Want less stress, instantly? Here you go. Focus on NOW. Right now. Not tomorrow, or next month or year, or even ten minutes from now.
I’ve found this to be an incredibly useful strategy whenever I feel stressed, and it’s a strategy I teach to my students. You may be thinking that it’s a “very zen” strategy. It’s not zen… To be truly zen, you wouldn’t be thinking at all, but I digress. :-)
It’s VERY hard to stay in the present moment. It helps to have a plan, execute it, and then review at a future date. Once you’ve created the plan, and are executing the plan, just stay in the moment.
Less stress: plan, execute, and review
Once you’ve created your plan, don’t second-guess yourself. Or think too much.
I’ve just been chatting with a writing student who thinks that his writing is going too slowly. He’s written the first draft of a nonfiction book, and is frustrated because he thinks he should be moving through the revision more quickly.
Sadly, he’s lost perspective. In the time we’ve been working together, not only has he planned and written an ebook, he’s planning another one. That’s huge progress.
I suggested that he get a timer, then work at his revision for two or three 25 minute sessions each day. When he’s not working, he should forget about the book, and let his subconscious deal with it.
Another student has just self published an ebook to Amazon. It’s a novella, and he’s priced it at $2.99. This novella is a prequel to the novel which he published a couple of months ago.
We’d worked out a publishing plan:
- Publish the novella;
- Get the next novel written;
- Make the novella permanently free a month before the second novel is published.
All three ebooks are part of a series, so the novella should work as a marketing tactic for the series. WILL it work? I don’t know. No one knows.
Here’s what I know for sure. If he gets all three ebooks onto Amazon, and the novella is permanently free, he’ll make sales.
We talked about Julie Smith’s publishing company, and that if you’re a self publishing author, you’re a publisher too. Keep it in mind; be business-like in your self publishing business. :-)
Your plan lets you relax: once you’ve created a plan, DON’T change it
When you have a plan, you know where you’re headed. Of course you can change a plan as necessary, but don’t be too eager to do that.
Your plan is for you. It ensures that you have less stress, so that you can be productive. After a while, you’ll become focused on NOW, doing what you should be doing in the present moment. You’ll worry less, because you know you have a plan.
Try it. Create a plan for a project that’s worrying you. It can be any project in any area of your life, small or large. Then just start working your plan. When you’re distracted, remind yourself to stay focused on the present moment.
It makes for less stress.