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7 Secret Techniques to Cope with Stress at Work

7 Secret Techniques to Cope with Stress at Work

In this day and age, almost everybody experience some stress at work. In fact, unhealthy working is the main reason for stress these days. If you feel like work stress is getting the best of you, here are some great tips, to help you deal with the pressure!

1.Take breaks

Most workplaces allow their workers regular breaks throughout the day. In fact, studies have shown that taking breaks can actually boost productivity levels. So, if you ever feel pressured to skip your breaks, just remember that your time may actually be better spent relaxing. You could take a walk around the block, call a friend, grab a coffee, or anything else that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to work.

2. Practice relaxation techniques

Though taking your breaks is a great way to de-stress during the work day, sometimes you need to calm down even when you can’t get away from your desk.  For those instances, you may well want to learn some relaxation techniques, you can use without going anywhere. Some great examples to try are deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or a chanting mantra. Or, adding some tabletop plants.

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Another option is exercise, which science has shown is a great way to decrease stress. Even if you can’t fit in time for the gym outside of work, there are plenty of small exercises you can do just at your desk.  Try adding a few of these techniques to your schedule and you should see (and feel!) the results almost immediately.

3. Take time to recharge outside of work

If taking your breaks and practicing relaxation techniques at your desk still isn’t enough, make sure you aren’t adding extra stress to your plate with your outside-of-work activities.  Are you stretching yourself by helping out with your kid’s PTA? What about stressing yourself out with a house remodel? These kinds of pressures outside of work can add to an already stressful situation, making your 9 to 5 feel even busier and more demanding than it is. Take a good hard look at the commitments you’ve agreed to and see if there are any you could cut down on to make things a little easier for yourself.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should get rid of all of your non-work activities. In fact, though you want to cut down on things that add to your workload, you should increase the time you spend doing things that help you relieve stress. From volunteering to shooting hoops with the guys, these kinds of extracurricular activities have been shown to lower stress levels, changing both your work and home life for the better.

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4. Develop and maintain your support networks

Sometimes you don’t have to change anything about the amount of work you have at home or at your job, to feel like things are a little easier to deal with. Just having a strong support network of friends and family is a huge help in dealing with stress. Socializing allows you to take your mind off things, and having a friend or family member to confide in gives you a way to vent and let off some of your stress.

So, if you’re putting off socializing because you’re stressed out with work, you may actually be making things harder for yourself! Instead, consider reaching out to your friends for something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee or some drinks after work—it may be just the break from work that your nerves needed!

5. Create a relaxing space for yourself at home

A lot of the stress you are experiencing at work could be due to the atmosphere of your workplace. If you’re in a bland, gray cubicle you’re likely to feel far more disheartened, than if you’ve added some decoration to make your office feel like it really belongs to you.

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Similarly, if you work from home some or all of the time, make sure you have a space designated just for that purpose, somewhere where your family members won’t bother you and you are able to concentrate in comfort. Get yourself a man cave to escape into, at home or just a more nicely decorated cubicle and you’ll see your stress levels decline in no time.

6. Avoid stressors or come up with healthier responses

If you’ve looked outside of work for possible stressors and don’t see anything problematic there, it may be time to turn your eye inward. Are there potential stressors at work that aren’t necessary to doing your job? For example, if you’ve taken on the job of coordinating birthday parties for people at work on top of your usual duties, perhaps it’s time to hand that off to someone else.

Or maybe there’s a particular person at work who just gets your hackles up. If Jake from Marketing always manages to say something to put you off your game, try avoiding him as much as possible.  If you cut out the most stressful parts (or people) from your job, it might suddenly seem a lot more bearable!

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Of course, sometimes cutting out the stressful parts of your work simply isn’t possible. In that case, there are still things you can do to improve your situation. Instead of responding to those stressors, whatever they are, by immediately feeling tense, anxious or angry, practice new responses that will be better for your mood and your health. This is a great place to try some of those relaxation exercises I mentioned earlier!

7. Discuss the situation with your supervisor

If you’ve tried all of these techniques for dealing with and decreasing stress at work and you still feel like the pressure is too much, it may well be time for you to speak to your supervisor. See if there is anything your boss can do to change your workload or responsibilities to make things more manageable on your end.  Just plan ahead to make sure you are approaching your boss in the best way and you could cut your stress levels down enormously.

Lots of people get so used to feeling stressed out about work that they start to think that it’s just the way things have to be, but that’s simply not the case!  Almost any situation can be made less stressful using the right techniques. You may have to try a few different things before you figure out what works for you, but don’t give up!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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