Accountancy can be a volatile world where customers, clients and competitors all face uncertain futures, so it's not surprising we all feel stressed at times. It is vital to know how to deal with to stress when it arises. That way, you'll be in a position where you can positively impact the future of your organisation as well as of the people around you, not to mention your own future.
In this week's blog we will look some tips on how to manage stress.
Manage stress by managing your workload
One common cause of stress is workload: having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. Try to accept that you cannot do everything at once. Take some time to start to prioritise and diarise your tasks.
When workload turns into overload, try to take every opportunity to delegate repetitive assignments, information gathering and non-essential attendance at meetings and presentations to other people.
Flexibility is the ability to manage unpredictable circumstances by adapting emotions, thoughts or behaviours constructively or positively. It's useful because individuals who are better able to shift their thinking from situation to situation will focus less on stresses within a given situation.
Practicing flexibility can be difficult but not impossible. It may sound pessimistic but it is always best to assume that nothing will ever run completely smoothly. This way if any bumps arrive it may be easier stop focusing on what can't be done and to look at what can be done instead.
Stress tolerance is about understanding that stress is a response to our environment and that we do have the ability to manage our emotions to enable us to better deal with difficult, challenging or stressful situations.
Increased stress can increase our productivity - up to a point, after which things go rapidly downhill. However, that point or peak is different for everyone, so you need to be sensitive to the early warning symptoms and signs that suggest a stress overload has started to push you to your limit. Signals also differ from person to person so it is worthwhile reflecting on the past to identify the signals that indicated you could no longer cope with the stress.
Our level of optimism, or lack thereof, is often shaped by how much control we think we have over events. It is our ability to keep hope, and be resilient despite knockbacks.
Retaining optimism can be difficult but if we allow ourselves to feel a total lack of optimism, this can be disastrous in terms of escalating stress levels. Being optimistic will be easier if we do not catastrophise or overly personalise things like criticism, redundancy or not getting an interview or payrise.