There has been increasing evidence that sales professionals and sales captains are working longer and longer hours, thereby putting health and family relationships at risk.
Pressure to complete and meet the ever increasing demands of customers (as well as the need to achieve higher sales quotas) is forcing people to spend more of their time working.
Whilst stress does have its benefits, too much can cause errors of judgment, mistakes, accidents and damage to health.
Some people are more vulnerable to stress from overwork than others; American researchers identified two types of managers – Type ‘A’ who, though thriving on stress, are vulnerable to its effects, and Type ‘B’ who rarely let events disturb them.
Not only are there Type ‘A’ managers, but also Type ‘A’ organizations – is yours one?
Types A & B
- Try to do more and faster
- Concerned with speed, performance and productivity
- Tend to be aggressive, impatient, intolerant, hard driving and always hurried
- Preoccupied with time
- Start early
- Strong competitive tendency
- Always want to succeed
- More likely to have heart attacks
- Easy going
- Take difficulties in their stride
- Spend time on what they’re doing
- Rarely harassed
- Less prone to heart attacks
- Take time to ponder alternatives
- Usually feel there’s plenty of time
- Not as preoccupied with time
Stress – What Is It?
Popular definitions include: ‘the result of a person being pushed beyond the limit of their natural ability’ When used in physics, stress is defined as ‘the external pressure applied to an object’- the resultant change is called ‘strain’
Applied to people, we mix up the two terms, using ‘stress’ to refer to both the pressures we’re under and the effect it has on us.
What Causes Stress?
- Where you work – Red tape, changes, demands from customers, uncertain future
- Your Job – Volume of work (too much/little), deadlines, pressures, being responsible for staff
- Your career to date – Still not found your niche, no clear goals, reached your plateau
- Your Relationships – Colleagues, friends, partner, boss, staff, children and families
- Conflicts – Unable to find a balance between work and home, worried about money
- Self-imposed – Giving yourself a hard time, low self-image, poor self-management
What Are The Signs?
- Physical – Headaches, indigestion, throbbing heart, allergies, infections, twitching, nausea, tiredness, weight loss/gain, vague aches and pains.
- Mental – Indecision, making mistakes, forgetfulness, poor communication, easily distracted, worrying more, making hasty decisions.
- Emotional – Irritability, anger, alienation, nervousness, apprehension, loss of confidence, tension, cynicism, job/life dissatisfaction.
- Behavioral – Unsociable, restless, unable to unwind, appetite loss/gain, diminished/increased interest in sex, taking work home, too busy to relax, poor personal management.
In Summary – Techniques for Handling Stress
Remember, you have some choices – do nothing, fight it or learn to manage it by:
- Identifying what causes you stress and how it shows itself (this will give you a clue about what you need to tackle)
- Concentrating on what must be done and cutting out all those non-essential meetings, phone calls and visitors
- Learning to delegate and trust others – none of us is indispensable
- Pacing yourself – have 10 minute breaks throughout the day
- Being tidy and organized – untidiness creates its own problems
- Learning to relax and switch-off – don’t take work home
- Learn to say ‘no’ – don’t take on everything that comes your way
- Get a balance between work and home – your life is important too!
- Eat properly, avoiding too much fat and sugar
- Improve you listening skills – many busy and energetic people are bad listeners
- Take breaks – make sure you use all your holiday entitlement
- Get yourself on an anti-stress program if necessary
- Develop breathing and relaxation techniques – e.g. yoga, Tai Chi, etc.
- Keep fit – try swimming and/or walking
- Learn to manage your time more effectively
And Finally – Prime Time: When Are You at Your Best?
We all have a ‘prime time’ during the day when we are at our best and fully alert, the secret is to recognize this and do those activities that require energy, application and thought when you’re at your sharpest.
When energy is low, we are sluggish and tend to make mistakes, so watch what you eat – a heavy meal and wine make a lot of people sleepy; a healthy meal can provide energy for hours.
Work in periods of time – a maximum of an hour before you give yourself a break – this way you’ll concentrate better.