The demands of modern business requires working to multiple deadlines on a daily basis, creating a great deal of pressure. Whilst the era of working 9 to 5 seems long dead we have to accommodate growing workloads within a timescale that may well exceed eight hours a day. New technologies such as email and the introduction of smartphones and tablets means people have access to us no matter what time of the day. Time constraints mean we are more pressured into responding to emails, messages, and deadlines out of contracted working hours which does not allow for spending much quality time with ourselves, family or friends – an important factor in reducing stress.
So what are the telltale signs of stress? Symptoms can differ depending on the individual, from a migraine to a stiff neck, from annoyance to being left on your own, each person is unique and different - the point is where do we draw the line when we are stressed and what is the impact on our friends, relationships and family? So it is important that you identify the signs and promise yourself to do something about it.
You need to look at just how much work you have on, what deadlines you are facing and what hours you have to action everything. Once you know all this then you can do something about it. Look at the time management tools you have in place. Is it a case of dividing your time up per job or strictly allocating a time per task and then moving on? Can you delegate some of the jobs to other members of staff or management? Do all your emails have to be answered? Do they need a full response? I treat email like twitter, I provide short and concise emails that are direct to the point, yes they can be blunt, I don’t need friendly chit chat, emails need to stress their purpose and that is exactly how I compose and respond to messages. This saves me so much time and if possible, rather than joining lengthy conversations, I would rather pick up the phone and have a short dialogue with someone, which again saves time. However, for all intent and purposes, the objective is to concentrate your time on the issues that count. Clear the clutter and work on what is important, thus allowing you to free up your time to other tasks. List your daily objectives, decide upon what is important, what can be delegated and write the due date next to each task. Complete the tasks you are least looking forward to which will free up your time to undertake jobs that need more attention and commitment - this will hopefully help you determine your priorities.
Focussed breathing, which may sound unconventional, can actually help - hence why a lot of people turn to meditation and breathing exercises. A useful breathing exercise can be breathing through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven and then exhaling for eight seconds. This can help slow breathing and calm you down quite quickly. It can aid sleep too which may well be helpful if you are constantly thinking about deadlines and other pressures.
My last point; remember if you are not enjoying your job or there is something you dislike and do not enjoy then it may be time to look elsewhere. We all know life is too short and you could be wasting your time if you do not like what you are doing, so go find something you are passionate about and enjoy.