Reduce Stress by Dividing Your Day into Three Operational Modes


Well-Known Member
4 Jun 2011
People build stress by thinking about an issue all day or get into a cycle where worrying about something leads to the the behavior we were worried about, such as eating too much because we spend too much time worrying about gaining weight or continually arriving late to work due to the pressure of not running late. We have to break these cycles in order to reduce stress and accomplish our goals. To accomplish this, blogger Tim Horie recommends that we divide our day into three distinct operational modes: thinking, doing, and relaxing.

On the surface that is pretty obvious. But similar to how capturing actions in the Getting Things Done philosophy removes the need to remember everything, having a distinct time to think about our problems and goals and only allowing worrying and planning during those times is rather freeing. When the time comes for the second mode, doing, we will work on our goals and not analyze them. This is similar to the philosophy behind National Novel Writing Month—you're not trying to edit and create a publishable novel, you're just trying to get enough words down that something is accomplished for the day.

Once you're able to set aside time for pure thought and action without analysis you should be able to let everything go for a few hours to relax with a movie, exercising, or spending time with friends.

If you spend a week or so giving the Three Operational Modes technique a try you might find that you have become more productive and less stressed as your thoughts and worries aren't creeping into your work or relaxation time.

Reduce stress with 3 operational modes | Tim Horie's blog via Reddit
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Reactions: Lee11


2 Nov 2011
This is awesome, thank you, possibly one of the most helpful bits of information I have read in a while. It may seem obvious but it is not - it is a simple concept but I feel it is the implementation that some struggle with. I spent many years counseling and I found that most people get stuck at implementation.

I love 'simple', and will be more conscious and focused about creating segments for thinking, doing and relaxing from now onwards. It seems as if one can reduce the negative stress (distress) and improve the positive stress that gets things done (eustress) order to operate optimally. This post was awesomeness personified. So now I will implement this more attentively.:) Thank You!


8 Nov 2011
Thanks for sharing clan_Net. I realized that I divide my day only into 2. Thinking and Relaxing. LMAO. There are times I'm just too lazy to function or take action. :3