May 22, 201312:59 PMThe Gray Area
with Donna Gray
12 ways to reduce your work stress
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Peter Drucker said, “No one ever has more than 25% of their time under control.” It’s easy to lose control and get overwhelmed during busy times, and one can get frantic when deadlines approach and there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I’ve seen some folks who are usually calm, cool, and collected get cranky, crabby, and semi-ballistic when faced with the stress of having no control of their time. One has to find the best way to deal with the time-constraint challenge.
I recently had a conversation with an expert in work-stress reduction, and I was glad to hear that with a few time-management and prioritizing tricks, one can begin to work smarter, not harder. One thing she asked is still reverberating with me: “What do you do first when everything you do has a top priority?” I can imagine that question is one many folks need to ask themselves. She goes on to suggest that we should take a hard look at our priorities to decide if we have too many.
Some business friends have said they have days with completely unmanageable workloads, and they leave at the end of the day totally exhausted and frustrated because they couldn’t accomplish everything they had set out to do. According to experts, one can keep cool when under pressure by doing the following:
- Planning ahead whenever possible, especially when a big project or “busy season” is part of the workload. If possible, break projects into smaller increments and schedule enough time to complete one before beginning another. This is sometimes hard to do when several things need to be done at the same time.
- Having everything you need for a project ready before you begin working on it. Having to stop and search for something you need creates more stress.
- Doing the things you do well. When you do what you excel at, you enjoy the work, get more done, make fewer mistakes, and achieve great productivity.
- Delegating. If you have other team members who can step up to help, get them going and then trust them to complete the task at hand. Teach that person what he or she needs to know and then let go.
- Allowing enough time to do everything well without rushing. Some experts say that we should set aside 30% more time than we think we need to finish a job.
- Letting off steam when you have to … in a good way. Take a quick walk around the block, count to 10, breathe deeply, and take a moment to organize your thoughts.
- Being as flexible as you can. Knowing that things don’t always go as planned, do your best to adapt and respond to the way things do go – and then make a better plan for the next project.
- Staying focused. Concentrate on the results.
- Learning to say “no.” This may be difficult to do if your company wants to be all things to all customers, but sometimes it’s not profitable to say yes.
- Maintaining a positive attitude. Author, speaker, and salesman Jeffrey Gitomer said, “At the beginning of any task, more than anything else, your attitude will affect its successful outcome.”
- Taking a time-out. Dealing with pressure and stress can be complicated. Don’t try to problem-solve when your mind is filled with stress.
- Giving yourself a break!