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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 November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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