A PM Minimalist Best Practice: Meditate & REDUCE your tolerance to stress.
The fourth part of The Project Management Minimalist is titled “Taking Care of Yourself: Managing Your Priorities, Time, & Energy.” This part of the book is a collection of 14 of my favorite, short-and-sweet “best practices” that can help you take charge of your priorities, better manage your time, and maintain your energy. After all, project management (even Minimalist PM) can be difficult and stressful. So why not do everything you can to maintain your edge? Below is one of the five best practices from the sub-section Understand and Manage Your Stress. Enjoy!
I’m a huge believer in the power of meditation. I start every day with a 20 minute meditation. Now I’m not talking about any particular religious practice, but the secular practice of mindful meditation. The purpose isn’t to achieve some blissed-out cosmic state, but to bring your full awareness into the present moment. And that means you make better decisions.
I got my introduction to mindful meditation through the works of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn started his career as a scientist at MIT and it is with this scientific perspective (along with his clinical research to support many of his positions) that he shares his thoughts on the power of mindfulness. He teaches mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness. In his words, mindfulness (achieved through mindful meditation) is “paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgment.”
So why practice mindfulness? What’s in it for you, as a project manager or creative project team member? Better decisions. Clearer distinctions and analyses. More powerful judgments. Less stress. What’s in it for you, as a spouse, parent, or friend? The ability to participate in relationships more fully, more compassionately, and more authentically.
Here are some other benefits of mindfulness and mindful meditation:
- Greater awareness of jabbering background voices in your head (worrying, self-criticizing, etc.)
- Ability to dismiss these voices with a “light touch”
- Reduced willingness to tolerate these voices (and the ability to “let them go”)
- Reduced willingness to tolerate feelings of stress (and the ability to just let these stressful feelings go)
- Greater clarity, “brighter” awareness of “now”
- Greater ability to concentrate, be creative
- Many physical health benefits (Mindfulness is often prescribed by physicians, and paid for by health care insurance, to treat stress and stress-related illness.)
For lots more information, as well as links to podcasts, videos, and free audio guided meditation tools, see my blog post and podcast Practice Mindfulness http://www.inspiredprojectteams.com/?p=766
Interested in more tips to help you achieve your personal best? Below is a list of all the Best Practices from the fourth part of The Project Management Minimalist,“Taking Care of Yourself: Managing Your Priorities, Time, & Energy.” (For a full Table of Contents, some sample pages & a link to a YouTube overview video go to http://michaelgreer.biz/?page_id=636 )
Back to Basics: Manage Your Energy
- Get enough sleep, rest, and water.
- Develop positive rituals that run on auto pilot.
Leverage Your Signature Strengths
- Identify your signature strengths and use them whenever you can.
Manage Your Time
- Prioritize and just say ―No!
- Understand & deal with procrastination.
- Avoid multi-tasking – It‘s not effective.
- Practice single-mindedly one touching.
- Do what you need to do to get into flow.
- Control your office hours.
Understand and Manage Your Stress
- Meditate & reduce your tolerance to stress.
- Trust your judgment.
- Feel your power to choose.
- Develop an optimistic explanatory style.
- Consciously choose your attitude.