Sometimes when you are trying to achieve something, you go off track when something urgent comes along. The demands of work or family can unexpectedly disrupt your organised plan. Maybe you even allow yourself to be distracted. It’s important to recognise that this happens to everyone and every day. One of the best ways to counteract it is to foresee this. You can build into your plans some blocks of time to deal with the unexpected. This has the bonus effect that if you don't need it then you reach your target sooner than you expected. But if the unexpected takes some of your time away, then you are not left with the feeling of additional stress for being off target.
Do you feel you should be treated better? Do you feel your manager should look out for your best interests but doesn’t? Do you feel you should not be under so much pressure? Do you think you should not feel so criticised and that your manager should look out for you? Of course that is what we all feel. If the world was fair and just then that would all be true. But the word “should” in all those statements is not helpful when you feel like that. It keeps you locked in a cycle, wishing the world was different. There are usually a few things you can do to change your mindset in this situation, even if you still feel it is not fair.
TIP: Your manager is your customer not your friend, (no matter how friendly you are with them outside work). To get on in life you need to treat your manager like your best customer. Remember you need to give the customer what they want and need. Start to apply this to your dealings with your manager and you will feel less stressed.
When you feel stressed at work, it is very common to believe that the job is above your ability. You look around at others who seem to be performing well and they don't seem to be stressed. You start to ask "What is wrong with me? Did I get this job by mistake? Will someone find out that I am not as good as they thought? Will they discover I don't have the skills that everyone else has?" These thoughts are common, particularly when you start a new job. Some people call this feeling "imposter syndrome". It comes from uncertainty about what you are responsible for and what you can control. There are some things you need to take action on. For example. if you have a deficit in skills, you can do some some extra training or study. There are other things where you may feel more responsible than you need to be. For example, you can't be responsible for the progress of the entire team. Be clear about what you do, what you need to do, what you are good at, and where you need to improve. By categorising your work in this way you will accept that you can be as good as everyone else.
It would be nice if you loved everyone you worked with and they loved you back. But life is not like that. There are some people you get on with and some you feel you have less in common with. BUT you can work with anyone if a personality clash is the only problem; you just need to focus on actions not feelings. If you have a particularly difficult colleague, don't waste emotional time on how you feel about it. Analyse what actions need attending to. Ask yourself: "What is the goal?"
TIP: Try separating emotions from actions. In other words, ask yourself: "What needs to be done? What does the other person want? You don't have to like someone to work well with them.
It can be very demoralising to get poor feedback on your performance, either from others or even from yourself, when you haven’t reached a goal or a target or passed an exam. The problem with the emotional response is that it can prevent you improving or trying again. It can make success less likely next time. One approach that helps is to separate that emotional response from what it is you want to achieve. If, for example, you were playing a PlayStation game and you did not succeed in completing a particular
level then, unless you are a very unusual person, you would not give up the game in an emotional state of self blame and stress. You would be determined to do better next time and would know what you need to do to improve your skills. Accept defeat on this occasion but determine to improve next time. Try and acquire whatever skills you are missing but adopt the same emotional style as you would in the computer game. You might be determined to win, but stop beating yourself up about past failures. If you see your work like a computer simulation game then it is easier to learn from mistakes.
The most common problem that hinders productivity or achieving goals is insufficient planning and organisation. There are so many tools available today that allow us to fit in more work than ever previously imagined, but with that comes extra pressure and a need to plan how to use your time. It is easy these days to get distracted by emails and find you are halfway through your day with nothing achieved other than reading your emails. One tip is to decide before going home what you need to start with the following day. You could also decide what you need to do first thing in the morning, before you do anything else.
Always have a weekly plan setting out what you need to do that week. Leave time to find solutions to unexpected problems. Divide your time into short periods for a range of different tasks. Make progress on each, little by little. This improves concentration and productivity. Trying to work on one task over very long periods of times reduces productivity. Remember to stop each task as the timeslot ends. You can come back to it later.