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Managing Stress at Work

As Published In Smead Organomics
Managing Stress at Work

Publicity -- Smead Organomics

Effectively managing stress at work is a necessary part of staying organized, maximizing productivity, and avoiding burnout. But no matter what the cause, there are some fairly simple steps you can take to fight overwhelm and regain your sense of balance.

Don’t Forget To Breathe

When you’re feeling overloaded, you breathe more shallowly and your blood-pressure rises. The lack of oxygen makes it harder to focus — that’s why difficult situations leave you feeling muddle-headed. But managing stress is as simple as taking a good deep breath. Inhale slowly five times — filling your lungs to capacity. It’s amazing how much better you will feel and how much more relaxed your body will be.

Move Your Body

When you’re stressed, your muscles tighten (especially neck, shoulders, and back). But you may not realize that your body has frozen up until later, when it really starts to hurt — so make sure that you move around a bit during the day, especially if you sit at a desk or behind a computer. At the same time that you take that breath-break, work out the creaks and kinks — roll your shoulders, bend, reach, and stretch.

Shift Your Focus

Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in a project, problem, or challenge that you lose all perspective and forward momentum? If you find yourself reaching your breaking point, feeling stuck and frustrated — stop fighting with that issue for a minute and focus on something else.

For example, if you’re trying to work through your company budget and the numbers seem to be playing tricks on you, try spending a few minutes doing something brainless. Organize your desk drawer, file some papers, check your e-mail, or return a few phone calls. Let your mind change gears — when you come back to the problem at hand, you’ll find that you see it with fresher eyes and a clearer head.

Take A Break

If shifting focus doesn’t reduce your stress, it’s time to get up and physically walk away for a few moments. Take a stroll in the fresh air, get a cup of coffee, go out for lunch — do something that allows you to completely disconnect from work. If it’s near the end of the day, sometimes it’s best to just turn off the lights and head home for a good night’s sleep. Your brain will subconsciously still be working through the problem, even when you’re watching TV or playing with your kids. And quite often, the solution will be right there waiting for you in the morning. Whatever it takes to keep you productive (and sane).

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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