3 Ways To Reduce Your Stress Levels At Work
It doesn’t matter how much you love your job, the workplace is the number one source of stress for most of us.
Deadlines, commuting, miscommunication, lunch thieves, personality clashes, power struggles, workload, pay… there are so many things that can niggle our nerves and grind our gears, even the coolest of cucumbers sometimes reach their breaking point.
According to Forbes, the average business professional has between 30 and 100 projects on their plate at any given time.
Now, combine that with the fact that we get distracted for more than two hours every day – by emails, calls, checking our phones, conversations – and no wonder we get a little frazzled!
If you find yourself becoming a bit of a stress-head, here are three easy things you can start doing to restore some calm in your days.
1. Put time into scheduling
It might mean getting in 10 minutes earlier to plan your day in peace, but having a solid schedule will help you feel more in control.
Rather than writing a mammoth list of your agenda for the foreseeable future, keep your tasks tight with REAL, immediate deadlines.
Start with a fresh list every day and consider weighting your to-dos with priorities (1, 2, 3). That way, when a last-minute job pops up – as they inevitably do – you’ll know which Priority 3 task to move to fit in the new to-do AND still meet your existing deadlines.
Try to have your list constantly visible, either on your desk or on post-its on your screen. Digital lists are way too easy to minimise!
Being on top of your commitments and nailing time management means less overtime, less taking work home, less missed deadlines, and less stress.
And when it comes to scheduling your actual calendar, be sure to allocate time for regular breaks, gym, and lunch. These are non-negotiables for a healthy work/life balance.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
A great deal of stress at work can come from poorly communicated briefs. For example: a colleague asks for X and you produce X for them, but it turns out they really wanted Y. You’re frustrated at having wasted time and repeating work you could have done it right in the first place.
There’s a simple solution to this conundrum: ask questions. Ask ALL the questions!
Asking instead of assuming will eliminate miscommunication that leads to wasted time and tenuous workplace relationships. Know what you can control (your output) and what you can’t (other people’s reactions).
Asking questions also means asking them of yourself. Ask: what is the most important thing I have to do right now? Does this task help me get closer to my goal? What do I think is the most likely outcome?
3. Make your breaks count
Tired? Anxious? Stressed? Three words: take. a. break. No excuses!
Think you don’t have time? We can guarantee your productivity will increase drastically with a couple of 10-minute breaks added to your day.
If things are getting too much, stand up and walk away. Take some deep breaths and get moving. It’s almost too simple, but it really does make a world of difference.
Set your boundaries and make them clear, e.g. I’m only available between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. If you relax these boundaries, you might soon find your workplace stresses creeping into your personal life.
It’s important to unplug when you’re off the clock. Really make the most of your downtime, whether it’s a lunch break or a day off, and do those things that you WANT to do – not just things you have to do.