You get up in the morning knowing that you have a million things on your plate….and there are always competing interests – there are spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, kids, business, and then your own interests. Sometimes, it just seems like you will never fit it all in….and if you do, you feel like you can never give 100% to anything because your distracted by the myriad of other things you have to do.
Four Tips to Reduce your Stress and Reduce the Load:
1. Get Everyone on the Same Page
You have your “work life” and your “home life” and often the two collide. To keep it unbelievably simple, one suggestion is to use a system like Google Calendar – have your assistant plug into it, use it yourself, and share your calendar with your family or spouse. That way, instead of your partner wondering what you are doing, making plans or having to ask you about future engagements…they can just peer in and take a look. It saves you both time in coordination, and allows everyone to be on the same page. There are wonderful apps that interface with Google Calendar that make it even better…but this can be a great place to start.
2. Manage your Inbox
One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from my peers is that they feel overwhelmed by the constant notifications and emails coming in. Often, the emails interrupting you are not even important, but you need to keep checking to know this! Using an email assistant can help you. Square One Mail, for example, not only allows you to sort your email into different categories that you name, but allows you to turn on/off selective push notifications – that means, if you are expecting a really important email from work, you can turn everything else off….so you don’t have to check your phone every 5 seconds and be bothered by constant beeping if it’s not important. It’s coming out soon, and it’s fantastic…put it on your radar.
3. Outsource and Delegate
Micromanaging will be the end of you. By micromanaging, you set yourself up for unnecessary overworking and for failure – you will never be able to control every aspect of every area. With micromanaging comes personal stress, resentment from others (also increasing your stress), a break in teamwork, and a constant feeling of being out of control of the outcome. It’s just not necessary. While maybe you “can” do it, there is no reason you “should” do it. Look at your end lifestyle goal. If there are tasks you can outsource, don’t be hesitant – just be sure you are specific & clear in your instructions and let it go…if you need to delegate, trust your ability to have hired solid people. Loosen up the reigns a bit, and let people do the job they’re paid for. If you’ve been holding back hiring people, ask yourself if it’s worth it….effective leadership is associated with lower levels of stress and many health benefits in recent studies.
4. Schedule “Off” Time – and Hold to it
Sure, there are going to be times you break your own rules, but here are some general things to always find time to schedule in:
You Time. Find one thing that makes you happy, and make time for it regularly…maybe it’s golf, shopping, exercising, or just soaking in a hot bath. I am a big fan of fitness – not only does it make you mentally sharper, it makes you a better boss. The Journal of Business Psychology finds that not only does working out make you less stressed, employees rate you as a better supervisor. You being in a better space benefits everyone.
Rest – Trust me, it really doesn’t matter who wins American Idol. If you sleep well, you’ll get up rested and experience less stress throughout the day. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that those with the highest degree of sleep problems secreted the highest amount of cortisol (stress hormone). Have a bed time and keep those stress hormones at bay.
Schedule a Date – Once a week, schedule a date with your spouse/partner. Your home life can either support or drag down your productivity at work…but they are an essential part of your team. If your life at home is happy and healthy – your spouse is far more likely to be understanding, and supportive of what you do. ..and that is a huge stress reducer. Pay attention to them. Even the products of a healthy, happy relationship can benefit you. Numerous studies indicate that just having sex on a regular basis improves how you deal with stressful situations, leading you to feel less overwhelmed..even leading to increased growth in areas of the brain that regulate these hormones!
Schedule a Social Gathering – Maybe it’s just friends for drinks or dinner on a Saturday evening once a month… but keeping connected keeps people happy and less stressed out.
So I suppose it’s up to you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, you have some options…all of which are intended to make your life better, happier, and improve your stress. The truth is, we make time for the things that are important to us…what will you be making time for in your life?