Workplace stress is hitting Americans hard. A recent survey shows that two-thirds of U.S. workers reported extremely high stress levels in the past year. Thirty percent said they were too stressed to be effective at their job for at least five days in 2011. Don’t accept stress as just another part of your job. There are several strategies you can — and should — use to bring your levels down. You might think every minute counts, but taking short breaks between tasks can actually help you stay focused and productive. Think of them as mini rewards for completing one job before moving onto the next. Taking a step back can also help you put your workload in perspective. If you’re afraid of things falling through the cracks, keep a to-do list or use an electronic task manager so you’re not constantly worrying about assignments you may have forgotten. Also, make the most of your downtime. Instead of zoning out in front of the TV, schedule activities that cheer you up, like having lunch with a friend or watching a funny movie. Having things you look forward to outside of work can help combat burnout.