Careers These mistakes cause unnecessary stress

Icon image of less self-inflicted stress
Stress is often self-inflicted. These tips can help.

# 1 Always do everything right away

High demands on yourself are a double-edged sword. They ensure above-average quality. In the long run, however, they can become a brake on performance if the compliance pressure becomes too high and causes unnecessary stress. Psychologist Alice Boyes, author of the guide “The Healthy Mind Toolkit”, therefore recommends a reality check in the “Business Harvard Review”: Are your own demands miles away from those of customers and colleagues? If the answer is yes, it may be time to shift down a gear.

Boyes gives self-set deadlines as an example. It starts with an email arriving on Friday afternoon. Many people would probably leave them there until Monday morning, so the sender would have no problem at all. On the other hand, “over-fulfillers” believe that they have to process the email immediately, even if this means that the relaxing weekend is over.

The psychologist advises not always to start with your own (high) standards: “Ask your boss when she needs something and don’t just assume that she needs it immediately.” Clear, reliable announcements are more important to Boyes than one Rubbing yourself off on overly sporty deadlines: “Just say it if you realistically need two weeks for something.”

# 2 Realistically define success

Perfectionists are naturally not a fan of compromise. However, your demands are often so high that even above average work is not considered good enough. This pressure to perform quickly leads to a productivity trap. While perfectionists are still in the process of really covering all conceivable scenarios for a project, a competitor has perhaps long since done much more than acceptable work with much less headache.

In addition, extremely high demands can mean that, given the seemingly unsolvable task, you won’t even get going. Boyes recalls during a writer’s block that her work “only needs to be a useful resource and does not have to cover everything there is to say on the subject”.

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