How to Reduce Stress at Work

How to Reduce Stress at Work

 

How to Reduce Stress at Work: 12 Strategies to Handle Stressful Careers

Overwhelmed. Nervous. Exhausted. Agitated. Pained. All at once.
Yep, if you’re like, well, pretty much every worker ever, you know what we’re talking about: stress. No matter your job, work stress is like the zero on a roulette wheel: it’s coming around eventually. Luckily, as a species we’ve developed a host of strategies — large and small — for managing stress. We’re going to share 12 with you. Why 12? Because it’s the least stressful number, ofcourse!* *Note: scientific backing for this may be minimal.

1. The Biggies: Sleep, Eat right, Exercise
Yes, you’ve heard these all before. Too bad. Scientific study after scientific study has validated the effectiveness of all these things for relieving stress. Sleeping, eating right, and exercising are all great for your physical health, but more importantly, they also do wonders for psychological health. All three help boost endorphins, regulate dopamine, and simply keep you happier. Doesn’t mean you can’t cheat. (Because sometimes the best stress relief is binge-watching Game of Thrones with a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.) But if you want to manage the stress you already have while simultaneously helping bullet-proof yourself from stress in the future, you owe it to yourself to start thinking about all these things.

2. Establish Boundaries
Often the source of work stress is the feeling that work can never end. That feeling’s certainly grown as electronic communication ensures you can always be found. Or does it? Sometimes the best stress-prevention technique is to work on saying no. No emails after 9pm. No work on the weekends. No letting managers add more work to your already-too-full plate. You don’t have to choose all of these, but you should choose the one or two that matter to you.

3. Reduce Interruptions
Studies prove it: interruptions make us more agitated. That’s why one good strategy is to keep interruptions to a minimum. Turn off your internet connection for a while. Or at least close your email reader and chat windows. Put a “do not disturb” sign on your door or cubicle. Wear big headphones so that people know not to bother you. You’ll get more done and won’t feel pulled in a million directions.

4. Write Things Down
Too much going on in your head? Use an old technology to help: pencil and paper. When you’re stressed out because you have too much to keep track of, take a sheet of paper and write down everything you have to do. (Or use an app like RTM, or Trello.) Not having to worry about remembering what you have to do frees up a surprising amount of emotional energy to actually do those things.

5. Prioritize to Immediately Reduce Work Stress
If it feels like you’ll just never get everything done, sometimes you just need to realize that you don’t have to. Make a list of all the tasks on your plate, then decide what reallyhas to get done, and what you’d just like to have done. This doesn’t mean that what you’d like to get done isn’t important. But you can worry about that later.

6. Clean up Your Desk or Workspace
Again, studies show that a cluttered desk helps raise work stress levels. Often when everything else feels unruly, taking 30 minutes to organize your workspace can bring a relieving feeling of calm.
Note: this same strategy applies to your apartment, your house, your car, your briefcase, or any other place you keep your stuff.

7. Show up Early
If you get stressed because you’re always running behind schedule, what can do the trick is coming to work 10 minutes early every day. Get some coffee, put your stuff away, and plan out your day. By the time “worktime” hits, you’re already rolling!

8. Listen to Music
William Congreve wrote that “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast.” He’s right. If you need a little de-stressing at work, throw on the headphones and dial up whatever tunes make you happy. Beyonce? Bach? 2-Pac? Doesn’t really matter — if you’re digging it, you’re feeling better.

9. Schedule in Breaks
It’s tempting to feel like the only way to manage a stressful workload is to power through it, non-stop. Turns out that’s actually counter-productive. It’s a fact: breaks let you get more done. If you’re worried about all the work you have to do, set breaks for yourself. Work hard for 25 minutes, then walk around for 10. Work hard for another 25 minutes, then read something stupid online. Give yourself time to recharge; it’ll keep you from burning yourself out. And when it is time to take a vacation, be sure to schedule time off and enjoy some much-needed R&R.

10. Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
This is falls more into “larger strategies” than “things to do right now.” That said, at plenty of workplaces, meetings pile on until there’s no time to simply sit down and work. That’s stressful. No matter where you are on the totem pole, you’ll be helping everyone else on your team if
you advocate for dropping unnecessary meetings. There’ll be fewer things to worry about, and you’ll free up more time for everybody.

11. Reward Yourself for Working
Sometimes the best cure for stress is to simply be nice to yourself. And what better reason is there to be nice to yourself than for having done some good work? Along with breaks (see #9 above), small rewards can be a great way to keep yourself productive, while helping you tally the amount of work you’ve actually gotten done. So work hard for a while, then reward yourself by writing to a friend. Or having a small treat. Or leaving the office for 10 minutes. By holding those rewards back until you’ve earned them, you’ll be more motivated to work. But by giving them to yourself, you’ll tell yourself you deserve them.

12.Be Thankful
Silly as it might sound, cultivating a thankful attitude can reduce both general and work stress, and make you happier. As a general life practice, working to be more thankful is one of the best ways to keep you stress-free (or at least stress-reduced). There are lots of ways to do this. Keep a gratitude journal. Force yourself to say “thank you” to three people a day. Spend 5 minutes every night going over what you’re thankful for. Whichever of these you choose, keep doing it. In a short period of time, you’ll notice how much better you feel.
Original article from ClickTime.

How to handle conflict positively (part I)

How to handle conflict positively (part I)

Conflict at work (and in life) is inevitable. No doubt you’ve experienced situations in the past where your workmate’s needs and wants have differed from yours and this caused some tension or friction.

When handled appropriately, conflict can have positive outcomes – like increased understanding, stronger relationships and improved self-knowledge.

So how can you manage conflict to produce positive change?

Here are the first 3 essential principles to help you handle conflict positively.

Ensure that good relationships are the first priority

Start from the basis that you want to find a solution without damaging the working relationship. Conflict is often about a difference of perspective or opinion, not who’s right or wrong.

2 Keep people and problems separate

Recognise that in many cases your workmate is not just “being difficult” – real and valid differences are often the root cause of conflict. Ask open questions to understand the problem and separate real issues from the person. Focus on the intention behind their actions.

3 Listen first; talk second

To solve a problem effectively you need to understand where your workmate is coming from before explaining your perspective or defending your position. Listen to understand, not to find holes in their argument!

 To be continued … 
How to handle conflict positively (part II)

How to handle conflict positively (part II)

How can you manage conflict to produce positive change?

Here are the final 3 essential principles to help you handle conflict positively.

4 Pay attention to other’s concerns

By listening carefully you’ll most likely understand why your workmate is adopting their position or perspective. Focus on their interests and what concerns them, then explore where these overlap with yours

5 Focus on objective, tangible “facts”

Agree your common objective elements that can be used to make a joint decision to handle the situation. Use unbiased objective criteria such as common goals, standards, established process and practices.

6 Explore win-win options together

Avoid seeing conflict as an “either-or” where you either win or lose. Be open to the idea that a win-win position may exist, and that you can get to this idea jointly by brainstorming creative solutions to resolve the conflict together.

Use these simple principles to keep conflicts positive and constructive. 


How to be “CALM” and resolve conflict

How to be “CALM” and resolve conflict

Use these simple steps to resolve conflicts calmly and effectively.

 

Conflict management in the workplace is not necessarily a bad thing if you handle it positively. When dealt with effectively, managing conflict can have positive outcomes – like increased understanding, stronger relationships and improved self-knowledge.

Each of us has a preferred way to deal with conflict and the “right” way to resolve it varies according to the situation. Use this 4-step C-A-L-M process to resolve conflict no matter what your style is.

Clarify the issue

Spend time to analyse the conflict from your own perspective and prepare how you will approach the conversation. Focus on the underlying interests, needs, and concerns.

Invite your workmate to have this conversation with you privately. Set out the principles for handling the conflict, stressing that the issue is best resolved through open discussion and communication, not finger-pointing nor avoidance.

Give your workmate the opportunity to express their viewpoint and acknowledge their perspective and feelings – whether you agree with them or not is unimportant. Your aim is to understand their motivation and goals and see how your actions may affect these.

2 Agree the problem

It is common to find that you have a contrasting perception of the issue due to your different interests and motivations. You need to understand what your workmate sees as the real issue, not what you assume it to be.
Look to understand the conflict in objective terms, focusing on facts and work issues. Leave personalities out of the discussion.
Only once you can identify and agree on the problem(s) that needs to be resolved are you then able to work on finding a mutually acceptable solution.

3 Listen actively

Use active listening skills to ensure you hear and understand your workmate’s position and perceptions. Restate, paraphrase and summarise what you hear to ensure you are on the same page. If you can’t reach common perceptions of the problem then at least get an understanding of what they see as the issue.

The words you use can have a big impact on how the conversation progresses. Take a thoughtful approach, provide specific examples of the impact of the conflict and skip generalised, broad statements.

4 Manage your way to resolution

By this stage, the conflict may be resolved with better understanding as a result of the above steps. A mutually satisfactory solution could even be obvious to you both.

If not, invite discussion by asking questions such as “I wonder if…?”, “Have you thought about…?” or “How might we…?”

Brainstorm possible solutions together. Keep an open mind to all ideas, including ones you never considered before. You both need to have a fair input into the process to arrive at the best solution.