Trouble focusing at work? Find yourself losing concentration as the day progresses? Well, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, nearly 50% of all workers suffer from moderate to severe stress. And 2 out of 3 employees report having difficulty focusing on tasks at work because of stress. So this week, I wanted to share five habits known to be incredibly powerful for reducing stress at work.
1. Work your to-do list
Don’t keep one. Keep five. Your personal to-do list should be made up out of five categories: today, tomorrow, this week, catch-all (bucket for loose ends/things that pop up into my head) and reminder.
This reduces your personal stress at work by allowing you to record every single task that pops into your head in the appropriate category, and tackle it when you choose to (note the word “choose”) The result? You stop stressing about “I need to do …” and every single week/day you know exactly what you need to get done.
2. Take regular breaks
If we have a lot on our plate (who doesn’t?) or as the day progresses and we see how much there is left to do, the temptation is huge to just plough ahead and get stuff done. Don’t.
Research has proven that our capability to concentrate and focus dramatically diminishes if we work for too long without taking (mini) breaks or try to tackle too many things simultaneously.
3. Monitor your emotional state
Monitoring your mindset is a crucial component of managing and reducing stress, and allows you to recognize the warning signals before it’s too late. Once you learn how to (automatically) recognize when you’re starting to feel stressed, you can take proactive action to make sure your stress levels don’t get out of hand.
Decluttering is a surprisingly essential component of staying focused and productive. Simply taking away potential sources of distraction makes it easier to focus on the work at hand, and focus on a single thing.
So declutter several aspects of your work environment. Like a clean desk surface, without any visually distracting elements. A single application open on full-screen mode when you are doing important work like writing. Offline mode for your iPad when you are mind mapping or thinking through a business issue. And your phone on silent when you don’t want to be interrupted.
5. Create powerful habits
Individually, each of the techniques above will help you to reduce stress at work – whilst at the same time getting more done and feeling more productive.
But together, they form a powerful set of habits that is vastly more than the sum of its parts.
And the secret to creating habits? Pick one, and stick with it for at least 20 days. The first five will be hard. After that, things will get easier, but you’ll still have to remind yourself occasionally.
After ten days, you’ll think you’ve got it but you’ll still be tempted to relapse. But after twenty days, it’ll be as automatic as breathing. You simply couldn’t imagine doing things any other way.
Which is when you’ll know you’ve cracked it.
PS. If you know of a friend or colleague who could be struggling with managing and controlling stress, why not send them a link to this post, or share it on social media?
If any of your IT needs are causing you stress, call us at 1.800.638.9784 or e-mail MyIT@networth.ca so we can give you the peace of mind you deserve and let you focus on managing your business.