Reducing Work Stress

10 Ways to Ease Your Workload
and Reduce Your Stress at Work

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“A round of golf is the ideal antidote to stress.”

~ Bruce Forsyth ~

Client Jordan Asks: My job has become overwhelming. My work load keeps increasing, and I find myself working long hours to get everything done. How can I take control of the situation and get my life back?

Coach Joel Answers: It’s not uncommon for job responsibilities to grow over time, especially when economic conditions prevent the hiring of additional help. Instead of adding employees, organizations expect individual employees to take on more and more responsibilities. However, there is a limit to how much one person can do. You must learn to create boundaries, or you will become overwhelmed by the additional work.

Here are a few ways you can reduce both your work load and your stress levels.

1. Prioritize. 
Focus on what’s most important and make sure high priority work gets done first. Also, make sure your priorities are consistent with those of your supervisor.

2. Schedule your day around those priorities. 
Write down your to-do list and don’t get distracted. If that means not answering your phone or checking emails just once or twice each day, so be it.

3. Learn to say no. 
There’s a fine line between being a cooperative “team player” and someone who is abused by taking on work that should be done by others or, perhaps, not even at all. Don’t be afraid to say no to projects that are unnecessary or unimportant. Sticking to your priorities and having a well-defined job description can help.

4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. 
If someone asks you to do an extra assignment, say, “I’d be glad to it if you can get someone else to take the so-and-so project” or “Yes, I’ll take that on, but only if we push back the deadline several weeks.”

5. Dare to delegate. 
Is there a task that could be done more quickly or efficiently by a coworker?Learning to delegate effectively will help you reduce your workload.

6. Set boundaries (and stick to them). 
For example, make it a point to never work through lunch or to eat at your desk or take work home over the weekend. Setting boundaries will help you maintain a work/life balance that provides you enjoyment, peace and fulfillment in all aspects of your life.

7. Take advantage of time management training. 
If your company doesn’t offer it, look online or check out your local library. Learning to manage time more effectively and get more organized will help you get more work done in less time.

8. Get the tools you need to be more efficient. 
Are there tools or software programs available that can make you more efficient and thereby reduce your workload and stress?

9. Brainstorm with team members. 
If you’re overworked, chances are your coworkers are feeling in over their heads, too. Take some time to share ideas about how to cope, share the workload or be more efficient. But, stay positive! Don’t let your brainstorming session turn into a woe-is-me pity party.

10. Ask for help. 
If you’re feeling stressed or depressed about your workload then you owe it to yourself and your supervisor to voice your concerns. Don’t suffer in silence and let the pressure affect your work performance and relationships with those you care about at home. If your boss isn’t receptive, look for a mentor, colleague or trusted friend who can serve as a sounding board and help you find solutions.

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your stress is to learn how to get more done in less time. Joel’s book, Time Management Mastery, will help you prioritize and schedule your work more effectively. Get your copy today!

Talkback: Have you been forced to take on more work? What are you doing to manage the extra demands on your schedule? What other actions could you take to reclaim control of your workload?

Image courtesy of gerenme / iStockphoto.com

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