This week, reduce stress at work: 1: Do Less

Three posts on how to shift your relationship with work, stay more mindful, and reduce stress.  My father used to say that hard work never killed anyone, and he was right: some degree of being kept occupied by work is good for our creative energies. Furthermore,  work allows us make a contribution to the world. However, modern work is frequently driven by non- stop deadlines and busyness. This can spread into our whole day by the fact that we are in constant connection through emails 24/7,  notifying us of work to be done or forgotten. If we refuse to buy into this constant activity we are made to feel guilty or disloyal.

As Marc Lesser says: Our daily incessant busyness – too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce a to-do list and tick off items by each day’s end – seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us. But if we approach our days in a different way, we can consciously change this out-of-control pattern. It requires only the courage to do less.

He goes on to give three thoughts on how to begin doing less. They are our starting points for reflection on balance in work:

1. We do less by taking the time to rest mentally and physically in between or outside of our usual activities, perhaps instituting a regular practice of meditation, retreats, breaks, and reflection.

2. We do less by pausing in the midst of activities: mindfulness practice (such as coming in touch with our breath in between reading or sending emails) and walking meditation are two examples.

3. We do less by identifying and reducing unnecessary activities. In this case, “unnecessary” means those things that are not in alignment with what we want to accomplish.

Marc Lesser, Accomplishing More by Doing Less

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