If you want to advance in your career, you need to be willing to get out of your comfort zone. A demanding job in a stressful environment obviously comes with its share of challenges, but it can also be highly rewarding.
There are also strategies that help you to better handle these circumstances. This is how to cope in a demanding job.
1.) Determine what your biggest stressors are
Just saying that your job is nothing but demanding is reductive. Think about what bothers you most about your job. Is it your manager, dealing with customers, filling out reports?
Write them out and then think about what makes them each so stressful. For some, you might find that you’ve been exaggerating how much stress they provide and that they’re actually fairly bearable when looked at from a different perspective. Don’t let a slight grievance keep you from enjoying work as much as you should.
2) Figure out what you can change
You have more power than you might realize. You can’t overhaul your job entirely, but you can adjust it to suit your needs more.
For instance, if you run a department and find too much time is spent in meetings, then you should do what you can to reduce the number of meetings. If you concentrate your energy on solutions instead of problems, you can have a much better work experience.
3) Take care of personal matters
If you’re dealing with problems outside of work, they can infect your time at work. Your work life and your personal life should be kept as separate as possible, but sometimes they’re impossible to keep separate. If you’re having relationship problems or dealing with emotional or mental health problems, seek counseling that will help you to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Consider taking time off to deal with these issues so that you can return to work re-energized.
You may need to speak with your employer or human resources department about how your personal life has been affecting your work performance. Assure them that you’re determined to get through this and come back stronger.
4) Get enough sleep
Coming into work exhausted means leaving work exhausted and probably in a sour mood. Skimping on sleep can have substantial long-term consequences, from obesity to anxiety. You should be getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, but it might take more for you to be properly rested.
Make sure that you’re also going to bed at the same time every night and you’re winding down the day with healthy activities, such as meditation or exercise. Avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine.
5) Don’t put things off
When you have a lot of work to get done, it can be tempting to procrastinate. But when there are jobs to be done, the worst thing you can do is nothing. The hardest part of any task is getting started. Set a timer for just ten minutes and get to work on a task. When it goes off, you’ll hopefully find yourself locked into a work mindset and much more accomplished than you initially anticipated.
6) Learn how to organize
Sloppiness is like kryptonite for anyone wishing to be efficient. If you’re spending half your work time getting things in order, you’re going to find yourself scrambling to get things done.
Create a system of organization for both physical and digital files. You should also make sure to get rid of things that are no longer serving a purpose so that you don’t have to swim through all sorts of clutter.
7) Don’t be a doormat
You should only take on as much work as you can handle. Being a people-pleaser who lets your colleagues and supervisors just throw assignments at you will just make you even more resentful of your job.
Tell them point blank that you can’t do something they’re trying to paw off on you. You have your own things to worry about it and shouldn’t be expected to carry everyone else’s weight.
8) Take breaks
Just like with sleep, you need to take regular breaks in order to function properly. Don’t skip lunch or using the restroom to push yourself through tasks. Our bodies and minds need time to recover.
If you need, let yourself take a minute to step out to get some fresh air. This will let you come back to work rejuvenated and ready to take on more challenges.
9) Speak up
If your job is putting more pressure on you than you can handle, don’t stay silent. Let your employers know how your job is affecting you negatively. This should be handled in a firm but respectful manner.
You might consider drafting an email that lets you lay out all your points in a clear manner. It’s very likely that these problems are not reserved to you, and your coworkers will appreciate knowing that someone is willing to speak on their behalf.
10) Take things one day at a time
Anything can be made easier if you break it down into manageable chunks. If you keep your focus on the day rather than the week or month, you’ll find that it’s far less stressful. You can go even further and take things one hour at a time, or even one moment at a time.
If you’re having a rough day, you can go home and practice some self-care. When you come back the next day, you can focus on giving yourself a fresh start.
Being challenged doesn’t have to mean being stressed. When you consider how demanding your job is, you should also consider how much gratification and confidence are afforded to you as a result of your willingness to learn and grow. You should soon find that having a demanding job allows to appreciate your work even more and to look forward to every day.