How to keep calm and stay sane at work
Are you overwhelmed by your workplace and the responsibilities that come with it? Maybe these tips will be of use to you.
This is the age of instant demand and instant supply, of on-the-spot deadlines and multi-tasking. In short, a dog-eat-dog world, where if you don’t enter the rat race, you are left far behind. An opportunity missed or a meeting postponed can make or mar your career. You need to be on your toes and be alert all the time, lest you miss the bus.
In the midst of all this, things tend to go a little crazy. After all, trying to fit into many different roles is not a cakewalk. Overbearing bosses, politicking colleagues, huge workloads, and tough policies make for an unhealthy working environment. If you have a stressful working environment it just adds to the woes. So what you thought was a promising career becomes nothing else but a job.
For us women, things become tougher because we still have to go home after work and be responsible for a lot of other things, including family. Most often, we take our ‘work fatigue’ back with us and unconsciously raise our children by transferring our worries onto them.
So how do you keep sane at work? It is not easy but is not difficult either. Practicality, planning, time management, and responsibility are of essence here. It may take a while, but you are certainly better off to deal with pressures in the long run.
Here are a few tips that will help you along the way...
Cut the clutter
Begin by organising your workspace effectively. Lighting, seating, and the noise level can affect your physical response. Keep things neat, organised and at hand. An untidy desk can stress you out further. If there is more noise than you can bear, plug in some earphones. If you are in a creative field, listening to soft and meditative music (if allowed) helps calm the nerves. Rearrange your desk once in a while and decorate it with photos of your loved ones. In the end, you will be investing in your own creativity and productivity.
Be sure of yourself
Stick to your principles at all times. Do not waver in response to a majority. Your strength of resolve will earn you only more respect. Be sure of what to say and when to say it. It is not necessary to always agree with your co-workers, especially when they are in the wrong. When you communicate, do so in a clear and confident manner. So mean what you say!
Steer clear of office politics
What you say in closed quarters may damage you in public. Keep your opinion and thoughts to yourself. Never offer or add information that will damage anyone personally. If you have to say something, say it to their face instead of gossiping to other colleagues.
Clip off the cliques
Every organisation has its own groups and cliques. Most of these comprise employees in senior positions who feel that they are superior to the juniors. It is better not to form attachments with any of your colleagues. Also, don’t let these groups define what you are as an individual. If a senior manager prefers to dress flamboyantly and in expensive clothes, it does not mean that you should follow the same pattern. Stick to a lifestyle you can afford on your salary. Do not spend money to impress your colleagues or co-workers.
Leave your work at the office
As far as possible, avoid taking your work home. Don’t call colleagues after office hours to gossip about people at work. Invest quality time in your friends and family.
Leave your personal life at home
Don’t bring your personal troubles to the office or share them with colleagues unless absolutely necessary. Let your colleagues remain what they are... professional work partners, and nothing more. This may not seem too easy as we spend most of our waking hours at work and making friends at work is a given. If you need to keep a friend at work, make sure that he/she is entirely trustworthy and dependable.
Follow all protocol and policies laid out by your organisation. Keep in mind that you are responsible and accountable for all that falls under your list of responsibilities. Practise documenting, writing letters and keep clear the lines of communication with your superiors. You are what you do at the workplace and your job performance defines your career. So carry yourself in a professional manner. Also, it is important to dress the part! You cannot come to office in a dirty pair of jeans and a T-shirt and expect you and your work to be respected!
Make time for yourself
Take some time off at the end of the day for some exercise. Begin a new hobby or rediscover an old one. Shift your energy out of work-related activities to something totally unrelated. It will make a big difference to your attitude.
Seek that life-work balance
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ work-life balance. But you have to decide on what an ideal balance means to you. Write down what you expect and then strive to achieve it. Some organisations offer flexi-timings which you can take advantage of. Take short holidays whenever possible. Or even a sabbatical when you can afford it.
Keeping your sanity at work is definitely a challenge. But it is a challenge you can face with some careful planning and being clear about what you want from your personal and professional lives.
You can either be a master juggler or a perfect gymnast. The choice is yours!