Monday, July 31, 2006

stress management : Stress and Handling Incompatible Activities

Is stress something personal or pure business, or … something in between?

Personal situations will affect the stress level experienced at your work. Examples are well known -- problems with a close relation or with family member or even more specific a situation of divorce.

These situations will bring stress because of the emotions that are involved and which are not easily controlled; they interfere with your ‘normal’ life. And will affect your attention at work.

At work, you have a specific role to fulfill. The journalist, for example, will have to cope daily with an amount of stress to meet the deadline. This is a seen as a healthy level of stress inherent to the job; a news agency can’t survive otherwise. If you can't handle it, you should choose another career.

But now the journalist is writing his article, and he is interrupted by his boss because of some management issue that pops up. There is not enough time to finish both -- meet the deadline and discuss an organizational issue; because these are incompatible. One needs time (a discussion), the other needs velocity (the article).

Dealing with stress is dealing not only with priorities, but understanding that each type of activity requires some specific approach. And your question in this is, Am I fitted for such an approach or do I constantly need more time to think.

If you face stress at work for a long period your job probably doesn’t fit you. If you like your job but you are confronted with stress you probably can’t separate different activities according to their characteristic. This is a switching problem in which you need to change your mindset according to the situation. In those cases a simple -- “not now,” is sufficient. Those are simple tricks you can learn.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account

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