It's safe to assume that a lot of the stress in peoples' lives is derived from work. Between the mental weight of multi-tasking to fielding weekend emails marked "urgent," you can easily reach the point where one single message from your boss sends you into an anxiety tailspin.
Unsurprisingly, assuaging stress and anxiety at the office is rooted in communication and removing the ambiguity surrounding day-to-day communication. "Stop being vague," said Dorie Clark of the Harvard Business Review on the topic of work-related stress. "If someone doesn’t know the full context of a situation, vague messages—which might be quite harmless—are often read like a Rorschach test, with fears and interpretations piled on."
Any person with even the slightest bit of anxiety can speak to the validity of this statement—mountains are made into molehills after one seemingly ominous "we need to talk" email. Clark gives the example of a text message she received from a colleague that read, Dorie, are you available today to talk via phone? Let me know when you are available..." She instantly became stressed out, wondering what could be so urgent. In the end, her colleague just wanted to talk to her about podcast recommendations, of all things.
"Some people leave vague messages because they’re in a rush—tapping out a quick text or leaving a voicemail en route to the airport—and don’t realize the impact they have," she adds. "Either way, it inflicts an inexcusable psychic toll. If you want to be a better colleague, stop doing it."
For more, read up on the three strategies for dealing with difficult co-workers, and jot your work thoughts down in-full in our favorite notebook.