We all get a bit crazy on the job every now and then. From mums at home to on-call response teams, there are ways to limit craziness and typical workday sress. Once you trade the temporary highs of battle scars and constant adrenaline, you may find that you actually enjoy your job more than you realized.
01 Know what you’re capable of. If you’re confident in your ability to do your job, even emergency meetings can’t stress you out.
02 Don’t repeat any gossip you hear. If you can detach yourself from the gossip chain, you cut most of the drama out of your workdays.
03 Create an enjoyable lunchtime ritual. Listen to music, read a book, picnic on the grass, or just enjoy your lunch quietly. Let your mind calm down and mark the day’s halfway point.
04 Keep contact information easily accessible. Any phone numbers that could be urgent should be kept close at hand in a single location. Day planner, cell phone, Outlook contacts, or index card — do whatever works for you, but keep that information nearby to avoid turning routine calls into desk-tossing panics.
05 Clear your desk of anything that’s not necessary, such as stacks of catalogs, outdated correspondence, and yesterday’s teacup. Keep a personal memento or two on your desk, but make sure the items add meaning to your life, such as a family photo or an object that makes you smile or reflect.
06 Always have an update for your supervisor. Always. Even if it’s something trivial, be ready to answer the “What’s new around here?” or “What’s going on in your department today?” question. It’s a great way to build trust.
07 Shorten your task list. I like to keep two task lists, one for ongoing things that need to be handled at some point and one for what’s on the docket today.
08 Be honest when you prioritize. Do what’s most important first, no matter how unappealing it may be.
09 Ask for help sooner rather than later. No one likes getting IMs from the “I have a big presentation this afternoon and need some help” guy. Don’t be him. Most people are willing to help, but deserve to have their schedules respected.
10 Volunteer your help before you can be commandeered. Jump at tasks that interest you and excel at them.
11 Take the initiative to find useful tasks to fill extra time. It takes about as much energy as trying to find new ways to waste time and it boosts your job security.
12 Drink water instead of coffee, tea or soft drinks, to avoid energy spikes.
13 Use applications that are compatible across all computers you may work on. You never know when you’ll need to switch, so save yourself the stress of having to download new software for the trusty backup computer at the last minute.
14 Smile. People are nicer to you and more patient when you smile.
15 Get supplies that fit your needs. Quality supplies can cut down on injuries, save time, and slash your stress. In many cases, it’s worth a few extra dollars to get the tools you need to do your job instead of trying to fit your job to the tools at hand.
16 Admit your mistakes. Coverups are complicated and throw your integrity into question. Own up early and often and you’ll find yourself apologizing a lot less in the long run.
17 Leave your personal life at the door when possible. Instead of getting caught up in the battle for whose weekend was the coolest or who’s running on the least sleep, smile a private smile and leave it at that. (This is probably the one thing that has saved me the most drama, time, and stress. “Smile and stay out of it” works every time. And it drives gossips crazy with curiosity.)
18 The recycle bin is hungry. Feed it. If there’s only a marginal chance you’ll need a piece of paperwork, consider tossing it, especially if it’s information that is available in any other format or place.
19 Spend some time each day on deadline-oriented tasks and some on high interest level tasks. You get everything done while staying engaged with your job. (Keep a tickler file for the interesting tasks, to stay focused.)
20 Do your job. Seriously. Handle your responsibilities without complaint and be the person no one has to micromanage. When you have the trust of your team, it’s amazing how much simpler your work life can become.