by Jenna Bloomfield, Solutions Advisor
As busy season picks up, I thought it would be a good time to share some strategies for managing stress when your workload picks up. It’s easy to get so bogged down in client work at this time that you forget to pay attention to your own health and wellness. But taking just a few minutes a day to practice some of these tips can help you keep stress at a manageable level and keep you on top of your game for the coming months.
Get enough sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. With a regular sleep schedule, you’ll sleep better at night and wake up more easily each morning.
Start your day early. Set your alarm early enough to allow time to get yourself (and your family) ready for the day and off to work or school without feeling rushed.
Don’t procrastinate. Keep an ongoing list of tasks you need to accomplish and try to tackle your most important ones first. It’s tempting to put off dreaded tasks in favor of small wins, but putting off the inevitable just allows guilt and anxiety to build.
Exercise. Physical activity is often the first thing to be sacrificed when schedules get busy, but just a 10 to 15-minute workout in the morning or a short walk on your lunch hour can produce endorphins and help you feel more refreshed and energetic.
Take breaks. Take a couple of short breaks each day to think about something other than work. Talk to a friend or family member, watch funny videos online, or read a good book. Just a few minutes of mental rest can sustain you over a long workday.
Focus on communication. Whether you're talking to clients or coworkers, make sure you’re clear about what needs to be done. Sacrificing clear communication for the sake of time typically leads to errors and needing to redo work.
Automate whenever possible. Look for ways to automate small routine tasks you do every day. It may take you a while to get automations set up, but saving just a few minutes a day can add up to a significant chunk of time over the course of a year.
Organize and prioritize your day. During busy periods, tasks and to-dos might seem like they’re coming from every angle: phone calls, emails, clients dropping in, workflow management software, etc. Keep a running list to make sure you don’t miss anything and free your mind of the need to remember everything.
Take advantage of focus time. Block out some time on your calendar to work without interruption. Set an auto-responder on your email, close your office door, and let calls go to voice mail. You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short period of time when you can work without distractions.
Learn to say no. If you’ve organized your priority list and someone comes in with a last-minute request, get comfortable saying no or setting reasonable expectations. As much as we don’t want to disappoint clients, managers and coworkers, it’s essential to be clear and honest about your own needs.
Limit social media. Social media can become a black hole. You think you’ll just check in for a moment, but end up spending hours of your day endlessly scrolling. If you must, delete the apps from your phone. Limiting social media can help increase your capacity and focus.
Spend time with friends and family. Studies have shown that spending time with family and friends can help people cope with stress because it encourages talking about problems instead of turning to less healthy coping mechanisms like alcohol or sugar.
Laugh. Laughter is a great form of stress relief. According to the Mayo Clinic, it stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, increases endorphins and lowers blood pressure. When you have free time, see a comedy show, watch funny videos or laugh with friends!
Keep a gratitude journal. Take a couple of minutes each day to write down a few things you are grateful for. This habit can ground you and is a good reminder of why you’re doing what you do.
Talk to a coworker. Grab a cup of coffee or share a snack with a coworker. Getting out of your bubble can help you build stronger connections with your coworkers, which can be a great stress reliever and improve your long-term job satisfaction.
Remember, you are in control of how your day goes and what gets done. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning or get dragged into putting out fires or managing other people’s priorities instead of your own. Implement some of these strategies, and you’ll have a less stressful busy season and be happier, healthier and more productive.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Jenna is passionate about strengthening client relationships. Her primary focus is on consulting services, including the Business Transformation Playbook, Strategic Planning, the Envision Process, Client Advisory Services, Lean Six Sigma for CPA Firms and Technology Consulting. Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Jenna owned a home health agency for three and a half years