Tag Archives: job stress

How to cope with job stress

 

 

 

 

On any given day, ask a friend, a co-worker or just about anyone the question, “how’s it going?” and the response is likely to be…

Busy!

Exhausted!

Got a lot going on!

Most of us live our lives always on, rushing from home to work to our kids’ soccer games, to the gym. We’re stressed. We’re overloaded. We’re piling up tasks that need to get done in great numbers than hours in a day.

But what if the opposite were true. What if someone asked us “how’s it going and we answered…

I’m so relaxed!

I’m feeling so peaceful!

Not much going on with me!

That’s sounds so boring, doesn’t it? In a way, we like to be stressed. We like the idea that we have full lives. My happiest days are those in which I wake up feeling a little bit stressed about what I need to accomplish, meet my work deadline, and allow myself the evening to spend with my family.

The key is to find the level of stress on a regular basis that we can tolerate  without harming our mental and physical health. It’s kind of like figuring our stress sweet spot — the happy middle, where we’re living in a way that makes us feel busy, but also happy and fulfilled. To do that, we need to feel like we’re thriving, rather than just trying to survive the day.

So you might be wondering how to accomplish the quest of allowing yourself to experience “good stress” without totally becoming overwhelmed by bad stress.

One way to go about it is to choose activities in your life that make you feel good, happy, and excited about life. It’s also a good idea to cut out as many activities as you can that drain you, or lead to experience chronic stress.

Another tactic is to change your perception of some of the stressors in your life by thinking like an optimist. Get into the habit of looking at stressful situations as personal challenges and the tension you would normally feel about those stressors may lessen or even turn into excitement. Getting dinner on the table during the school/work week is a stressor for me…so I’m going to figure out how to make it seem fun instead of stressful.

We can all agree that an unreasonable boss, unfair expectations at work, or an unhappy home life can create chronic stress that takes a toll. That’s the kind of bad stress that we need to handle more aggressively. But the day to day stress that takes out of our comfort zones and keeps us feeling alive and excited about life is okay. Our kids, our friends, our activities, our parents…they give us a lot to juggle — and a lot to appreciate.  Start seeing some stress as a good thing and be prepared for next time someone asks you “how’s it going?” I’ve got my answer ready.

Staying Late at the Office? How to Leave Work On Time

 

One evening at the office, I had packed my laptop, slung my purse over my shoulder and stood up from my chair to head home. At that moment, a co-worker sauntered over to my desk asking for help on a project.  I noticed earlier in the day, she had been chatting away with another co-worker and had wasted about an hour shooting the breeze. Now, she was stuck staying late at the office and if I helped her, I would be, too.

Most of us find it is hard to leave work on time.  A quick peek at email before heading out the door can turn into a half-hour delay. And then there are those last minute requests that push us into overtime. Sometimes, it’s our inability to prioritize that causes us to stay late at the office finishing something we could have done earlier.

Whatever the reason you’re leaving late, it’s possible to do a better job getting out of work on time. Here’s how to make it happen:

Ramp up communication. I often have scrambled out the door way past the time I was supposed to stop working. One year, I resolved to leave by 6 p.m., which required starting my day promptly. I talked to my manager about my plan. By doing so, rather than just trying to bolt when no one was looking, I got his buy in. He understood my goals and changed his habits of making late afternoon requests. Managers, customers and co-workers become less likely to drop to-dos on your lap toward the end of the day when you establish a pattern of leaving on time and communicate your schedule.

Understand the consequences. Many times, I have spent double the amount I should on something because I started it when I was tired. Research shows working longer hours doesn’t contribute to higher productivity. In studying a variety of research, the Harvard Business Review found working more than 40 hours a week could make some workers less productive, put them at risk for making mistakes, and create the appearance of poor time-management skills.

Plan your day before arriving at work. I have learned the hard way it’s easy to get distracted by email, social media or talking to co-workers during the day. If you want to leave after eight hours, you need to be efficient within those hours. Rather than go with the flow of the workday, know what you need to get done when you walk in the door. When you plan your workday before you arrive, you should make a psychological commitment to that departure time. Some days may not go as planned. Many will.

Give yourself a 20-minute window for departure. If you wait until 6 p.m. to start packing up, you likely will get delayed by distractions. Once you’ve set your departure time, block out the 20 minutes prior to that time on your calendar to clean up any last daily details.

With some change in habit, you can actually get out the door on time. Of course, you have to believe it is possible — and resolve to make it happen.

For more, read my Miami Herald column on leaving work on time.

If you resolved to leave work on time in 2017, how are things going? Please share your experiences/frustrations/successes below!