7 quick tips for a happier and stress-free everyday life
Do you also constantly feel the stress creeping up your neck? Do you feel like you always leave work too early according to your colleagues, but are still always late for kindergarten despite the breath in your throat and the taste of blood in your mouth? Are the emails piling up in the inbox and the meetings piling up on top of each other in the calendar?
Take it easy! We give you 7 tips on how to structure your behavior for a happier and calmer everyday life with less stress.
- Be realistic! Set realistic goals for the day. There is no point in constantly setting up a long to-do list that you fail to achieve every day. Expect to get less done than you wish, and anything beyond this will be a bonus. Every day, emergency calls or other unforeseen things will invariably come up and it usually just has to be done. In addition, you need time to reflect, organize and prioritize your work. Therefore, make room in your calendar and plan no more than 60% of your time, to avoid being locked up in the evenings and weekends.
- Say yes to the person, no to the task. Don’t automatically accept tasks that aren’t normally on your table to be nice or out of fear of not being ready. Setting limits for our own sake is one of the most important tasks we have. When you say “no” to a task, try to figure out how you can say “yes” to the person at the same time. By explaining why you can’t take on the task and what things come first in order of priority, you make it clear that you are only saying no to this specific task and maybe only right now. Then your boss or client can e.g. help you by removing other tasks in the meantime, extending a deadline, clarifying or simplifying the task. Regardless, you don’t come across as an unhelpful person while being true to your own capabilities and keeping stress levels down. Sometimes, however, it can be important to say no firmly and clearly. For example, if you are not the right person to do a certain job. The most important thing is to have an open dialogue, which benefits the working conditions for everyone.
- Manage expectations. For new tasks or projects – don’t set a short time frame and promise too much to impress or get praise. Also, don’t accept an unreasonable deadline set by someone else. Instead, add a margin of time and surprise by being finished ahead of time without having to sit and work day and night and put all other tasks aside in the meantime. It creates a more joyful work situation, time for reflection and better quality of work output, which benefits everyone in the long run. Also, don’t forget that it’s ok to have a discussion or go back on a promise you won’t be able to keep, e.g. a meeting or deadline. Just make sure to get in touch in good time to renegotiate so you respect the other person’s expectations and your own deadlines.
- Good enough. Ambition level – how was it again? Good enough is a watchword in everyday life that many people should adopt. With ambitious people, their 100% is often other people’s 150% and to what benefit do they constantly overdeliver? Not only that it contributes to a higher stress level in the workplace and makes other people’s work look worse. The fact that you also feel dissatisfied when you “only” did good and not excellent work makes neither you nor those around you happy. Setting boundaries is extremely important. This applies both to the demands you place on yourself but also to the demands others have, or that you perceive others have. Feel free to end a handover of a new task by asking: “Did I understand you correctly if I say that…”/”What I hear you say is that…”. In this way, you get to know in plain text what the expectations are for what you have to perform and misunderstandings and unnecessary worry are avoided. It also provides an opportunity to directly discuss expectations that feel unreasonable. This does not mean that one should be careless or not attend to one’s tasks, but rather reflect on what is actually required.
- Don’t casually accept meetings. Question new meeting invitations and aim to attend as few meetings as possible. Is it an information, creativity or decision meeting? What is the goal of the meeting? Is it really relevant that you attend this particular meeting or is it enough that you are there when decisions are made? Is it enough to have access to the protocol afterwards? Do you have a colleague with similar duties where you can alternate between going to meetings and de-briefing each other afterwards? Can you join the meeting via phone instead of on site and have time to do other things at the same time?
- Prioritize breaks, daylight and exercise. Try to bring lunch with you to work, which you eat in peace and quiet in the lunchroom. Then go for a brisk walk of at least 10 minutes in daylight. Making sure to eat properly and exercise during the day does wonders for afternoon efficiency, clears out stress hormones and increases both energy levels and the amount of endorphins in the body. In addition, our h
iron oxygen and by breathing deeply or going for a quick walk the blood is oxygenated and we get more energy. Don’t underestimate micropauses either. The brain needs breaks to be able to work and stress researchers agree that a few minutes of break several times throughout the day works wonders. The most important thing is that during these moments you don’t think about work or other things that stress you.
- Leave work at work. End each working day by updating your digital to-do list that contains what you need to do or follow up on tomorrow (preferably in outlook or the mobile app). Choose to prioritize what is really important to do tomorrow and what can be done later in the week. Just because it’s urgent doesn’t mean it’s important. By doing it when you are in place and focused on your tasks, you help to mentally put the workday behind you when you leave work and can be in the moment in your free time with your family. That way, your thoughts won’t revolve around forgetting something important.