Recruiters have it rough. They really do: deadlines, hiring, keeping in touch with candidates, keeping clients/bosses happy. Even as I type this sentence, a to-do list weighs heavy on my brain. In fact, in 2013, 65 percent of workers cited their job as the significant source of their stress.
Code Green, Level 1, I’m Feeling Like that Refrigerated Cucumber
Being busy isn’t a curse, and it isn’t a sure sign that things aren’t moving smoothly. What isn’t so great is that, when everything is running without hiccup, humans tend to forget how quickly tables can turn. The times when there are few and small bumps in the road are the perfect opportunities to take preventative actions. While you’re chill, consider these steps to keep on this zen level.
Step 1: Organize the physical objects. While most things are digital, taking notes on sticky paper isn’t a completely dead art. That means that neither are piles of paper, picture frames, the apple from lunch, newspapers, books, etc. Put papers in a folder and file them in a drawer. Take the added clutter that doesn’t need to be on your desk and find a home for it.
Step 2: How many icons are on your computer desktop? How many website browsers are open? Word files? Programs? Similar to a real desk, having a lot of clutter around your digital workspace can not only make it harder to find what you’re looking for, but can also slow down your computer.
Step 3: Move things around. A new take on your work space can give you a fresh look at your processes. By building creativity, you might have a whole new idea pop up. Whether you’re in a cubicle, corner office, or working remotely from a coffee shop, the first step to feeling calm is having a calm environment.
Code Yellow, Level 2, I Feel the Pressure Building
The calendar is filling up, the phone is consistently ringing, and coffee can’t come fast enough. You haven’t reached high alert, but it’s near. Consider these steps to lower the temperature before the situation boils over.
Step 1: Check emails periodically. Set a healthy time limit for your position and set alarms in your phone or Google Calendar that will alert you to check your inbox. Then don’t check it a moment before the allotted time. Switching from one project to the correspondence will make you lose focus, and you’ll have to remember where you left off.
Step 2: Have a phone call time limit. Your time is valuable, and while you’re on the phone, you aren’t completing tasks. Unless the call is helping you with a project, limit catching up to another time.
Step 3: Remember what you’re grateful for. When tension rises, give yourself five minutes to consider everything that is going right. Write down compliments, family, friends, plans, trips, your car, clients … anything that brings you some form of joy. It will raise your mood and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, by 25 percent.
Code Red, Level 3, I Can’t Take Another Moment Here
So the boss walked over to you, criticized your process (hopefully with constructive intentions), and then reminded you about a project ending soon (TPS reports, anyone?). While the deadlines aren’t immediate, the pressure that they are near is still enough to stun the most productive recruiter. When tension is building, consider these helpful steps.
Step 1: Take deep breaths. It seems obvious, but when stress levels rise, the whole body feels it. Sometimes even natural habits, like breathing, become foreign concepts. Removing yourself from the environment for even a minute will help, so take a break to go outside. If that’s a challenge, find a window.
Step 2: Splash cold water on your face. This will lower your heart rate around 10-25 percent through what is called the mammalian diving reflex.
Step 3: Bring in a coworker. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Sometimes, when all energy has been focused on a single task, you get tunnel vision and your productivity lowers.
Ever read one sentence and not really get what you’re reading? That’s the kind of losing focus that makes moving forward impossible. With 77 percent of people regularly experiencing physical symptoms of stress and 73 percent feeling psychological ones, there’s no doubt that developing habits that will keep you cool under overwhelming pressure is important.
What do you do to keep stress at bay?