Everyone wants a stress-free job, but there are very few of them out there. For many people, dealing with stress in the workplace is a daily fact of life. That's why (before you consider changing jobs) learning how to manage stress at work can be a crucial element of success. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do every day to alleviate stress.
Clean off your desk.
Even seasoned professionals can feel overwhelmed and distracted by the sight of an overcrowded workstation. Studies show that, although it happens in small increments – five seconds here, two minutes there – most people waste the better part of an hour a day trying to find things on their desks – an hour they certainly could have spent more productively.
So, banish those piles. Go through each one and dump every unnecessary paper. As for the papers you need to keep, make sure each one fits into an appropriate folder. Then create new folders right away and file all related papers together. Make use of those file cabinets your company gave you. An organized desk will allow you to focus your time and energy on your work.
Not many things are more discouraging than looking at an overflowing inbox at the end of the day and feeling like you haven’t accomplished enough. One reason this happens: too many interruptions! People stopping by with questions; a phone that rings all day; even unnecessary emails can be frustrating thieves of time and momentum.
When you’re working on a project that requires your full attention, make an appointment with yourself just as you would for an important meeting. Let your voicemail pick up your calls, close your office door or hide in the conference room where no one can find you. If your job requires you to spend a lot of time with coworkers, establish regular “office hours” when you are available.
When you make time to focus on your own projects – rather than fitting them in around the needs of others – you’ll be better equipped to cope with the unavoidable interruptions that occasionally crop up.
Countless studies confirm that exercise is a potent antidote to stress. In fact, research has shown that just one exercise session increases the brain’s alpha waves – patterns of electrical activity associated with relaxation. Not only can a single bout of exercise calm you down, but staying fit – exercising at least three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes per session – also makes you less prone to tension. So be sure to make time for exercise, it may be the most powerful tool in helping you manage stress.