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Behaviours to avoid when you’re overwhelmed at work

Behaviours to avoid when you’re overwhelmed at work

Eliminating these self-sabotaging habits will help you bounce back when things are getting out of hand.

Getting stuck in the negative
When under stress it’s easy to get caught in the undertow and let it pull you to dwell on all the things that are seemingly going wrong. Narrowing your focus to yourself, on negative self-talk, and letting these unhealthy thoughts spiral in your head will cause you to stay stuck in that anxious zone for even longer. The trick is to break out of this repetitive pattern and stop feeding the cycle of anxiety. Learn the early warning signs and make a concerted attempt to stop the negative self-talk. Try to change the negativity to neutrality. Divert your focus to the actual problem or stressor at hand and work at creating a focussed plan to solve the problem.

We might wish it, but putting off a task doesn’t make it disappear. Rather it creates a situation where we might fall short on delivery or performance. Procrastination also highlights a struggle with self-control and can be quite harmful if not dealt with efficiently. In an already chaotic world, you do not need the hearth thumping anxiety that procrastination can bring. Instead focus on forming productive habits, like breaking up tasks into manageable chunks, creating practical to-do lists, and efficient work plans that get the task done well and on time.

Practising stresscalation
Stresscalation is a cycle of negativity, where you make a tense situation worse by passing on your stress to someone else, who passes it on in turn, thereby increasing the circle of stress. We often see this taking place work when people are unable to cope. Every job involves some level of stress. But the solution isn’t to pass it on to someone else. Take a step back, learn to keep a check on that anxiety so that it doesn’t push you to take hasty decisions or lose your focus. Try to reduce your contribution to the stresscalation in your office is a great step towards a productive work environment.

Being a ‘yes’ (wo)man
Many of us have problems building boundaries at the office, which results in us saying ‘yes’ and taking on more commitments than we can handle. Spreading yourself thin can exacerbate stress and lead to dangerous anxiety levels. Are you the one your colleagues rely on to help all the time? If yes, it’s time you started building some boundaries and saying no. The next time a co-worker asks for some help, take a moment to evaluate whether someone else could also provide the assistance, or whether you’re the right person to help him/her at that point in time. It’s okay to politely decline if you’ve got too much on your plate or if the task doesn’t align with your priorities, or if you are in the middle of something and don’t want to be distracted. It’s key to give yourself the permission to say no.

Believe you know it all
Trying to problem solve on your own so that your shortcomings don’t become public knowledge and you appear sharp and proficient? It might be time to rethink that train of thought. You shouldn’t be cultivating anxiety in order to impress. If you don’t know how to do the task at hand or need some help getting it done, say so. It’s okay to admit this to your boss. Asking for his/her knowledge shows that you’re open to learning and humble enough to ask for it. It will save you time, energy and anxiety in the long run.

Photograph: Creativeart /

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