Working Under Pressure: A Guide To Stress Management

Working Under Pressure: A Guide To Stress Management

A Guide To Stress Management

Working under pressure engages within itself a lot of circumstances that are constrained by time, resources, task difficulty and more. Hence, defining stress is not as simple as it may seem. Stress is a formulation of many things put together: it is a family of correlated experiences, conduits, reactions and outcomes that are caused by a wide range of different occurrences at varying levels of intensity.

The key to stress management varies depending on each individual. Different people experience higher or lower forms and levels of stress and thus relate to different definitions. Workload management is one such basic and central form of stress that acts as a guide to stress management. Nevertheless, there a few basic skills, which when regularized, will help cope with stress and enable one to work proficiently even while dealing with massive pressure. Let’s define each one:

  • Task Analysis: Analyzing a given task or an assignment is a useful technique for separating the important from the unimportant. It helps an individual to focus on the key and necessary elements of a project. There are a few essential steps to be followed in order to conduct a successful task analysis:
    • Identifying the key objectives and reviewing job credentials.
    • Ensuring the availability of resources required for the assigned task.
    • Confirming the identified objectives and the availability of the required resources with one’s superiors.
  • Time Management: Time Management plays a huge role in combating heavy workload and stress management. By effectively organizing time in a manner by which there is sufficient time allotted to work on unforeseen obligations, stress at work can be reduced and deadlines can be met smoothly. An ideal time management strategy helps reduce long-term stress, boosts performance levels and increases productivity, while also allowing one to enjoy life outside of work.
    • Maintaining Activity Logs: Activity logs help identify unproductive time spent on a particular task each day. Initially, filling out a log book is a time-consuming exercise, but once maintained, it can prove to enhance efficiency and enjoy the quality of time.
    • To-do Lists: Everyone is aware of the use of to-do lists. They help meet short-term goals rather than lose patience waiting to meet long-term goals. An ideal to-do list comprises only of important tasks. This helps in completing all the important tasks first and facilitates one to make the best use of the remaining time.
  • Effectual Scheduling: This is mainly for those who find it hard to deal with deadline stress on convoluted projects. Although, activity logs and to-do lists contribute to managing stress, they are not sufficient enough to fight big projects that are multifaceted. Hence action plans or checklists are crafted alongside with the time required for every task in the order of priority. This gives a fair estimation of the time duration of the project.
  • Allocate Jobs: There is no harm in lending a hand in the course of a project. Delegation does just this. It is a process that involves dividing work into small portions and assigning them to your coworkers. In this way, an employee not only progresses along his career graph but is also beneficial to the Company by elevating the potential and aptitude of other members of staff by means of training.

Bringing all the above together will enable not just an employee but also an individual to answer a simple question, “What To Do?” The Stress SWOT will help identify the flaws that cause delay which in turn aggravate stress levels. It is also very important to not overstretch while sketching a schedule as it could become more stressful if one did not fulfill the items laid down in the plan.

Just by acknowledging and putting into practice a few basic steps that can help manage stress and trauma at work, you could lead a more productive corporate life and elevate your performance level.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Thanks Suresh for a timely question and thanks Joseph for the link to Tony’s presentation. Glad to see that he included ‘I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or in the world’ in his Energy Audit. In my experience of working in this field, delegates often find renewed energy in making this contact even when they have said they have used up all their resources.

    This can include helping others to manage their stress too so for managers this has a double pay-off.

    Obviously there remains the management responsibility for ‘duty of care’ as an employer under the Health and Safety legislation (UK).

    I look forward to hearing from our colleagues.

  • Anna Gancenia

    I agree that stress has become inevitable in the corporate world. In my point of view, one of the best ways to manage it is to use anticipation positively and constructively, then prepare and plan ahead. Saying this, it is good practice to leave the office in the afternoon knowing what you are up to the following day, doing a bit of organising on your priorities, and then getting your thoughts together as you head off to work in the morning.

    Another way is to leverage office resources to improve your operational effectiveness. Microsoft Outlook, for example, is a powerful tool to streamline your workload if you know how to use its features. You can create rules to keep your inbox tidy so that unwanted emails go to a “for later reading” folder, or you can categorise and flag your messages according to their importance. You can also maximize the use of your calendars and tasks folders to keep your appointments and priorities more efficient.

    Lastly, one of the most effective methods I have tried in my 17 years of working in the corporate world is to take a 10-minute break and doing some breathing exercises. As I go back to my desk, I feel refreshed and ready to handle stress again