Tips for Managing Time and Stress

Recently, Linda Moore at Complete Home Spa, asked if they could contribute an article to my website. I get a lot of these offers and, normally, turn them down. I mean, there isn’t a direct correlation between media editing and an in-home spa.

However, Linda suggested an article dealing with stress. I was intrigued, so I invited her to contribute. Here’s their article. While it doesn’t address the madness of an edit bay at crunch time, these are good ideas we can all use to reduce the stress of every day.

Larry

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We all experience some amount of stress as a result of our jobs. Whether you work in a fast paced, high stakes job where your decisions could mean the difference between the success or failure of a product or company or you work in an office job with manager-imposed deadlines and chatty coworkers who get on your nerves- stress is, unfortunately, a part of every workplace.

It’s great to have resources on hand for when you’re experiencing anxiety as a result of work stress, EFT tapping is a great one, but ideally we all want to be in a place where we are able to recognize stressors in our work situation and manage them before they turn into unhealthy anxiety.

Here, we’ll review some top tips for professionals to help you manage your time and deal with stress in healthy, productive ways.

First, designating a routine for making the list can and should be an enjoyable experience. Have a comfortable, quiet work space, a relaxing beverage, your laptop for access to your upcoming projects and your list. We like to do this on Sunday evening after dinner or early Monday morning to get a jump start on the day.

Another important consideration is what format you use for your list. Do you need the list to be digital and easily accessible online no matter where you are? If so, you’ll want to use something like Apple Reminders or Google Keep which lets you type your list, link resources, set alarms and sync your calendars across all devices. Online calendars are useful, but even the most tech savvy professional might prefer the routine and security of a physical planner. Sometimes the act of writing down a task can help you commit it to memory. Not to mention of satisfaction of crossing the item off when it’s complete!

When you’re writing list items, attach an appropriate amount of time to each task. This will help ensure you don’t overschedule yourself and prevent stress before it can hit. It can also help you to recognize when you should take a break from a task when you’re in the middle of it.

It can be uncomfortable to advocate for yourself, but if you approach the conversation logically with problem-solving in mind, it’s the healthiest thing you can do to manage your workload and avoid stress before it starts to get out of hand. A good leader understands that employees who are under too much stress can burn out and lose efficiency and will be happy you’re taking steps to prevent this from happening.

Set reasonable deadlines for all tasks, even if you have not been given a completion date. You will feel more productive if you’re hitting goals, even if they are small ones. Sometimes, being able to cross items from our to-do list makes us feel more accomplished and empowers us to keep the momentum going.

Some deadlines are set months in advance because a project has many moving pieces. In this case, set deadlines for yourself for smaller parts of the project in order to avoid procrastinating.

– Reserve a conference room a few times a week. Many companies embrace the open workspace, and it can be great for collaboration. But some tasks need your extended focus. After you make your to-do list for the week, identify one or two projects that you need to do independently and will benefit from your sustained attention. Then, reserve a conference room well before your deadline so you can have uninterrupted work.

– Save your socializing for after work. It’s so easy to get drawn in to a conversation during a break or at the start of the day that ends up eating into work time. You don’t have to cut yourself off from workplace friendships, when your break is over or you know you need to start a to-do list item let a coworker know by saying “I can’t wait to hear more about your weekend, let’s grab lunch together so I can give you my full attention, right now I have to…” or “I’m planning on meeting the team for drinks after work on Friday, let’s chat then!” This establishes boundaries and helps keep you focused, chatty coworkers know who they can count on to put off work and if you allow that to happen, chances are they’ll keep coming back. If you set a boundary, you can maintain a working friendship without creating a backlog of work that needs to get done.

– If all else fails, invest in some noise canceling headphones. Your employer may even let you claim the cost and reimburse you. You’re less likely to be bothered if your co-workers can see you’re wearing headphones. If you don’t like to listen to music or podcasts while you work, you can just wear them without listening to anything!

There are many free resources that can help train you in mindfulness and a lot of them are easy to do in 5 minutes. You can try an app like Calm to get you started, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to do on your own without guidance whenever you need a quick moment to regroup. Do this in your car, after you park but before you walk inside to prep for a long day or a big meeting. If you receive an email that’s negative or critical, step away from your desk for a few minutes before you begin to reply. It’s important to recognize feelings of frustration or being overwhelmed without living in them for too long. Practicing mindfulness allows you to acknowledge the feeling and move past it so you can continue with your day.

When you have a big project or other task that you know is going to be demanding, reward yourself when you successfully complete the task. Treat yourself to dinner or buy yourself something nice if you have the means. If spending money on yourself isn’t an option, set aside an uninterrupted hour (after your kids go to sleep so you don’t have to worry about childcare) when you can turn off your phone, read a book, take a bath or catch up on a show.

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Larry adds: Feel free to share your own techniques for dealing with stress in the comments below.


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