Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Ten Tips To Reduce Your Work-Related Stress

Ten Tips For Stress Reduction Featured Image

Cold Friendship by Hamed Saber via Flickr CC

 

Today I’m taking a break from Busting Your Corporate Idol to share some stress reduction tips that were inspired by stories I heard while researching the book.

 

Three ways to relieve stress at work by putting yourself first

  1. Put your health first.  Take time during the business day to exercise.  If you are suffering from chronic stress, you are probably working too many hours.  If you take time away from work to exercise, your stress will go down and you will become more productive, which will more than make up for the 90 minutes at the gym.
  2. Put your time first.  There are always people asking you for favors, and to do extra things.  If you are good at what you do, there are an infinite number of things you could be doing.  Make sure that you put your time first by learning to say no.  Having fewer commitments will reduce stress
  3. Become a winner at politics.  Are you the type of person who says “I don’t care about the politics, I just want to get it done.”  This is a recipe for being taken advantage of.  Politics is a fact of life, and no one is above it.  If you aren’t playing at least to defend yourself, you risk being played.

Three ways to relieve stress at home by putting people first

  1. Put your health first by stopping all work by 9 PM to give you an hour or two to decompress before bed time.  Sleep deprivation is a guaranteed way to increase stress.
  2. Put your health and family first by having a Sabbath, least one day a week with no work or email at all.  You will be amazed at how refreshed and more creative you feel.
  3. More sex at home.  The research is pretty consistent – people who have sex more often are happier.  And stress leads people to have sex less often.  Use those goal setting skills to have sex at least once during the workweek and once on the weekend.  This will lead you to stop working earlier, and will directly combat feelings of stress.

A key to preventing stress at work is to reduce your workload.  If your boss asks you to do more, here are four things to help you say no.

  1. Don’t feel guilty. There is only so much time in the day, and your health and family are more important than whatever the boss is asking you to do.
  2. Make the boss decide the business priorities.  Your time is a finite company resource.  Explain the trade off decision, and why you think another use of your time is more important.  If the boss insists, ask for his or her support in explaining the changed deadline to the stakeholder whose deliverable is being pushed back.
  3. Offer an alternative solution.  Sometimes the boss is asking for more than he or she needs.  Offer a quick and easy solution instead.
  4. Suggest someone else to do the job.  Your boss needs a solution, but it doesn’t necessarily need to come from you.

If you find at least one of these suggestions helpful, please share using the buttons below.

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Chapter 5 : The Pivotal Role Of Circumstance Part 4

If a father dresses his son in the finest clothing, places a purse of gold around his neck and then tells him to stay all day on the the steps of a brothel, is it possible in that context for the son not to enter and sample the wares? -Inspired by The Talmud. [i]

Take a smart person who wants to make a difference, and put him on the most exciting project at a small company.  Is it possible for him not to work all the time?  Here is how “Alan” describes his experience at a biotech startup.

“I loved my work.  There were stages in my job both at the plant company and at the genomics company where I loved my work.  I would get in early, I would stay late.  I thought I was making a contribution and it all felt right to me.  What made it good?  It had to do with the corporate leadership, when I was really clear in my scientific heart that we had strengths to address what we were going after.  What I knew from my training as a scientist, the company had resources and it really felt like we were aligned with the goals of the company.”

Being aligned with the goals of the company and making a difference are two of the most common answers that people gave me when describing a positive work environment.  I can relate, and Alan’s story brings back memories of the best times from my career.

Then, Alan talked about his family life.

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[i]  The Talmud is a collection of stories and commentary to supplement the Torah, the Jewish books of law (aka the Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament.)  This story is based on a passage in Tractate Berachos.