Ah, now wouldn’t it be great if work stress just wasn’t a ‘thing.’ Ever. Sadly, there’s no magic formula to eliminate this entirely (sorry) but we what we do have are some handy tips on how to manage this better. You may thank us later.
Know your most productive times of day and plan work around this
If you can, try and organise your day so that the most important tasks get your ‘best’ time. An hour of focused concentration achieves more than three distracted hours spent on the same task.
If you’re sharpest first thing in the morning (most of us are) use this time to tackle meatier tasks. Equally, try to avoid a meeting that talks strategy and creative ideas post-lunch. Acknowledge when you and your team are most productive and you’ll experience better results all round.
Change your language
When we’re feeling the pressure, it’s reflected in the language we use; “I’m snowed under!”, “It’s manic today!”, “I’M SO BUSY!!”
Sound familiar? If we tell ourselves things are chaotic…well, then, suddenly they are. Change your language. Reframe your words. Instead of telling people (internally or externally) what a hectic day you’re having, take a deep breath and say… nothing. It won’t change the amount of work you’ve got to do but on a psychological level it’ll help. It’ll also demonstrate a certain level of control to yourself and others.
Avoid eating lunch at your desk
It might feel like you’re saving precious time when you sit at your desk to eat but this is counter-productive. It’s far more likely to increase stress levels and reduce productivity. In not allowing your brain a proper break from work (or the screen) you risk burn out and fatigue. Not only this but the monotony of sitting in the same seat for 9 hours a day is a sure fire way to diminish creativity.
Take a breather from your desk and grab some fresh air. This will get the oxygen flowing to your brain again, refreshing energy supplies and giving you renewed focus for the afternoon.
Set a realistic to-do list
All too often it’s the unrealistic length of our to-do lists that causes our stress levels to skyrocket. Focus on setting out three to five manageable tasks to accomplish within any given day. Ensure the tasks are substantial but achievable. Don’t be tempted to add trivial pieces to the list just so you have the satisfaction of crossing them off (tempting though it is).
If things still feel out-of-control stressful then…
Acknowledge you might be overworked
The reality is that most of us have too much on our plate to deal with at any one time. The problem is that we carry the burden of thinking we need to do it all, and if we don’t, we’ve failed.
Not everything can get done – or needs to get done. Your work is ongoing and unless it’s a very specific type of job you’ll rarely have completed every single task or project by the end of the day. Understand your priority tasks then focus your good energy on making sure this stuff gets actioned (on that realistic to-do list).