Manage Your Time, Reduce Your Stress at Work
Are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your workload? Is your to-do list getting longer? Do you feel paralyzed because you don’t even know where to begin? Well, you are not alone. At least 80 percent of workers report feeling stress on the job. Here are some tips to gain more control of your workday, reduce your stress and become more efficient with managing tasks and time.
Organize your workspace. Work management experts agree that one of the top reasons workers are less efficient is due to physical disorganization. The biggest issue is not being able to find things. We can actually spend six weeks a year looking for things, whether it is something on the computer like an email, or in your filing system.
Tips: Clean up your emails during down time. Delete ones you don’t need, and make folders or files for organizing items you will refer to often. (Keep in mind that 80 percent of what we file is never looked at again). Put things back where they belong and keep your desk and drawers organized and de-cluttered. Things that you use often should be easily accessible. Get rid of apps or files that you don’t use or that are outdated.
Set boundaries: The biggest source of interruption is in our modern workday is email. We interrupt our own thought process every few minutes. Phone calls and co-workers are two other key sources of interruptions and distractions.
Tips: Devote the first hour of the day to your most critical task rather than checking email or other non-critical tasks. Set aside specific time for email and phone calls. If you work in an open cubicle, turn your desk away from the open area to avoid easy eye contact. If you have an office, close the door to avoid disruptions. Schedule regular meeting times with key team members for communication “check-ups” in order to avoid unnecessary interruptions. With firm boundaries, you can better protect your time and yourself, avoiding burnout.
Practice daily self-care: An important part of efficiency and productivity is practicing self-care regularly. Ask yourself if you are including physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual “me time.” Also, stressful, distressing, negative thoughts and people can be very draining. Without proper self-care, you can bring home work stress, which can impact your family life.
Tips: Reduce or delegate your tasks and commitments and place yourself on the calendar for regular self-care activities, even if is only five or ten minutes at a time. Make it a priority to enjoy your lunch break and recharge. Avoid or reduce time with people who drain your energy. Work/life balance is a necessary component of increasing your work productivity and dealing with work-related stress in a healthy way.
Cindy Goulding, MS, LPC, NCC, CPT, CWC, is a licensed professional counselor as well as a health and wellness coach and certified personal trainer. She is the author of Healthy Weight: It’s a Family Affair. Her website is victoriousmcg.com.