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How to Beat Work Stress and Become Twice More Productive

How to Beat Work Stress and Become Twice More Productive

Life is unpredictable, and unpredictable moments can create stress in our lives. Although stress is normal, excessive stress can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining. At its worst, stress can paralyze you and keep you from doing your goals, pinning you down to a spot where you may feel trapped and burdened.

Easier said than done, stress can be hard to overcome, especially if you don’t know you are suffering from it. Awareness of your stress is the first step to helping you manage it. When you know you’ve reached your limit, it’s time to take a break and listen to what your body tells you. The following are tips to help you manage work stress and how you can overcome it to become more productive at work

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Determine the primary cause of stress at work 

Any problem can be easily solved by going back to its root cause. People fail at overcoming their stressors because they either choose to ignore it or live with it. There are many things that can cause stress at work. Sometimes it could be the people. It could be a micromanaging boss, an annoying coworker, or a problematic family member who’s hindering from giving your best at the job. When you frequently deal with such people, you become stressed and lose focus on your current task. Stress can be the greatest distraction in your life, if you let it rule over you. Once you determine the primary cause of stress, you can now think of ways to handle the situation.

Got a report that’s making your feel anxious and stressed? Do it. Have a coworker who’s downright annoying and hard to get along with? Talk to him. The first step to managing your stress is to deal with the person or the object that’s causing it. Once you’ve overcome the problem, you’ll have more confidence to deal with things. Ignoring or taking these stressors for granted can lead to bigger problems that will interfere with your job. By taking the time to solve the root cause of your stress you can accomplish a lot more.

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Take Time to Relax 

Everybody needs some downtime to relax. According to Richard Colgan, author of Advice to the Healer  “When we are under extreme pressure, our bodies secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term, but if you’re stressed out constantly, these hormones aren’t as helpful and can become depleted over time.” Taking time to relax can help you recover from constant stress.

It doesn’t matter what type of activity you’ll be doing. If you feel relaxed going to a party or curling up with a good book at home, then so be it.  Don’t overwork and make sure that you spend some of your time for things you love doing. By paying attention to your emotions and relaxing once a while you can reduce stress from work activities that drain your mind and body.  Try yoga, meditation, walking or even simple relaxing activities like listening to music or taking a hot bath. You’ll be surprised how these activities can reduce your work stress.

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Get Enough Rest

Not taking proper rest can leave your mind and body drained.  Insomnia, lack of appetite and anxiety can all lead to stress and even more serious diseases. Well-rested people have better emotional balance; they can handle stress on the job and the workplace much better than people who are always lethargic and tired.

Get Organized

Prioritizing and organizing are known ways to handle stressful situations, especially if you don’t know what work to start with. It will give you a much clearer head if you sit down and take a moment to prioritize your options. An organized life can always free up your mind to deal with important work matters. Regain your control and increase your productivity by using apps that help you reach your maximum potential. There are apps like Wunderlist and Trello that will help sort out your appointments and files. Apps like Toggl and Time Tune will help you get the most out of your time.

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Talk to a Friend

Sometimes all we need to feel less stressed is to have someone to talk to. The person doesn’t have to fix all your problems, he just has to be there to listen. Listening is a means of connecting. When you listen, you connect with other people who you give ability to understand your thoughts and feelings.  Other emotion-based coping techniques like talking aloud to yourself or writing down your thoughts are also good options. The important thing here is that you have to let your feelings out. Sharing has positive emotional rewards contrary to keeping all your emotions bottled up forever. Someone with a supportive network of friends and family would be able to handle stress better than people who are lonely and isolated in life.

Featured photo credit: http://imukund.com/ via imukund.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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