Many of us spend more than 40 hours a week at our jobs, and even those of us who love our work can find ourselves under a lot of stress at different points in the day. To protect your sanity and have some energy at home, make sure to take breaks and seek connection with friends.
You may feel that the only way to get it all done is to work through lunch or eat at your desk. However, taking a break to enjoy some fresh air can not only lower your stress level but increase your creativity. There are many projects that we each need to just plow through. However, working smarter often means stepping back from a problem to view it from another direction.
Take Time to Connect
It’s easy to get hung up on the hierarchical structure of the workplace. To break away from this, work to find ways to compliment people. A comment about the color of a scarf or tie can surprise a co-worker and brighten their day. This disarming comment may lead to a conversation that will allow for connection. Strong work friendships can improve employee retention, so as long as work friendships are fair and inclusive, employee retention will be easier if personal connections are encouraged.
Change Your Schedule
If you’re buried with emails and voicemails first thing in the morning, try to either work from home on projects that matter to you or get to the office a little early to wrap up items from yesterday. If possible, stay late to finish up a large project and leave a little early the next day. Take a long lunch and run errands or do your weekly shopping to reduce your stress after work. Stay flexible whenever possible.
Block Preparation Time
Each of us has points in the day when focus is easier. If mornings are your most productive time, block out an hour early in the day to prepare for big projects, make lists or gather information. If you have a door, close it. If you don’t, put on headphones or some other barrier to remind you to stay in your space and get your preparation for the next deadline in order.
Work stresses can make you feel like the rope in a tug-of-war contest. No matter what you do, you’re going to be under duress and may wind up in the mud. To protect yourself from this stress, take time. Get outdoors and enjoy some alone time, or connect with a friendly co-worker. Guard your most productive time periods for the most important work.