Don't let stress drain you at work
A DEMANDING boss, missed deadlines, unpaid overtime, an argument with your partner - these are a series of relatively minor issues. However, when they pile up, you end up feeling stressed out.
Stress has been around since the start of time. It is usually due to the awareness of something demanding which seems to extend into a never-ending future. It is this "never-ending" feeling that applies the pressure. Under normal circumstances, most of us should usually be able to manage our stress levels. This is so if the deadlines are self-imposed as it means we have control over the situation.
Too much stress is bad for you. It results in additional worry and increases your chances of making mistakes. It can even affect your health. On the flip side, a moderate level of stress play a positive role: It improves your alertness, it motivates you to perform better and even improves short-term immunity.
How do you behave when you are under stress? Do you focus or crumble? Here's how to make stress work for you.
This is the Boys Scouts' motto which really helps when one has to complete a task under pressure.
On a regular basis, try to imagine different scenarios, and for each one, think about how you would handle each situation. This allows you to put in place the necessary steps to prevent or handle a difficult situation.
Talk to others in similar positions to find out the challenging issues they have to deal with. Ask what they did right to manage the situation. More importantly, ask what they could have done better.
MANAGE TIME WELL
If you are always running late, you would not be able to handle an unexpected issue. Being punctual (or, better still, early) gives you that extra time to deal with a last-minute crisis. Always factor in an extra 10 to 15 minutes before scheduled appointments, and an hour or more for really important situations where getting it right is vital.
Managing people's expectations plays a key role in influencing the demands they make of you. You also need to manage your own expectations correctly to avoid over-committing yourself to too many projects.
If you communicate clearly with your management and your co-workers, you can reduce the number of stressful situations.
ADOPT A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
This can be difficult when you are under pressure, but keep a sense of humour.
By adopting a "glass is half full and not half empty" attitude, you reduce the chances of getting bogged down and depressed. Remember, everyone feels stressed from time to time, so this situation is not something unique to you.
If you feel the black cloud looming, distract yourself by calling a friend, or buying a small treat. Do not brood. It is unproductive to feel bitter or to beat yourself up over mistakes made. The past is done. Tomorrow will be another day. Make sure it will be a better one.
PREPARE FOR THE WORST
Think about what could happen if the situation is not resolved in the way that you want. Life will go on. It may be less than perfect, but it will not be the end of the world.
No one can control everything. This does not mean that you are powerless and cannot take positive action or are unable to control your emotions. Your ability to deal effectively with stress will play a tremendous role not only in your career but also in your whole life too.
The writer is founder mentor of Terrific Mentors International.