Who Else Wants to Reduce Work Stress?

12.13.12By Sally Ann Moyer

Letting go is not just a therapeutic lesson in healing negative emotional experiences but also an effective management skill. The ability to say ‘no’ shows that you know how to prioritize. This management skill is necessary for workplace success. While a myriad of responsibilities compete for your attention, discerning which to refuse is crucial for reducing work stress.

While it’s easy to say no to an alternative that is a bad idea or unappealing, picking between two positives is obviously more difficult. We often live in fear of the dark side to productivity: everything you accomplish comes at the expense of not accomplishing something else. If you have said yes to a great opportunity, you have also said no to whatever would have come as the consequence of refusing this opportunity.

Children learn the word ‘no’ to teach them self-control. Letting them do whatever they want without limits creates selfish, reckless adults. Saying no is a healthy practice for the development of responsible leaders who can follow through on their commitments.

Work stress happens when realities and expectations overwhelm our abilities. If you overcommit yourself, you run the danger of producing low quality work. Saying yes to everything can actually be the source of your work-related stress. When you accept every opportunity and the responsibility of managing every project, all the positives together can create a negative situation.

To reduce work stress, you will have to learn to learn how to let go. Follow these three tips to make saying no a part of your daily routine.

1. Prioritize
Make a ranked to-do list of everything you must accomplish. This will give you a wider perspective of the demands on your time. You will be able to see which projects need the most time and where saying no is not an option. Creating a list helps you give the right value to each task and also helps prevent you from falling into the productive procrastination trap. Prioritize at the start of your day to easily discern which commitments will come at the least loss to refuse. You can also further organize your to-do list into categories of what you can delegate and what you must accomplish yourself.

2. Delegate
Sharing your responsibility is not the same as losing your authority.Delegating is actually the one time when saying no to some opportunities and tasks can still mean saying yes. You can lessen the burden of your personal demands by sharing responsibility with your hardworking team. According to an article on Inc.com, “the most effective managers delegate as much as possible.” Micromanaging increases workplace stress, but careful delegating helps your company operate more smoothly. The necessary tasks will still get done but with more time for you to focus personally on what’s most important.

3. Focus
Stressing over external factors is a waste of your time. The ability to let go of what you cannot control frees up your mind to focus on what you can. Effective managers recognize the specific purpose of their roles. You are a manager of something and do not bear the responsibility for everything. Even if you operate your own business with yourself as the only employee, external factors will still affect your company’s success. Relax with the knowledge that it’s not always your fault when plans fail or projects derail. Focusing on what you can control gives you clarity in analyzing your success and makes productivity a tangible concept.

In the workplace, letting go means relinquishing your controlling grasp in exchange for long term success.  Committing to what you know you can accomplish will reduce your stress and boost your confidence. Delegating what you cannot do alone compliments your team and reminds you that you do not have to go at it alone. Only partially completing multiple projects will not help your company move forward. Your future success will depend upon doing the best you can with every project you take on, so it is in your best interest to only commit to what you can accomplish.

How do you keep from overcommitting at work?

About Rise Performance Group
Rise Performance Group is passionate about helping companies improve top and bottom line performance. Maximizing the potential and performance of any organization requires a relentless pursuit of acquiring and developing top talent and leaders. Leaders in high performing companies know that their employees are the organization's most important asset and that the quality of the company's talent is the leading indicator of whether the business is heading up or heading down. Today's distributed business environment requires leaders to "leverage" tools to help them accurately and consistently judge, measure and develop the raw human talent in their organizations. Understanding a person's unique combination of traits helps leaders make better determinations of the employee's fit for a specific job, rapidly develop this talent and most importantly convert what supposedly are “soft” subjective judgments about people into objective criteria that are as specific, verifiable, and concrete.

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