stressDo you find yourself really worked up by the end of the day? Constantly rushing from task to task and realising you’ve not accomplished what you wanted to? It’s time to De-Stress! This post will give you some simple tips to let go of your stress, relax and be ready for the next day.

Why are you building up stress?

If you put too many things in your task list and you get interrupted a few times at work, your whole plan can go out the window and as you rush from meeting to meeting you can’t tick anything off your list. Trying to cover too many things at once without delegating. Receiving a lot of phone calls with problems to deal with. These are just a few examples where you might build up a lot of stress.

Good stress and bad stress

Some stress can be good because it helps you focus and operate at your peak level of efficiency. However stress can also be very bad and lead to health problems if it occurs consistently. You can recognise bad stress as you feel worried. That’s when you need the productivity steps guide below!

Productivity Steps Guide to De-stress!

Step 1 – Write everything down

Take a blank sheet of paper in front of you and write down all the things you’ve got on your plate at the moment. As you write things down it frees your mind as your brain doesn’t subconsciously try to remember all the things you need to do.

Step 2 – Meditate for 5 mins and reflect

Take a step back and take a helicopter view – think about the strategy of your company, the strategy of your business unit and what the objectives of your project are. Reflect on the tasks you think you have and prioritise them.

Step 3 – Plan tomorrow

Decline any un-necessary meetings you have for the remainder of the week and write down the tasks you want to accomplish the next day and prioritise using 1-3-5 prioritisation system against each task. 1 = your most important task for the next day. 3 = need to get this done. 5 = would be nice to get this done.

Step 4 – Implement an improvement

Spend a few mins thinking about what you can do to change the way you work that will result in less stress the next day. Take an action to implement this improvement (an example of this is below).

Step 5 – Know what you can ignore

You may be in the habit of responding to everyone who sends you an email. However as you get to more senior positions, the demand others place on your time will far outstrip the amount of time you have. If you try to respond to everyone you will not have enough time for anything. So there may be some emails you don’t need to respond to, especially where you’ve been copied into a long chain of emails back and forth. Put these in one of your archive folders. If the matter was important, the person will raise it with you again.

Step 6 – Reflect on the commute home

After taking the above steps you’ll be in a good position where your mind is free of nagging tasks and unfinished business, and you’ve got a plan in place for a productive day tomorrow. Now on your commute home take some time to replay the events of the day in your mind and think about how they could be handled better. This will give you ideas you can use to implement an improvement, and it’ll relax you.

These 6 steps can be your new de-stressing ritual!

How to implement an improvement for less stress the next day

At the end of the day, ask yourself ‘what can I change about the way I work that will reduce my stress?’ Then implement an improvement. As you continue to do this and make small changes, you will be getting big results with your bad stress becoming less and less. This is using the continuous improvement approach to reduce your stress in a sustainable way.

For example, say you have back to back meetings all day and you aren’t allowing enough time for producing artefacts, therefore you build up stress as you realise you can’t deliver to your stakeholder’s expectations.

On Friday take a look at your calendar for the next week and analyse each meeting. Apply a Lean Waste reduction approach by assigning a colour (Outlook allows you to colour code the meetings using its categories) to each meeting. Green = Meeting directly related to your deliverables, Yellow = Stakeholder/Management meeting that you must attend, Red = Other meetings you’ve been invited to which don’t relate to your deliverables. Then check if you’re really needed at the red meetings. If not, decline them. See if you can find answers to the green meetings another way, if so, cancel those too. This will free up some of your time for the next week and you can work on producing your artefacts.

How do you de-stress at the end of the day? Leave a comment.

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