While almost all professionals experience some type of work-related stress, there is no question that the more responsibilities you have, the more stress you experience. Those who have the most responsibilities on the career ladder are those in executive positions. As an executive, you have a lot of the weight of your organization on your shoulders, along with the management of employees and/or clients.
Balancing those under your direction, your regular duties, and added responsibilities can send stress levels soaring. This can affect your work (and personal) relationships, your health, and your ability to make sound decisions. How can you keep your stress under control and find more balance?
Prioritize your week. At the beginning of each week, take 15-20 minutes to check your calendar, tasks, deadlines and any other pending appointments. Knowing what you need to accomplish and what could be pushed back if needed will help you feel prepared and less stressed.
Automate processes when appropriate. If your weekly task list is long, this can be a stress factor. Identify items on your task list that could be streamlined or even automated. Need to send emails at certain times during the week? Try inbox extensions, such as Boomerang, that allow you to schedule emails in advance. Another option is to give your secretary notes on documents that need updating or to be sent out.
Learn when to move on. As an executive, you have to make the big decisions. Try to prioritize them and then set a limit on how much time you will dedicate to each item. For example, if you have to make a big decision that will impact your employees that will take the majority of your time, can you delegate some of the research process to others, possibly even to the employees who will be impacted by your decision? Then, set a timer or a reminder of your time limit that is respectful of the task at hand, but also allows you to keep moving through your list. This will help to prevent your getting buried in certain tasks or decisions.
If after your time limit has passed you feel that you don’t have enough information to make a decision, put it aside and move to on to the next task. Focusing on other items will give your brain more time to process and you can pick the item up later with a fresh viewpoint.
Set boundaries. With the ability to check your work email on your phone and tablet, being always connected to your work can create unnecessary stress. Avoid writing your employees during non-work hours and if you feel you can’t totally disconnect, only respond to urgent matters during non-work hours. Talk with your family and decide on times you can be “work free” and then respect that time. This will allow you to put your mind on other activities that you enjoy. Clearing your head actually allows you to be more efficient at your job.
Spend time doing things you enjoy. One of the best ways to de-stress is to take time to do things you like. This could be a craft, cooking, exercise, spending time with the family. Whatever you enjoy doing, make sure you schedule time weekly for it.