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Coping with high pressured job

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The inundation of cricket matches has already started affecting the career spans of promising players,’ former Indian skipper Dilip Vengsarkar was quoted as saying in a national daily recently.‘They want to play for their country but, with the frequency of high-tension matches increasing, they are prone to injury and are struggling to do their best,’ he added.

You, on the other hand, may work in an air-conditioned office and not have to sweat it out on a cricket ground.

However, the frantic pace of the corporate rat race could very well leave you feeling exhausted — physically, mentally and emotionally.

While increasing your intake of caffeine or taking asylum in chain smoking may get you going for a while, it is certainly not a long-term solution to cope with stringent deadlines and work-related stress.

The key: Be prepared.Be prepared

The more prepared you are the better you will be able to respond to every odd situation. Eventually you may even enjoy it because hard work can be fun.

Follow these work strategies and stress-busting tips to capitalize on the current high-pressured demands.

Don’t be a pushover

There is a feeling amongst young professionals today that saying no will put a dent on their credibility,” says Rohini Verma, a practising clinical psychologist.
Don't be a pushover
“But it is actually the other way around. People respect those who are assertive and confident,” she says.

Taking on that added workload could make you prone to missing prior deadlines. For example, taking on a new project while you are struggling to finish the old one on time can backfire.

The key is to under-promise and over-perform and not the other way around.

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into taking on unacceptable workloads, even if it happens to be from your boss. Sometimes you must say ‘no’; just remember to be polite and assertive when doing so.

Here are some ways in which you can be diplomatic and assertive.

Can you have someone take this up so I can concentrate 100 per cent on the last assignment you gave me?

I would love to take this assignment; however, I am in between a few other commitments.

Can you arrange for someone to help me with the other tasks?

This will ensure the ball is in your boss’s court; let him/ her work it out for you.

In terms of priority, it makes sense to decline low value tasks.

If you are in sales, don’t get bogged down by paperwork and administrative duties. Keep these low value tasks to a minimum and take on those where you will add maximum value.

Be realistic

Being realistic does not mean taking it easy; it means taking on more ‘do’ able tasks,Be realistic keeping your current circumstances in mind.

Break your goals down to the lowest common denominator (be practical when doing this).

For example: You may set a goal to be the top sales person in your company for the month, but it makes more sense to break it into weekly targets, rather than daily targets. This way you will have the flexibility to change the weekly target based on your day-to-day performance.

Use the SMART goals technique: This means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible.

Specific: Have a concrete goal. There is no room for guesswork here. Wanting a job which pays you ‘X’ amount of money is being specific rather than ‘just wanting a job that pays well’.

Measurable: You should be able to track your advancement by hours, rupees, etc, so that you know how you are measuring up as you progress.

Attainable: It is detrimental to set the mark so high that you set yourself up for failure. If you are a new employee and want to get into a senior management role within six months, you probably know it is not attainable.

Realistic: Goals are realistic when your background, upbringing, personality, skill set, experience, and environment are conducive to achieve them. They are unrealistic, in order to achieve your goals, you need something you do not possess.

Time bound: Set deadlines for yourself, so you will be driven to finish the task. Without a time limit, there is no urgency to act.

Work smart

When the going gets tough, the tough get… methodical.Work smart

Prioritize work. Allocate the first few hours of the day to the most productive and challenging work; devote post-lunch or early evenings for phone calls and e-mails.

Focus on the key deliverables and remove all nuisances that create unwanted pressure. These include time-wasters like unwanted calls and junk e-mail.

If you are preparing an important project report, keep your cell phone on silent mode, turn your Internet messenger service’s status to ‘Away’ and focus on the task at hand.

Discipline is important. Make ‘To do’ lists and stick to them.

Last but not the least, there are no prizes for doing everything by yourself. The workload will leave you exhausted and possibly frustrated. Learn to delegate and work with teams.

The key question: where do you get the maximum bang for the buck? Take on those activities and delegate the rest. Working smart is the key to longevity.

Keep a tab on your diet

I am addicted to coffee and have anywhere between eight to nine cups everyday in order to keep myself awake,” says 22-year-old Tabitha Cherian, who works with call centre Convergys. “I end up feeling dreadful the next day.”

Working the graveyard (night) shift is no excuse to eat junk and gulp down multiple cups of coffee.

If you really need that hot cuppa, why not try green or regular tea? It has less caffeine. Make sure you go easy on the sugar or use sugar-free pills.

Throw out the cola from your routine and replace it with fruit smoothies. Else, go for the champion drink — water. It will flush out all toxins and keep you charged throughout the day.

What are YOUR solutions for busting stress and coping with stringent deadlines? Share your mantras with other professionals. Don’t forget to mention your name, age, profession and location.

What and when you eat can make a big difference to the way you cope with stress. Don’t skip meals — particularly breakfast — or rush to finish them. Try to maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet.

“I usually carry some fresh fruits like apples and grapes to work and keep snacking on them. You can even dip pieces of apples in fresh yoghurt and create your own delicious snack,” says Shelly Jain, a 28-year-old consultant with NIIT.

This doesn’t mean you can never break these rules. You can safely indulge in chocolate and sweets once or twice a week. However, if you are addicted to these or just badly stressed, do remember you are breaking the rules at your own peril.

Indulge yourself

There are times when I just feel like throwing in the towel because nobody seems to appreciate my painstaking work,” says Shelly.

Do something nice for yourself after you have achieved a milestone at work.

How about dinner with a friend for a small accomplishment and a day off from work for a big win? Go out and get a nice massage. You deserve it!

Flex those muscles, breathe

“I am aware of the pressure I will face once I join the workforce. So I attended the Art of Living course to help me prepare for it. I feel charged every time I close my eyes and meditate,” says 25-year-old Madan R, a 2006 MBA graduate from ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad.

What are YOUR solutions for busting stress and coping with stringent deadlines? Share your mantras with other professionals. Don’t forget to mention your name, age, profession and location.

Mohini Sawhney, a Delhi-based Art of Living teacher, agrees. “Your body is an extension of your mind. Take the time to stretch your muscles and loosen the muscles in your jaw and face. Practising relaxed breathing techniques and meditation will improve your mood and counter the physical effects of stress,” she advises.

Get any sort of physical exercise. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Step away from the computer for a quick stretch during your day at work.

Don’t lose sleep over stress

I sacrificed my health for the sake of work and studies and thought I can always catch up for lost sleep later. Not anymore. I learned my lesson,” says Ashok Radhakrishnan, a 29-year-old finance executive with Nestle.

Try to maintain a regular schedule, even if you are working in shifts. Try and go to bed and get up at a similar time every week; this will set your body into a routine, which is important for sound sleep.

Cut out idiot box time and instead listen to soothing music or read a book before hitting the sack.

Try not to eat anything right before you sleep, else you will feel very heavy. Experts even recommend a hot shower as it can have a soothing effect on your mind.

Watch out for the logistics. “I work during the nights and sleep during the day. I have made sure the atmosphere in my bedroom is very soothing and the room is very dark during the day and properly ventilated,” says call centre employee Rashmi Sharma.

Good sleep is most important but also the most overlooked aspect of good health. Nothing revitalizes you better.

2 Responses to “Coping with high pressured job”

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