Terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day: Solutions to stress triggers
By Kelly Moser
Disability Insurance Services
Whether we’re trying to manage a large case load, making 20 cold calls a day or sifting through an inbox filled with hundreds of emails, each and every one of us deals with stress. Many of us enter the doors of work with an optimistic attitude and a joyful demeanor, but it only takes one phone call from a cranky client to leave our cup half empty.
Have no fear. There are many things we can do to alleviate the stress in our lives. To start with, try to identify your stress triggers. For some, stress is triggered by a disorganized desk or junk-filled email inbox, while for others, stress arises through lack of communication with coworkers or underwriters. Your stress may even be triggered by something positive, like a promotion or an upcoming vacation.
Once you’ve figured out what triggers your stress, start brainstorming ways to make those triggers less irritating. Below are a few tips on how to combat your stress triggers before they explode.
Disorganization: Feeling disorganized goes hand-in-hand with feeling overwhelmed. Spend a few minutes each morning creating a clean work space so that yesterday’s work doesn’t weigh you down before a new day has even begun. Take inventory of your tasks and prioritize your work load so that you’re tackling the most important work earlier on in the day. If you wait until the late afternoon to conquer a task, your chances of receiving a call back or an email response are far less than if you give a carrier or agent an entire day.
Too many emails: It’s incredibly helpful to utilize folders in your email inbox. When you know where old emails are located, you’ll be able to quickly reference old conversations without having to search by key words. Don’t keep emails in your inbox if you’re finished working on them. If you’re drowning in emails, glance over them briefly and flag the most important emails that need immediate action.
Coworkers who won’t communicate: Take a moment to speak with your coworkers. Calmly explain how the current communication isn’t helping you be productive. Provide a solution to your problem and ask how you can help him or her as well. Don’t assume that you’re just a peach to work with, either.
Carriers/underwriters who won’t communicate: Don’t waste your time going back and forth through emails. Pick up the phone and ask for what you need, or ask for a verbal explanation. When you’re on the phone, you will have someone’s full attention, which will produce quicker results.
You’re brand new to your job: Starting a new position can be scary, mostly because everything is so unfamiliar. Ask for help! Everyone around you has at some point been “the new guy.” If you’re unsure, gain confidence by asking a coworker or the carrier for confirmation. Don’t forget to keep detailed notes so that you can reference them later. The more informed you become, the more confidence you’ll have in your job performance.
Too much to do, too little time: Remember, you are not working alone. Speak with your advisor or your coworkers to see if you can delegate a couple of duties until you’ve caught up on your desk. Remember to lend a hand when you’re slow, too. Teamwork, teamwork.
And lastly, when you find yourself stressing out, take a breath, ask for help and remember — if today’s stress is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you’ll have a happy life.
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