One critical habit to address in reducing workplace stress involves your productive and non-productive use of time. How you manage your time is directly correlated to your stress levels.
Some stress is normal. In fact, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety states that stress is often what provides us with the energy and motivation to meet our daily challenges both at home and at the workplace. Stress in these situations is the kind that helps you rise to a challenge and meet your goals such as deadlines, sales or production targets, or finding new clients.
However, it is easy to pass the normal level of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can have many negative effects your body, mood and even your behavior. These effects include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, lack of focus, weight gain, depression and social withdrawal.
Take these simple steps from Dale Carnegie to better manage your time and ultimately reduce your stress in the process.
The early bird gets the worm…and the fresh coffee.
1. Show Up Early
As far as pros and cons go, there really is no downside to showing up to work, or any appointment early. A big cause of stress is rushing, which leads to anxiety. How many times have you found yourself stressed out and ultimately doing a lackluster job on a project because you did not have enough time? Although this cannot always be prevented, when you come in early, you have extra time to gather your thoughts and get prepared. Even a mere extra half hour is enough to ensure that you make a better impression in every situation. All the way around, this work habit reduces stress.
“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” Francis Bacon
2. Keep Your Thoughts & Plans in a Daily Planner
Whether you use software or plain paper, you need a daily planner to make sure that you are on top of all the daily details of your workdays. This will help you keep track of tasks and events. When you spend time planning, you reduce time spent executing tasks. Whether you are forgetful, or simply need to better manage your time, thorough daily planning is a key tool in successful time management.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha
3. Be Present: Focus On What’s Right in Front of You
Think about the number of times you have sat in a meeting or even a conversation where you allowed your mind to wander from the subject under discussion? You are often physically present, but mentally in a totally different place. When you daydream during meetings or conversations, you end up uninformed about the topic. When you are not present your mind is not focused on the current situation, rather you make way to become overwhelmed with past thoughts that might even be negative. Being present also has several benefits such as improved social skills and creativity.
Tips to being present:
- Sit up straight during meetings
- Take notes on the topic (tip not intended for use during informal conversations)
- Maintain eye contact with the speaker
Try to take these steps in your everyday life and see how quickly your stress level begins to decrease! Check back soon for Part II, and find more ways to improve your time management.