Peace of Mind

by | Mar 8, 2024 | Leadership Mindset

Ellen Patnaude, Patnaude Coaching

I’m on an ongoing quest to find ways to reduce my anxiety and regulate my nervous system. Along the way, I’ve been evaluating several aspects of my life. I’m looking for the big stuff. Recently, I looked at my calendar. Like many of us, I live by mine. It seemed like a logical place to look for sources of anxiety. I made a couple small changes. And I’m astonished by the peace of mind I’ve gained from them.

Causes of my anxiety

I can’t say that I fully understand all the causes of my anxiety. If I had to guess, I’d say some of it stems from being raised by a deeply anxious mother. She amped up and so did I, even when I didn’t really understand why. 

Another cause is simply a total lack of attention to trying to regulate my nervous system. Ignoring it for so many decades has caused a build up that is hard to overcome. But I’m learning how.

But on examining my calendar, I realized another cause that I didn’t see coming. Access. I was giving clients, colleagues, and potential new clients too much access to my time.

One pebble in the mountain moves

Access to my calendar creates a tremendous amount of ease for me and for anyone trying to get on my schedule. It’s necessary. I used to spend an inordinate amount of (stressful) time going back and forth with people, trying to find the best time to meet. That process caused anxiety. Using a scheduling app to give people access to my calendar to just find the best time for them was a game-changer.

But it took me two years of using it to realize that I was still feeling anxious about my calendar. A few months ago, it finally hit me. I had no buffers. That had to change.

I took Mondays and Friday afternoons out of the equation. Mondays are dedicated to setting myself up for success for the week, which I do through a variety of activities. Friday afternoons are dedicated to clean up from the week and reflection.  That was a great first step.

The real game-changing decision came when I changed how far in advance someone can set up a meeting. It used to be the default, which is 4 hours. Now that was a source of anxiety. I couldn’t plan my day, let alone my week. That’s now changed to 7 days in advance. 

Who knew such a seemingly little thing could make such a big difference? I’m sure some people did, but not me. I still have ways people can talk to me sooner if it’s urgent. But now, I know on Friday afternoons what the coming week looks like. I know on Mondays how to set myself up for success in the coming week. And the peace of mind it’s brought me is unbelievable.

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen E. Patnaude has been coaching, training, and developing people to achieve higher levels of success in a professional capacity since 1997.

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