Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Breaking Bad [stress habits edition]

According to The American Institute of Stress*, “80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help.” Having high stress levels at work is such a prevalent factor in our daily lives, but we can reduce those levels by honing in on some habits.

Having an unobtainable goal or expecting something from yourself that isn’t possible will create disappointment. Not only will this feeling keep you in a constant state of stress and exhaustion, but it will also affect your coworkers and create a negative environment. 
The Fix: Try to readjust your expectations by creating smaller goals. Smaller goals will have a low-level of impact if you don’t end up meeting a goal and a high-level of impact when you meet one or more of your goals.

The first sign of not enough organization! Clutter can accumulate quickly which leads to drowning in the stress of old paperwork. It can be hard to find a moment to organize or sort through the clutter but it should be a priority. 
The Fix: Think of organizational tactics to help you stay on track. Everyone is different, so you’ll have to cater your tactics to your own schedule and habits. Some quick fixes include labeling folders or setting aside time for weekly filing. If you MUST have a pile on your desk, then at least prioritize the pile and put the most important things on top. Trial and error is the only way to find the system that works best for you, so be patient.

Lack of Movement
Staying focused is important, but don’t forget to leave your desk. Often times, we sit in front of our computers with our eyes glued to the screen and our bodies glued to the chair. This sedentary habit doesn’t give you any motivation or energy, and you will leave at the end of the day with a clouded head. 
The Fix: Moving can help keep stress levels down, so try to stay conscious of your movement. Use stairs instead of an elevator if you can or take a lap around the office every once in a while. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get up and move!

Saying “yes”
I’m sure you want to impress your boss with your workload capabilities, but saying yes to too many tasks can become overwhelming very quickly. 
The fix: Learn how to say no! However, you need to have a reason. It’s acceptable to politely decline tasks because your workload is too heavy. This will allow you to focus on the manageable tasks at hand without major stress, rushing, and/or mistakes.

“Do it yourself” (DIY) usually applies to crafty projects that you can do at home, so don’t bring the phrase to work. Some believe that it’s faster or better to complete certain tasks on their own because it ensures them that it will be done effectively. This is dangerous because you can quickly overload yourself and go back to square one – perfectionism. 
The fix: Assess the task and try your best to delegate it or ask for help if you need to. Work on trusting your colleagues and assure them that you’re there to help. This type of teamwork develops over time and will constantly become stronger.

Stressful habits are just plain stressful. They create chaotic work environments and dangerous health effects, and they can limit your career development. Look at the big picture to assess the stress habits you might be letting slip by. Learning how to adjust them will create a positive and effective work environment for you and your office.

How do you handle work stress? We'd love to hear your input! Comment below.

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