Eliz Greene

How do you stay productive and manage stress when your office is in chaos?

A home office has its challenges:

Interruptions are frequent.  Work hours are fluid.  The line between work and home is blurred.

Working next to a construction site… well, that is my life and work for the next eight weeks.

How do you work in chaos?
Keep your eye on the big picture, define victory, and check your attitude.

My office is located in our home, upstairs next to the master bedroom.  Yesterday, an incredible team demolished the master bathroom in preparation for our remodeling project.

Yes, it was loud.

In the scheme of all things, eight weeks of noise and people working 20 feet from my office door isn’t a crisis.  It is inconvenient.  However, I can already tell the distraction factor is going to be large.

Right now, I can hear the project manager and plumber discussing the tub layout and where the new wall will be placed.  Focus Eliz, you are supposed to be writing a blog article.

As I said, this isn’t a crisis, but it is chaos.

Here is how I’m managing the stress of working in (organized) chaos with two simple statements:

Victory depends on your definition.

Ultimately, I need to market and book speaking engagements, and the good folks from Paul Davis need to construct our new bathroom.  There is significant art, and quite a bit of science, to the construction process.  Being present at the site makes their job easier because we can discuss things as they come up and make decisions.  Victory #1 of each day is staying on the aggressive construction schedule.  Victory #2 is getting some marketing done.  Setting one achievable business goal per day is essential to keeping my stress in check.  Today, my aim is to write this article written, posted, and shared.  How’d I do?  Well, if you are reading this, I guess I can declare victory.  (By the way, my amazing husband gets the credit for this statement.  It was his parting comment this morning) Sure, there are other things I need to do today.  Some will get done, and some may not.  But I’m declaring victory if we stay on schedule and this article gets posted.

My attitude frames my experience.

It would be easy to see this experience as an ordeal.  Yes, it is noisy. Yes, there are interruptions.  But I also get to see the work and progress first hand, and that is exciting.  I learned new things about plumbing this morning.  Each step we get closer to the finished project.  It is exciting.  It is an adventure. Often the key to reducing stress is to mitigate stressors by changing the way we feel about them.  In many ways it is a cost-benefit analysis.  Is the end result worth the chaos?  So far the inconvenience and interruptions are far outweighed by the excitement about the renovation.

Hopefully, that excitement will continue.

On the days it gets harder, I’ll repeat these two statements…

Victory depends on your definition.
My attitude frames my experience.

I welcome your tips and ideas.  How do you work in chaos?


About Eliz Greene

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health and reduce stress are used by thousands of busy people all over the world. She is a motivational wellness speaker, author, and job stress researcher. Visit elizgreene.com to book Eliz for your next event.

2 Responses to “Chaos In My Home Office: Women’s Stress Management”

  • Well this was a well-timed blog!

    How do you (I) define victory in this chaotic time? First, just let me say, defining chaotic vs. just plain stressful.. is helpful in it’s own right. Thank you Eliz.

    We are making a big, bold move. Sell the house and sail off into the sunset.
    Sounds so exciting and even glamorous… yeah, what’s not so glamorous about those kind of big dreams: some of the millions of details to make that happen. For instance scrubbing our unfinished basement walls and floors, scrubbing storage areas in the boat that I never knew existed before, it’s all very exciting. We invited this “chaos” into our lives. I oftentimes need to remind myself of that.

    So, let’s see… how would I define victory? Making a little progress each day. Try to keep a little balance going while we’re at it; make sure that we knock a couple of items off the to-do list, eat healthy, be grateful, keep your sense of humor, and remember beyond all else that big dreams take work. Scrubbing the yucky basement doesn’t seem quite so bad if you remember the bigger picture of “why” you are doing it.

  • How is the new office now? You did great by staying afloat and knowing what to focus on.

    I can relate because we moved with two young kids to a new (but very old total fixer-upper) house. The work just wrapped up. Often it took effort to see the bright side. Now on to the arranging the living space better. And getting the office unloaded from all the boxes so I can get to greater heights with a personal online project.

    Good luck sister!

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