Your head is pounding, your mind is racing, the phone is ringing off the hook while you are trying for the fourth time to finish an email with an important order. At the same time, you get a text message from your coworker who desperately needs your help with a project. And on top of that, your sales manager stops at your desk with a new client agreement, asking you to give the new client a call today. You are constantly doing things for others and accommodating urgent requests from others. By the time you have helped everyone, and you would normally attend to your own to-do’s, nine hours have passed, and you are too tired to do anything else. Does this situation sound familiar to you?
Hectic and stress at work can occur at any time. Often, we just cannot avoid them, and some days are crazier than others. When we have more or constantly extremely stressful days, the situation can become unbearable and unhealthy. Stress is the number-one-factor for heart disease, as we know. Ideally, there should be a balance between the stressful and the normal routine days. After a chaotic day, a normal-pace or slower day that follows allows us to get caught up on the things we must do.
Should you find yourself in a relentless, ongoing, stressful work situation, look for these ways to restore your balance:
Ask for help. Others on your team may be qualified to do the same task just as you are qualified to complete it. Your team members may not know that you struggle until you tell them. If they cannot help you because they are overwhelmed with their workload as well, they will let you know. Most of the time, your team members are ready to jump in and help you. All it takes is for you to ask them.
Let go and delegate. Sometimes, it is hard to let go of certain tasks because you may think no one can do them as well as you can, and you have been doing them for so long that completing these tasks has become second nature and you are very fast at it. Give others a chance to show that they can complete the task as well. Not only will you save some of your time that you can use to attend to your own to-do’s, but you also instill confidence in others and build trust by empowering them.
Set your priorities. With all the things you have on your to-do list, whether you receive help from others or you were able to delegate some of the tasks, you need to find out what things have to be done first. It is time to prioritize. Take a few deep breaths before you get started. Deep breaths help you relax and refocus. Out of all the things on your to-do list, pick the four most important things. Then, evaluate these four things and put them in the order of their urgency. Decide whether the email for the urgently needed supplies or the call to the new client has to come first. If tasks seem to have the same level of urgency, use your judgment and label one of them as more important than the order, and then complete them in that order.
The key in such stressful work situations is to simply start somewhere. Starting somewhere could be for you to ask someone for help or delegate some tasks, and to prioritize the things that are left for you to do on that day. By starting with those steps, you are taking control of your situation and no longer allow the situation to control you. You have now taken the first step to getting a healthy work balance back into your life.