How Stress Affects Your Productivity and How to Overcome It

WORDS: Sarah Kaminski PHOTOGRAPHY Unsplash - Supplied

According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 60 percent of workers have high levels of stress, experiencing feeling out of control and extreme fatigue because of it. Due to stress, the same report claims, more than 40 percent of employees lose up to 30 minutes of productivity per day. More than 30% lose an hour or more productivity each day. Some even miss work because of stress. And more than half miss one to two days a year.

While everyone experiences work-related and other types of stress, at times, it is important to be aware of its impact on your health and productivity. Also, there are ways of coping with these feelings without being overwhelmed by them. In this article, we’ll discuss how stress impacts your efficiency and how to overcome it.

Focus Has Left the Building

Surely you’ve noticed that it is very difficult to focus on the task at hand when you’re stressed. Regardless of how hard you’re trying, your mind keeps wandering to your worries. Stress leads to memory problems, difficulty making decisions, and decreased concentration. Research shows that stress can be associated with absenteeism and presenteeism (a worker is present but not fully functional).

Time Management Problems

Productivity means that you are using the time at work to get things done and make progress. If you have too much on your plate, it is hard to know where to start. This can cause you to lose precious time and miss deadlines.

Negative Energy

We don’t have to be friends with the people we work with. However, a pleasant workplace atmosphere is necessary for productivity. When you are stressed, it is more likely that you will have negative changes in behavior and engage in conflicts with your coworkers. This can cause issues in team cohesion and affect the overall productivity of the workforce.

Health Issues

It’s not a secret that stress harms one’s health. Some of the stress-related health issues are anxiety, fatigue, headaches, chest pain, depression, and irritability. A decline in health normally causes a decline in productivity and even missing work. Stress can bring on more severe health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart conditions.

Workplace stress is basically unavoidable. Its impact becomes evident when workers can’t accomplish their tasks or meet their deadlines. It hurts both employers and employees. While it is almost impossible to avoid, the effects of stress can be minimized in a way that contributes to your productivity and well-being. Here’s how to do that.

Sleep Well

OK, hear us out. Your best tool for combating stress is the one you use when you’re not at work. Sleep is a vital function, and when we’re deprived of it, all of our stress-related issues become bigger. Even the slightest sleep deprivation can cause you to lose focus, be less productive, and be irritable.

To sleep better, start by changing your sleep environment. Check out the differences between king and queen sized mattresses, and choose the one that suits your most frequent sleeping positions. A good mattress is durable and supports your body. Follow up by establishing a bedtime routine – go to bed and wake up at the same time, practice relaxing habits before bedtime, and make sure to avoid digital distractions.

Achieve Work-Life Balance

One of the primary reasons for stress is the inability to achieve a balance between work and personal life. Try to battle that by prioritizing your personal life when you leave the office. Shut down your work mobile phone and stop checking your emails the minute you walk out. Try to talk with your coworkers and managers about taking breaks to get some relief when you feel overwhelmed.

Be Realistic with Your Schedule

Trying to multitask or complete various tasks in a small amount of time can lead to burnout. Pace yourself by maintaining a realistic schedule. Make a list of priorities and be honest about how much you can handle. If you can, distribute the tasks among your coworkers. If you are not sure you can accomplish something, be honest about it. It is better to admit you are way in over your head than to overbook yourself.

Know Your Triggers

Most of the time, similar things annoy us. Identify your stress triggers. That can be taking on too much work, teaming up with certain coworkers, or working with difficult clients. When you know what bothers you, you can be more selective about the tasks you take on, who you work with, and your work environment.

Develop Healthy Responses

Unhealthy stress responses, such as fast food or alcohol, are quite common. However, they are counterproductive. Healthy stress responses would be exercising (or any other form of physical activity), deep breathing exercises (you can practice them at work in stressful situations), hobbies, and spending time with friends and family.

In Closing

Finally, it’s important to understand that you are not alone. Talk to your supervisor when you are feeling overwhelmed. They should be aware that no one benefits from a stressed-out employee. Maybe they already have available stress management resources through an employee assistance program, such as counseling or referral to mental health professionals. Also, you can get support from trusted friends and family members.