- How stop worrying / stressing and getting distracted by issues at work?
In my job I am often faced with challenges / problems. As I am sure many of us do.
Some times these problems are small and easy to resolve but occasionally they require a more time and effort, mediation, conflict resolution, etc.
And sometimes, I dwell on the problems too much and until they are resolved they can occupy my mind way too much. Often they lead to stress, raised heart rate, etc.
For example, today one of my clients started kicking off about something. Fortunately not something that is our fault but we are often the scapegoat and I know it is going to take some effort to resolve.
So my children are putting on a little impromptu show this evening before bed and all I can think about is how to word an email to the client and how will they respond and how will this pan out, etc etc. Not fair on my kids at all and I’m gutted about that.
No doubt, I’ll also be waking up several times through the night thinking about this, playing different versions of the conversations I might have tomorrow with these clients.
I have been in this position many times over the years so you’d think that by now it would be like water of a ducks back but unfortunately I dwell or worry too much.
I am self-employed as well so thay doesn’t help. Our reputation means a lot to me so I want to keep customers happy.
Is it normal to worry and stress like this over something I know, ultimately, will be okay?
Are there techniques to help with my sleep or distract me?
Most importantly, how can I focus on the moment (ie with my children) and put worries to the side?
Any advice appreciated 🙂
Ps. Ive just started using the Headspace app. Never been convinced by meditation or mindfulness techniques but admittedly I’ve never given it a proper go!Posted 9 months ago
Go ride your bike.
Or go for a walk; anything that gets you outside and moving around, ideally in a bit of peace. It’s the best way I have found to to let stress filter through my head.Posted 9 months ago
I would say you need to prioritise the things that you are going to dwell on and get them off your to do list. Maybe they are a bit trickier than other things so you do other stuff first but these tasks are nagging at you so you can’t relax. Do them first thing in the morning, even if you really don’t want to!Posted 9 months ago
Make a list. Put it in your bag until tomorrow.Posted 9 months ago
To add to my previous post, if I’m stressing and can’t concentrate before my walk/run/ride I remind myself I will have that time to think it all through. If I start stressing after, I remind myself I have already processed it through and made any required decisions.Posted 9 months ago
Just do what you can whilst trying to tackle the issue and then put it away mentally. Easier said than done but mindfulness does help. Write things down before bed and deal with them the next day. If you can’t influence or change things enjoy what you are doing at that point in time.Posted 9 months ago
Thanks, fair point! I make time to get out and ride once or twice a week – and it helps!!! No doubt about that.
I am curious to know more about how I can overcome the anxiety or stress I feel at random times brought on by these blips at work.
Mrs says I just need to grow a thicker skin. She has a point! But then she also lets things get to her at times.
Guess it’s just life. People have it a lit tougher, I realise that.
To he honest, Ive been reading up about mindfulness and meditation which has got me thinking that there might be ways to deal with this. Hence why im curious to know what others do (in addition to riding) 😉Posted 9 months ago
I suffer from this a lot. Thing things that help me most, in no particular order are:
a) mindfulness – make time for yourself to do this religiously
b) write stuff rattling around your head down, read that page tomorrow in working hours
c) remember no one at work gives a shit about you, they are mostly all caught up in looking after themselves, so don’t be a slave to satisfying them and destroying yourself for someone else’s cause.
d) your children are the most important. They will not thank you for being absent or absent minded because you were working when they grew up, you’ll regret that forever.
for me, the book Reset by David Sawyer recommend by STW had a big common sense impact upon my life. Forgetting it’s Forward to achieve “ F U Money”, it’s full of purpose and common sense pointers to a happier balanced life rather than a work centric spiral of stress.Posted 9 months ago
Hence why im curious to know what others do (in addition to riding)
As a Christian I trust it to Jesus. Through prayer & reading His word in the bible I lay on Him my troubles.
And surfing is good on a physical level 😀Posted 9 months ago
Eat more meat. Get fat, zinc and vit d in your diet. Lift weights, avoid endurance exercise and sleep more. This will boost your testosterone which regulates your emotions and reduce stress hormones.
Also meditate 20 mins a day and cut out the caffeine and sugar.Posted 9 months ago
Wife uses mindfulness stuff on phone, meditation etc. Also try some background noise at night rain etc.Posted 9 months ago
If I get in a loop at night and can’t sleep if it’s bad I go downstairs and have a cup of tea and stroke the dog (an actual dog not a euphemism).
Also, go see your Doc.
Take 10 minutes out of the working day, have a wander to a nice, secluded bathroom and crack one off.Posted 9 months ago
You will be amazed how your worries just disappear and you see everything at work in a more detached way.
I used to do this religiously when I had a stressful job
There is great power in the subtle art of “not giving a ****”, but it truly does help.
As others have said, the organization really doesn’t give a single **** about you, so you shouldn’t waste your life giving a **** about them.
I like Kryton’s advice, and I’ll add a strong recommendation to go ride your bike – being physically tired makes you feel better and sleep better. And bikes are teh awzums of course 🙂Posted 9 months ago
Try mindfulness on the bike. Just focus on; smooth rhythm, the wind, sun, trees, changing landscape, well oiled machine and tiny little details as you move past.Posted 9 months ago
Read the chimp paradox. It nicely describes the feedback loops you describe and gives suggestions you can use as a work round. It does take effort and practise.Posted 9 months ago
Oh and fresh air and exercise.
My work had nothing for me to do the other day – I had to load one document on to a server. Noone asked me to do anything, my boss was off. So I set up a few things in Google Analytics that might help us in future off my own bat then rode my bike along the canal and read a book I got out of the charity shop. I wondered about feeling guilty, but decided not to.Posted 9 months ago
As a practical tip mentioned above, note things down, and crucially review.
E.g. when you start to worry about something write it down, then try to stop thinking. You won’t of course, at first. Then every day (maybe when you get to work or just before) review the list and start a new blank one.
The act of reviewing let’s your brain give itself permission to forget about the anxiety once noted.Posted 9 months ago
Actually I’ve just downloaded a free app called “Let’s meditate” which has about 20 different mindfulness sessions in it. It probably helps to understand the basics of mindfulness before using those, just 10 mins on wiki will help with that.Posted 9 months ago
Some good advice above about how to get it out of your head when you need to. As a slight counter it is actually OK to care about work and care about doing a good job especially if you are the boss or are self employed so don’t beat yourself up too much. Just need to find the right balance.Posted 9 months ago
I use the paid version headspace app, as do quite a few folk at work. It is very good I reckon.Posted 9 months ago
I solve the “mind racing at night” problem by listening to podcasts through headpones/’pillow talk speaker’ when I wake up. Somehow listening to a history podcast or somesuch stops me thinking about the issue at hand but doesn’t prevent me falling back to sleep.Posted 9 months ago
Think back say 10 years and try to remember what the massive stresses in your job were then.
With hindsight, were they that important? In 10 years time, that’s what these problems will be like. 🙂Posted 9 months ago
Yeah same as others have said, mindfulness, meditation and Headspace app.
I never ever want to look back and say I wish I was more present when my daughter was growing up.Posted 9 months ago
I am curious to know more about how I can overcome the anxiety or stress I feel at random times brought on by these blips at work.
Diet and exercise.Posted 9 months ago
Hard exercise. Not a couple of times a week. Every day.
As a Christian I trust it to Jesus.
Has he given you any advice?Posted 9 months ago
One of the best managers I ever had gave me that advice. Only on the very worst of days in my company does someone die. Thankfully happens rarely. The rest of the time, stuff might be late, wrong, incorrect but nobody died and it can be fixed. The share price stayed the same the company carries on.
So when it all gets a little stressful I say in my head – nobody died.Posted 9 months ago
Life is short,don’t let others that mean nothing to you ,dictate or abuse that time.Posted 9 months ago
Nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had spent more time at work”.
I highly recommend this book – very good stuff about downloading from your ‘fast’ brain to paper and rehearsing so you can react more effectively during a pressurised phone call / meeting etc.Posted 9 months ago
Leave..Posted 9 months ago
There are many things you can do to change the outcome of situations. Worrying is not one of them.
Stresses at work, can you hire an assistant or change jobs even? Is there stuff you can delegate that you’re doggedly shouldering yourself? Is there a colleague you can discuss it with, sometimes just voicing words can help get it out of your brain. Or write it down as others have suggested.
I was once in a job where I was leaving work on Friday thinking “christ, I’ve got to come back to all this on Monday.” It made me ill, it’s no way to live.Posted 9 months ago
Do you work with anyone to help you manage things better? I may be biased (as a coach of sorts, not independent so not pitching in any way). But someone with the right skills can help you work through stuff like this and develop ways of planning/dealing with this in the future.Posted 9 months ago
I find mindfullness just bollox. Basically you cant fool yourself to feeling better. You need to sort the problem to feel better.
But Krytons B, C and D are sound advice.
If you can have a proper good relationship with your clients / collegeus, then dealing with issues is shared/supportive and constructive. Sadly thats difficult most of the time.
So I basically DGAS and ride my bike a lot.Posted 9 months ago
Ugh, this is me and has been for years. I completely sympathise because the whole ‘don’t think about it’ and ‘life’s too short’ advice you get from well meaning others, is easier said than done when you’re self employed. If you don’t think about stuff, no-one else will, and that inevitably invades your head when it shouldn’t. I find it helps, especially at night, to visualise your work place locked up, computers off and the people you deal with fast asleep at home. You realise that right at that moment, nothing is happening and that the situation isn’t going to change before the morning. Also, don’t feel guilty too much about the kids, they probably didn’t notice. 🙂Posted 9 months ago
I use the paid version headspace app, as do quite a few folk at work. It is very good I reckon.
Also used when going through the same. The one exercise I found to be particularly helpful was to “accept the thought” rather than trying to block it out.
I.e When a thought re something that’s bothering you enters your mind, say to yourself “I accept the thought, I hear it, I will address it tomorrow”. If you try to block it out it’ll just keep getting stronger and stronger and will keep you awake spinning around in your head.
Of course this is all well and good but if it doesn’t work I’d strongly advise talking it through with your GP.Posted 9 months ago
After 35 years in Export Sales, supplying Arabs and Africans who don’t always see your point of view and often suspect you of trying to cheat them, I would say:
1 – Sometimes it’s best to put things to one side and sleep on them as they often take on a different perspective the next day, or you receive another email, which puts a different perspective on them. In other words, you never know what’s around the corner.
2 – A friendly telephone call usually takes the sting out of a complaint; a face-to-face meeting is even more effective.
3 – If you’re doing an honest job and not ripping anybody off or breaking the law, be neutral and try to think of a diplomatic way of saying: “If you don’t like it, you can take the business elsewhere.” It’s amazing how people will start to back-pedal.
(Even this morning I wrote to a customer in Uganda who was asking me to engage in some dodgy invoicing practices “Sorry – if that doesn’t suit you we will cancel manufacture and return the payment to your bank account”. He caved in.)Posted 9 months ago
I’d echo much of the above, write stuff down. I occasionally have a similar thought and spending 10 mins writing things down, putting ideas on paper or whatever it is really make me feel better.
I also find going for a hard, fast run helps as I can’t think about work when I’m to busy trying to hold on to my pace. Short, sharp cycling could do the same I guess but it has to be hard.
Mindfulness has never really worked for me but others, including my wife, swear by it.Posted 9 months ago
Some very useful advice here and also sone rather ‘interesting’ bits too 🤔
Fortunately I work from home a lit so finding a private space won’t be too hard!! 🤣
There are a few I will certainly put to use. Some things I am already trying to some extent but hearing few of you reinforcing it so I’ll keep at it.
Also, I really appreciate the empathy. Not good that others are going through the same but reassuring to know we aren’t alone.
Very helpful – thanks again 👍🏼Posted 9 months ago
Get new clients. Ones that don’t kick off.Posted 9 months ago
Deffo the writing down on paper thing, that really helps me out.
Are they an overly demanding client? Is it a problem you alone are responsible for, or has the client’s behaviour/expectations contributed to this?
This is an example of how writing things down has helped me. Not sure if something similar could work for you.
I work as a software architect. We have some colleagues in a different department, who used to have completely unrealistic expectations (e.g. drop unclear requirements last minute on us and then expect us to magic a coherent design out of our arses at short notice.) This used to be extremely stressful at times (us being blamed for being incompetent/slowing the delivery process down)
We solved that one with thorough risk analysis – i.e. saying: given your (shit) requirements, this is the best design we could come up with. However, there are these risks associated with the requirements and what we have been able to design based on them. You can go ahead on this basis if you accept that you will be responsible for managing the risks. If you want better quality and fewer risks to manage, make more time.
It works great because it pushes responsibility for the problems arising from the situation back to who is causing them.
Even the act of just writing the risks down, helped me to move on and think about other things / leave work at work. It’s also a great point of audit/arse covering, should problems come back to bite. (You get to say I told you so)Posted 9 months ago
My job would be easy if it wasn’t for clients…Posted 9 months ago
Ok, I’m an over-thinker and double-checker in a client management role and also find it hard to detach. However, over many years I’ve learned that the customer isn’t always right, you must try and push back when valid – for their own benefit, not just yours. As someone mentions above, calling or meeting takes the sting out of confrontation, emails can be misconstrued. Some clients are just doing what they are told or what they are used to; doesn’t mean you have to accept it, doesn’t mean you’re not doing a great job or going to lose their patronage. All of the above stress relievers I employ, including the solo sexy time, but nothing is better than communication at source and stopping stress before it builds.
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