Getting through the cloudy days at work

We’ve all been there. No matter how much we enjoy our jobs, the piles of unfinished work and deadlines looming over us can make our lives so much more stressful. Here are some pointers on how to get through the gloomier days at work.

#1 Smile folder

As you might’ve gathered, I’m a big fan of Outlook folders when it comes to managing my workload. However, if you were to look over my shoulder, apart from my usual folders with PO’s, client-specific emails, and admin, you’d find a mysterious folder entitled ‘:)’. Whenever I get a nice email from a client or a colleague telling me how sterling job I did, I move this note right there. When a darker day comes, a quick scroll though my smiley folder always lifts my spirit.

Thanks to Chris Owen for teaching me this one.

#2 Time management

In my experience, one of the biggest factors of stress in a workplace can be having too much on your plate. I wrote a fair bit about time management on my blog (a pointer here, here, and here). However, advice captured in Tim Ferris’ Tools of Titans from Arnold Schwarzenegger is especially apt. Perform your tasks one-by-one and you’ll be more productive — and less stressed:

I don’t merge and bring things together and see everything as one big problem. I take them one challenge at a time. When I go and I study my script for a movie, then that time of day when I study my script, I don’t let anything else interfere. I just concentrate on that.

#3 Reduce caffeine

We all love our cuppa in the morning and coffee with some cake in the afternoon. I’m especially guilty of the cake bit. However, one of the side effects of caffeine can be an increase of epinephrine and cortisol — hormones both involved in stress response. Favourite brownie on the other hand, might alleviate short-term stress, but won’t solve the stress problem in a long run. Why don’t you make yourself some green tea and eat some dark chocolate instead?

#4 Go for a run

Physical activity is hugely important and it constantly gives our bodies unprecedented amounts of endorphins so important for having a stress-less life. So if today has not been your best day, don’t dwell on it. When coming back from work, don’t indulge in comfort food either. Instead, go for a run and clear your head. I find running gives perspective and helps think better. Oh, and if you’re around London’s SE1, why not join one of the sessions run by the best club in town, London City Runners?


If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at], tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!

A photo in the header is from my own collection.