Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

Choosing to Reduce Stress

“You’re traveling in another dimension, a dimension of sight and sound. That’s the sign post up ahead!” You’re in the toleration zone! Sometimes, irritating stuff happens. Often, the best that you can do is attempt to anticipate problems so as to minimize their impact. In the course of my speaking to nearly 100 groups annually, for example, I frequently experience travel delays, convention halls and meeting rooms that aren’t set up as agreed upon, and an occasional meeting professional who is more of an obstacle than a help.

I’ve learned that there is no reason to be unduly upset, they are part of my profession, and certainly part of the territory. Are there ways to prepare for the unexpected? Yes! The more rested you are, the less upset that you will be when something doesn’t go according to planned, and the “wider” your toleration zone will be. It helps to be alert, in general.

If you can keep some slack in your schedule, all the better. When I am scheduled to speak to a group, if I arrive at the meeting room 45 minutes early, as opposed to 20 minutes early, I have 25 more minutes to deal with any aspect of the environment that is not to my liking.

Choosing to Be Prepared


Having spoken to many groups over the years, I now automatically undertake contingency planning. I choose to easily prepare for speaking engagements. For example, I bring a large screen timer because I can’t count on there being a clock in the room and I don’t want to make the amateurish move of looking at my watch while I’m speaking.

I place the timer, several feet in front of me, so that no one else sees it. If I am going to be speaking in a large lecture hall, and it’s possible that the hall won’t fill up, I seal off the last several rows, with the masking tape I brought, so that attendees will sit closer to the front, which is always more desirable for a speaker. I also bring extra workbooks or handouts, tissues, and a water bottle. I even make a choice about being prepared:

In support of all of the above, what other choices are available?
  • I choose to handle difficult circumstance graciously.
  • I choose to easily rise to the occasion.
  • I choose to maintain calm in the face of a challenge.
  • I choose to easily draw upon my resources to resolve tough situations.
  • I choose to exhibit clear thinking when under pressure.
  • I choose to become adept at on-the-spot problem resolution.
  • I choose to easily find the opportunities that come with adversity.
  • I choose to master the challenges of my profession.
In your industry or profession, what is not likely to work according to plan, and therefore, could be included within among your choices?

Choosing to Work Effectively with a Tough Boss


The tougher your boss, the more you’re going to need good choices. Good or bad, your boss has enormous impact on your day. You may need to adapt some or all of these, but please, use them in some form, as soon as you can get started:
  • I choose to respect my boss.
  • I choose to acknowledge that my boss is fallible.
  • I choose to support my boss in ways that he/she hasn’t even articulated.
  • I choose to give my boss space.
  • I choose to allow my boss the right to occasionally be upset.
  • I choose to speak well of my boss to others.
  • I choose to stand up for myself when necessary.
  • I choose to learn from my boss.
  • I choose to have my boss learn from me.
  • I choose to form a powerful, effective, professional relationship with my boss.
And, if you really need it:
  • I choose to remember that all boss-staff relationships are temporary.

Choosing to Master a Tough Profession


Suppose that you’re in a highly stressful position — you’re the head of customer service for an auto parts department. People are calling all day long with questions, complaints, and off-the-wall requests. Every time you catch your breath, there is another fire to put out.

A fundamental choice to make is:
  • “I choose to easily learn from highly effective people in my profession.”
From this choice, insights begin to open up. What behaviors, for example, can you adopt that have helped others handle this position even more effectively?”

Suppose that a completely new procedure is introduced within your department, and that it’s your job to learn it in short order. You notice that you feel scared, burdened, and fatigued. You also feel somewhat challenged and curious. Instead of resisting the change, experiencing more stress daily, and not wanting to come into work in the mornings, what choices could you make that could yield new approaches to handling this change?
  • I choose to feel equal to the task.
  • I choose to be rested and alert.
  • I choose to easily absorb the new instructions.
  • I choose to feel empowered.
Using key words, such as “easily” help to boost the power of the choices you make. Next time you’re experiencing stress, take a moment to empower yourself by making choices.


Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," is a preeminent time management authority, has written 65 mainstream books, and is an electrifying professional speaker, making 886 presentations to clients such as Lockheed Martin, Eckerd, Kaiser Permanente, IBM, American Express, Lufthansa, Swissotel, Re/Max, USAA, Worthington Steel, and the World Bank. Jeff is Executive Director of the Breathing Space Institute and the author of books such as:
  • Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Dial It Down--Live it Up (Sourcebooks)
  • The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
  • Breathing Space (CreateSpace)
  • Accomplishing Your Goals (Smart Guide Publications)
Jeff is the premier thought leader on work-life balance issues and has been widely quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, USA Today, Businessweek, Forbes, and Fortune. Cited by Sharing Ideas Magazine as a "Consummate Speaker," Jeff believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his website www.BreathingSpace.com.

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