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Create a Stress-Resistant Work Day

You may not be able to control every single stressful aspect of your job, but you probably have the power to control your personal work area. Your workspace can (literally) give you a pain in the neck, straining your muscles and tiring your body.

The culprit may be an awkwardly placed computer monitor, uncomfortable seating, poor lighting, or simply a totally cluttered desk that’s hiding that memo you remember writing and now urgently need. Your life is stressful enough as it is. You don’t need your workspace adding to your daily dose of stress. This section shows you a few ways to make your workspace a lot more stress-resistant.

Organize your desk

How can a neater desk reduce stress? Well, because the source of many types of stress comes from a feeling of being out of control, of being overwhelmed. When your work area looks like a battlefield, you feel the tension growing. And when you can’t find that report you need, your stress level soars even higher.

By organizing your files and piles, you get a sense (perhaps mistakenly) that there is some order in all the chaos. So, at the end of your workday, straighten things up. Doing so takes only a few minutes, but the rewards are large.

Manage your work time

Having too little time is often cited as a major work stress. In the current economy, time-related stress is magnified by having fewer people to do the same amount of work. Deadlines introduce even more stress. If getting organized is near the top of your list of stress reducers, time management is way up there as well. Here are some work-related time-management highlights:

  • Work with lists and calendars.

  • Prioritize your tasks.

  • Batch your e-mails and phone calls.

  • Divide and conquer by breaking larger tasks into smaller parts.

  • Don’t over-commit.

  • Delegate when you can.

Do lunch (with a difference)

Although the days of the three-martini lunch are gone, you can still find the harried worker overloading his or her plate with the kinds of food that ensure a high stress level for the rest of the day. Some suggestions for powering up your body (and not creating a meltdown) for the afternoon:

  • Never skip lunch — no matter how busy your day gets.

  • Eat less at your midday meal — no seconds.

  • Eat stress-reducing foods.

  • Don’t drink any alcohol.

  • Skip dessert.

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