If you’re like most people, you probably experience some degree of workplace stress on a regular basis. And although there has been workplace stress for as long as time, if you think you’re more stressed today than you have been in the past, you’re probably right. The reality is that workers are expected to do increasingly more with fewer and fewer resources – especially in a fluctuating economy. But this doesn’t mean you have to settle for just being stressed all the time. Here are 5 tips for reducing stress at work:
• Get organized. Looking at clutter can cause an instinctive physical reaction and increase the production of stress-related hormones. This means that even if nothing you’re doing is particularly stressful, just having to stare at a messy desk can inherently make every task more stressful than it needs to be. So tackle that pile of papers and clean out your inbox on a regular basis and you might just find that you generally feel better about your work.
• Set realistic goals. It’s good to be ambitious, but if you are consistently setting goals that are unattainable, you’re also setting yourself (and potentially others) up for disappointment. Not all goals need to be lofty ones. In fact, it’s frequently best to set a series of small achievable goals rather than one large long term goal. This allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment at every step along the way, and ensures that no one goal or task becomes so large or daunting that it seems virtually impossible to achieve success.
• Sit up straight when you’re trying to focus. No one can focus 100% of the time (we’ll get to that later), but for those times when you need to focus on a phone call, a computer task or a paper document, it is best if you have a space where you can sit up straight with bright light and a clean working surface. Good posture gives employees a sense of control over the current situation and can help mitigate feelings of stress, even if the task at hand is important or potentially stressful.
• Try to avoid interruptions. If you’re working with your email inbox open, your cell phone ringer on and your office door wide open, it’s easy to get distracted by incoming emails, text messages, phone calls and even co-workers who are “just popping in to ask a quick question”. If you make a conscious effort to eliminate these distractions while you’re trying to complete a task, you’ll realize you are able to get more done in less time and will feel less overwhelmed and stressed about your ever growing to-do list.
• Know when it’s time for a break. No one can be productive 100% of the time and if you try to push through your threshold, you may find that you’re spinning your wheels without effective results. This feeling of unproductivity can be anxiety provoking and add undue stress to your day. If space allows, set up a nook in your office where you can step away from your desk, kick up your feet and get away from work for a moment. Bean bag chairs or similar products, such as the Comfy Sack, are comfortable (and space efficient) places to take a quick cat nap or to sit back with your headphones on for a quick escape from the daily grind. And because modern bean bag chair alternatives come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, you can find something that looks great, too!
Don’t wait any longer to begin minimizing work stress - start implementing these five tried and true techniques today!