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Stress Management for EPs

© 1999, by Desiree Scales

When you plug in the words "stress management" into any search engine on the Internet, you'll find thousands upon thousands of sites totally dedicated to the subject. Lots of remedies pop up -- anything from Kava Kava, meditation and a technique called "drumming" which involves rockin' and rollin' your way through stress on a drum-set. There's even an American Institute of Stress! It's no surprise the world has gone on stress overload. I'm getting stressed looking through the list of stress management sites!

For those of us trying to balance working at home and raising a family delicately on our tension-filled shoulders, it's a real balancing act (pardon the pun, please). The number of members in our ranks grows quickly each year. How should we handle all this stress so we can enjoy the benefits that working at home brings us? That's what this monthly column is all about. Yes, yet another source for those of us pulling enough hair out of our heads to make a nice hairpiece for those bald basketball players waiting for the season to start. But I digress...

At the start of this New Year, most of us are already eager to begin the first step in the stress management process. Something about the first month in a fresh year beckons us to GET ORGANIZED. As I look around at the clutter on my desk and on top of the computer monitor, scanner and printer, I take a deep breath and sigh. I know I would feel less stressed if I could actually find a pen in five seconds instead of five minutes. Although it may seem like a daunting task, like my mother always said, "inch by inch
life is a cinch, yard by yard life is hard."

The first step is to create a filing system. You don't have to invest a lot of money here, just buy a reasonably inexpensive cabinet and some file folders. The main feature the cabinet should have is at least two drawers and good construction. You don't want it to fall apart come tax time in April when you really need to find those bills and receipts you've been filing away all year. I keep my financial records, client information and web design library of newspaper and magazine articles completely separate from one another. I find that when it doesn't take me long to locate my latest bank statement, I have a lot less stress on my hands and a good feeling when I see those latest figures.

Another way to keep yourself organized is to get a good software program that actually keeps your accounting information in one place. My favorite is Quick Books Pro by Intuit. Not only does it balance my checkbook, it also helps me create a complete client list including address, contact name and phone number information. It even has a feature that helps you track your phone calls to potential clients and reminds you when to call and tell them you're still around.

Last but not least, get some kind of a day-timer. This acts like a diary for working adults who need to schedule little Johnny's playdate before they meet with their next client, but after the dog goes to the vet for his ringworm shot. If you really want to keep stress levels to a minimum, keep it up-to-date on a daily basis. Write EVERYTHING down and make "to do lists" by priority. This is the only way for me to really keep tabs on what needs to be done. My particular day-timer was created by Franklin Covey. You can find their stores in any mall. They even offer a short seminar on how to use the day-timer effectively. I recommend taking it because it helped me learn to get organized and keep some semblance of order throughout the year.

Organization is a tough task when you're a file-piler and memo-stacker, but you can do it. In the end you'll be glad you took the time to get organized and feel less stressed once you see your desktop again. Now, where did I put my massage therapist's phone number?

Desiree Scales is the Owner of Bella Web Design at 3605 Sandy Plains Rd., Suite 240-121, Marietta, GA 30066, Email: , Phone: 770-509-8797, Fax: 770-509-9488 (if busy, call above number), Web site:

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