HOW Magazine Article: Shedding Stress

It's time to get back to work after being on the island of St. Croix for an incredibly relaxing two weeks. Being in a tropical paradise was a reminder of how easily we as designers allow the stresses of day-to-day to build into something almost unmanageable. This past year was a tough one for me. Most of 2005 is a blur. The long-term illness deaths of four people very close to me within six months, and a major heart attack scare that landed me in a Portland hospital emergency room, do cause one to take a good look at what is going on with life and work. The time away from work, the Internet, email, phones and computers was great for reflection and sorting through all the "stuff" in my personal and professional life. On that topic, I thought it might be good to revisit the article Shedding Stress, by Pat Matson Knapp, that appeared in HOW Magazine back in February 2004:

"Stress not only wears you down physically and mentally, but it can also take a huge toll on your business. Three experts give you eight ways to build stress-management into your daily routine.

You could call Jeff Fisher the poster child for work-related stress. To please a high-profile, highly demanding client, the principal of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives in Portland, OR, found himself trapped in an endless cycle of grueling work weeks. He spent 12-hour days running between his office and the client's. He wasn't eating properly, wasn't exercising and, finally, couldn't sleep. A visit to his doctor was the wake-up call: His blood pressure was skyrocketing, and at the age of 35, he was, he says, "a heart attack waiting to happen. When I told him about my client situation, he told me to quit the account or end up in the hospital—or worse."

So Fisher did just that: He set up a meeting with his client, explained the situation and resigned. But after his initial panic over losing the steady source of income, a funny thing happened. "The immediate result was that my blood pressure dropped almost 50 points within a few weeks. In two weeks, I had five new—and more manageable—clients. And I learned the importance of balancing my work and personal life." Soon, Fisher established a Monday through Thursday work week for the summer. Later, he adopted the four-day schedule year-round. And his business is more successful than ever."

You can read the rest of the article on the site.

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