What makes you old before your time, sick and affects almost every aspect of your life from your personal relationships to your performance at work. Here’s a hint. It is known as the silent killer or, as the World Health Organisation put it, ‘the health epidemic of the 21st century’. The answer, good people, is stress. In this article we will take a closer at how stress affects your performance at work and how you can manage your stress for better performance.
It is not pretty. Research has shown that stress affects your concentration, memory and focus – all of which translate into poor quality work. But the list does not end there. Stress also negatively impacts your communication and social skills and affects your motivation, morale and productivity. It can also make you defensive and aggressive or, as one researcher put it, unapproachable. With a list of symptoms like this no one is going to win the employee of the month award. So what can you do to boost your productivity and motivation and become more, well, approachable?
Beat workplace stress with this three-step solution
Learn to recognise the symptoms of stress (see above) and put appropriate measures in place for managing your stress (see below). It is all about taking responsibility for your mental and physical health.
Look after yourself. Sleep well, drink in moderation, exercise regularly and stick to a healthy eating plan. Consider relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation and yoga.
Take charge of your work and workplace:
- Maintain a detailed to do list and plan what you would like to achieve in the coming week by prioritising your most important tasks
- Give yourself a few minutes every morning to clean out your e-mail and update your to do list and scheduling
- Plan ahead for big projects to ensure that you have enough time in your schedule
- By scheduling and planning ahead you can avoid over-committing yourself and missing deadlines
- Take regular breaks throughout the day and stretch regularly as you sit in front of your computer
- Don’t become a slave to your e-mail! Close your inbox and only check your inbox every few hours
- Take regular breaks during the day and don’t eat your lunch at your desk
- Schedule regular holidays
- Keep your desk, your computer desktop and your inbox scrupulously clean
- Get help! If you just aren’t coping speak to your boss or a counsellor
Last but not least remember that negative thinking is your worst enemy. Monitor your thoughts and try to think positively about your work. Remember to congratulate yourself on all your achievement and accomplishments.