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3 Ways to Manage Stress and Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Oct 29, 2016

It’s 9 p.m., you’ve been at the office for 12 hours, and you’re about to leave when you receive an email from your boss asking for just “one more thing.”

“Sure! I can stick around for the next hour,” you respond.

We’re all guilty of it. Women have trouble saying “no.” We feel we have more to lose by saying “no,” and “having it all” has transformed into “doing it all” in today’s modern workplace.

The effects of high rates of burnout among women are clear: A 2015 survey by Cosmopolitan found that almost three-quarters of the 750 women polled experience anxiety. More than half obsess over work, with over three-quarters regularly feeling a lack of motivation.

To manage stress, promote engagement and prevent burnout, I use the mindfulness tools taught by Life Cross Training (LifeXT), a science-backed human performance program that increases resilience to stress and maximizes productivity.

Here are three LifeXT tips developed by Dr. Nate Klemp, LifeXT co-founder and author of the New York Times bestseller “Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing.”

1. Master the Art of Calendar Blocking

Most of us fill our calendars with back-to-back commitments, leaving the only time to do actual work for when we’re “off the clock.” To prevent this, block off time for fully engaged, undistracted work. We call this “The Offline 30.” Commit to a set amount of time for yourself and for your work, ideally early in the day, to increase productivity.

2. Sprint and Recover

Another common trap many of us experience is what we call “workplace marathon syndrome.” We try to sustain a high level of focus and intensity for hours on end, leaving us feeling stressed and exhausted. A solution is a strategy called “Sprint and Recover,” which helps manage our mental and emotional energy. You can do this by going back and forth between high and low intensity work. To integrate this daily habit, you can use the technique we call “Notice-Shift-Rewire.”

Notice each time you feel your mental energy slipping. Shift by taking a short break, like walking or stretching. These moments of recovery will create a shift in your energy and productivity throughout the day. You’ll feel yourself start to rewire.

3. Take in the Good

Finally, take a brief pause to express gratitude. Just 10 seconds of experiencing gratitude for something in your life creates new neural pathways in the brain to help manage stress and feel more satisfied, establishing a daily reminder around a regular life event. We recommend you start by using meals as your cue. Each time you sit down to eat, use the same technique of Notice-Shift-Rewire to experience gratitude.

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