Time and Stress Management
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The aim of this section is to identify ways to deal with stress. Stress if untreated will lead to bad judgments being made, with ill health being a common result. Practice measures to help employees in the workplace.

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There are three stages of stress which can be identified, see if you are under stress, by looking at the stages:

  • INITIAL - You tend to walk faster, your constantly on the move; you don't want to sleep at night; You tend to do things quickly. Overall you still feel in control of things. The solution is to take a rest and participate is some form of basic exercise such as walking.
  • INTERMEDIATE - You feel tasks are imposed upon you; You tend to do things that must be done as opposed to like doing; If you smoke you do so more; If you drink you tend to drink more; You tend to suffer more headaches, cramp, digestion problems, become irritable.  These are warning signs, you need to take stock of things.  Again the solutions are to have a rest an some exercise, in addition to this you need to start using relaxation methods.
  • HIGH - Your constantly in distress, this occurs when the intermediate stage goes on for too long; You pick up illnesses too quick. It is very difficult to change things, there has to be willingness to change. This level of stress requires the use of medication and long rest periods.

We all experience the initial stages of stress in our working life, the emphasis must be on preventing ourselves from entering the intermediate stages and beyond.

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The Holmes and Rahe scale was developed during the 1960s. The logic of the scale is if you look at the scale and identify things which are affecting you at the present moment. If you have an accumulated score of 300 or more then you are highly stressed and prone to sickness. If you score 150-300 you are 50% stressed, and if you score 150 or less then you suffer from very low stress. Look at the table below and see how stressed you really are

Death of partner 100  
Divorce 73  
Initial marital separation 65  
Jail sentence or being institutionalised 63  
Death of close relative 63  
Injury or illness 53  
Marriage 50  
Redundancy 47  
Re-uniting with marriage partner 45  
Retirement 45  
Health problem of close family member 44  
Pregnancy 40  
Sexual problems 39  
Addition to family 39  
Major changes at work 39  
Change of financial status 39  
Death of friend 37  
Change in work 36  
Rise in marital arguments 35  
Large mortgage taken out 31  
House repossession 30  
Change in responsibility 29  
Child leaves home 29  
In-Law problems 29  
Personal achievements realised 28  
Partner starts or stops work 26  
Children starting a new school 26  
Children leaving school 26  
Change in living conditions 25  
Change in personal habits 24  
Trouble with employer 23  
Change in working hours 20  
Change in residence 20  
Change in recreation 19  
Change in church activities 19  
Change in social activities 18  
Small mortgage taken out 17  
Change in sleeping habits 16  
Change in number of family get-togethers 15  
Major change in eating habits 15  
Holiday 13  
Christmas 12  
Minor violation of law 11  

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Stress is common throughout most organisations, how we as individuals react to stress will vary. Typical reasoning  as to how stress is dealt with will depend:

  1. Personal ability, experience and suitability for a job - This is based on the assumption that the longer we do a task/job the greater the experience we gain to cope with job. In terms of stress management, the more fully trained we are the better we cope with the stress associated with it.
  2. Support - The better the support an individual gains from the team around them both at work and at home, the better they become at dealing with stress.
  3. Personality - An individuals natural personality will have a bearing on how the cope with stress at work, for example if you are optimistic or pessimistic you will either embrace stress or allow it to build up.

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  • STRETCHING - Take a deep breath and stretch your arms out and release slowly, It is like yawning and stretching when your tired, it helps to calm the body.
  • DRINKS - Go for some liquid refreshment, take your mind of things.
  • TALK TO A FRIEND - Go talk to someone who discuss out of work issues with, It relieves stress.
  • BREATHING - Take a deep breath, hold and release slowly, repeat a few times, making you hold your breath longer each time, It helps to reduce your heartbeat.
  • FRESH AIR - Take a few minutes out, go outside and breath a few deep breaths of fresh air, no one will think less of you if you go outside for a few minutes.
  • TALK TO YOUR SUPERIORS - Discuss any preying issues with your superiors, never bottle things in your mind, let people in authority about things which are troubling you so that they can take necessary measures to help you.

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Prioritise your tasks at work, get a piece of paper and write down all the tasks that you need to do, the start to prioritise things:

  • Important tasks that must be done, do them today.
  • Not so important tasks, which have no immediate time limit.
  • The minor and routine tasks which must be done.

Before you leave work each day, make sure the next days to do list, so you are aware of what jobs needs to be done tomorrow, cross them off one by one. 

Make sure you do one task at a time, don't jump from one task to another. Stay on top of things!.

Make sure leaflets and posters are on display within the workplace which tell employees where they can find help to deal with stress. Be proactive, encourage employees to seek advice, don't wait for them to become overly stressed.

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'Stress Scale' T H Holmes & R H Rahe Journal of Psychomatic Research (1967)

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