Out of the Zone

Had a very odd day today – a one in a year day.   Felt like every single person was annoying.   Patience was very low, and ability to be empathetic also very low.

Today was EO day, and the had the forums.  Typically after EO I’m recharged and re-energized but this time – for a few moments, I felt like just walking away from the forum.  Obviously not rational feelings – so obviously didn’t act on it, but nevertheless, I think a good indicator that somehow I have allowed ‘stress’ to dominate my landscape.

So, managed to get through the day, skipped drinks afterwards (I really only enjoy drinks when I’m in the up mode) – and spent the evening ‘fixing’ things a bit – assigning tasks to the team, moving out my own to do list.

With days like this, there is an interesting part happening – there is a certain awareness of what is going on – and as in this case – attempts at altering the state (ie. self mind control techniques to shift mental states).   But, in a way, tough days – and quite, quite difficult to shift out of them. 

For me, it wasn’t until I was at the keyboard, and started to crunch out the tasking and projects, that I was able to shit out of the negative zone.

So having said this – (I’m writing this a few days later) – few things happened here that where interesting.

1.  I entered into a certain state (negative)

2. I was self aware of the state

3. I was trying to alter the state (with no much luck).

4. Root cause

Getting to root cause, is something you cannot do during days like this, but it is upon reflection that you can.  So, since then I have been thinking about the ‘root cause’ of ‘out of the zone’ feeling.

Some things I learned (nothing new but still):

1. For me, stress occurs when I encounter a LOT of small things – all seemingly trivial.   For me, its the quantity of ‘micro-issues’ vs.   big-issues.    So, it would seem that each ‘micro-issues’ saps away mental energy.  In fact my theory is that a micro-issue takes nearly as much mental energy as ‘macro-issue’.   Another words, a BIG problem can take just as much energy to deal with as a small-problem.  

So, a quantity of small-problems can sap energy (as it did for me) – to the point where you are not able to handle even the smallest of the small.   Call it issue-avalanche, etc.

Here is some things that I did to induce this:

1. I have not been good about ‘compartemalising my emails’ – I check my emails on the iphone as they come in.  On my PC’s I don’t – I have notifications disabled and I’m good at not checking things and getting interrupted constantly – but it would seem my iPhone is my tether to the ‘micro-stresses’ – so – will be disconnecting the notifications on it.

2. Messenger is not great – it allows people to interrupt you any time – I run this on the iPhone as well – so in a way – I’m always ‘ON’  – even in the taxi, etc.   Dealing with things while on the go, seems pretty cool – BUT – get 3 or 4 conversations on IM, each one requiring something – and now you are in multi-tasking mode, without the tools to handle things properly. Welcome ‘micro-stress’

3. Small things can wait – not too much to say here but what it is.

2. Gerry and Carsten had started, and he is doing an amazing job.  But, as with every new person that starts there is a HUGE energy draw on transferring information, giving time to the people that are getting started – giving them a good ‘start’.  

So, for next time, when someone new begins work for me – I will need to ‘clear’ my calendar for at least 2 weeks – spend more time in the office (cancel coffees, external meetings, etc.) – and give the focus to the new people to allow them to function at their peak. 

In this case, as amazing as Gerry is, he is not mind reader, and time is needed do to brain dumps, info sharing, etc.    Huge energy demands – much needed.  But, in a way, when getting hit with all the ‘micro-stresses’ – my energy lacks focus – and now, the people that are trying to help with these ‘micro-stresses’ – become another micro-stress.

So, bottom line:

1. When we get ourselves out-of-the-zone – its truly us that cause it.

2. Multi-tasking kills mental energy and saps productivity – push to much – and yet get these amazingly crappy days – like this! 🙂

3. We self-induce these kinds of days – by not focusing on the big things – 80/20 rules.

So, great reminder for myself:

1. Eliminate the multi-tasking – or at least allow it for an hour or two – but not longer periods of time.

2. Give the new people the time they need – otherwise – no one becomes productive

3. Schedules, schedules, schedules – block times for dealing with certain times of issues – compartemalize micro-issues into chunks of time – so that focus can be more tight.

So, as it become clear from this blog – we can easily become subject to stress – BUT – it is us, ourselves that allow that to happen.   When it does, hopefully we are wise enough to see what is going on, understand the cause, then change.  Learn, Think, Act.

So, I learned, I though, I’m going to act.    Lets see how well I do.    I will know if I have another ‘out of the zone’ day – it will be a gauge of my failure or success to learn from this.

(I’m writing this on Thursday morning – after reflecting on this last couple days.   Also quite timely, I’m reading the book “The Power of Full Engagement” – and its seems So, so timely – a little weird that I’m reading something AT this moment that is RELEVANT.  Awesome book btw – haven’t finished it yet, but its great!