Cakesim at work? Get organised & relax

HOLDING DOWN a job is no laughing matter but if you don’t laugh at work, you end up with ulcer, depression and, heaven forbids, a short life.

Many people do not know that laughter suppresses stress-inducing hormones that eventually lead to all those life-shortening afflictions.

So, no matter how vexed (cakesim) or discouraged you are at work, you can still find situations that make you relax, lighten up and see things in a less gloomy perspective.

A mind-changing exercise is to take a walk in the zoo and contemplate the laidback natives there. Notice how still and calm they are.

The secret to a relaxed work style is to sort out all your tasks, activities and goals into those that are urgent (although not important it cannot wait, like drawing money from ATM to buy the Coach bag before it’s sold out) and those that are important (can wait but cannot be ignored, like finding enough money to pay next month’s loan instalment for your overpriced condo apartment).

Write out your list and place them in the boxes below. Some examples are given. Top of your list must be those tasks or activities that are both very urgent and very important (top right hand box):

Decide how much time you need for each task and stick to your plan. A disorganised life and work schedule and a messy desk only make your stress worse.

Other stress-reducing activities you can adopt:

Chill out

In the office zoo, take a walk to the other cubicles and talk to your fellow iguanas, I mean, co-workers. Share a joke or funny anecdote, and listen to what others have to say. However, resist the temptation to tell stories at the expense of anyone, not even your boss!

Don’t eat lunch alone

Share meal time with others. Research has found that adults who have the fewest friends and are least active socially are most likely to die prematurely.

So, go out, have fun and live long – but pay for your own grub.

Say only positive, constructive comments or shut up

Be mindful that a lot of workplace conversations seem to be negative. Be aware what you are talking, to ensure you don’t contribute more to the negative vibes.

Inject humour, and offer constructive comments.

We don’t get into trouble by talking about others – we only get into trouble by saying bad things (usually unfounded) about them. If you can’t say anything nice, just grunt.

Be realistic about what you can do

Choose your work load according to your ability. Do not volunteer for the impossible, just so you want to impress others. If you can’t complete it, you become a laughingstock, which is an even more stressful situation.

Stay away from quacks

Not ducks but fengshui people, fortune-tellers, and multi-level marketing and time-share con men. If you get demoted, suffer a pay-cut or lost your sweetheart, it is not that your office cubicle or your living room furniture attracts bad chi (actually, bad chi is caused by bad breath). But if you visit these charlatans, you will only lose more money and  attract unnecessary bad luck.

In the sensible days in Ming Dynasty China, people who posed as fengshui practitioners or fortune tellers were liable to get their heads chopped off for cheating the public.

Think positive

Some people think that being realistic is to be cynical and negative. That’s simply not true. Do not let negative feelings build up. Identify the actual cause of these feelings and deal with them constructively

You can’t control everything, so, do what you can and forget the rest.

(Note: Cakesim is Singapore Hokkien vernacular for feeling vexed or frustrated; chi is just hot air)


Urgent vs Important matrix
Not Urgent but Important
1. Save money to pay off condo loan.
2. Start exercise programme to improve health and save money on doctor’s fees.
Important and Urgent
1. Update resume for job interview next week
2. Keep enough money to pay credit card sum owing before due date
Not Urgent and Not Important
1. Update my Facebook account.
2. Get tattoo on chest to impress sexy new receptionist in office.

Not Important but Urgent
1. Send past month’s dirty clothes to laundry.
2. Get haircut before I become mangy lion.
relax  at work and play