If you’re like many busy professionals trying to make their mark in an industry, your boss’s expectations for your goals and accomplishments pale in comparison to your own. The same can be said of business owners, as well. You pride yourself on exceeding your employer or customer’s expectations to the point you often feel overwhelmed and stressed on a daily basis.
How can we stay competitive in our businesses, while also being mindful of the negative impact of stress? Our culture so often equates stress with success, that it’s almost like we need to completely rewire our brains in order to find a balance.
You don’t have to sacrifice success in order to reduce the amount of stress in your life. What if there was a way you could charge ahead on achieving new goals, while also letting go of fear, anxiety and stress? What if there wasn’t one way to do all this, but three? From managing schedules to stepping away from multitasking, here are 3 low-stress strategies that can make you more productive.
Mapping out the details of your day— and your business’s— will help you stay on top of employee availability and deadlines. For example, if you take the time to know what is required of your customers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you will, in turn, know what schedules are required of you or your employees.
No matter how well you plan, issues will always pop up from time to time, so it’s important you also have a plan in place for managing scheduling conflicts. What do you do if you promised a customer a production timeline you can no longer meet? How do you handle shift distribution among your employees if someone quits or quotas increase suddenly? While the answer won’t be the same in every situation, a plan that anticipates scheduling issues gives you a faster, easier path to a resolution.
Unplug & Unwind
Once a day, take a break from your desk to unplug from technology. It might seem or even feel scary at first— what happens if a customer needs me right away? What if my employees get behind on their work while I am gone? But, the more you unplug and see that disaster didn’t strike, the more freedom you’ll find in taking a step away.
Start small with a length and time of day you are comfortable with. At noon, when most people eat lunch, take a 30-minute walk with no smartphone or MP3 player. Gradually increase the time so that you can schedule in a whole hour detached from everything but your thoughts. Studies show that tech addiction actually decreases productivity, so taking time every day to unplug not only reduces stress, but also can help you get more done.
Did you know that when you multitask you are actually less productive— about 40 percent less than if you focused on one task alone? While often praised as a useful skill, multitasking actually lowers our IQ, heightens stress and makes our focus sluggish. Start your day by writing a list of what you need to accomplish, followed by what you want to accomplish. Work your way through that list one item at a time.
Schedule breaks every so often to check email or return phone calls — unless your customers or employees need you to respond right away. Even then, their expectations are often set by your actions. By focusing on one task at a time you can unburden yourself from the weight of feeling like you must get everything done today.
Success in your profession or business doesn’t have to come at the expense of your mental health. Stress can have short-term and long-term physical consequences such as weight gain, heart disease, chronic pain and headaches. There are major emotional and mental health consequences, too. What good is success if you are too stressed to enjoy it?
Guest Blog Contributor: Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. Visit her site at juliemorris.org.