Manage Stress To Boost Productivity
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We live in a time when it seems like we're regularly put into situations that
cause us stress. Sometimes we feel a little stress for a short time and
sometimes we feel a lot of stress for a long time. The fact is that when we feel
stress, especially for extended periods of time, not only does our productivity
drop, but the quality of our work drops as well. Let's start with a discussion
of how stress affects our work and our leadership. You've probably thought of a
couple of consequences of stress already, but I've identified five areas of
significant negative impact from stress. When you suffer from continued stress,
you will see a marked drop in: • Health • Energy • Patience • Creativity •
Health - As stress settles into our lives, it begins to take a physical toll
on our bodies and our health. High levels of stress can cause heart problems,
weight gain, headaches, and sleeplessness. It often affects the balance in our
life. By focusing strictly on our work or our challenging situation, and
neglecting our health, eventually the Universe will swing the pendulum the other
way for us. Inotherwords, we'll become unhealthy and essentially be forced to
care for ourselves (and sometimes have to neglect/abandon our work). Talk about
a drop in productivity and a shift in time management!
Energy - Stress in an energy drain. If you've ever been or presently are
under a lot of stress, you know how it just saps the energy right out of you.
Your ambition drops, your stamina declines, and your focus isn't anywhere to be
Patience - We all know that when we are feeling stressed, our patience can go
right out the window. Since leadership is a matter of effectively relating to
others, our leadership competencies often get "high-jacked" whenever we feel
stress/pressure. Since much of a leader's productivity is a result of the effort
of others, productivity and long-term leadership effectiveness can suffer
greatly when we experience long periods of high stress.
Creativity - The creative process takes place in the neo-cortex of the brain,
while emotions (like stress) are processed in the Amygdala. Here's the challenge
we face: When our brain is focused in the Amygdala, it essentially blocks out
our ability to properly tap into our creative processes. It's like when we hear
someone who's stressed say, "I'm so angry I can't think straight!" High stress
blocks the creative process and hampers logical thinking.
Productivity - Our productivity drops significantly when we're under stress.
We don't think clearly, we get overly tired early in the day, our
self-discipline drops, and we aren't able to concentrate.
So what can we do about all this? In my workshops, I'll ask participants for
examples of stress-causing situations or events. They're always eager to offer
real-life examples of stressful events. (Some examples may have already popped
into your head as you read this.) But the reality is that there are no stressful
situations! It's how we react to events and circumstances that cause us stress.
I guarantee that I can find someone who will not be stressed out by a situation
that causes you to feel stress. This is an important point...
Working to effectively minimize or even eliminate stress will have a
significant impact not only on your health, but on your creativity, energy
levels, people skills and relationships. The most productive people I know have
learned to deal with events in their lives in such a way as not to feel much
stress. It’s not that they are indifferent, thick-skinned, or robots. Instead,
they’ve developed “rituals” to deal with situations that might cause others to
feel stress. They carefully guard their attitude and their energy levels, along
with having a clear sense of priorities.
If you want to be at the top of your game, spend the time to determine which
"rituals" help you to alleviate stressful feelings and be committed to taking
care of yourself. I have a Zen Buddhist saying on the wall of my office which
says, “Live half for yourself, and half for others.” It’s a good philosophy to
By: Michael J. Beck © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.
About the Author
by Michael Beck, an Executive Coach and Strategist specializing in
employee engagement, executive development, and leadership
effectiveness. Connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mjbeck
and visit www.michaeljbeck.com
to learn more.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-12-29 01:45:52 in Personal Articles