Calm. Peace. Zen. Chill. Call it what you want. If you are enthusiastic about your work, your passion can take a turn for the worse and sour when you become too invested or too overextended. If you find that your focus leaves you feeling wrapped around the axle instead of productive, consider the following to keep your cool.
- Take a breath and take a break. I’ve met too many people who believe they have to work through lunch, morning ‘til night, to be effective and to get stuff done. But research (as shown in this great article from Psychology Today) points to the need for breaks—for your mental and physical health, to combat decision fatigue, and to increase productivity and creativity.
- Detach and go offline. As much as breaks are needed throughout the day, shutting down shop at the end of the day or shift gives you the chance to unwind and focus on other aspects of your life. Refreshing and spending time away is important if you want the time you spend on your work to be focused and meaningful. So, do yourself a favor, and skip the constant email checking, and help your team out by keeping communications within standard business hours.
- Stay in your lane. This one is hard for me. I see something that could be better, and I want to jump in with both feet and improve it now. While it’s wonderful to be a go-getter and provide support outside of your professional duties, It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you try to improve every aspect of your work environment.
- Say your peace, and let it go. When you have concerns, it’s best to share them with the appropriate person, but then, move on. You’ve met your responsibility, and now it’s time for others to meet theirs. Move on to the work that is yours to do.
- Remember, you are a drop in the bucket. When I was a student teacher a thousand years ago, I felt like every success and failure lay at my feet. I (wrongly in hindsight) believed that my influence could lead to wholly disastrous or wonderful results. The thing is, we are all drops in a bucket. We have our roles to play and our duties to accomplish, but it isn’t your job to fill the whole bucket.
- Accept help. Many of us believe we have to do it all on our own. We say, “It’s my responsibility, I’ll do it.” But sometimes, given the season of life we are in, we may need additional support, and it’s ok to ask others to help. You’d do it for them, right?
- Communicate your needs. Others can’t help you if they don’t know you need it. While everyone you work with doesn’t need to know all of your business, letting others know where you are and what’s going on can help them help you and set their expectations.
- Say “no.” Duties as assigned is all the rage, but depending on your work or volunteer status, you don’t have to say “yes” to everything. It’s perfectly reasonable to admit you can’t get something done if it’s extra.
- Set expectations. The alternative to saying “no” (when you feel like “no” isn’t an option) is to say, “yes, but…” If you feel passionate about helping with the project, then help with it, but set expectations so that you don’t overcommit.
- Recognize your accomplishments. Many of us look at our to-do lists and focus on the entries left to complete. But it’s important to also recognize what you’ve already done. Celebrate your accomplishments rather than harping on what still needs to be done. Tomorrow’s another day, and there’ll be more time for work. It’s important to take the time to recognize the progress you’ve made.
What do you do to stay calm at work? We want to know! Tell us on Facebook. In the meanwhile, I wish you many calm and peaceful work days!