Avoid Buying Into Other People’s Stress And Stay Focused

Do you ever find yourself working on a project and your colleague comes into your office to tell you how stressed s/he is about a situation with a supervisor? How about walking in the door and your significant other tells you all of the things that went wrong today? What about those moments when your child tells you about an assignment that is due tomorrow, hasn’t been started and was assigned a week ago? What sayings come to mind?

  • Not another crisis…my schedule is full.
  • Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

Taking on someone else’s stress can zap your energy and derail your ability to move forward. When I feel myself starting to do that, I use the Producktivity® Principles: Identify. Connect. Organize. to help me stay focused on my priorities.

Identify – It is very easy to jump in and react to someone else’s stress. Before you head down the path, slow down and take a few deep breaths. Determine how much time you are willing to stop to listen and say, “I want to be there for you and I am happy to listen for the next 5/10/15 minutes.” Once you have listened, thank them for trusting you with what they have shared and then let them know that you need time to think about what they have communicated. This provides you with time to take a step back, think rather than react and identify your current responsibilities before determining if and how you can commit to supporting them.

Connect – Prioritize your responsibilities and remember that just because something is important to someone else does not automatically mean it needs to be important to you. How will this situation impact your future? Consider how it connects to what is important to you and then determine your level of involvement.

Organize – I am a planner, and sometimes people equate that with not being flexible. However, I plan so I know when I can be flexible. You need to allow time for unexpected situations so you can support your friends, family, colleagues and community. Be careful that you don’t let yourself get pulled away from your priorities by “noise.” The majority of your time needs to center around your top priorities.

Using the Producktivity® Principles reduces my stress because I have taken time to make an intentional decision. I am also modeling for the people around me how to stay focused on your top priorities, remain calm and take time to be thoughtful in your response to others. It is only because of my efforts to intentionally manage my time that I am afforded the additional time to help others in need while still achieving my top priorities.

Producktivity® is a unique, interactive personal and professional organizational tool that assists individuals and organizations with improving their decision making and time management skills. For more information about Producktivity® reach out to us at Info@bscorbettconsulting.com and read our other Producktivity® blogs.


  1. I am definitely going to quote you, “I plan so that I know when I can be flexible.”

  2. Thank you, Hil. The quote views planning in a more positive way and acknowledges the value in planning.

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