Stress is a normal part of life, and everyone experiences stress to some degree. It is the body's natural response to demands or threats, and it can be caused by a wide variety of factors.
Some stress can be beneficial, as it can motivate us to take action and get things done. However, it is important to recognise when you are experiencing excessive stress, and to take steps to manage it in order to maintain your physical and emotional well-being.
A heavy workload can be a significant source of stress. When you feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it, it can lead to feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and anxiety.
We all know that Year End can be a pretty hectic time for Clerks & RFO’s. The regular to-do list doesn’t get any smaller, and you’re expected to complete your entire Year End of accounts, undergo an internal and external audit, sign off and publicise the accounts, all within a specific time frame. No wonder Clerks and RFO’s feel like they need a month’s holiday once it’s all completed.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could make the Year End process a little more…easy going?
There are many ways to manage stress, and what works for one person may not work for another. But hey, it’s worth giving them a try right?
This is why Scribe Academy recently hosted Beckie Whitehouse, Clerk and Founder of Cloudless Sky Coaching, to share her advice on time and stress management.
So without further ado, let’s get right to Beckie’s tips…
📆 Map out your day, week, month, or even year!
With so many responsibilities and obligations, it can be challenging to stay on top of everything. However, one effective strategy for staying organised is to map out your schedule.
Try mapping out your week in rough terms, dividing it into morning, lunchtime, and afternoon. By doing this, you can see exactly what you have planned for each section of the day (e.g. council meetings, running group, and other commitments).
Mapping out your schedule can be done for the day, week month, or even year. One helpful tool for this is a big yearly wall calendar. With this, you can mark off what you know is coming up (e.g. Year End, budgeting season), so you can stay on top of everything.
🥱 Staying motivated
Juggling multiple responsibilities can be challenging, especially if you're managing more than one council. When you have multiple tasks, it's important to find ways to stay motivated and make progress.
There are many ways to stay motivated and get things done, but it's important to listen to your gut when choosing a strategy. Our gut reactions are often right, but we often talk ourselves out of them with our heads.
One strategy for staying motivated is to start with the most important job - this can be the job that you think is the most important or the most difficult. Some people prefer to start with the most difficult job, as it can be motivating to tackle the hardest task first and work their way down. However, some may prefer to start with the smaller tasks and get these ticked off, which will in turn spur them on and give them the motivation to tackle the more difficult tasks.
It will be different for everyone, so it's important to try different strategies and find what works best for you. Below are some time and task management techniques - have a go and see if one of these works for you.
😎 Take Your Holiday
Taking a holiday can be a challenge for many Clerks & RFO's. Often you're scrambling to get everything done before signing off and then you come back the following week with 100+ emails to respond to. It can be tempting to stay at work instead of taking a break, but it's important to remember that taking a complete break can be beneficial for mental wellbeing.
One thing that can help is to disconnect from work while on holiday. Even when staying at home, it can be helpful to lock away your work laptop or device to avoid the temptation of checking emails. This can prevent a ten-minute task from turning into a much longer one, where before you know it the day has already gone.
One struggle for many Clerks & RFO's at Year End is the limited hours. Perhaps you are on a contract of 12 hours a week, this may be okay in the quieter months but at Year End this may go completely out the window. Talk to your councillors, perhaps you could agree that where longer hours are being worked during Year End, shorter hours could be worked July/August time to make up for this.
🍃 Get That Fresh Air!
Being outside in nature is incredibly beneficial for our mental wellbeing. It provides an opportunity to relax, connect with nature, and breathe in fresh air. When we're outside, our problems can suddenly seem much more manageable and we may even find inspiration for solutions to our troubles.
One way to incorporate nature into our daily lives is by taking a walk during lunch breaks or getting outside for exercise. Even a short walk around the block can help to refresh our minds and provide a break from our daily tasks.
It's also important to consider the perspective of our problems. Will it be the end of the world if a task is completed a day late or if an extension is needed? The answer is often no. By putting things in perspective, we can realise that things may not be as dire as they initially seem.
Mindfulness is also a key aspect in this regard, it is about being present in the moment and focusing on what is in front of us. When we take our focus away from our troubles, and instead focus on nature, we may find that solutions and ideas come to us naturally. It's a reminder that there is more to life than finding that 30p in the accounts!
🎤 Guest Speaker
📞 07480 242390
⏯️ Replay - Watch the session recording below
💻 Slides - View the slides below