Stress plays a critical role in life. It can help you accomplish work timely and accurately, promote healthy competition, and force you to evaluate problems and formulate creative solutions. It can also hamper your ability to effectively perform your job, thereby reducing your chances of promotion; interfere with your capacity to sustain relationships; and lead to physical illness. So, how do you find balance? Start by preventing or eliminating stress that is unnecessary.
1. Manage Expectations. Are others clear about what you expect of them? Whether they are vendors, subordinates, or committee members, make sure they understand exactly what you want, and when and how you would like it completed. This will prevent misunderstandings for you as well as the other person.
2. Communicate Effectively. Many problems arise due to a lack of or ineffective communication. Don’t focus solely on your verbal and written communication though. Listening is a lost art for most, and one that can stand to be improved. No matter what your position is, strong communication skills are essential.
3. Let go of control. Are you someone who thinks that no one else can perform even the simplest of tasks as well as you can? If so, you could eliminate a lot of stress by simply learning to let go. Many companies reorganized departments into teams several years ago, because they realized that it is a more efficient and effective way to do business. It’s not necessary for one person to perform all tasks related to his or her job. In fact, you are more effective when you concentrate on what you do best and let someone else take care of the rest.
4. Steer Clear of Procrastination. Staying on top of things will reduce stress when the unexpected occurs. Procrastination often rears its ugly head when you are faced with a task you would rather not do. Instead of putting it off, determine if it would be appropriate to delegate the project or a portion of it to someone else. If not, get it out of the way first.
5. Take regular vacation time. They give it to you for a reason. Some companies even require you to take time off. It gives you time to unwind, gain a new perspective, and become more focused. People who work too many hours without a break find themselves more prone to illness. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to rest.
6. Address problems as they arise. Don’t push issues to the back-burner because you don’t want to face them. Confront problems as they arise in order to avoid stress from building up and unleashing itself at an inappropriate time.
7. You can say ‘NO’. Many people have difficulty saying no. However, you cannot take on every project, task, and role that gets cast off on you. For projects outside your scope of responsibility, consider whether it will help you achieve your career goals. If not, politely decline the offer and move on to something that will.