There has been increasing evidence - unsurprisingly - that sales professionals and sales captains are working longer and longer hours, thereby putting health and family relationships at risk. This is not a topic that we can simply sweep under the carpet, it is not going to go away, and I am witnessing it more and more frequently.
Pressure to complete and meet the ever-increasing demands of customers (as well as the need to achieve higher sales quotas) and finishing the year strongly, is forcing people to spend more of their time working -not to mention a stagnant market, that will only become more so in 2009.
Whilst stress does have its benefits, too much can cause errors of judgement, mistakes, accidents and damage to health. Some people are more vulnerable to stress from overwork than others.
American researchers have 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' organisations - 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 alternative
• 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?
Headaches, indigestion, throbbing heart, allergies, infections, twitching, nausea, tiredness, weight loss/gain, vague aches and pains
Indecision, making mistakes, forgetfulness, poor communication, easily distracted, worrying more, making hasty decisions
Irritability, anger, alienation, nervousness, apprehension, loss of confidence, tension, cynicism, job/life dissatisfaction
Unsociable, restless, unable to unwind, appetite loss/gain, diminished/increased interest in sex, increase in drinking/smoking, taking work home, too busy to relax, poor personal management
In Summary: Stress 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 organised; 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 programme if necessary
• Develop breathing and relaxation techniques eg: yoga
• 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 recognise this and complete 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 hours.
Work in periods of time; a maximum of an hour before you give yourself a break - this way you'll concentrate better.
If you want help in identifying your time robbers, this originally titled article will help: "How Identify Your Time Robbers"
Today's News: I did suggest that the latest Top Sales Experts e-book, would be the last - we plan to go into hardback in 2009.
However, I have relented, and we are producing a Special for Christmas - "How To Sell & Survive In An Economic Downturn - And Have A Great Christmas"
In fact, we are going to install a unique area on the TSE site very shortly, to provide advice and support for front-line sales leaders and sales professionals, including an "Ask The Expert" facility, providing direct access to fifty of the world's leading sales gurus - more soon.
I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying writing JF Uncut on Saturdays and Sundays - if you missed this week's posts, simply scroll down.
Finally, to make you smile: "McCain versus Obama - The Dance Off" - well it made me smile
Tomorrow: On The JF Guest Author Spot I am delighted to welcome back a very good friend and one of the foremost leadership gurus on the planet - best selling author and good all round egg, Kevin Eikenberry - you will not want to miss his pearls of wisdom.
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