What do you consciously do to reduce stress when it looms large?

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Forum topic by Lee Barker posted 12-08-2010 06:36 PM 1643 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2819 days

12-08-2010 06:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: schedule delivery dates commitments holidays

Clients can get more demanding this time of year. Once I was asked to do new shelves in a utility room, but they had to be done by Christmas. I declined!

Here are some thoughts, and I welcome your substantive additions to this list:

1. I know there will be some stress, and that can lead to errors. I consciously buy a little more wood than I typically would for each project. I never beat myself up for overbuying—it always finds a place to be used.

2. I try to suppress the “Pleaser” part of my personality when I’m asked for a delivery date (and can sense what is behind the question). I usually ask for time to think that through rather than make it a Ready, Fire, Aim moment. I try to keep very accurate records of these dates and commitments.

3. I pencil in a project for myself. It might just be a drawer in the shop or a new handle for something, but I have come to understand that things are overall better when I do this from time to time. Now is the time.

4. I pay closer attention to things like sharp blades in stock, extra glue, adequate hardware. It’s this time of year that my suppliers who deliver reduce their travels to the hustings, so I am out of my usual rhythm of ordering.

5. I have a string of lights I put in the window of the shop and they’re on a timer so they’re on when I come to work (dark) and on when I leave (likewise dark). This is simple, good self care.

6. I have a full-spectrum light at my desk (4 4’ fluorescent tubes) and I have it on whenever I’m working there. It’s dark, it’s winter, and my soul is perkier when it gets therapeutic wattage.

What about you?

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

16 replies so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3511 days

#1 posted 12-08-2010 06:44 PM

I’ve learned when and how to say no. Took me awhile, and it sure helps with stress

If I mess up, which usually I can’t afford to, I walk away. If the goof up happens early in the day, I’ll leave for an hour or sometimes more. If it happens towards the end of the day, I leave for the night and get back at it in the morning with a clear head….

Great Post btw

-- Childress Woodworks

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3044 days

#2 posted 12-08-2010 10:08 PM

I wish I had learned how to say “no” about 6 months ago.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2836 days

#3 posted 12-08-2010 10:17 PM

I just go out onto my patio and have a good old Bud Light and watch the birds and the bees.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View chrisstef's profile


17312 posts in 2975 days

#4 posted 12-08-2010 10:56 PM

I like to make lists for myself. I find that when i have too much going on for the ole brain to manage, writing it down in a list helps me out. That way i can prioritize what needs to get done and what can be pushed off until a later time. And when that doesn’t work i like to “sweat it out” which usually requires some good old fashioned physical labor.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3084 days

#5 posted 12-08-2010 10:58 PM

a good walk at the beach with the fishingrod in hand and a little fresh (havey) wind going thrugh the hair
litle bicicling in the nature or walk used to bee with the old camera is some of wheels I can play with
and of course use my hand in the shop ,garden and diy-stuff


View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2966 days

#6 posted 12-09-2010 05:38 AM


-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View danr's profile


154 posts in 3154 days

#7 posted 12-09-2010 05:57 AM

Maker’s Mark works well for me. My old school doctor actually told me that a drink is great for the mind and body. I could not agree more. Life is short….. take a break and put things into perspective.

Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy your time and the people around you.

View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3243 days

#8 posted 12-09-2010 06:16 AM

Well, in my perspective, I like to take my time so when it comes to quoting a project I’ll add more time to it just so i don’t get overwhelmed in the situation. And if I do get overwhelmed, I have the time to take a day off to recoop. Nothing like a rest on the couch with a homemade cup of mint-tea (today was one of those days) anyways, take it easy!

-- M.K.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2913 days

#9 posted 12-09-2010 07:50 PM

During the warmer months I ride my bike. Also when doing shows, I do not have the radio, cd player nor ipod on when traveling. Most travel times are between 4 – 8 hours. I have found that when there is nothing to distract me other than a rude driver, that my mind clears and I have a clearer vision of my life. I have also found that solutions to shop and life problems seem to creep into my head after driving for 2 – 3 hours.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10377 posts in 3398 days

#10 posted 12-09-2010 08:26 PM

A long time ago, I decided to make a conscious effort to not allow stress in my life. To accomplish that, I had to identify the stressers and change my approach to those situations. Over time, the specific changes in approach became generalized to all areas of my life.
Other people’s problems no longer dictate my actions, my own problems are not obstacles, just situations to be managed, and logic and reason reign supreme.
Then, there’s always Glenfiddich.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5811 posts in 3163 days

#11 posted 12-09-2010 10:14 PM

I, like Gene, have no stress in my life, and haven’t had any since I retired from the military some 30 years ago.
I have about 5 customers that I work for, and 2-3 that keeps me pretty busy sometimes. BUT….in the spring and summer I fish compatition bass tournaments, and my shop work slows down, which I like. These tournaments are in a couple of other states, so on an average I’m gone 3-4 days out of the week. I mainly do most of my woodworking for customers in the fall and winter, starting about November-February. I simply tell them (after I find out all the particulars about the project) “I’ll call you when it’s finished”. I have noone pressureing me about the work, cause they all know what I do (tournaments). I work when I want to, and for as long (or short) as I want to. I take frequent breaks while in the shop (bad back and knees will do that to you), and it works for me and them also. I’m building an entertainment media cabinet right now, and then have an armoire to do afterwards, but they know NOT to call and ask questions like “when will it be ready”. AND….if I don’t want the job, I tell them that, too….I don’t need the money that bad….I’ve got more than I can spend now !!!!! So…. no stress….. no worries….that’ll turn your hair grey, and make you an old man quick…....

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3713 days

#12 posted 12-12-2010 02:47 AM

I’m retired from the military, like Rick, and I decided when I went into the furniture business, I wasn’t going to let it become like work. I make no more than 12 pieces a year, one a month, sometimes. Sometimes it only takes me 3 weeks to complete the task and then I do something for the wife or myself. My business is steady, and I have a 4 to 5 month lead time. When someone calls me in October wanting a table made by Thanksgiving, it’s too late for this year, but I can help them out for the following one. That takes the temptation to say yes away. You have things already that help you relieve the stress. If I find things going that way, I’ll usually stop and sharpen some chisels or a plane blade. Just cleaning up the shop some helps me feel better.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3645 days

#13 posted 12-12-2010 12:08 PM

I decided when I was a young journeyman there was nothing I could do about a situation on a job that was impossible; I never let anything bother me and I never had any stress after that. When I have extreme and nearly impossible demands, I make a plan and get it done. I preform the best doing the impossible. But I have never worked a regular 40 hour week in years. I doubt if it would be possible to do that every day ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View JimDaddyO's profile


543 posts in 3048 days

#14 posted 12-12-2010 12:38 PM

I only work for short periods of time…..takes me a week to do a days work, not by choice, and that is stress enough! I also wood work only in the warm months (no shop). The winter is lacking in sun and becomes hard to bear sometimes. So, when I am feeling like it is building up, I go out, grab the 6 lb. maul, and start splitting some ash. I can’t do it for long either, but I get outside, I get some exercise, I get a days worth of heating. Sometimes the act of just getting “something” done helps a lot.

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3645 days

#15 posted 12-12-2010 12:45 PM

Working in the trade should be a big stress relief knowing that statistically you will live 3 years longer being active all your life rather than sitting in “cube land’ all day every day ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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