Sometimes as you’re keeping up and performing well at work, a catastrophe in your personal life threatens it all. It could be an emergency with a loved one, a death in the family or a downturn in your own health that piles on the stress. But there are things you can do to keep your performance up when you’re dealing with tough situations outside your job.
Make use of whatever aspects you can control. Feeling a loss of control can add to your stress. While you can’t control an illness or most emergencies, you can control your reactions to them. Take control of your working hours and schedule if possible to allow yourself time to handle other situations.
Figure out what can wait. Separate the things you must do from the things you can cut back on. Allow others to handle certain tasks and make a list of priorities so you know exactly where you can save time.
Let go of perfectionism. When you’re good at your job it can be hard to accept “good enough.” But one way to free up your energy for other concerns is to learn when “good enough” actually is.
Take more time before you make decisions. Under extreme stress, your brain doesn’t get a chance to recover like it does with periodic stress. Your decision-making skills can be affected by the high stress, so be slower and more methodical before you take action.
Don’t overshare. If your problems will require you to alter your working arrangement, you should let your boss and some co-workers in on the situation. However, beware of starting office gossip that can add to the stress.
Take care of yourself. Get good sleep, stay healthy and allow others to help you when you need it.
— Adapted from “How To Keep Working Productively When You’re Under Extreme Stress,” Gwen Moran, Fast Company.