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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

Why You Should Leave Work on Time Today

I know people who are addicted to anxiety who work themselves into a frenzy- and not just because I'm a psychologist. You probably know people like this, too. They are chronic multi-taskers, over-committers, Blackberry-reading, Energizer bunny types who work long hours. While they may be exciting to work with, they are also easily agitated and prone to meltdowns. Recently I was interviewed for a Channel CW33 TV segment on anxiety addiction. Click here to watch it.

Like any addiction, the anxiety/frenzied addicted person feels they "need" to feel anxious and busy even though they don't "like" the feeling. If you recognize this in yourself or you know someone who is like this, you will especially like this newsletter because it will help you become more effective. Believe me when I say that people in the Smart Zone are able to manage their emotions and leave work on time.

Keep in mind these Smart Moves to help you be more effective and leave work on time today:

Are you tired by 3:00 in the afternoon? Eat a late afternoon snack that is low fat and high in protein like nuts, yogurt or a small tuna sandwich. A high protein snack stimulates the brain's neurotransmitters that promote energy and alertness.

Are you just waking up by 3:00 in the afternoon? Eat a late afternoon snack that is high in carbs but low in fat and protein - like a granola bar, fresh fruit or a bagel. This type of snack jump-starts the amino acid in the brain that promotes a relaxation response.

Master the ability to end conversations that are not productive: If your day includes having people come by your office to shoot the bull and at the end of the day you wonder where the time went, learn to monitor your downtime at work. When you have to make a phone call to someone who could keep you on the phone too long, say up front, "I only have a minute but I wanted to get back to you before this afternoon." That sets the expectation that the call will be short.

Devote Your Energy to the Task at Hand: Make a point of focusing on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking moves us out of the flow. Don't have an important conversation with a coworker while making copies at the copy machine. Put away your Blackberry while working on a task. Turn the volume down on your computer so you don't hear your emails pinging. Immerse yourself in whatever you are doing.

Look at but don't answer email in the morning: I can easily use up a lot of time and energy early in the morning by getting lost in my email without realizing that I'm negatively setting the pace of the day. Review emails in the morning but get in the habit of setting aside a dedicated block of time to respond. Stick to the schedule and you will avoid getting lost in email adventures that misuse your energy and attention.

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