Work stress: Give yourself a break

Whether you love or hate your job, there’s no denying it’s a massive part of your life and probably takes up more of your time than anything else. But let’s not lose perspective  – it’s still just one part of your life and who you are. It doesn’t have to define you.

Find your work-life balance

Finding a healthy work-life balance can be tricky but it’s achievable. It doesn’t have to mean taking a pay cut, finding a new job or starting your own business, it can simply be a change in your mindset and the way you approach each day. 

Work smarter, not harder

“Work smarter not harder” is frequently bandied about in work speak. Gaining more self-awareness about your work style, focusing on what really matters and establishing routines will help you carry out tasks faster and more efficiently.  

Set yourself a certain amount of time per task and try not to get caught up in less productive activities. Stop multitasking. Create designated times in the day when you’ll do routine tasks, such as checking email and stick to it. Delegate tasks where possible. Whatever you do don’t work smarter AND harder!

Here’s what you gotta do:

These are a few ideas I’ve come across that’ll help improve time management and reduce stress levels. 

Goals, goals, goals

Take time to work out what you want to achieve. Sounds simple but it’s easy to lose sight of your goals, especially when it feels like everybody wants a piece of you. Knowing what your goals are will help you plan better and focus on activities that will help you achieve them.

Urgent, important or both?

Prioritise tasks to make the best use of your time. Tasks can generally be grouped into four categories:

  • urgent and important 
  • not urgent but important 
  • urgent but not important
  • neither urgent nor important

If you concentrate on the “not urgent but important” stuff you should lower your chances of tasks creeping into the stressful “urgent and important” category. That’s the theory, definitely worth a try!

Quality not quantity

How many times have you heard that and still end up working extra hours in the belief it’ll make you more effective? Spending more time on something doesn’t necessarily equate to achieving more. Focus instead on results and less on how busy you are.

Four D’s to reduce email stress

Deciding what to do the first time you open an email is crucial for time management and email stress. Apply these principles to your inbox and reap the benefits.

• Delete – you can probably delete half the emails you get immediately

• Do – if the email is urgent or can be completed quickly

• Delegate – if the email can be better dealt with by someone else

• Defer – set aside time later to spend on emails that require longer action

Let’s do lunch

Yes let’s. Taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help to re-energise you for the afternoon. A midday break also helps you plan your day into more manageable chunks. So, grab a sandwich, go for a walk or do whatever makes you happy. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Get physical

Scientists think that physical activity helps to maintain and improve wellbeing. It causes chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood. It can also boost self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge. 

I agree with the scientists. I’m a massive fan of fell running. I bloody love it. I made changes to my working life so I could be more active, and I’ve written more about that here 

Working smarter is a marvellous thing

A change in mindset and the way you approach the day can make a massive difference to your stress levels at work. Prioritising what’s important at work and in your personal life may lead you to look for a new role or a change of career.

If you want to swap tips or you’d like some advice on looking for a new role, contact me for a friendly chat.