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25 February - How To Reduce Avoidance So You Stress Less

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Today's blog is by my lovely husband Philip...Enjoy

From time to time, I fly around the country, meeting with members of my team to encourage, assist and support them in their work. I have been travelling this past week, returned home for the weekend, and leave Monday morning again for another week of travelling.

During this time, I have accumulated several tasks that need attention that I have been unable to complete as I have been in meetings with my team. Some of these tasks have moved from important to urgent. With another week of travel time and scheduled appointments, which are also important, it isn't easy to complete these tasks as they require collaborating with other people. Challenges such as flight schedules, timezone differences and conflicting appointments are getting in the way. There are other tasks I have set for myself in developing my business that are not urgent but important and also being neglected.

When I get back to my hotel after a full day of meetings, it is tempting to kick back and let the world simply go by. The problem is that neglecting the tasks that need completing at this time causes an increase in my stress levels. The tasks become a small voice at the back of my mind reminding me they are there and stopping me from relaxing. I know I need to do them and have the opportunity to do them; what I need is the discipline to do them.

When you have an especially difficult or stressful task, it can be very tempting to avoid completing it by distracting yourself with other activities. Or if you don't like to think about a subject because of an experience, it can seem easier to not think about that topic by doing something meaningless like watching TV or anything else you can think of to distract yourself. This is known as avoidance, and though it may be tempting to engage in this behaviour, it causes more stress than it relieves.

When you put off a task, you may momentarily relieve your stress by telling yourself you will complete the task later. But this is worse than doing the job now because later, you will experience more pressure when faced with a fast-approaching deadline. This is especially true if you haven't left yourself enough time to complete the task and have to rush at the last minute.

Avoidance doesn't solve any problems but rather creates internal conflict, which leads to increased stress.

We all have the same 24 hours in every day as a gift from God. Ecclesiastes chapter three tells us there is a time for everything. Creating balance in each day is important. An old saying is, "You can work now and play later, or you can play now and work later." The reality is the work will always be there, and with it the pressure to finish it.

I have discovered that to reduce my stress levels, it is beneficial to tackle work before I rest or play for the day. I set aside one to one and a half hours to tackle the work that has come in during the day. This gives me a chance to complete the important tasks, delegate some of the others to team members, and schedule nonurgent work to a time when I can finish it. Once this is completed, I can rest knowing that the work is done. I confess this is my plan, but it takes discipline. Yes, there are days when I don't follow the program. The problem is I then pay the price of working harder to catch up, which is a good motivation to stick with the plan.

Are unfinished tasks stressing you out? Schedule in time to complete them, and then follow through. Build a disciplined life of attending to work before rest and play. It makes your play more enjoyable and your rest more peaceful, knowing the tasks are finished for the day.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24)

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." Philippians 2:14-16

"Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you." Psalm 128: 1-2

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