It’s no surprise that work stress is on the rise. Studies show that almost a third of all employees say they are “always” or “often” under stress at work. More than a third say their job interferes with their family or personal, which creates even more stress. The most common causes of workplace stress are job insecurity, overtime, performance pressures and job dissatisfaction. As a maker of productivity software, we are focused on helping fight stress by leveraging technology. That’s only one piece of the puzzle, though, so here are some ideas on how you can fight stress at work. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll probably get more work done
1. Determine the Cause of Your Workplace Stress.
As we mentioned, there are some main causes of stress at work. To fight stress, you need to know the source. Do you like your job? Do you feel like you’ll be laid off any day? Do you take on too much work because your boss piles it on?
2. Set Realistic Goals.
You cannot do it all. You need to strategize on how you can beat stress. Knowing the source of the stress sets you up to address it. If you don’t have goals, set them. If you’re trying to overachieve, set better goals. You can’t do it all.
3. Create Personal Boundaries.
Ah, the elusive work/life balance. If you work too much (trust us on this one), your work quality suffers. The more you work, the less effective your work time. It’s a physical limit, not an emotional one, so set office hours and stick to them. Just use those office hours for office work, not personal time. You’ll get more done in less time.
4. Get More Rest.
We’ve written about the importance of sleep before, at least as it applies to students. The same principles apply to you at work. If you don’t sleep
enough, not only do you perform worse, but you cumulatively perform worse. It starts affecting you as if you were drinking on the job. Get more rest, have less stress.
5. Exercise and Eat Properly.
Yes, it’s easy to eat at your desk and skip the workout so you get more time for work. The reality, however, is that you’re probably not eating right when you do that (e.g., pizza, takeout), and that leads to stress on your body. Skipping the workout isn’t good either – exercise releases important chemicals for your mental health and well-being. Try using the 20/20/20 rule for a couple of weeks and see what happens to your energy.
[link to 20/20/20]
6. Take Breaks.
We always advocate the Pomodoro technique, which leads to more focus for stretches of time. But then…a break. Work a while, take a break. Work a while, take a break. You’ll build a rhythm and get more done in the time. Even if it seems counterintuitive, it works.
7. Best Way to Fight Stress: Say NO More Often.
We’ve been using this one for a while too, and it absolutely reduces stress. Many times, that email from your colleague is simply a redirect of a to-do item. You don’t have to deal with every such re-mapped assignment. Set up a mental boundary around “your” work and “their” work, using those realistic goals you created. If your work is caught up, then you can consider working on theirs. Unless it’s urgent, you should consider saying NO. And that doesn’t mean ignoring the request – it means letting them know you have a schedule you’re focused on, you’d help if you could, but now isn’t good.
Fight Stress at Work
Productivity is an elusive goal itself. We’re all being asked to do more with less, when you actually can only do less with less. You can do more if you have less stress, and ironically, you can fight stress by doing less. It’s just about doing less with more focus, energy and clarity.