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70% of Employees Say This Is The Reason They Are Stressed. Here’s how to fix it.

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Stress is a killer both personally and professionally. It hurts family relationships, disrupts sleep, impacts job performance, and leads to burnout. No one wants to be stressed. Still, a new LinkedIn survey reveals that we are, and the main culprit is the same for nearly everyone.

When asked what’s causing their stress, 70% of employees said this: Their work-life balance stinks. You’ve likely heard this before. Either you feel the same way and/or you are facing a new generation of employees that demands a better balance. The fact is, a lot of us feel constantly torn between home and work, and technology, for all its positives, has a huge impact on that. Regardless of what your company policy might say about taking time off, it’s just plain hard to fully check out when your phone buzzes with every email hitting your inbox or your colleagues ping you on Slack. Sure, they don’t mean for you to have to respond that way, but tell that to your anxious heart.

I am, by no means, an expert in time management. But, as someone who has just returned from twelve weeks of maternity leave and feels “the pull” more than ever, here’s what’s helps me moderate my stress and improve my sense of work-life balance:

  1. Be brutally honest about where your time is going.

    This is not meant to be critical (it may even be cause for a little introspection), but the fact is is that there are more than 1400 minutes in a day. Assuming you sleep 8 hours (480 minutes) and work another 8-9, what’s happening with the rest of the time? What exactly are you doing?

    I think you know where I’m going here: You’re likely wasting more time than you think. Social media, disorganization, and plain old laziness and procrastination are likely big culprits. Don’t believe me? Keep a journal for a week and write down every 30-minute increment of time. You are likely wasting more time than you realize.

    Time management experts have a lot to say on this issue. These 10 tips on how to better manage time are some of my favorites.
  2. Just say no.

    Now I’m really talking to myself.

    We all have multiple commitments — work, spouse, kids, home, church, you name it — and we like to be available when people ask us to be. But, it’s really hard to keep stress levels down when you’re heading up the new work initiative, prepping the house for painting, volunteering to run carpool, keeping the scorebook at the Little League game, and signed up to bring 150 homemade cupcakes to the bake sale this Saturday! Something has got to give.

    It’s flattering to be wanted, but avoid the trap of saying yes to every favor and volunteer opportunity that gets thrown your way. You’ll drive yourself nuts if you don’t.

    Rule of thumb: For every one thing you say yes to, say no to something else.
  3. Ask for help.

There is no shame in getting groceries delivered or having your house professionally cleaned, nor is there shame in hiring an assistant to help you sift through and prioritize the 300 emails you get each day.  We all need help, and often it’s the small, seemingly neverending mundane tasks that bog us down the most.

A friend of mine, who is a mother of 3, recently hired a college student to help her and her husband shuttle the kids around to nightly activities — baseball, swimming, Scouts, etc. The struggle of being in 3 places at once had become very stressful for them as a family. She tells me it’s the best thing they ever did. Evenings are more relaxed, and they’re enjoying life again as they can actually sit and watch one kid’s game knowing the other two are taken care of. It’s like they bought their own time back. I encourage you to do the same — at home and at work — where you can afford to do so.

LinkedIn tells us that everyone is stressed, but I don’t believe it has to be this way. Take some time to evaluate where you are spending your time, what few things you could be doing less of, and where you could bring in a little assistance to help you manage the daily grind. Your happiness awaits.

 

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About Rachel Coughtry

Comments

  1. “Just say No” – That sounds simple, but then again what if your boss does not want to hear that word? I agree that being able to say no to things that are counter-productive on a professional and also personal way, is a must, but this is something that most of the so-called “leaders” or “managers” will usually not accept. They simply want the tasks done and don’t really care about the well-being of the person delivering them.

    • Rachel Coughtry says:

      That’s something we really hate to hear. Good management takes the whole person into consideration. Thanks for reading!

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