5 Ways You May Be Creating Your Own Job Stress
When we think of work-life balance we often focus on ways to reduce the stress that our job produces. The thinking is: if we can reduce the stress in the job then our life improves. Good thinking. Our job is part of our life so the more things you can do to make that part of your life work well, the better.
The problem is, many people do things to actually create the stress they are trying to deal with and don’t even realize it. Work comes with enough stressors like deadlines, unrealistic expectations from management and surprises of all sorts. We don’t need to add to the pile.
As with all changes we make, you must first be aware of the problem before you can do anything about it. If you’re dealing with job stress consider these things as low-hanging fruit to quickly do away with:
1-Procrastination. If you are the type that waits until the last minute to complete an assignment, you’re in for automatic stress. The problem with waiting too long is that you can never predict other things that may come along to also fill up your time. You also may discover the resources you need aren’t there when you are tight for time.
Action to take: When you get an assignment, start it then. Get ahead of the power curve.
2-Take on too much. If you’re the type that sees all kinds of problems and tasks to tackle, you may be taking on so much that you are creating stress. You may need to adjust your appetite. Sure it’s fun to do all of these things but not at the expense of creating stress.
Action to take: Sit down and prioritize your work. Be willing to cut a few things for a while.
3-Over react. You may think that everything someone asks of you is a top priority and you drop everything to respond to the request. This reactive behavior creates stress. While it is good to respond urgently to work, not everything requires your immediate attention.
Action to take: Ask questions about when it is needed so you can schedule it into your other work. Tasks will come your way that are needed immediately and this action will create space for that to happen.
4-Not self-empowered. This can be tricky. Some people think they can’t speak up to management or take actions without being approved. Granted, there are some times where this is true. The problem is that without a certain amount of autonomy to make decisions and take independent action, you are constantly reacting and second-guessing. It’s not a big confidence builder and is stressful. Yet, if you are a bit timid in nature you are your own worst enemy. You need to figure out the boundary conditions your boss has and this will help reduce your stress.
Action to take: This will require potentially retraining yourself from being reluctant or timid so start small to create some confidence. Start by picking out a smaller project or problem to solve and then test your decision with the boss. As new ones come along, use each one as an opportunity to identify where the hot buttons are for the boss. Ask questions and voice your opinions. You will soon learn that you can voice your opinions and act independently on many more things than you might realize.
5-No time. Huh? It seems in life and work, few things happen exactly as we think. Most of the time, people and processes just don’t get done when we think. Traffic turns bad at the drop of a hat and people make decisions you don’t expect. Usually, this means that your time will be impacted – in the wrong way.
Action to take: Plan extra time into your activities so you can reduce the stress that comes with running out of time. If you think it will take you 20 minutes to get somewhere, plan on 25. If you think it will take you 4 days to complete a project, plan on 5 and schedule accordingly. Even if you don’t always need the extra bits of time you planned for, you will discover that the occasional “breather” you give yourself will allow you to “de-stress”. You will also discover that you will build the greater personal brand when you consistently deliver on time, every time.
Life and work are never stress-free. It’s just a fact of life. Yet, there are things we can do to help keep stress at a minimum.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.