Reducing Stress Can Be Stressful

Last week in my Power, Conflict Resolution, Change, and Transformational Leadership class at Moody Theological Seminary I wrote down the following quote:

Focus attention on ripening issues and not on stress-reducing distractions.

I’m not sure where the quote originated, but it struck me.  As a procrastinator, I tend to get distracted by all the little things I need to do, rather than focusing my attention on the major project/assignment that’s coming due.  For instance, instead of planning our Easter 2014 worship service, I do a hundred other less important things, and use stress relief as the excuse to do them instead of Easter – “Now I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

The reality is, if I procrastinate too long I end up more stressed, not less.  Easter gets close and I scramble.  Or that final paper is due in a week and I’m pulling all-nighters to get research done.  My excuse of reducing stress has just created a ton more!

The lesson, of course, is to set your priorities.  A former pastor who mentored me in worship ministry used to say, “Plan your work and work your plan.”  The little things can wait, and if you plan to work on them and add them to your task manager, then the stress they carry goes away.  This leaves you free to focus on the gorilla in the room.  A little planning pays off!

What are some ways you’ve found to help you be better organized?