The work-related stress epidemic is not a new topic of discussion. Today, reports reveal that four out of five workers feel stressed during the work week, one in 10 are stressed all the time and two out of five professionals are unhappy at work, often due to boredom, fatigue or anger.
These are rather alarming statistics.
If you’re experiencing significant pressure, are feeling stressed, or simply feel your work-life balance is out of whack, here are some tips for managing your work-related stress levels at home and in the studio.
Slow down and prioritise
A significant source of stress comes from feeling like we have an impossible number of things to handle at once. Whether you’re someone that can’t say no or you’re right in the middle of a busy period, you need to slow down and prioritise your workload.
If you know you have a hectic week ahead of you, try to avoid getting wrapped up in achieving your entire to-do list on day one and, instead, try out this technique called chunking. While it’s typically used to sort out your life goals, it can be easily adapted to organise your work.
Get all your ideas, tasks and thoughts out onto paper and group them by priority level; what can be done today, later in the week, next week or even next month? Then start to group them by commonalities, such as whether you have to handle them or if you can delegate.
When you begin to look at your to-do list via priorities and manageable chunks, it’s easier to achieve your goals throughout your work week and give yourself a bit of breathing room.
Don’t focus on perfection
Is your organisation and attention to detail causing your more harm than good?
It’s, of course, advisable to always complete work tasks to the best of your ability, but you need to remember that we all have off days. If you’re feeling overworked, it’s acceptable to admit to yourself that even if you have not done something perfectly, it’s good enough. Otherwise, you may find yourself going back to it the next day or in the middle of the night if you’re a home-worker.
Don’t put extra pressure on yourself when you don’t need to.
Give yourself a break and set boundaries
A common issue for professionals in the gaming industry is not knowing when to set or respect the boundaries between home and work life, which can often lead to substantial bouts of fatigue and work-related stress.
In 2000, France mandated a 35-hour workweek in the hope of increasing its citizens’ quality of life. This approach has been tried and tested around the globe since then, and it’s safe to say it works. Not because a seven-hour day is more manageable, but because it teaches people how to establish work-life boundaries comfortably.
While some early starts and late nights might not be avoidable, try to establish a routine that separates your job from your personal life. For example, 7pm may be your cut-off point for answering emails, or you might give yourself a whole uninterrupted hour for lunch. By developing rules, you’ll create some space to wind down and prepare your brain for the work tasks to come.
The workplace can be a pressurised environment, and the statistics show the extent of the consequences. As a result, it’s likely that your colleagues and managers are no strangers to work-related stress either.
Take some time to assess your situation and work out exactly what’s causing your stress, whether that be something from the workplace or something from home that’s affecting your everyday performance.
Once you have identified the cause, don’t bottle it up; speak to your manager or HR. All employers should recognise that stress places great demands on employees’ wellbeing and can impact all aspects of working life. Therefore, they should be happy to accommodate your needs.
Seeking support is not something to be ashamed of, and you should not feel guilty about voicing your feelings. It’s a key way to manage your wellbeing and lead a happy, productive career.