In the business world today, there is a “new normal” that says we simply have to accomplish more, but with fewer resources. If you are a sales representative, you have 12 hours of work to do in an 8-hour day. If you have to do “this” and do “that” plus network for your business and key your eye on the what you have to do and find quality time with your family. Or, you may be overwhelmed in meetings most of the day and then cannot finish what you are supposed to do.
Many people start their day with a well-intended “to-do” list and end it with memories of interruptions, minor crises, derailments and the boss or a client saying “I need it now.” Despite lamenting our 24-hour, 7-days-a week culture as much as the next person, you are “always on.” Priorities, including your own, change frequently. You regularly face that time when everything seems to require your urgent attention, and it feels like you are head for a crash.
In the new normal, old markets shrink and new trends emerge. These days, many people are staying in their jobs or their industries because they feel stuck, so it may be harder to progress in your organization. Similarly, many people have left their industry to become independent consultants, so your field may be crowded. Or, you may want to try starting a business that will serve companies such as the one you are currently working.
To tame the stress in your daily life, there are three things you need to do:
1.) Change your perspective so that you rise to the occasion of dealing with challenging circumstances rater than allowing them to overwhelm you. Your will have a new mindset and skill set that can turn obstacles into opportunities and enable you to adjust to changes
2.) Change your physiology so that you can have the energy when you want it and relaxation when you need it. And,
3) Change the problem. How can you bring your workload into a manageable level by eliminating most interruptions and have more choice over when you are available to other people.
4) Change Your Perspective. What people really want and need is not work-life balance, but to live deeply satisfying lives both personally and professionally. Orient your life around having more satisfaction rather than counting the hours at work or outside of work. To do this, come up with a clear definition of what career success and personal happiness is for you. Take some time to write out a vision of what dissatisfies you currently, and what you really want in your life. Then put in place a step-by-step game plan to get on the path toward that deeply satisfying life. Switch from your everyday perspective to the big picture and stay focused on the long range goal: when you remember: “I am working to earn money so that I can live in the neighborhood I like and send my children to good schools,’ it takes the guilt away. When a woman thinks about her job as part of a career rather than just a paycheck, she is much more likely to feel satisfied and positive in all aspects of her life.
5) Change The Problem. Instead of dealing with everything yourself, think about sharing the responsibility you have with others in your circle. Get your family involved in sharing both tasks and a sense of responsibility about the day-to-day tasks of the home – whether it be making appointments, decisions that impact the family life or challenges that face working Mothers. If you engage your husband or other family members, you may find that you will have more time and less stress.
Dealing with work-life over load and stress:
- Learn to say “No” to commitments where your participation is not crucial.
- Consider adopting a 80/20 rule, and prioritizing activities with the biggest impact.
- Create measurable, realistic goals; and remember it is ok not to be perfect.
- Eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly and block out periods of “me” time for yourself
- Identify mentors and minimize contact with people who can cause you grief
- Keep a sense of humor!
Sharon Melnick, Ph.D. is a leading authority on Confident Leadership and Stress Resilience for women. Her practical tools are informed by 10 years of research at Harvard Medical School and field tested by over 12,000 training participants. An internationally sought after speaker, her presentations on Resilience (Success under Stress) and Confidence receive highest ratings and multiple repeat invites from organizations such as Procter and Gamble, NY Life, Novartis, MetLife, GE, Sodexo, Merck, Moody’s, OmniCom, AIG, and many others. Many of these Fortune 500 companies participate in her recently launched worldwide Confidence Revolution for Women, resulting in women employees who speak up, take risks, and lead boldly.
She is regularly asked back to be a keynote or workshop presenter for leading women’s conferences such as Working Mother Media, Women’s Leadership Exchange, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (winner Best Conference Workshop, 2013), Women Presidents Organization, Women in Cable and Telecommunications, Women in the Boardroom, CEO Clubs, Linkage, and numerous associations. Dr. Melnick has a strong track record coaching emerging women leaders into senior management positions at Fortune 500 organizations in the financial, technology, and fashion industries.
Dr. Melnick is the author of the acclaimed book Success under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive when the Pressure’s On. She has the spirit of a teacher and loves having contributed her advice to Forbes.com, Fox News, Business Insider, AOL Stylelist, the Huffington Post, CBS Radio, Natural Health Magazine, USAToday.com, AmexOPEN, and Smart Briefs.