Manage Work Stress by Balancing Your Personal and Professional Life
Date Published: Jan 30 , 2023
It is natural for job-related stress levels to ebb and flow. Late nights, working weekends and piling-up projects will happen on occasion. But when you are constantly inundated by professional strain and your schedule is perpetually hectic, it’s time to step back and take a hard look at your work-life balance. Learning to manage work stress is essential to avoiding job burnout and improving your overall wellness.
Below are four tips to balance your personal life and workload for the betterment of your job performance and personal well-being.
Learn More: Work-Life Balance Integration
1. Work Smarter, Not Harder
If there were one takeaway for individuals trying to manage work stress resulting from a challenging job it is to work smarter, not harder. This is easier said than done for many people, especially ambitious high achievers ever proving themselves.
Working smarter and not harder means doing more in less time. What flows from this is being a grade A prioritizer who is strategic in performing tasks that align with their short- and long-term goals.
Naturally, you will first have to have clear goals that imbue your work and life purpose. If you cannot name your objectives - both in the near-term and life-long aspirations - do some soul searching and determine them. With these goals in mind, you can plan your days accordingly, so that your time is spent in a meaningful way.
2. Sharpen Your Time Management Skills
Prioritization and time management go hand-in-hand. Once meaningful priorities have been established, block off time to complete the related tasks. For busy workers with too much to do, prioritization gives you the freedom to reduce your number of daily activities and budget time accordingly.
Research shows that work duties expand to fill the time available for task completion. Don’t fall into this trap.
Safeguard your time by establishing realistic blocks of time to finish off your to-do items. The operative word here is realistic; do not give yourself too little time to complete tasks. Finally, do not add more time to complete a task or add more tasks to your to-do list unless it is absolutely urgent.
3. Set Boundaries for Professional and Personal Time
Workers who head into the office benefit from the physical distance between work and home. This space clearly marks the professional from the personal and facilitates that much-needed transition and decompression at the end of a work day.
But if you work from home, the professional and private easily bleed into one another. Stress and lack of focus are often the result. At-home workers are advised to carve out a dedicated workspace to establish boundaries around their work and private lives.
All workers - at-home and in-office - should set designated work hours and stick to them. Do not feel obligated to check your messages and respond at any time, unless it is truly an emergency. Put your messages on “do not disturb,” and if you find yourself continuing to reach for your devices, put them in another room.
4. Focus on the Tasks at Hand
Nothing kills competency like multitasking. Trying to do more than one task at a time lends to errors and can consume more hours in the long run. There is also a psychological drawback to multitasking - that sense of not being in control of your work and not fully focused.
The more deep thinking required to complete a task, the more concentration you need. Research, data crunching, writing, analytical reasoning - all of these activities rely on considerable brain power. Do yourself the favor and minimize all distractions to be laser focused on these and similar activities.
Some research suggests that multitasking can be okay for lower-skilled and repetitive tasks. This may be true for some people in certain situations, but be very cognizant of when you do this and if you should be doing this at all.
In keeping with staying focused on the task at hand is the general idea of being present. When you are at work, fully embrace that role. Keep non-work-related communications and activities at bay - and of course vice versa. When you are kicking back with your friends or family, exercising, volunteering, or enjoying a hobby - whatever it is, embrace that time and leave your work duties on the sidelines.
When You Might Need Help to Manage Work Stress
The first order of business for employees struggling to manage work stress is to employ these four tips. Be easy on yourself during their adoption. At the heart of this are behaviour changes and the re-evaluation of self-management skills. That is a tall order and an ongoing process!
Learn More: Improving Self-Management Skills
Despite your best efforts in putting these tips to practice, you may find that mitigating work stress to healthy levels is not possible. In these cases, consider work-life balance training to help guide you to a better place.
Finally, in the most severe cases where it is not the employee and their self-management skills that can be improved, but the job or company itself, then finding a new position may be the answer.
Wherever you are in your stress management and work-life balance journey, Priority Management has the tools to create positive and lasting behavioural change to enhance your professional and personal well-being. Learn more by reaching out to us today!
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
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