Dealing With Stress at Work

When it comes to personal productivity, the single biggest problem that people have is over-commitment, which simply means having too much work to do on a day-to-day basis. This issue is both the hardest to recognize and the most difficult to address.

What qualifies as too much work depends on so many factors that it is almost impossible to quantify and the only way you can decide for yourself is to ask yourself if you suffer from any of the following common symptoms of over-work:

Negotiating Workload Limits

Everyone reacts to stress and pressure in different ways depending on their personality and so therefore symptoms may vary. This is not an exhaustive list and many of the symptoms above may have causes other than over-work.

In addition to these symptoms, you may also become aware of changes in your behavior, changes that often close friends and family may also observe and be aware of, leading them to question some of your actions or perhaps tell you to stop 'over-reacting' to situations.

The changes might include:
Negotiating Workload Limits - Behavioral Changes

Any of the above changes will occur over a period of time and if you feel that you have any of these symptoms and that over-work is the cause, then you need to take action straightaway.

Identifying Situations of Over-work
Whilst everyone is capable of putting in additional effort in order to get a project completed on time or to hit an important deadline, this additional effort can soon become normality and can prove to be unsustainable in the long term.

Developing clear goals, minimizing interruptions, delegating effectively, overcoming procrastination, and using the best personal productivity tools won't help your productivity much if you fundamentally have too much work to do.

Ask yourself, what would be the outcome if one week you achieved all of your work targets and left work on time every evening? Would you be congratulated on being so efficient or would you only succeed in being given even more work to do?

Effects of Working under Stress
It is quite easy to find yourself in a situation where you cannot cope with the work you have been assigned in normal working hours. It is easy to identify when this occurs, as you will feel as though you are always harassed, stressed, and working late. Even when you manage to complete all of your tasks, you are then assigned more work, which puts you back to square one, creating a vicious circle which is hard to escape.

Many people find themselves in this situation, with the two most common reasons for quitting a job being:

• Too much stress because of too high a workload
• A poor relationship with one's boss as a result

It may seem strange to cover this topic in an eBook about personal productivity but it is very easy to confuse being over-worked with being productive. All too often, work that is completed under stress is of a poor quality, which can lead to:

Motivation Problems
It is difficult to maintain motivation when you know that you have had to bypass important aspects in order to complete and submit the work within the allocated timeframe. Whilst allocating too much time to a task can lead to over-perfectionism, allocating too little can lead to feelings of powerlessness and apathy.

The allocation of insufficient time for a task or project can also cause you significant problems when briefing and motivating your team. Your ability to delegate properly is limited due to the lack of time, resulting in you needing to spend more time monitoring your team to ensure the task is completed punctually. These aspects then add to your own workload, which may already be excessive, which then adds to your own and your team's stress.

Reputation Damage
If a task you have been responsible for turns out to be completed to an unsatisfactory standard as a result of being rushed, then this can reflect badly on your professionalism and self-confidence. This poor image will also be reflected in your team and can lead to discontentment. This may result in many members seeking opportunities elsewhere to protect their own reputation.

On occasion, you may be asked to fix problems that have occurred as a result of having to rush a piece of work. This usually takes far longer than if you had done the task properly in the first place, adding to your already excessive workload and further undermining your motivation.

Another end result of continually having to re-work tasks or projects is that your team's morale will plummet. This can create situations of conflict and instances of your authority being questioned. Handling such issues further adds to the increasing amount of work you have been assigned. Our Negotiating Workload Limits eBook provides practical strategies for reducing your workload to a manageable level whilst still being seen as a hard-working and diligent manager.

You may also be interested in:
Examining Your Own Behavior | Negotiating with Your Boss and Colleagues | Learning to Say 'No'.

Key Points

  • Being over-committed means simply having too much work to do on a day-to-day basis.
  • Over-commitment leads to physical and mental problems. It is the number one reason why people quit their job.
  • It is the enemy of productivity. People who are over-committed are NOT productive.
  • Insufficient time allocated for tasks will eventually have a detrimental effect on morale and self-confidence.
More Free eBooks

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
Recommended by Recommended by NetLine


Top Trending Free eBooks