Magazine article Strategic Finance

Avoiding Stress and Burnout. (Careers)

Magazine article Strategic Finance

Avoiding Stress and Burnout. (Careers)

Article excerpt

You've been asked to review a memo that outlines your company's new compensation plan to make sure the financial components are explained correctly. While the information isn't particularly complex, you are unable to concentrate because you're worried about all of the other projects on your to-do list. In fact, it seems that lately you haven't been able to finish any assignments as efficiently and accurately as you could in the past. And your lack of focus and motivation has been weighing you down for months. If this situation sounds all too familiar, you may be experiencing the early signs of burnout.

Burnout is best described as emotional strain brought on by prolonged periods of job-related stress. You may not have any physical symptoms, but you've reached a point at which the most routine tasks seem challenging.

While you can't eliminate stress at work, you can learn to cope with stressful situations more effectively. Here are a few suggestions:

* Assess your priorities. Most of your workday should be devoted to projects that are critical to operations. If you spend two hours a day returning nonessential phone calls, for example, you may cause yourself unnecessary stress by leaving little time for more urgent tasks.

* Delegate. Assigning authority and responsibility to others allows you to focus on key initiatives--such as long-term strategic planning--and have time to take on new roles that advance your professional development. At the same time, delegating helps employees build their problem-solving and decision-making abilities.

* Look at what you can change. Distinguish between factors in your work life that you can control and those you can't. For instance, you may not be able to change the date a report is due to the chief financial officer, but you can have your staff help you complete it in time by gathering the necessary data.

* Seek assistance. While sometimes it may seem like it's you against the world, keep in mind that this is rarely the case. Often the help you need is available simply by asking for it.

Reach out to colleagues by letting them know what types of challenges you're facing. You can avoid being perceived as a complainer by objectively outlining the specific issues you're trying to address and how others can help.

Talking with a mentor or professional counselor can also allow you to develop new strategies for dealing with stress. Often, individuals who are removed from a situation can provide the fresh perspective needed during difficult times. …

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