Do you feel pressured by deadlines, responsibilities, and complex projects at work?
Unless you’re superhuman, you probably do. Work-related stress is an all-too-common issue the vast majority of professionals across all industries cope with – not to mention entrepreneurs.
We’ve sort of learned to accept it as a matter of fact – we manage the daily operations and keep the stress under control, but every now and then the workload expands (somewhat dramatically) and that fine balancing act we’ve maintained masterfully for weeks, maybe even months, goes to pieces. Pair it with responsibilities and circumstances outside your work life, and you’ve got yourself feeling like a hot mess.
That’s when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, and desperate to grasp some resemblance of order, both internal and external.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s important to know that you’re not alone – and that there are ways you can manage these overwhelming pressures. Here are some helpful tips for fighting work-induced anxiety and finding balance.
Acknowledge your co-workers as teammates
When faced with an overwhelming workload, many people create a barrier between themselves and their co-workers, trying desperately to deal with their anxiety all on their own.
But what if you didn’t push back the people who are most likely going through the same thing at that very moment and who have the clearest insight into your situation at work?
Perhaps your company doesn’t promote a team culture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your co-workers and foster the team spirit. When things get tough, team members help each other by providing empathy, motivation, and energy, or they may even quite literally step in for each other and help out with certain tasks.
So, the next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your workload, don’t internalize it. Tell a co-worker what you’re going through, ask for help, don’t eat lunch alone – lean on your team for some support.
Ask for support from friends and family
Your co-workers are not the only ones who should know what you’re dealing with – it’s important to create your safety net, which can’t be complete without your friends and family. Tell them what you’re going through and what’s troubling you the most about the current pressures. And don’t think you’re burdening them – after all, that’s what friends and family are for.
It’s better to vent right away and let them know the issues you’re dealing with than to let the anxiety build up, suffer in silence, and lash out at some point. That’s how you’ll avoid turning work stress into home stress. When loved ones are clued in to what’s going on, there will be no misunderstandings on both sides – only then can they give you the emotional support and the space you need.
Take care of your body
When tensions rise, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body. This wonderful mechanism, where all the pieces are closely intertwined to form your physical and mental wellbeing, needs to be nurtured so it can help you push through.
Any kind of exercise is great for relieving stress, so dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to an activity you like to get your blood pumping. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it, and yes, you can find 15 minutes in your busy schedule. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol and other stimulants, and try to get enough sleep.
Sleep can be an especially tricky issue when you’re fighting anxiety, but if the stress is keeping you tossing and turning at night, try to avoid sleeping pills. It’s always better to find a natural solution, such as plant-based stress support supplements to promote healthy sleep because unlike sleep meds, they have no side effects. These types of products can provide you with stress-relief by managing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, with the help of natural ingredients known as adaptogens.
Set boundaries and find your relaxation rituals
You need some serious you-time, otherwise you’ll burn out completely.
First things first, set clear work-life boundaries to the best of your ability. If boundaries are something you’re especially having trouble with, it’s okay – start small and you’ll get there. For example, dedicate a 100% work-free hour each night.
Take that time to reset both mentally and physically. A relaxing daily routine that you truly enjoy helps you maintain a sense of order and calm amidst the chaos. Maybe it’s pursuing a hobby that you love, watching your favorite show, doing a relaxing beauty routine, or taking a hot bath each night before bed – whatever works for you.
When you think about the overwhelming workload and you have no idea how on Earth you’re supposed to get all that done on time, the panic is bound to settle in.
Take a deep breath and step back. Not everything is urgent.
Grab a pen and paper and write it all down, one by one, then assign priority rankings to each task. Think in small steps, focus on time management, and develop a day-to-day plan for tackling the monster project. You’ll feel a lot calmer when you have a battle plan and when everything is put on paper rather than swarming around your head.
Work inevitably gets overwhelming from time to time, but the only way to handle this anxiety is by maintaining your perspective. Remember that this will pass and use these tips to help you get through it. Lastly, although humor may be the last thing on your mind in uptight situations, do try consciously to find a bit of it every day – it really heals.
Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. Her fields of expertise could be summed up in psychology, productivity, and well-being related topics. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard.
Do you remember your first professional conference? If you’re like most of us, you do …because the experience was downright terrifying. Even if you consider yourself a bit of a social butterfly, it’s difficult to walk up to a stranger, in a room filled with strangers, and strike up a conversation.
Want to know what’s worse? You have to talk about yourself. Ugh.
Many professional women have trouble touting the benefits of their service for fear of sounding too “pitchy.” So then, we end up taking it to the extreme and inadvertently downplaying our jobs. Networking mission not accomplished. You just connected with a bunch of powerful people who now think your service is “no big deal.”
On the other hand, some women get so nervous about networking that they end up chugging a glass or two of wine before bragging about their accolades to anyone who will listen. And we all know that’s all kinds of detrimental. So, let’s move past alcoholism and towards making mutually beneficial connections.
Networking is so scary for us because of the pressure to make a good impression. But here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be so scary. With a combination of good technique and practice, you can get over your fear of networking once and for all.
Here are a few tips you can put into practice today.
Perfect your elevator pitch
What do you say when someone asks what you do? If you’ve ever fumbled around to explain your service, you need to work on your elevator pitch. If people don’t understand your service when you’re done, you need to work on your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a short and sweet description of what you do and what you can offer. It’s important to blend the two, so your contacts can start picturing how they might use your service.
Most importantly, your elevator pitch should answer the questions of who you are, what you do, and why people should care. The last one may also include what makes your service stand apart from the rest.
Think realistically about the outcome
When we shy away from networking, it’s usually the pressure that gets us. What if the person is rude and thinks your service is stupid? If we’re being honest, that’s a fear most of us have (or something similar), but it’s almost completely irrational.
Think about it objectively. What are the actual chances that you start talking to someone and they rudely tell you (in so many words) that you and your service are the pits. Not very likely, right? As long as you are kind and respectful, most people will return the favor.
At worst, they might find an excuse to end the conversation. Can you handle that?
Remember that it’s about relationships
So what happens when someone clearly isn’t interested in what you have to offer? Some people will tell you that it’s a numbers game and you just need to keep pitching. There is some truth in that, but don’t forget about the importance of relationships.
Just because someone isn’t interested doesn’t mean they don’t know another person who is. Powerful people have powerful friends, so sometimes, it’s just about the relationship.
Remember that this isn’t a one-way street. Always ask questions about the other person and what they do. See if you have ideas to send business their way. If not, that’s okay too. If you can make an impression, it may turn into a lead somewhere down the line.
Hopefully, these tips have eased your mind a bit and made you feel better about networking. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg. If you think you could benefit from more tips or just want to up your marketing game, check out our upcoming Success Summit. It’s NOTHING like your typical conference, and you’ll walk away with knowledge and experience to help propel your career to the next stratosphere.
Emily is an experienced content writer. She has written about an array of topics, from business, healthcare, and technology to travel, culinary, education and even fashion & lifestyle. In her free time, Emily enjoys traveling, training for half marathons, and cooking for her family.
Multitasking is a notion that is vaguely defined as the ability to perform more than one task at the same time. Many people would describe themselves as savvy multitaskers, but talking on the phone while sprinting to your next meeting with coffee in hand hardly qualifies as multitasking. This is a common reality for most of us.
In order to be a true multitasker, one needs to be able to perform at least two tasks that require serious mental focus and concentration, and according to multiple studies published from Forbes, Psychology Today and even The Harvard Business Review, the myth of multitasking has been debunked.
Multitasking and the demise of focus
Based on more than half of century’s worth of cognitive science as well as more recent studies on the phenomenon of multitasking, it has been concluded that the so-called multitaskers actually do less and miss information. What does this mean in real-life terms? Well, multitasking isn’t so much doing several things at the same time as it is undertaking several tasks and switching from one to another. While this may sound like the road to success in theory, the practice isn’t as smooth and peachy.
Namely, when one decides to re-orient to their primary task – let’s say creating content, writing up a business proposal or working on a design – it takes 15 minutes for the brain to ‘get back in the swing of things’. This is true even after a minor distraction such as reading or responding to an email. Your efficiency levels drop to up to forty percent, and what’s even more concerning is that your long-term memory suffers, and creativity, which is inextricably linked with productivity. Even in less creative fields, it is also reduced.
So, in the words of Psychology Today, while you may be taking pride in watching a YouTube clip, answering an email, and talking on the phone, what you’re actually doing is ‘stepping on the gas then hitting the brakes, over and over’. In effect, this means that you are actually straining your brain and stretching its abilities, and not only will you not get the job done properly, but you will also start to feel lost. Even more importantly, the article mentions activities that don’t even require that much attention. So, if you are failing at completing minor tasks properly, what do you think will happen when you undertake several more serious and mentally demanding ones?
What is the alternative?
’s pretty straightforward – you need to stop multitasking and focus on one job at a time. This is the true key to productivity. As strong women in the business world, we want to make the most of our day: do our primary tasks and do them impressively well, conduct conference calls and answer emails, have a decent lunch and perhaps even an invigorating exercise session. The good news is, you don’t need to multitask like a mad woman to achieve all that in the course of one day. You simply need to develop excellent organizational skills, take advantage of the 24 hours that have been bestowed upon you and know exactly where your priorities lie.
Even better news is, most companies today offer great flexibility. Whether it comes in the form of shorter working hours, which have proven to actually increase productivity and even more importantly make you a happier worker, or the ability to work from home when you’re not on your A-game, flexibility is the key to productivity. So, please stop trying to do several things at once and start delegating your time smartly. There are numerous types of professions that the Digital Age has ‘spawned’ (and this isn’t a negative thing), such as freelance copywriting, social media management, doing paid surveys online, or doing freelance design work, that provide you with the flexibility you may need in your life. This is great in case your lifestyle and other commitments make it difficult to take on a 9-to-5 office job, but even these jobs require your undivided attention.
However, there is a catch to every profession. Being tied to an office desk may come with a set of perks in the sense that there are probably fewer distractions, which is not the case when you’re working from home. The good news is, as with everything else, even in the freelance or working-from-home scenario, there is a way to avoid this pitfall – practice. Practice makes perfect. Very few people are born with mad organizational skills, but this is where imposing self-discipline comes in. Write down your daily obligations in a planner, list them according to their importance and start scratching them off one at a time. The sense of achievement will be incredible – ticking one task off is more motivating than the false sense of achievement multitasking could ever provide. You’ve actually finished one thing, and can go about another feeling less and less burdened as the list becomes shorter.
How does one keep their focus?
Yes, if you’ve been trying to multitask, the transition to single-tasking may be difficult. If you’re working for a corporation, or are actually a lady boss running her own company, take the advice from a manager in the tech industry. If you have a group of people to lead, lead by example. Give them your undivided attention and they will eventually follow suit. Another amazing productivity ‘hack’ is imposing boundaries. This manager’s advice is to ask everyone to close their laptops during a meeting and put their phones away, but this can be applicable to employees and freelancers as well. If you’re working from home, for instance, try to keep your phone away and don’t open your email while you’re committed to your primary task. Take time to rest before switching to another task and give your brain a little reboot time.
Now, the last piece of advice may be the most effective, but it may take time for it to ‘stick’. Encouraging the ‘be here now’ culture, which is actually one of the pillars of mindful living, takes time to master, but it comes with great benefits. It requires a conscious effort to be constantly committing to the moment and drowning out all the distracting factors. One of the best ways to achieve this state of mind is by practicing meditation, so if you feel like you have trouble with time management and overall focus, definitely give meditation a try. It will lead you down the path of mindfulness and your levels of productivity are bound to spike. Lesson: leave multitasking in the past and start living in the present.
Sophia Smith is an Australia-based beauty and style blogger. She is very passionate about the latest fashion trends and graphic design projects. Sophia writes mostly about beauty- and fashion-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Viva Glam Magazine, How to Simplify, Whytt Magazine and Carousel.
You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Facebook Twitter Google +