Don’t get stressed out of your performance goals. We all deal with stress on a minute by minute bases with work, relationships, economy worries, and the everyday challenges of life. Stress is a motivator, a challenger, a teacher, and a killer. According to the American Medical Association, stress is the root cause of 60% of human disease including heart disease and stroke. With facts like that it should be everyones priority to manage stress daily for a healthy quality of life.
Stress takes on so many different forms and effects the mind and body in a variety of ways. Sometimes stress causes us to rise above expectations and create amazing feats of human ingenuity, strength, and beauty. Other times stress pushes us over the edge into depression.Work stress if left unchecked can and will lead to loss of motivation and creative ideas effectively halting productivity and killing your career ambitions. Knowing how stress is effecting you and where stress is building in your life is the first step in personal health.
Inc.com contributor Laura Garnett has created a brief questionnaire to assess if stress is effecting your performance. This helps identify how stress is impacting your career and sheds light on your personal skills coping with stress.
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following scenarios:
1. There is something impending in your life that feels as though it’s out of your control and despite continued efforts to get a desired result, it’s not happening, (i.e. a deadline, a result, getting a client, making payroll, a key relationship in your life).
2. Your typical stress relievers aren’t working as well as usual (i.e. talking to a friend, working out, taking a deep breath).
3. You feel less productive, even though you are working longer hours
4. You are easily distracted and have to work harder to have clarity of thought for problem solving.
5. You aren’t as excited about things that generally excite you.
6. You feel tired and are having a hard time getting out of bed, even though you are getting your usual amount of sleep.
7. You are more irritable than usual.
8. Your ability to focus is strained and your mind is thinking of 10 things at once all the time.
9. You feel guilty when you stop working because it feels like there will never be an end.
10. You are not being proactive about how you structure your day, you are constantly reacting, and feel like you are juggling to get the basics done.
If you answered “yes”:
7-10 times: You are stressed out. At this level, your performance could be taking a hit. Especially if you’re accomplishing tasks in this state. Realizing that your stress levels are high is the first step to managing them down. Figure out what you can do to change your situation or how you are operating within it before you head into burnout, which could be inevitable if you continue down this path for more than a month or two longer. At this stage, I would seek out some support from a mentor, friend, or performance coach that can help you re-think how you are structuring your work day.
4-6 times: You are potentially teetering back and forth on the edge of your performance being negatively impacted by your stress. Because you’re just starting to show signs of being at the level that it could negatively impact your performance, you can quickly do something now to go back into the space of positive stress. Re-think what’s providing you with this added stress and see if you can create a new mental model around your situation. Seeing something from a valid, different, positive angle can be a powerful tool to subside stress and keep you from going off the rails into the negative decline.
1-3 times: You are managing your stress well. You may have had a recent stressful event or day, but it has not derailed you from keeping your head in the game and having positive stress be a tool for you to create great results and experience top performance.
As business owners and professionals we must take care of our health in order to effectively operate and this should be a daily practice. At Setster we have lunch exercise classes available to employees to help curb the stresses of the day and keep productivity vibrant and fresh. Let me know how you did with the stress test and please update me on your best stress fighting techniques.