“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”William James, American Philosopher
With this quote, let’s launch into a daily topic that has a high appeal in the professional world. Time pressure, the company’s performance expectations of you and your work. The people around you constantly asking you questions, and then there is your daily work to complete. When stress occurs, large amounts of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol are released into the blood within a few seconds. This makes us capable of peak performance in the short term. However, it doesn’t seem that way to us.
Stress hormones were released for evolutionary reasons when we used to perceive threats and had to defend ourselves. In the long term, the constant release of stress hormones is harmful. We find ourselves under constant tension and often fail to relax. This type of pressure is called distress. What are the possibilities to counteract distress so that we are more balanced, more relaxed, and therefore more productive?
1. Rest periods
To compensate the stress that arises at work during the week, rest periods during, and especially after work are crucial. Even on weekends it is good to consciously switch off for 1-2 hours and retreat. This can be done both physically and mentally. By taking a long walk or reading, both areas of the body can relax respectively, and you will notice that you can gather new energy so that the accumulated stress is gradually reduced.
2. Conscious breathing
Breathing is something most people don’t even notice because we don’t have to pay attention to it. However, conscious breathing can help you to relieve pressure. Your pulse can go down in a short time if you just focus on your breathing. There are now several breathing techniques you can try to reduce your stress levels while at work.
One of them is the 4-6-8 method:
In this breathing technique, you breathe in through your nose and slowly count to four. Then, hold your breath and slowly count to six. Exhale while counting slowly to 8. Repeat these three steps 4-5 times.
What’s the effect? As you breathe slower, your blood pressure lowers, and the body automatically switches to recovery mode. This allows stress to slowly dissipate, and you enter a relaxed state.
3. Balanced sleep
People who sleep too little are unfocused, moody and quickly irritable. Over 30 percent of people in Western European industrialized countries suffer from sleep disorders. Over the long term, this can lead to illnesses such as burnout or personality disorders. How do we manage to have a balanced and above all restful sleep? Something that everyone can implement immediately is not to eat heavy meals before sleeping. Otherwise, the body is busy digesting the food most of the time while sleeping and the system has a harder time recovering.
A salad for dinner is perfect for a balanced and healthy sleep. Distractions from electronic devices before going to sleep are also not helpful for a good night’s sleep. Even while sleeping, the invisible rays of smartphones and iPads can disturb us. The easiest way is to put your alarm clock in the bedroom and leave the electronic devices outside.
As already described in the blog article about how sports can help at work, sports activities are helpful to get a balance from the daily work routine. When exercising, other parts of the body become tense, whereas the parts of the brain that were stressed during work become relaxed and can recover from the pressure. Endurance sports can help the most in preventing stress. These may include running, swimming, cycling or Nordic walking.
5. Performing tasks with proper time management
Primarily, time management is used to reduce stress, but at the same time, the employee’s performance is increased, and goals can be achieved more quickly. Why is stress prevented by proper time management? By planning your week or an upcoming project, you gain control over time. This triggers a sense of well-being and security in most people. The build-up of pressure is slowed down in advance. The work-life balance can also be better maintained, which leads to a better balance, especially in the home office, and thus also to the avoidance of pressure.
A method with which you can easily set your priorities is the Eisenhower principle:
– A-priorities – get done immediately
– B-priorities – schedule them permanently and do not neglect them
– C- priorities – delegate and try to reduce them as much as possible
– D – priorities – eliminate or delegate if there is no other way
Another principle is the Pareto principle:
The principle says that 20% of the tasks are responsible for 80% of the result.
So the goal is to filter out these 20% from the tasks and define the most important tasks in advance, which can then be assigned to priorities. You can manage to eliminate stress in advance with good time management.
Use timeghost for better time management
To avoid additional pressure, time management is one of the most important factors. If you plan your working time correctly and take into account the rules and procedures just mentioned, you will save a lot of time by planning your tasks. As a time tracking tool, timeghost can additionally support you by giving you an overview of your working time and showing you the tasks and projects you have already worked on. In harmony with Outlook Calendar, our time tracking software can perfectly support you in planning.
The Microsoft Graph API allows you to automatically transfer your calendar events to the timeghost feed. From there, you can convert your calendar events into time entries and enter them into the software with just two clicks.
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