Dissolving stress & staying motivated

Written by Janice Haddon on 8 August 2014 in Features

To maximise your motivation, use effective time management and prioritise what you need to achieve, Janice Haddon says

In such a fast-paced, 24/7 world how do we keep ourselves motivated and stress free? 

The truth is – none of us will ever be completely stress free. Having deadlines and feeling under a little pressure to achieve is what can get us out of bed in the morning. Keeping ourselves in a good place is like fitting together a number of pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

How do we overcome stress?

Exercise is the best thing we can do – often the last thing we feel like doing – either because we are tired or just simply running out of time – but exercise is the fundamental thing that will help us cope. Being active releases endorphins – our natural happy hormones that help to counter balance all the negative ones flying around in our system. While we might not be able to fit in a run at lunch time (and for many of us that won’t be the exercise that floats our boat, it will be something else!) - in the work environment and throughout the day, it is important to get up and move!  Being chained to your desk will actually restrict your energy levels and negatively impact on your concentration.


The next thing we need is a healthy diet and plenty of water to help flush out the toxins from our system.  Vitamin B plays a vital role in dealing with ‘stress’ so make sure you are getting enough – things like spinach is a great source. There are also lots of other foods that can help keep us out of the ‘red’ zone.  Keep away from processed carbohydrates (yes – white bread is out of the window I’m afraid!) and go for foods that will support your natural relaxation and boost your energy.  Make sure you have plenty of green leafy veg, turkey, salmon, nuts and seeds –all the things that are great sources of nutrients,  

Keep your sugar and caffeine intake down to a reasonable level – when we have an energy slump we naturally reach for a tea or coffee, biscuits or chocolate.  Instead have a range of healthy snacks – the protein from a handful of nuts for example will give you prolonged energy rather than the sugar rush from a bar of chocolate that will leave you slumped again in no time.

In your weekly schedule, build in time for rest, relaxation and down time. We all need a balance and building time in your week for hobbies and connecting with friends is also a key piece of the puzzle.

By looking after yourself in all of those things your will keep your personal resilience levels up.  As a team player you can also keep an eye on your colleagues and help them to also keep off the slippery stress slope.

Being clear and on time …

Being in good physical and mental health is our foundation. How we then approach our work and the attitude we have is key.

Time management is a core skill. Get yourself organised. Have a method of keeping on top of your ‘to do’ list in a way that works for you.  Make a note of what you need to achieve – break bigger tasks down in to more manageable chunks, set yourself realistic timescales and cross things off the list as you achieve. Regularly prioritise and re-prioritise so you make sure you are hitting all of your targets and not letting others down. 

If things are starting to slip – let the people know that might be impacted by it.  There is nothing worse than expecting something from a colleague only to get to the day when you are expecting something from them and it not to arrive!  Remember colleagues or customers will be planning their time on the basis of expecting others to do their bit in a quality and timely manner. Keep others in the loop – don’t let people down. If you are jointly aware of what is going on – the whole team can do something to keep things on track. 

When everyone works to the same vision - performance can peak. When we communicate regularly and effectively we can ensure there are no negative surprises. A high performance team is a supportive team. A team where everyone has clarity of their goals and targets and how that links to the goals and targets of their colleagues, is where expectations are surpassed.

A great attitude …..

No one likes working with someone that walks around as if the clouds have fallen in.  Developing a great attitude does two things. It helps us on a personal level with our own motivation – it also helps the team by keeping positive energy flowing. Working with colleagues that are willing to crack on with their tasks and also willing to help out so the whole team achieves, is what keeps us in peak performance.

Constant learning ….

Keep your own motivation up by taking responsibility for your personal growth and learning. Reflect back on what has gone well and how things could be even better.  Taking the time to do that, will allow you to develop an attitude of continuous learning. When you do that – you can look at your improvements and set yourself goals for where we want to get to.

Remember being motivated and stress free …… requires a few jigsaw pieces to all come together. 

  • Have clarity on your goals and what it is you need to achieve
  • Ensure you have the competence to achieve and if you need to learn new things – get your development and learning action plan in place
  • Use effective time management and prioritise what you need to achieve
  • If things are starting to slip – let your colleagues know so you can rally support and not let people down
  • Communicate in a constructive and clear manner with a great attitude.
  • Look after yourself through exercise and a good diet
  • Take time out to switch off and relax – build in time for creativity.

To maximise your motivation - take care of yourself and look out for your colleagues. Rather than being the cause of team fracture – be the glue that keeps it all together.


About the author

Janice Haddon is managing director of both Morgan Redwood and Thrive in Life 360

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