And the survey says, “We’re stressed!” Study after study concludes that workplace stress is a common problem that has serious consequences. Whether you are an administrative assistant or a senior level executive with global corporate responsibilities, chances are your job is stressful; this may be affecting you – and not in a good way!
According to a recent Gallup poll, job satisfaction is actually higher than it was a decade ago; however, fears related to job security have risen and on-the-job stress remains virtually unchanged. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains that job stress results when the requirements of the job do not match capabilities, resources, or needs of workers. May I see a show of hands?
The poor statistics that many surveys report don’t even take into consideration the stress of the commute, which for some can be a brutal daily event all by itself. What is disturbing is the impact that stress can have on personal health, corporate stability, and individual career advancement.
While it is true that one’s person’s stress is another person’s exciting challenge, there are many aspects of unhealthy work situations that are considered universally stressful, even by laid back, type-B personalities. So what are we to do? How can we minimize the impact of job related stress?
By managing your time more judiciously, planning your tasks realistically, and addressing social/interpersonal aspects of your job effectively, you can achieve a considerable reduction in stress. Here are a few concrete suggestions:
- Assess your schedule to determine which duties, if any, can be delegated to others. Are there any tasks you can completely eliminate or streamline to save time?
- Don’t always say yes. If you tend to be a people pleaser, stop and think before you commit to helping coworkers with ongoing or special projects.
- Plan break times into your day. Recognize that you will not get everything on your to-do list done, especially if you book back-to-back appointments or meetings.
- Break projects into bits and pieces. If something is overwhelming and you have the tendency to procrastinate, look at the key components involved and start with one element of a project rather than trying to bite into the entire enchilada.
- To manage your emotions effectively, acknowledge how you feel about your responsibilities and your work relationships. Be open to recognizing the early warning signs of stress. You will avoid letting potentially unpleasant situations snowball into full blown problems or conflicts.
By taking steps to handle the stress that comes your way, you will be positioning your career for future growth. If you can’t effectively handle what is on your plate now, how will you be able to advance to the next level? Taking charge of your workload and making the appropriate modification to prevent burn-out will allow you to position yourself for a happier and more productive you.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.