Learn How to Handle Stress with
Great Self-Management Skills!!

A Pear-able about Getting Things Done!
by the Barefoot Executive, Carrie Wilkerson

Want to know how to handle stress and be far more efficient, in general?  Below is a post from the Barefoot Executive, Carrie Wilkerson.

From Carrie...

No, I am not turning into a foodie blog or a cooking blog…trust me ~ this will be about business, goal-setting and life.

I’ve recently joined a produce co-op that I love (Bountiful Baskets, if you are curious enough to Google it) and we get the opportunity every few weeks to ‘add on’ something that is in season at a great savings. So, on one particularly ambitious order day recently, I tacked on a case of 36 lbs of pears to my order.

My mom raised me to know how to can, preserve and ‘put up’ produce from our garden and the farm stands, so these pears were begging to be made into pear butter and preserves! Yum!

Last weekend, right off the bat, I made pear butter and it was delicious! But then the week progressed in a blur and my pears were ripening at warp speed. I just couldn’t manage to ‘fit in’ the time to put the rest of them up.

I decided that today (Friday), I would take some time while the kids were in school to jar the old-fashioned preserves, so while I was lying in bed last night, unwinding after a few exhausting days…I pulled up the recipe I had bookmarked.

Uh-oh. The old-fashioned recipe I’d been dying to try required that the pears soak overnight. Not only did they need to soak, they had to be peeled, cored and sliced. DAD-GUMMIT!!!  (Note from Jill: Not a great example of how to handle stress.)

Let me be clear. It was 9:20pm when this hit me. So, I had some choices.

  • I could choose a different recipe that didn’t require the prep.
  • I could choose to wait until today to prep them and delay my preserves until Saturday.
  • I could get up and get it done.

You know what I did. I got up.

(Note from Jill: Seems like Carrie knows exactly how to handle stress.)

Barefoot and in pajamas, I padded into the kitchen after a grueling few days, already unwound, tired and at this point, maybe even cranky.

There were 24 lbs of pears staring at me from the produce box. Daunting to say the least!

So, I started ‘chunking down the goal’.

  • I chose a large bowl and decided that would be what I soaked them in. I was NOT going to wimp out and choose a tiny bowl to weasel out of the job.
  • I put about 12 lbs of pears (half of my box) in the sink…it looked like a mountain, but after paring them, I figured they were about right to fill my bowl.
  • I looked at the clock and decided to peel and chop until 10pm, the bowl was full or until the sink is empty – whichever came first!

Guess what? I instantly had relief! I had 3 goals…either one was okay and would still be a job done. (Note from Jill: This is a great idea for how to handle stress! Sometimes it's all about the psychology.)

Then, it became a little bit of a game…”I only have to work at this until 10. Just hang in there until 10, Carrie – You’ve got this!”

Or — “Hmmmm I wonder if I could peel these even faster than that and finish BEFORE 10? You’ve got this, Carrie!”

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun. Looking back, I should not have waited until I was low energy to have started, but it was what it was

How did it end?

At 10pm, I was relieved and excited!! I could stop! But, guess what?? There were only 3 pears left in the sink and my momentum was such that I could NOT put them back in the box!! I peeled them too!! My bowl was full, my sink was empty, I was SO proud! I went to bed THRILLED that I had set that goal, finished the task and could wake up to pears ready to preserve! Wahoooooo!

Carrie, please hurry and tell us what you’re trying to tell us…

Yeah Carrie! We want to know how to handle stress, too!!

  • Setting 3 goals let me win either way! (Bowl full, 10pm or sink empty – either of those meant the job was done!)
  • Making myself get up and ‘just do it’ – was actually less energy than dreading it, beating myself up about it and delaying it until another day.
  • Because I was fully immersed in pear juice and MESSY…I could NOT talk on the phone, Facebook, tweet, check emails or any other time-wasters. I was FOCUSED on that ONE task to completion.

Please connect the dots for us…we know it’s coming…

  • Set ‘bumper goals’ – so that if you finish Benchmark A, B or C – you STILL have a win and can stop or celebrate! This gave me a ‘game’ mentality and I was actually curious to see which goal I would hit first! Maybe I’m a geek, but it made my task more fun! (Note from Jill: This is a great how to handle stress tip!)
  • Just Do It – Nike was onto something for sure! The energy of tackling the task is easier than dreading and delaying it.
  • Fully immerse yourself! Turn off incoming distractions. Close your door. Shut down applications. Focus. You deserve it.

Today, I’m happy to report that the preserves are jarred and cooling. I rested like a champ last night, with a really great feeling of accomplishment. And I’ve been applying this to my business tasks today too…

  • What are some of your best tips on how to handle stress for whittling away at your tasks?
  • What do you think about bumper goals and mind games? How will you apply this?
  • What is one A-ha you got from this PEAR-able?

For more great posts on being far more efficient and about how to handle stress, in general, please check out:

Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive.

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