Step 2 - Identify Your Job Stressors (30 min)


> Identifying your job stressors will extend your ‘early warning system’
> Job stressors can be categorized as low, mid and high level stressors
> Higher level stressors are more complex and take longer to solve

In step 1, you figured out what your “early warning system” stress symptoms were. This was an internal analysis. Now, we’re extending the scope outward to find out what triggers your stress at work.

What this will do is extend your stress “radar range” so that you’ll have more time to prepare yourself for the oncoming stress.

Here’s a partial list of some common job stressors:

- Overloading of projects, tasks and assignments
- Short and/or overlapping deadlines
- Argumentative or confrontational coworkers
- Demanding or clueless boss or supervisor
- Long commutes to/from the office
- Daily/weekly/monthly management reports
- Buggy software programs
- Slow performing laptops/computers
- Lack of support from the team
- Extended working hours or overtime shifts
- Lack of input on projects or goals
- Reorganization or restructuring
- Pending layoffs
- Reduced pay and salaries
- Directionless senior management
- Frequent changes in strategy or direction
- Overflowing inbox of emails
- Annual performance reviews
- Internal or external presentations
- Being “left in the dark” from upper management
- Underperforming coworkers
- Blue screen of death

There are probably other job stressors that aren’t on the list above. It’s not meant to be comprehensive, but just a general starter list to get your thoughts rolling.

What you need to do now is list out your job stressors.  Print out this worksheet and write down your work stressors.

Do a brain dump but be as specific as possible. For example, instead of a broad general “long working hours”, it should be “working until 8:30 pm every Thursday night.”

The more specific you can be, the better chance you’ll be able to create ideal solutions.

Next, circle the severity for each of the stressors. They can be categorized into one of three buckets:

High Stressor - these immediately trigger your stress response into a big negative state for extended periods and you have a hard time coping with them. This is like getting yelled at by your boss or senior management every week for months at a time.

Medium Stressor - these tend to shift your behavior enough to negatively impact your state of being and often times will happen frequently and/or consume your mind for days at a time. It’s the co-worker that is uncooperative and unresponsive and it directly impacts your ability to meet deadlines.

Low Stressor - these are small irritating annoyances that have the potential to grow into medium stressors if they are not sorted out. It’s like when your computer frequently freezes up and nothing works.

VIDEO: Office Worker Smashes Computer

LENGTH: 0:26

What we’ve discovered is the larger and higher the stressor, the more complex and ingrained it is in your life. Those are the ones that will take more effort and time to resolve.

We need to start small. Just like lifting weights at the gym. We can’t simply lift heavy weights right away. We start off with the smaller lighter weights and build up our strength.

When we solve the low stressors first, we gain immediate benefits up front and quicker rewards. We create a bit more mental space and relief to sort out the other larger stressors.

It builds momentum.