Lessons from "Less Stress, More Time" Workshop

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 Sara Gelsheimer By: Sara Gelsheimer

We often think of “fight or flight” mode as it applies to animals. When your dog hears thunder, maybe he growls—or sprints to hide under the bed. But what do you do when faced with a stressful situation?

During our InspireHer time management workshop on April 19th, Jill Farmer challenged us to consider just that. When we operate under a “there’s not enough time” mentality, our bodies throw us into a physiological fight or flight mode, which keeps us from making thoughtful decisions.

Here are a few tips from her presentation, and thanks to the nearly 200 of you who came out and made it a great event! We hope to see you at our next seminar in September of 2018.

1. Tell yourself there IS enough time.

You might be surprised at how easily this will change your mindset. We all have the same number of hours in the day; it’s just a matter of using them properly to work toward your specific goals.

2. Write "get to do" at the top of your to-do list. 

There is only one thing you really have to do in a day: breathe. Yes, there will be negative consequences of not filing your taxes, picking up your children from school or not turning in a big proposal for work.  But you get to do these things.

Research shows we cannot process the emotions of fear and gratitude at the same time.  So if you re-frame your thoughts from have to do, to get to do, you’ll view that list from a more grateful (and less fearful) lens.

3. Take “turtle steps.”

Even baby steps can be intimidating when you’re faced with a major project. Instead, start with tiny steps that are easy to mark off the list or delegate to others.  This will help you break down overwhelming projects into digestible pieces.

4. Focus on just a handful of tasks at a time.

If your list is overwhelmingly long, it can cause you to freeze and not do anything. Or, it can make you feel discouraged if you only complete a few items on the list. Instead, identify just a few things you’d like to get done each day. 

5. Make email work for you—not the other way around.

Feel like email is running your life? Try turning off email notifications to help you focus on the task at hand. Then, set aside time to go through your emails (instead of constantly going through them all day) on one device only. Categorize them into ones that will require more time/research to answer and those you can respond to immediately. 

Since the event, I’ve tried to implement Jill’s tips into my own life (no easy feat with a seventh-month-old and full-time job). But when you find a way to get yourself out of a constant “fight or flight” mindset, it really is surprising how many more hours in the day “magically” appear. I suggest you give them a try! And if you’d like more information on Jill Farmer, visit her website or send her an email.


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Sara came to Plancorp in 2013 with a strong financial background and an even stronger commitment to financial education—particularly for women. A Wealth Manager and Founder of InspireHer (Plancorp's Women's Initiative), Sara is also a new mom. More »