#1 New Year's Resolution? Avoid Meeting Planner Meltdown

Freakin' Out!A cardiologist once told me she had lots of meeting planners as patients. "It's a high stress job," she said. I had gone to visit her for pains in my chest. We ran test after test only to find out, as she suspected, it was stress.

Here are some simple tips to improve your chances for a stress-free 2011:

Stay on schedule. Mark down as much as you can on your calendar, even small things. Everything takes time to complete and if you try to squeeze it in, it will add to your workload. Write it down to make time for it.

Learn not to say yes. For meeting planners, always saying yes leads to more work and more stress. You don't have to say no, just don't say yes. Don't commit or over promise unless you know you can deliver. Instead, say something like, "Let me see what I can do."

Take a break. At the office, when the workload seems too heavy and it feels like there's no light at the end of the tunnel, get out. Take a walk. Take a deep breath. Take a break. Getting outside for 15 minutes does wonders for your mental state. Outside of work, get exercise, try yoga or simply make a few minutes for some hot tea.

Take a vacation. If you work for a company with a vacation benefit, use it. Don't let that time get lost or go to waste. Go someplace where you can relax and take a vacation from your cell phone, "crackberry," laptop, etc. They give it to you for a reason, so take a vacation.

It's not brain surgery. We care about our jobs and want to plan the best meetings we can. But keep in mind that in the end, it's just a job. The world won't come to an end if it's not perfect. Remember, strive for excellence, not perfection.

How do you deal with stress?
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