Do you find yourself having to work harder to achieve the same amount, feeling less confident about your outputs and experiencing fewer productive interactions with others at work?
Then you are like so many others who are finding it less easy to deal with the growing pressures, increased demands and high expectations facing most people in the workplace.
This effect can be intensified for those who are already doing astonishing jobs, “project managing” family and work demands.
In these situations, leading full “double lives,” many people put pressure on themselves through their own expectations to produce more, and to perform to a higher standard. Are you over-tough on yourself? Do you sacrifice your needs being met to satisfy others?
If you continue to operate at high intensity levels, it is likely that you will experience growing signs and patterns of stress, such as low energy, difficulty concentrating and focusing on work, longer-term illness, and an increasingly emotional roller-coaster.
If you want to prevent this situation from developing, an answer lies in your willingness to tackle these five areas early and continuously.
1. Notice the early signs of pressure such as headaches, repeat colds, changes in mood and behaviour, excessive tiredness and periods of self-doubt.
2. Stop doing some less important activities now!
3. Have clear agreements with colleagues and your boss about realistic and achievable levels of work. Make sure your boss understands what, and the amount of, work you are doing. If these arrangements are not working, renegotiate, based on what is possible and your highest priorities.
Be prepared to say “no” to further and instant demands. Most people will respect your honesty and you can usually reach an agreement on alternative approaches.
4. Build a support network around you, so that you have access to the right people when you need help, want a listening ear or to mutually “let off steam.” Spend more of your time with people who energise you, make you laugh and provide a “reality check” when you are in a self-critical mode.
5. Allocate and diarise specific times to do activities that will recharge your batteries, meet your needs, help you to relax and enable you to feel good about yourself. Remind yourself that you can best support others when you are in a positive energy state.
These five steps will raise your productivity, increase your confidence and lead to more productive relationships.
By Bruce Hoverd, author of Powering Through Pressure: Building Resilience for When Work Gets Tough. Powering Through Pressure by Bruce Hoverd (Pearson) is out now, priced £12.99, from Amazon and all good book shops