Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Advice for the compulsive worrier

Are you a worrier? I know I am. I've always thought that being a worrier makes someone a better lawyer. Of course, everything needs to be taken in moderation. A little worry is a good thing - I mean, sometimes the sky really is falling.  But worrying too much is counterproductive, unhealthy and in extreme cases can be debilitating.  Here's some good advice about how to manage your inner worrier:

  1. Evaluate the relative significance of the things you're worrying about. Don't give a disproportionate amount of worry to small problems. "Box up" your small worries so that they don't spread. Make a conscious effort to confine your fears and anxieties to the subject at hand. Keep reminding yourself that a problem in one area does not necessarily mean that there's a problem in another area. Stay focused on the specific issue.

  3. Make a specific agenda and specific tasks associated with the agenda so that you are less likely to distract yourself with a less critical issue.

  5. Address the issue causing the worry quickly and decisively. I know this isn't always easy, especially for high-need-for-achievement personalities who can analyze an issue to death. Increasingly, professionals in positions of responsibility are facing right-versus-right decisions — there is no perfect answer. Or they're facing wrong-versus-wrong decisions — either choice is going to have unpleasant repercussions. In these instances, you have to halt your analysis and rely on your instincts; don't be caught in the indecisive middle.

You can read more courtesy of the Harvard Business Review here.


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