Are you feeling the heat from the pressures at work? Perhaps you are wondering where all the time went at the office today. It's incredible how when work begins to pile up, there never seems to be enough time in the day to sort it all out. If you're becoming overwhelmed, you may need to find a few ways to make life in the workplace less stressful. Take a deep breath and have a look at these easy strategies.
Take charge of your time
There are many distractions interfering with your productive time at work. If it's not email, it will be a request for some information or another meeting. Before you know it, the day is over and you still have that paper to produce. Start by taking back some control of your workday. Manage your emails twice a day. This stops other people's demands from invading your schedule and allows you to prioritize. When you have finished reading the emails, shut your inbox to avoid further distractions. And if you find yourself running from meeting to meeting, stop and review them. Are they productive and do they have clear objectives? Do you really need to be there? Could you save time traveling by using Skype? Change your working day by attending only those meetings that will be beneficial for you and your portfolio. If you have an important piece of work to complete then schedule a block of time in your calendar for it so it doesn't get filled with meetings.
Focus through mindfulness
Most people multitask at home and in the workplace, but it has been found that it actually leads to distraction and a lack of focus which can lead to stress. Mindfulness means being in the moment and focused. It helps you manage your thoughts and feelings too. Mindfulness has been shown to increase activity in the pre-frontal cortex or emotional side of the brain, and can lead to less stress and depression. Using mindfulness techniques in the workplace such as a simple body scan meditation or some breathing exercises can help keep you stay focused on the job and remain calm when the going gets tough. Research is making it increasingly clear that mindfulness can be beneficial to your health. Starting your day with a short meditation will help you manage the pressures of the workplace and be in the moment.
The art of saying no
We're probably all guilty of taking on more work than we can handle. And everyone knows some people who manage to offload their work onto someone else with very little effort. Then there are the "urgent" requests that turn out to not be so immediate after all. This adds to your workload and can increase stress in the workplace. While some new pieces of work can be excellent development opportunities, you need to watch out for those with a poisoned chalice and those that are not so urgent. Take time to consider new pieces of work instead of jumping right in, and always be clear about the scope. One way of politely declining is to respond that your portfolio is full right now but you may be able to look into it later in the year. If you think a piece of work doesn't need to get done at all or is not urgent, then just say no. Think before you say yes.
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Kerr, C. et al. (2013). Mindfulness starts with the body: Somatosensory attention and top-down modulation of cortical alpha rhythms in mindfulness meditation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.