When you’re living life by a to-do list, things quickly become overwhelming. As deadlines stack up and expectations from supervisors add more pressure to your normal workload, it can feel like your performance, productivity and personal life takes a hit. According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America, “employees say stress and anxiety most often impacts workplace performance (56%), relationship with coworkers and peers (51%), quality of work (50%) and relationships with superiors (43%).” So how can you mitigate those stressors to thrive in your career? We’ve outlined 5 tactics to help ease the pressures that come with these everyday anxieties.
1. Practice Time Management
Whether you keep organized by using a digital calendar, workflow application or a hand-written to-do list, it’s important to keep track of top priorities and how they align with your day-to-day operations. Instead of looking at every task that needs completing all at once, schedule your day hour-by-hour and see your efficiency rate rise. Switching back and forth between tasks can easily derail your day, but being able to cross off assignments in reasonable time increments allows you to take the day a step at a time and leaves you feeling accomplished.
2. Improve Your Skillset
Instead of avoiding areas of your career that cause anxiety, embrace them. Identifying what makes you feel apprehensive can bring opportunities for improvement to light and liberates you to create goals for yourself. This can include advancing your education through professional development, earning a certification, enrolling in a higher education degree program, or getting help from someone who you believe is excelling where you fall short. There are numerous professional organizations or associations available both regionally and nationally that allow you to be in community with other professionals in your industry. Find ways to plug into the resources around you and embrace additional sources of occupational training.
3. Foster Communication
Communication is key! If you find yourself biting off more than you can chew, let your manager know you have too much on your plate. Setting up one-on-one meetings allows you to request feedback on assignments and gain clarity on what is needed to perform efficiently and not overextend yourself. In addition to communicating with individuals in leadership positions, making connections with your peers allows you to delegate where possible and collaborate on projects to reduce the stress that comes with siloed working.
4. Set Boundaries
Although meeting deadlines is a must when it comes to being successful on the job, finding opportunities to create professional boundaries will make a positive impact on your mental health. This can be achieved by setting standard work-day hours and avoiding bringing your work home. In the workplace, this can be achieved by taking reasonable breaks throughout your day to get up and walk around, eating your lunch away from your desk or having a dedicated work space that is separate from your living space if you work from home. Another example is switching your professional email on “do not disturb” or simply avoiding checking email after hours. Separating your professional life from your personal life helps reduce any burnout you might be experiencing.
5. Exercise Self-Care
Practicing “self-care” has become increasingly popular in recent years. Because we spend a third of our lives working, fostering good habits is a necessity. But staying in-tune with how your habits affect your workplace anxiety goes beyond the four-walls of your office. Making sure you maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep at night and practice mindfulness in your personal life can inherently improve your vocational performance throughout the week. Other examples to reduce stress and anxiety can include regular physical activity, getting a massage, having a spa day, napping, reading a book and making sure you take your PTO days to best serve your overall well-being.
While normal anxieties coexist with every profession, you shouldn’t feel debilitated by the fears associated with everyday tasks or workplace environments. Practice these tactics to improve your mental and physical health and watch your productivity and passions grow. Not sure what those passions might be? Visit acu.edu/online to learn more about our undergraduate, graduate or certificate programs.