Forty year old Hugh, father of two, loved the fast pace, driven corporate world. It put a zing in his step, gave him the best reason to get up and go each morning, and above all gave him the adrenalin rushes he craved. Deadlines and pressure were stimulants that kept Hugh on top and successful in the cut throat bio-engineering industry.
Hugh hated the idea of stress workshops
Hugh hated the mandatory stress workshops and retreats his company foisted on him every six months. He loathed the relaxation skills training, the visualization experiences and the meditation group he was often forced to attend. The worst thing you could tell Hugh was to slow down and smell the roses so as to avoid a heart attack.
The idea of taking it slower or relaxing filled him with horror. Who would he be if he wasn't Mr. Do it all, do it before anyone else, and do it better than everyone else? Hugh probably has a higher threshold for stress tolerance than other personality types. Yet he too has his breaking point.
Recognizing that tipping point isn't easy for Hugh since he usually ignores the early warning signs and plows right through them almost as a rite of passage. So here are some guidelines to help Hugh be alert and responsible for staying on the right side of his stress curve.Stress overload leads to problems in
A. Quality of performance
- exhaustion and sleep deprivation which affects energy and motivation
- cortisol being released into the bloodstream which negatively affects memory
- lowered concentration and attention leading to mistakes, errors and bad judgment
- reduction in creativity, problem solving skills and innovative thinking
- impatience and irritability resulting in jagged relationships with clients
- bad relationships drive clients and prospects away
B. Physical breakdown
- constant muscle tension leads to low back pain, sciatica, and neck and shoulder aches
- stress hormones disrupt digestion which results in ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome
- appetite swings triggering metabolic changes and weight gain.
- lowered immune system, skin breakouts and hair loss
- impotence and reduced enjoyment in sex.
How can Hugh keep the pressure and control stress side effects?
So how can Hugh and his state of the art company make sure that he and other type A personalities use stress effectively and purposefully? How can Hugh and his adrenalin hungry colleagues avoid the negative outcomes of stress overload without having to give up their frantic schedules, impossible goals and tight time frames?
The answer lies in spinning the priority wheel several times a day with time in-between tasks for creative problem solving. Here is a plan for Hugh to enjoy his stress without being wiped out by the harmful side effects.
1. Write a daily priority list of no more than 5 essential tasks for that day.
Benefit: less overwhelm, a sense of purpose, feeling of control, no muscle tensions or aches.
2. Break each job down into small chunks and write them down in the order to be done.
Benefit: improved concentration, better energy flow, healthier eating and weight management.
3. Tackle each job in order of importance, by completing chunks one at a time.
Benefit: sharper focus, better judgment, fewer errors, feeling of accomplishment
4. Take 15-20 minute breaks in-between completing tasks. Do something different, eat, drink, stretch and move.
Benefit: reliable memory, creative juices bring faster solutions, healthy skin and bowels.
5. After each task is completed check it off, focus on the current successful outcome, and reprioritize the remainder of the jobs for the day.
Benefit: tangible signs of progress, increased confidence, effective immune response.
6. At the end of the day credit yourself on your check list for completed tasks. Reorganize priority list for the next day. Talk to yourself as an achiever and give yourself little tangible rewards.
Benefit: restful sleep, healthy sex drive, improved long term memory and clear thinking,
7. Exchange tasks rather than add more to your day. Avoid falling into the trap of overload, incomplete tasks, and self-blame.
Benefit: faster completion rates, smooth transitions from one task to another, better grip on complicated agendas, fewer dropped balls, and well maintained connections between disparate parts of the job.
About the Author
Dr. Jeanette Raymond is a licensed psychologist in Los Angeles. She helps people have manage their stress in ways that match their personalities. Poor relationships in the work place contribute to insecurity and cause stress. Good relationships create security and stability both in the work place and outside.
Security and stability allow you to perform to your optimum level, be creative and solve the problems that throw you off course. .
Dr. Raymond conducts workshops and customized packages for individuals and groups in the workplace to improve communication, enhance relationships and promotes motivation that satisfies your need for accomplishment. Quality of work stays on a high level giving you and your company a competitive edge. You can find out more about Dr. Raymond at http://www.drjeanetteraymond.com Or call her at 310.985.2491