When you feel overwhelmed by the unknown, sometimes it’s an inaccurate mental bias that’s causing you more harm than good. 

Two to watch out for are:  

  • Time anxiety:  When you feel like you never have enough time or that you’re not using the time you have to the best of your ability. 
  •  Productivity shame:  When you feel like you’ve never done enough or that your work isn’t visible enough so you work more and make yourself available 24-7. 

Though you can’t control how many hours you have in a day or other people’s expectations of you – and that lack of control can feel awkward – you can flip the script in your head and fact check the validity of your thoughts. “Is what I’m thinking right now really true?” Then ask yourself, “Is this kind of thinking helping or hurting my effectiveness?”  This mental awareness will automatically help you feel less overwhelmed because you stop the cycle of fretting about the same thing over and over. 

Two coaching tips we suggest:  

  • Write down your three priorities for the day before you open your email.  Then when you accomplish those tasks you know you completed important work. It will never be possible to finish everything on your to do list. It’s important to have a plan and feel good when you have completed those items. 
  •  Second, block your work time on your calendar.  If you start work at 7:00 am, hopefully you aren’t still responding to emails at 6:00 pm. Though there are times when you need to work longer hours, working a standard eight-hour work day is much better for your long term productivity and well-being.  And an added plus is that a healthier well-being will help quash those negativity biases.

The best strategy for handling anxiety is to focus on what you can control.  Put in your best effort at work and spend time developing your strengths and interests in and outside of work. It’s a lot more fun than worrying about the unknown. 

 

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