Feeling overwhelmed, overworked, overloaded and stressed are is all too commonplace nowadays. The problem is that these feelings are actually compromising our effectiveness, productivity and efficiency.
We get things done but at a cost to both the quality and quantity of work we produce and at a cost to our physical, mental and emotional health.
A proverb from the Dominican Republic says that,
“It’s not the load but the overload that kills.”
Some individuals become so overwhelmed that they are forced to give up their jobs. Others choose to take this route to a calmer and healthier lifestyle.
In reality, you shouldn’t have to choose between your health and your job. It’s question of getting the right perspective on life and work and finding balance.
So here are some expert stress management tips to help you restore balance in your life.
1. Set Goals
Without goals we drift aimlessly through life. When your goals are clear they act as a filter. Anything that is not relevant to your goals you can simply ignore.
This also means though, that the goals you set must be holistic, balanced and in harmony with each other. They must encompass every area of your life, so for example you don’t build a business and sacrifice your health.
Cut the clutter. For instance don’t let newspapers, magazines, letters, etc. accumulate. Make it a habit to get rid of things that no longer serve a useful purpose in your life.
Aim to keep at least a section of your work space or desk clear at all times. Clutter will inhibit your thinking and productivity.
3. Turn it Off!
Learn how to switch off to become more switched on. Get comfortable with turning off your email, Blackberry, mobile phone, etc. for hours at a time.
You don’t need to be a constant conduit for information. Periodically closing your personal information highway will free more of your time for focused work and play as well as provide the time for the restoration of your mind and body.
4. Learn How to Say “No”
There are probably many things that you do on a day-to-day basis that perhaps you don’t need to do because you are not the best person for the job. Find that person and delegate that particular task to them.
Also, don’t say “yes” to other people’s requests when you know that it’s not in your best interest, simply because you can’t pluck up the courage to say “no”.
Take time to plan your day-to-day activities as well as the various projects that you are involved with. Plans are not rigidly set in stone. They need to be flexible because when you set about planning you want to predict where any problems might arise.
Then you make contingency plans for each of these problems. In this way, if something does go wrong, you will be prepared and can smoothly make the transition to an alternative plan.
Decide what is really urgent and important and focus on these tasks first and foremost. Set aside dedicated blocks of time to focus on just one task at a time. Multi-tasking has been proven to be inefficient.
If something relates to a bigger project then break that project down into discrete, bite-sized chunks that can be completed within short timescales. In this way, whenever you work on that project you will make considerable forward momentum.
7. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Too many people suffer in silence.
“Asking for help is a way of emptying our overfull life.”
If you are an employee speak to your boss to explore possible ways of restructuring your workload. If you’re the boss then look at introducing new systems and ways of automating aspects of your work to take the pressure off your shoulders.