Measure Your Stress

We all need a certain amount of stress to keep us on the ball, motivated and performing at a high level. Give me one task and a whole day to do it in and you’ll probably find me thinking about doing it at 4.30pm! But give me ten tasks and one day and I’m a dynamo – all is done by 4.30! And I know I’m not unusual in this.

Workplace Stress

Workplace stress, when out of balance however, is harmful to both performance and health. Two reasons why good firms take it seriously. It often creeps up on us without us noticing. Ten important projects to complete to a deadline can be energising but if they are joined by two more they might just tip the balance for us.

Or maybe we’re cruising along happily managing our ten tasks when our partner becomes ill. Suddenly the stress levels rise, particularly if we work in an environment where discussion of personal issues is not the norm and  is seen as a weakness.

And simply being around other people who are very stressed can also be debilitating. It’s like a virus. If an organisation is undergoing change, for example, sickness levels often rise as the virus of stress and uncertainty spreads, even among those who know they are not affected!

Measure Your Stress

Workplace stress is something that comes up time and time again in coaching. What follows is a simple chart I use with clients to help them work out what is causing them to feel stressed.

Use it to identify your stress levels within your current job. Scores at the two ends of the scale will tell you if the job is not entirely satisfactory and you can begin to look at strategies for improving your life.

Take two coloured pens and in one colour mark a point on each of the scales that represents what is desirable for you. Using the other pen, mark the point that is the reality of your job at the moment. It should show you the areas where you might need some additional help.

Job is predictable & secure——————————————— Job is insecure

Too few demands ——————————————————– Too much to do

Tasks too easy ————————————————————Tasks too difficult

Environment too quiet—————————————————-Too noisy

No variety/bored———————————————————–Too many projects

Stuck at desk————————————————————-  Too much travel

No progression————————————————————-Career fast track

Little or no influence——————————————————Too much responsibilty

Micro managed———————————————————— No management interest

No interest in job———————————————————–Work is all consuming

Completing this will focus your attention on what you find desirable in a job and what is stressful for you.Very few of us have our dream job, and even dream jobs have their moments! But the first step in tackling signs of stress within ourselves is awareness of what is causing our stress and this exercise will help you do that just. Let me know how you get on!


Posted on May 6th, 2010 by

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