Build support networks

Stress and burnout will manifest themselves in a number of ways that could have a negative impact on those around you. When you are tired, exhausted and feeling critical you are more likely to snap irritably at the most innocent of bystanders. When you are overloaded and there is too much going on in your mind, you are more likely to disengage from meaningful and valuable communication with colleagues and co-workers. You may be quick to blame others when it was really not their fault  and you will certainly not be in listening mode for those who have something important to say to you. The result? People are likely to become disenchanted and they might avoid you altogether. Having no-one to talk to can be very isolating. Having a support network is always helpful but it is particularly important when you are feeling stressed. Sometimes you may just want to voice your thoughts out loud and have the other person listen, other times you may need advice or help from a peer or an expert who understands your work environment and occasionally you may even want to seek out the company of someone who is totally neutral and unbiased. A support network does not create itself overnight – you will need to be proactive and invest your time and energy in nurturing your relationships. Here are three ways you can make sure you have a support network when you need it the most. 1. Create positive work relationships by being there for others You often need the support of others carry out a task or to achieve certain goals. ...

Bust your stress

Even when you are on top of your to-do list and hitting your deadlines, life at work in a fast-paced environment can still be stressful. For example, you may be constantly under pressure to make decisions without a lot of time to consider the likely impact; or you may experience days when nothing seems to go your way for reasons you find hard to fathom; or you might be getting frustrated when others seem slow to get on board with ideas that seem perfectly obvious to you. As a consequence, the risk of burnout will be heightened. This is when you might find yourself becoming cynical about the job you once enjoyed and your motivation sinks to an all-time low.  You might also experience physical changes such as tiredness, loss of appetite, disturbed sleep or emotional changes such as irritability or depression. Take care of yourself by putting a few strategies in place to bust the stress levels before it leads to full and proper burnout: Understand your own stressors – identify the root causes of what stresses you disproportionately. Prioritise these areas for “de-stressing” – draft in help, delegate, do things differently. Learn to recognise the signs and triggers – when stress kicks in, take preventative action before it is too late. Manage your time and priorities effectively – with “Quadrant II” thinking and behaviour. Stay in the moment – give your full attention to the important task in hand that you have prioritised and don’t fret over what you cannot do. Learn to say “No” – be realistic about what you can take on and be honest...

Master your priorities

“It is not enough to be busy…The question is: what are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau A tale of time (mis)spent A recent coaching client complained that she works long hours, and struggles to fit everything into the working day. Her days at work are either taken up with responding to emails, or spent running from one meeting to the next. These meetings – which often overrun – usually end up with no concrete results. Quick fixes are constantly being sought to overcome problems. In fact, the same problems keep re-occurring and are revisited several times every year. Does this all sound familiar to you to? What are the major problems in this client’s organisation? Many interesting facts emerged from our discussions. There seems to be a distinct lack of forward planning and the tendency within her team is to adopt the first, easiest and most obvious solution when faced with an issue or challenge. They are falling back onto habitual responses which might seem like a way to use less energy and consume less time when situations seem urgent but they are all deluding themselves. This client  – and her whole organization – are allowing themselves to be driven by circumstances and are constantly running to catch up. It should come as no surprise to find that people who operate like this are constantly stressed and worn out from patching over the cracks. The focus of their attention needs shifting and bad habits need replacing with good ones so that they can get their priorities in the right order and organise their time accordingly. Their challenge is...