Labor Day (or Labour Day for our friends in Canada) is just a few days away. Driven by several labor unions and first celebrated in the late-1800s in both countries, Labor Day also marks the unofficial end of summer; for many, it’s a time to enjoy the last of the summer weather, hit the pool, barbecue with friends & family, and just enjoy a long weekend free from our busy workdays.
And a break from the busy workday is needed. With the ease of access via mobile devices, many of us now stay connected to the office 24/7, and the effects of this access are becoming more and more clear. A recent study by researchers from Lehigh University, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State University shows that organizational expectations to stay connected and monitor email in non-work hours result in increased anxiety, detrimental health effects, and decreased relationship satisfaction for both the employee and his or her significant other.
But even those who aren’t connected 24/7 can suffer from workday stress and ever-increasing workloads, which can result in lack of exercise, poor diet, chronic pain, and even more severe health issues.
So, how can you make every day feel a little more like that relaxing three-day weekend? Here are five suggestions:
- Go for a walk. According to the AADA, “Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout.” So instead of eating lunch at your desk and working through lunch, finish that yogurt and get some fresh air—it just may breathe some new life into your workday.
- Batch process your emails. Many of us remember a time where we didn’t have email at work, yet now it seems like dealing with email is how you spend most of your day. We tend to stop working on a task whenever a new email appears, in case it’s important—but according to Gloria Mark from the University of California Irvine, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task” after an interruption. A better solution? Turn off those notifications and check emails at specific, scheduled times each day. Very little of what we receive via email requires an immediate response, and what is urgent generally comes from the same people—so let them know you’re batch processing emails and that when there is something urgent, to just call and let you know.
- Find ways to automate. How much of your job stress is driven by dealing with bottlenecks? Following up with people to get information that you should have already received can be incredibly stressful. So, find ways to automate those processes. Sales management systems like Salesforce allow you to assign tasks and set reminders, while project management tools like Asana generally send reminders automatically once you assign a task. Microsoft Office and Google both have the option to add reminders to assigned tasks as well, either directly or with third-party apps. Moving reminders from paper to a program is usually half the battle. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to automate follow-up with customers, our automated, human-voice messaging may be the solution; we help companies clear out the bottlenecks in their processes by automatically reminding customers of appointments, required documentation, and late payments using automated calling that gets a 93% listenership rate—it’s truly automated messaging that people want to listen to (try it for yourself by requesting a demo call.)
- Schedule your work. One of the most organized people with whom I’ve ever worked is a master at task management. Her secret? Every item on her to-do list is scheduled in her calendar to ensure that it gets done by the deadline. Blocking time on your calendar—especially for the bigger projects—is a great way to ensure that your most important work gets finished (and as an added benefit, a reputation for delivering on-time, every time can only help your personal brand!)
- Eat that frog! Stolen from the book by Brian Tracy, this tip is based on the saying, “Eat a live frog first thing each morning, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day.” This quote (or something like it) is erroneously attributed to Mark Twain, but the message stands true: if you tackle the biggest, most important task you have for the day first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is usually a breeze. Many of us procrastinate the important projects in the morning, instead responding to emails, running reports, or otherwise working on things knowing that the one thing we’re dreading is waiting for us to tackle it. If you get it out of the way first-thing, your stress level is naturally lowered for the rest of the day, knowing the hard part is already done.
If you’d like to learn more about how SPLICE Software can help you reduce your stress level and eliminate the bottlenecks in your processes, reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website for more information!