Between commutes, budgets, client demands and deadlines, it’s no wonder work can be a huge source of stress. More than three quarters of workers are feeling the pressure, too: An overwhelming 77 percent of workers say they are sometimes or always burned out in their jobs, according to a CareerBuilder survey. How can you tell what’s worth stressing over and what’s not such a big deal? Here are some common areas of stress, as well as tips to help deal with those sore spots while still performing well at work.
Often one of — if not the biggest — concern for businesses, workers and families, financial worries can be a major source of stress. And with slow economic recovery, many businesses and families alike are having to do more with less. However, don’t let money concerns settle like a dark cloud over your life.
The key to battling stress is to find ways to manage the situation and choose solutions. If you’re concerned that your business is struggling or that your team doesn’t have the funds, go over budgets to find areas you can cut back on. Also ask if there are ways to improve productivity, like investing in training sessions or new technology.
If your financial concerns are more personal, take the time to organize your budget. See what you have to earn in order to make ends meet, as well as what your paycheck would need to be if you’re looking to start saving more or pay off large bills. Look for hidden cost-savers that your company might offer, such as corporate discounts for your cell phone provider or reimbursement for a gym membership. You can also meet with a representative at your bank to help form a financial plan that will ease your concerns. You might find that your best path to making ends meet is to look for a new job with better salary.
Never enough time
Workers are expected to do a lot with a little amount of time: commuting, handling deadlines, getting over-scheduled with too many responsibilities and also bringing work home or checking in through phone and email. If you never feel like you have enough time, it’s likely because you don’t have enough time to yourself, free of distractions or work demands.
First, organize what responsibilities you have at work, as well as outside of work. Also include what priorities you’d like to make time for, be it projects at work, spending more time with family, getting to the gym regularly or simply being able to leave work at work. Next, organize your schedule to play to your strengths. Do you have more energy when you first come into work or later in the day? Schedule your biggest tasks around when you have the most time and energy to commit to them. If you tend to slow down in the afternoons or later in your shift, this is a better time to tackle smaller tasks like answering emails or regular, day-to-day business.
If your list of responsibilities reveals you’ve taken on more than your job originally entailed, it may be time to meet with your manager. Clearly outline what your responsibilities are, as well as what you’ve taken on or regularly help with. If you’re happy with the workload, this may be the time to ask for a promotion. If you’d like to cut back, ask to have your role more clearly defined or to have unrelated projects delegated to other team members. Also address availability when you’re off the clock: do you need to regularly check in? Your boss may agree that you don’t, or you can work out a compromise that complements both schedules.
Multiple sources of stress
Sometimes small amounts of stress from different areas of work or life can add up to an overwhelming feeling that spoils any feelings of productivity or happiness at work. If this is the case, start a running list of what triggers stress or worry throughout the day. By identifying the sources, you can start looking for solutions. Check out these tips for managing workplace stress:
- Keep an updated calendar and to-do list to manage responsibilities and avoid missed deadlines or appointments.
- Sidestep fatigue by taking breaks from your desk or workplace, even for a few moments, to allow yourself to mentally reset.
- Exercise regularly, get enough sleep and eat foods that keep your body satisfied and full of energy.
- Have hobbies and interests outside of work to keep you from fixating on job-related concerns.
No matter your source of stress, it’s important to address the issue and find ways to ease the burden. Employers understand workers can feel burned out, and it’s in everybody’s best interest to keep employees happy and healthy. If you’re worried you have too much to deal with, reach out to your manager, a co-worker, doctor, therapist, family member or friend. Remember, everyone has a tough day or an overwhelming project from time to time, but you shouldn’t feel stressed out on a daily basis.