Competing priorities, uncertain teams and rampant reactivity can be a huge tax on a company's productivity, but it can even more directly affect individual calm. And an increase in panic rarely results in more positive efficiencies and smoother operations.
When surrounded by the frenzy of coworker crises or tempted to incite turmoil yourself, take these steps to avoid the madness and choose calm instead of chaos.
1. Slow down. It may seem counter-intuitive, but slowing down will make you more effective in the long run. Moving too quickly impairs your judgment and makes you more prone to careless mistakes. Taking time to be thorough and careful improves the quality of your work and keeps you from needing to do it over.
2. Breathe. Maybe it seems too simple, but stress can often leave us feeling suffocated. Take deep and slow breaths to calm yourself both physically and mentally, giving oxygen back to your brain and centering yourself.
3. Take a break. When you feel stress begin to creep up, don't wait until it becomes overwhelming. Take a break right away and encourage others to also step away from the problem for a moment. Let yourself relax a bit and return to the issue at hand refreshed and ready to give it your best.
4. Maintain a perspective. Sometimes an incident may seem most dire to people because it affects them most directly. Look at the bigger picture--in the department, in the company, in life--and then consider the impact of the problem. Healthy perspective keeps issues from becoming catastrophes in our perception.
5. Organize and delegate. Particularly in such situations affecting isolated individuals, organize the connected parties and suggest specific strategies for dealing with the issue. Individual responsibility allows people to be more effective and more calm, and will put you all more at ease.
6. Keep to Your routine. Rather than jumping to put out each fire that pops up, stay focused first on the planned responsibilities that need your attention. Within that framework, assess issues that arise against your existing tasks and prioritize as you see fit. If you can stay focused and avoid excessive reactivity, others will follow your lead.
Through it all, try to keep a smile on your face, and mindfully relax your facial muscles. Studies show that a smiling face physically holds less stress, so even if you have to pretend at first, it will help you to be calm in the long run.
When it comes right down to it, you can only control your own stress levels and your own responsibilities. Focus on what you need to be an effective and calm member of the team and take steps to make it happen for yourself.
It may sound elusive, but calm amidst the chaos is indeed achievable. A solid company as a whole embodies these strategies diligently, which allows them to maintain their focus on their clients. Move toward a happier, healthier and more relaxed working atmosphere, knowing that your microfiber sticker was created in a similar calm.