If stress management is a big issue in your professional life, here are a few tips on how to reduce stress at work.
How to reduce stress at work
In today’s fast-paced life, stress cannot be completely eliminated, however by conscious effort on your part, you could try to reduce stress-causing elements at work and learn techniques to effectively manage stress.
Stress Management Tip 1: The five-minute mental workout
Every morning before you get started with your day’s schedule, close your eyes and make a note of important assignments, appointments, meetings or tasks for the day.
Assign time for each of these tasks. While doing so, prioritise your tasks in the order of importance. Write it down somewhere if you’re likely to forget. This way you’ll have a tentative idea of how your day’s schedule would be like, and how many tasks you’re likely to complete.
As you complete each task, you’ve got a tick mark on your list and you don’t have to unnecessarily keep thinking or getting worried about how to manage your work. The key lies in working smarter rather than working harder.
Tip 2: Keep your to-do list for the day practical
Don’t overestimate your capacity and plan to take up only as much work as you can handle.
If you plan for too much in too little time, you’ll end up not only frustrated and disappointed, but also stressed out and the quality of your output will go down.
Tip 3: Get order into your life
Whether you’re at home or in office, keeping your space neat and well-organised can be of great help.
In office, getting important files and documents easily without having to dig up a pile and search for it can save time and effort, save panic and keep you in control of a situation.
Avoid clutter in your workplace, try to use folders to segregate documents related to various projects and keep them neatly stacked in the available storage space.
At home, imagine not being able to find the keys when you’re in a hurry to leave. So always put them back where they’re supposed to be.
Tip 4: Don’t hesitate asking for help
Whether it’s at home or in office, don’t hesitate delegating work to those around. It’s okay to ask for help once in a while.
People around you may be more than eager to help you out. So instead of feeling overburdened, learn the smart way out and outsource work.
Tip 5: Exercise as a stress-buster
Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good and acts as a mood enhancer. It improves concentration, reduces stress and helps you sleep better. It also keeps you fit and in good shape.
So, if it’s not part of your schedule yet, think about a suitable time to make it part of your daily activities.
Tip 6: Don’t procrastinate unpleasant tasks
Each one of us would be able to identify certain tasks we hate to do and try postponing as much as possible. But such undone tasks remain in the back of our mind and cause undue irritation or stress.
It may be a pending bank-visit, a certain project in need of finishing touches or any personal work like a visit to the dentist. Decide that every alternate day, you’ll complete at least one of these pending jobs so that you have them all done within the next few weeks.
Tip 7: Limit distractions while at work
Distractions could come in various forms: e-mail pop-ups, net surfing, phone calls from friends, colleagues’ gossiping around or social networking sites. Such interruptions can break your flow of thoughts and reduce focus.
You’ll need considerable time to get your thought process back on track thereby increasing the time you take to complete your work. At the end of the day, you’ll wonder why you’ve not been able to complete tasks you’d scheduled for the day.
If you have a colleague who is in the habit of starting a conversation each time she passes your cubicle, it would be advisable to discuss with such a person and let them know that your work is being adversely affected by this constant interference. The friendly chat can happen during the tea or lunch break.
Tip 8: Maximise productivity during peak times
Your body has an internal clock which ensures that you feel energetic and produce best results during certain part of the day and feel sluggish during certain hours.
Use your high productivity time to finish as much work as possible. Post-lunch when a majority tend to feel lethargic or drowsy could be a good time to spend time on social networking or browsing the net.
This way you can maximise your efficiency by making optimum use of your time and save time for yourself.
Tip 9: Show foresight
If you have some important commitments lined up and you’re able to envisage what resources you’ll be in need of and arrange for it in advance, it’ll save some last minute stress.
For example, if you’re required to make a presentation to the senior management, you’ll need the board room reserved for it, you’ll need a projector, the managers involved need to be intimated. All the elements involved need to fall in line for it to be successful.
Tip 10: Be a few minutes early
If your rise 10-15 minutes early, you’ll be able to perform your daily tasks with ease without having to rush around and worry about being late.
If you have any important meeting scheduled for the day, reaching your office a little early will give you some breathing space and time for preparation.
Tip 11: Recharge during lunch time
During lunch time, try to completely disconnect from work. A good enough break with decent company over lunch can relieve stress, boost your mood and help recharge your brain cells.
You can also share updates and get useful inputs from your friends and colleagues. A short pleasant walk post-lunch in the fresh air is also a good idea.
Tip 12: Look at yourself in a positive light
Stop focussing on your shortcomings and don’t try to be what you cannot. Each of us have limitations which we need to understand.
So focus on your positive aspects, your achievements, accomplishments rather than lamenting about the negatives. Having a positive mindset would improve your self-esteem and help you feel motivated to achieve your goals.
Tip 13: Communicate
Misunderstandings can seriously strain relationships, so you need to always speak out and make your stand clear and reduce ambiguity. If you don’t communicate, there may be circumstances where due to lack of clarity, your colleague may be upset with you and you may end up losing the confidence of those around.
People may misjudge you or suspect you of withholding information. Let people around know the purpose of your actions and how it would benefit everyone or the company. Reducing relationship-related stress can be a huge relief if you’re able to create a collaborative atmosphere in your office.
Tip 14: Get some ‘me’ time
Each day try to get some time just for yourself; do something that you enjoy whether it’s a walk or your favourite novel or your favourite TV show.
This will help relieve stress by breaking the monotony of your daily routine and make you feel better.
Stress Management Tip 15: Relax on the weekends
Weekends should be the time to infuse some freshness into your life and energise yourself. Spend time with family and friends. Go out for a movie.
If your boss is in the habit of piling on work for the weekend, you need to have set your boundaries beyond which you should learn to say ‘no’.
Breathing exercises are known to calm down the system and reduce stress. Other than that following a healthy diet and sleeping well will keep you in sound health and reduce health-related issues.
Have you got more suggestions on how to effectively deal with stress? Do share them with us.