Work & Wellbeing

Fit for business: 8 tips to avoid stress and keep on top

6 min read

24 July 2018

Firstly, let me deal with an urban myth which says the more hours you work, the more you will get done.

In reality, the more hours you work, the less productive you become. Why? Because we all need quality downtime. With 24/7 connectivity it’s tough to completely switch off.

Burnout at work is real and maybe more common than you think.

The UK Government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define work-related stress, depression or anxiety as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. In 2016, 11.7 million working days were lost due to this condition alone, with the main work factors cited by respondents being workload pressures, tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

Once you acknowledge your personal emotional wellbeing is on an equal footing to your capability to perform your role, you understand it’s the energy source powering your performance. When it’s low, your performance is low impacting both the short and long-term performance of the business.

Avoiding burnout in the workplace whilst consistently playing your ‘A’ Game and performing at your peak may sound like a contradiction but let me share with you my 8 tips which you can implement today.

Let me be honest, most them are no-brainers but my conclusion is this; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Improve on these individual things by 1% and the small gains add up to remarkable changes.

  1. Question EVERYTHING you do daily. Is what I am doing right now worthy of my time? If not, why are you doing it!
  2. When you’re not working and when it’s your “downtime” switch of phones, tablets, laptops. Seeing a flashing red light on your phone saying new email message is not going to help you switch off. Your natural curiosity will want to see who it is from and what it is about. And guess what, once you’ve had a look your mind is now switched into work world
  3. Down time is fundamental to your wellbeing. And in fact, some of your best thinking will be done in the quiet space of your downtime, when you’re relaxed, and at peace. Don’t compromise these moments
  4. Treat “appointments” in your personal life with even more urgency and importance than your business meetings
  5. Take a good look at your office and work environment. Clean tidy and minimalist or cluttered, messy and dis-organised? Your internal environment (mindset, thinking and actions) will only ever be a reflection of your external environment. Cluttered office = cluttered mind
  6. Undertake a clean sweep – sort your office, computer, filing, make a list of all the small things personally and professionally which you keep putting off and just get them done. You will be amazed how this frees up your head space for quality thoughts and action
  7. Learn to say “NO” to the unimportant things and then you will have more time to say “YES” to the important and worthy things
  8. Focus on your breathing. When you’re “stressed” what happens to your shoulders and breathing?

Shoulders = tense, Breathing = short, shallow breaths.

The quickest way to change the “state” you are in is to change your physiology. Simply put…how you use your body. And the quickest way to change how you use your body is to change your breathing – switch from short, sharp, shallow breaths to long, deep and slow ones on a 30 second cycle. Do that 7 times and you’ll soon start to feel more in control, relaxed and back in the driver’s seat!

We all recognize there will be times when the extra hard yards are asked of us – a new product launch, a new system deployment, a relocation – and we all put the hours in to make it a success, no questions asked. But start to recognise the warning signs; are you working longer hours all the time? Is this becoming the norm? Has your workload significantly increased and it’s not due to a BIG event? Do you feel you’ve crossed the line between being positively challenged and productive to being overwhelmed and stressed? If any of these bells are ringing, act now before it’s too late.

Royston Guest is a global authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. He is CEO of Pti-Worldwide, author of #1 best-selling business growth book, Built to Grow and founder of livingyourfuture™.  Follow him on Facebook or Instagram. Connect with him on LinkedIn or check out his weekly blog at https://www.roystonguest.com/blog/