The presentation must be with the boss by 2 p.m. today, your colleague has already asked you several times to help him with his offer, you have 5 unanswered messages on your mobile phone, 3 new voice messages and the inbox of your e-mail inbox is overflowing.
Everyday life in the office can sometimes be quite stressful. But much of it is homemade and therefore avoidableif you know how to deal with it, or even better - avoid a stressful situation from the very beginning.
1. learn to say "no
"Can you please help me with my offer quickly?" Even if your day is already more than overcrowded and you are behind with your own topics, it is difficult to refuse a colleague's request. Often we tend to say "yes", even though we actually mean "no".. How come? We are all social beings and want to belong to the group. A "no" could lead to us being expelled from the group.
In contrast to the Stone Age, where the herd provided protection and an expulsion was tantamount to a death sentence, this is far less dramatic today. And yet. fear of rejection so deeply rooted in us, although in most cases it is unfounded. No colleague will avoid us if we deny him or her our support until this becomes permanent. And with a comprehensible justification, he will not do so twice.
2. the Parkinsonian Law
"Work expands to the exact degree that time is available to complete it (and not to the degree that it is actually complex). In other words: The more time we take for a task, the longer we need for it. Motto: Why do a thing in three minutes when you have three hours to do it? So the art is to set yourself a clear (and deliberately tightly defined) time frame and get the job done in the given time.
And how is that supposed to avoid stress now? Very simple: Work is always done at the end. Meetings are mostly used for talking, decisions are made at the end. In projects, people are dallying, philosophizing, expressing concerns, before everyone gets down to busy work shortly before the deadline. So why not be productive right from the start and thus gain time to avoid stress.
3. pareto principle
One could almost think that Vilfredo Pareto must have been a good friend of Cyril Northcote Parkinson, as good as the two's mnemonics complement each other. „80% of the results are achieved with 20% of the total expenditure. The remaining 20% of the results require the most work with 80%".says that Pareto principle. In practice, this means that the presentation, which must be at the boss's by 14.00, is completed after 20% of the (time) expenditure at 80%. For the completion of the remaining 20% you need the remaining 80% of the time.
Or in other words: The presentation, which takes you 2 hours, is ready to 80% after 24 minutes. More than 1.5 hours is a bit exaggerated to make the presentation more colourful, prettier and fancier. The only question is whether this is really necessary and whether it is not enough for the boss to get a PowerPoint file that is ready for 80% but contains all the essential information. Especially together with the Parkinson's Law, the Pareto principle is therefore a blatant Productivity Boostwhich will bring you a lot of time and take away even more stress from you.
4. avoid disturbances
While you are trying to work on your presentation, the phone has rung 3 times, your mobile phone reminds you of the latest WhatsApp Newsyour laptop kindly shows you a preview of your 25 new e-mails and your dear colleague stands in front of your desk with a coffee cup in his hand and tells you about his weekend. This is not going to work!
Provide a working environment where you can concentrate and work undisturbed. Turn your phone down and turn on the mailbox. Turn off all unnecessary notifications on your phone. Facebook, Instagram and Co. don't have to send you a notification just because someone commented on your mail from 3 days ago. Turn off the e-mail preview or close your mail program. You decide when you read mails (see 6. Multitasking is a lie). And ask your colleague to tell you about his weekend during the lunch break. Little tip: A headset in the ear gives you peace of mind and keeps many a colleague from disturbing you.
5. take responsibility
You again did not come to what you had planned because this and that happened? Is it because of the others or the circumstances that you are always so stressed? Just be honest with yourself and you will realize that this is not true. Because at the end of the day you are always responsible for yourself and it is your responsibility to do everything you can to ensure that you are well and that you do not have stress. Not your colleagues, your boss or your employer are responsible, but nobody else but you. Many people constantly complain to life that it is unfair. That is wrong. You make yourself a "victim" by this attitude and create repetition.
6. multitasking is a lie
Anyone who tries to do several things at once is doing several things inadequately. Mistakes are pre-programmed and, all in all, you need much more time than if you take one topic at a time. Divide your working day into meaningful work packages and take care of it bit by bit. And one more thing: Plan also meaningful breaks. Any break or disturbance from the outside will stop you in your work flow and it takes time before you get back into your flow.
7. the thing with MIT
MIT is one, if not the most important hack in my working life. With MIT you get clarity about your work and avoid that others decide about your time and thus stress is created. MIT, that is Most Important Task (sometimes several tasks) is THE most important task of the day. Before I finish my working day, I think about what my MIT for the next day could be.
Sometimes it's an e-mail that I answer or a calculation that I want to make. I note down this task(s) quite classically in my notebook, so that I can see the task even without my notebook or smartphone. Before I check e-mails, messengers or social media the next day, I take care of my MIT. The success: I'm more satisfied because I've already accomplished something, I'm less stressed and I decide for myself what is important for my success.
8. be good to yourself
Even if you follow all the tips, it can still happen that you get into a stressful situation. The decisive factor then is how you deal with it. Instead of putting yourself under pressure (in addition to the pressure from outside), it is a good idea to stay calm and relaxed. A Meditationa short walk in the fresh air or Sport can be very helpful especially in stressful situations.
Even if you first need time for yourself, you will be much more concentrated after this mindful time and can quickly resolve the stressful situation. And when time is very short, it often helps to close your eyes for a minute and consciously relax.
This article is a guest contribution from Alexander Wick
With the knowledge and experience I have today, my working life would have been completely different. In my more than 20 years as an employee, I was mostly unhappy and tried to get a deeper meaning into my work by constantly changing jobs - unfortunately without success. At the latest after two years in a new job, I felt a void and dissatisfaction. By now I know that contentment, no matter in which area, always comes from within yourself and nobody but you can decide whether you are happy with your life. For this experience I needed many years and unfortunately also a burnout.
With my offer officefree.com I support people who are unhappy in their employment to find joy and fullness in their work again.