Working around the clock, bringing work home, always having to be on call or online—sound familiar? All this and more, along with tight deadlines and long work hours contribute to work-related stress. How do you manage? Read on to find out.
Working on others' schedule
Alvina Islam, an O-level math teacher in a reputed school in Dhaka, loves her job. “I have been in this line of work for years now and love teaching.” In her words, there's no greater satisfaction than that of passing on knowledge and wisdom to the future generation of the country, “I don't just teach my students math, I share life lessons with them, and always stay positive about whatever comes our way—I think that's one thing we don't have too much of in Dhaka—positive vibes. This is my way to try and make a difference.” That being said, Alvina has one issue she feels she is struggling with—stress at work.
Alvina says that she has her own schedule planned ahead of weeks but it can get overwhelming when she has to work on other people's schedule. “I may be called in on my day off for an important meeting, or I may have to stay back for a couple of more hours every now and then even after my office hours are over, to meet an anxious parent.” This is not something she can turn a blind eye to, “These children are my responsibility, I can't just be selfish and say 'No, it has to be done on my schedule and only when it's convenient for me'.”
Alvina is not the only person who feels overwhelmed trying to manage work stress.
Muhib, 34, business analyst, echoes similar concerns. “The global marketplace is constantly changing and to keep up with its pace, I always have to be on top of my game.” He believes stress isn't always bad, “it actually helps me stay focused, pushes me to do better and sometimes even prevent costly mistakes.” But Muhib feels he is struggling to find the work-life balance. “I end up micromanaging a lot of things myself, sometimes unintentionally.”
“You may find others trying to micromanage everything at work because they feel they're losing control and need to stay in touch with the operational tasks. That is not the case for me.” Muhib has his subordinates complaining that they work for a micromanager, “but sometimes I feel the need to micromanage just to ensure quality.”
“It is very stressful, I literally have no time for myself or my family. I wish instead of 24, we had 26-hours a day just so that I could sleep for those two extra hours,” he laughs about it.
How do you manage stress?
“Of course you'd want to keep work on your mind but a line has to be drawn somewhere because it will soon affect your job performance, satisfaction, health and personal life,” says Iffat, who's been working in a bank for half a decade.
Sayedul Ashraf Kushal, therapist, founder and CEO of LifeSpring, a mental healthcare provider, mentions about a cohort Harvard study that has been carried out over a span of 76 years. The finding of the study suggests that happiness in life depends more on how our relationships are with our friends and family rather than our income.
“Income is important but only up to a certain point; it can't bring extra happiness,” says Kushal.
Go over your job description one more time, and take the tasks, that are not your responsibility, off your to-do list. You may want to carry other people's weight, but not at the cost of your well-being.
Getting organised would be the second step. You are not the only person working in your company. A balanced schedule and a clarified breakdown of tasks that need to be carried out on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, with deadlines and specific people specialised to do them, will come in handy.
With every promotion, managers need to learn a little more about how to lead and delegate using an instrumental panel instead of direct micromanaging.
Have a support system
Have a solid support system both at work and at home, to share your worries and concerns with.
Go on a break
Go on a vacation, recharge your batteries.