For many people, work has got more stressful. It’s now the number one reason for people to be on sick leave. People who remember the days before email wistfully recall only having a few letters to deal with at the beginning of the day, and that was it until the next day. Imagine that!
Now we have new notifications demanding our attention every few seconds and a to do list that we never feel on top of. Work phones mean many people have started working evenings and weekends, who never would have before.
In such a harsh environment, you need to develop your own strategies to stay in a positive frame of mind and to be productive. Here are a few things I would recommend, starting the night before. Many people are stressed before they’ve even arrived at work.
1. Wind down before bed with no screens
I spoke to someone last week who’d given her mum an iPad for her birthday and she hasn’t been sleeping properly ever since, because she uses it in bed. Don’t do it!
2. Aim for 7 – 8 hours sleep
It takes discipline to get to bed in time for 7 – 8 hours sleep because there’s always another thing to look at online or another episode of the box set to watch. But it’s so worth it! You’ll have more energy for the whole of the next day, which means you’ll feel happier and be more productive.
3. Don’t check your emails/social media/the news first thing
If you’d like the first part of your day to be calm and to set you up in a good mood, don’t check your phone the minute you open your eyes! It will most likely set your mind whirring about your to do list or atrocities that you can do nothing about.
4. Have a calming routine: yoga/meditation/tea
If you start the day with a practice that helps you be calm and focused, you’re much more likely to be like that for the rest of the day.
5. When you’re in the shower, don’t be at work
Most people are mentally already at work when they’re in the shower. Why not enjoy the relaxing feeling of the warm water and the ritual of washing, and think about work afterwards?
6. Commute mindfully
Be as present as you can to your body, the journey and your fellow commuters. Notice how you’re feeling and maybe even smile at a few people.
7. Be clear at the start of the day what you’re one or two priorities are, and check if you completed yesterday’s
This really helps with the stress of trying to do ten things at the same time and feeling like you’re not making progress with anything.
8. Say good morning to your colleagues and offer them a tea/coffee
Being friendly and gestures of kindness will put you in a positive mood and ingratiate you with your colleagues.
9. Work on one of your priorities as your first task of the day
It’s very tempting to check your emails as soon as you get to work, but why would you give yourself more things to do, when you’ve already got several? I often don’t check my emails until after lunch.
10. Whilst working, do one thing at a time and switch off all notifications
Checking email or whatapp in the middle of a task is devastating for your productivity and increases your stress. Do one thing at a time!
I hope you find one or two of these tips useful. Let me know how you get on…
If you’d like some help reducing your stress and improving your productivity at work, get in touch for a free consultation about 1-2-1 coaching.