of self-help hype, particularly the idea that you need to write down everything on your mind to "purge" yourself of negativity, but it only made it worse. My theory is that, by focusing on what makes you feel stressed out without doing anything to tangibly improve the situation, you are training your brain to dwell on negative thoughts and experiences.

While I don't suggest a "think positive" campaign as the antidote to stress, I have personally found mindfulness practice combined with reasonable optimism controls stress and turns it into something much more productive and inspiring. And remember, mindfulness meditation is not just for Buddhists or religious/spiritual people: it is an extremely sane thing to do: to take a few minutes to really appreciate the fact of being alive; to feel your breathing and heart beat and that throb in your left butt cheek and the sound of children laughing next door. It's not about attaining omniscience (a.k.a. enlightenment); it's about pulling your mind back into alignment of what's really important; to not sweat the small things; to not sweat the future too much; to have goals and ambitiously pursue them without getting lost in your idealic vision of how life "must" unfold. :D

a computer geek/nature freak

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