Saturday, August 30, 2008
Feelings affect your work
From the mid 1990s, it became widely realised that not only do feelings and emotions matter, especially to the person experiencing them, but our brains are wired in such a way that much of our behaviour is prompted by emotion rather than reason or thought.
Humor at work
Humor at work can be used as a stimulant, an initiator and a tonic, to help create conditions that foster the upbeat, energetic working environment. Used appropriately, it lifts and lightens moods, eases tensions and encourages emotional fluidity, making it easier for people to change their minds and opinions without losing face or being humiliated.
One simple technique is to find something positive to appreciate in your current circumstances, whatever they are. It doesn’t have to be a major point, just something that you can feel good about. When you do, you will probably smile, if only a little. Each smile releases a cocktail of neuro-chemicals that reduce anger, decrease stress and anxiety, and inspire creativity. You will probably feel slightly energised and lighter, possibly more optimistic. If you can share this appreciation with someone else, the benefit has just increased exponentially. Not bad, just for a smile. The technique continues to work even as examples become more complex.
In an age where workplace pressure is perceived to be increasing, where staff retention is increasingly important, where sickness and absenteeism are major concerns for scores of managers and organisations, constructive humor in the workplace offers new insights and solutions appropriate to every working environment.
Now, do you feel you laugh enough at work?
Research shows that activities we label as work, are naturally less pleasurable than play. Blur the work life boundaries, there is little difference between a challenging meeting and an argument over dinner.
Seek out happiness
Don't wait for the interesting projects to come to you, they won't. If the CEO's new initiative gets your adrenalin pumping, be clear on how you can contribute and volunteer. Put yourself in the fast lane if that's where you want to be.
Find the purpose
Who gains from the work you do? How are you improving people's lives? From the product your organisation is creating and the customers you are supporting, through to the team you are leading and developing, relish the impact you have.
Pleasure alone does not make us happy, we also need challenge. This is why, surprising as it may seem, we are three times more likely to find happiness at work. Set yourself an ambitious goal that will push you to new levels.
Build the people around you
Get good at delegating in a way that builds their skills, they will love you for it and you'll be admired by others. It also means you can spend more time doing what you enjoy.
It is infectious and will raise the mood of everyone around you.
Appreciate the good things
Give as much attention to the positive strengths, achievements and qualities as you do to the problems, challenges and mistakes.
Good, bad or indifferent we can always learn something. Write down everything you achieved at work last year, however small. Then reflect on what you learnt from the things that didn't go according to plan.
Stick to your focus
Decide where you want your achievements to be, plan how you are going to make it happen with clear timings and get going.
It may be that you’ve picked up a pattern of thinking and expressing your stress which in turn reinforces the negative feelings you have when you think about work.
Confused? Well, think about how you learn a language. You can learn it by listening to people speaking and then remembering how it sounds. The next step is repeating the sentences or phrases over and over, then after that you associate which context to use them in.
Depending on how motivated you are, some of this will be easy and other bits harder. Perhaps being able to order your favourite drink in a bar is more motivating than learning about that country’s capital or principle rivers.
If you have been socialising at work with people who are cynical or negative about everything, then you are likely to subconsciously absorb their phrases and words. Then when you’re around them, you’ll fall into the same language patterns. This is usually further reinforced by you mentally collecting ‘examples’ of things to prove the negatives so you can be included in the conversation. This is how the cycle of feeling negative and then stressed because of these feelings continues.
You can take a simple step to start to make a big change. You can start to listen to something positive in the morning on you way to work. Also get into the habit before getting to work picking one thing that you’d like to get done. Let yourself imagine doing this task so that you can see it being carried out by you. Then savour the moment of its completion or the bit of a larger task that you’ll have finished. Then come back to reality and quickly review what you did and how you did it. Then once you’ve arrived at work it will be a little like deja vu except that you’ll have pre-programmed yourself to be more productive.
Lastly, mentally check your language to yourself and when you’re talking to your office mates. From now on promise to change the subject to something more positive. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll be doing your career and future prospects a favour.
It’s natural to be somewhat uptight on your first day. You’re in a new place, meeting new people, and feeling out a new set of responsibilities. While being excited is good, you don’t want to be uncomfortable and you don’t want to come across as uncomfortable either. Reminding yourself to relax during the day will help you as you meet new people and process your new environment and responsibilities.
Make sure that you are doing your best to actually receive the information people are sharing with you. As simple as this one sounds, when everything and everyone around you is new, it can be distracting. Take notes and ask questions if needed to ensure that you’re really absorbing what’s being said. Even though some parts of the on-boarding process are dull, you’re better off erring on the side of attentiveness.
Focus on your first opportunity to show your value
While the day is probably full of introductions and orientation, you will soon have your first opportunity to demonstrate your worth to the organization. If you have a meeting with the big boss, make sure you prepare for it. While you could get away with walking into a meeting cold on your first day, if you take it as an opportunity to shine, you will make an excellent first impression on the job.
Take care of the paperwork and hoops-jumping quickly and completely
You will almost certainly have paperwork, and you will probably have to set up your email, get a new phone, get a laptop, and set up your voice mail as well. Go ahead and take care of these chores, and if you follow instructions carefully and treat everyone involved with respect, you’ll make a good impression there as well. Remember, you have been hired to take care of work for the company without being a problem. Many employees fail to do these simple administrative tasks excellently. As a result, they become a problem for someone somewhere in the company. It’s simple and stupid, so just take care of it.
Get up to speed on the workings of the company
Really study the training and/or marketing materials you are given. As people tell you about the company, the department, the clients, and the bosses, take some mental notes and maybe some physical notes as well. Again, you were brought on to do work and not be a problem. The less time you spend as a newbie, the better.
Compile a contacts list
When you’re given a name and number, put it in a word document. When you meet someone new, make a note of it on that same document. You’ll remember names more easily, and you won’t have sticky notes all over your desk. When you get in Outlook and you can look up everyone’s info, you can get rid of this document, but in the meantime, this will help you feel less dependent.
Don’t ask too many questions; trust the on-boarding process
If you’re eager to learn, it can be tempting to ask a lot of tangential questions. You’ve got enough to worry about for now by just taking what they are giving you. If something is unclear or if they ask if you have any questions, feel free to ask questions. Just be careful not to press for extra information as that can be taxing and even annoying. Make a list of your questions as they come up, and if at the end of the training, those questions haven’t been answered, you can pick a good time to ask the right people.
Demonstrate proactivity in your area of expertise when you have downtime
Many companies have informal on-boarding processes and limited staff available for training. You may find yourself at a computer or at your desk with little to do from time to time. Take this opportunity to do something productive. Begin to flesh out an idea, make an outline, work on your sales pitch, sketch some designs – whatever you’ve been hired to bring to the company, start doing your homework to make that a reality. Don’t make a show of it, just quietly use your time to get a head start.
Capture ideas for improving the company, just don’t share them yet
In your enthusiasm to make a good impression, you may want to share all of your great ideas with your boss or co-worker. Don’t be so quick to tell everyone what you think could be done differently, even if those great ideas are the reason you were hired. There will come a time for suggesting change, but it is usually a good idea to mostly just observe for a while. You never know which hastily offered suggestion for “improvement” will make you look foolish for misunderstanding the situation or offend someone who created the existing way of doing things. Do write your ideas down, though, as your fresh perspective will be likely to see things differently. Those ideas will be good later.
Socialize when socialized with but not before then
When someone settles near your workspace or when you meet them eye to eye, go ahead and introduce yourself. You’re the new kid on the block, and taking the initiative helps people who may be wondering whether you are a vendor, a contractor, or a new employee. That being said, extended chit-chat is something you should respond to but not initiate. You don’t yet understand the culture of the office, and you haven’t yet proved your worth. While you will want to break the ice and get to know your neighbors, a polite introduction will pave the way for them to dive deeper when they are ready to take a break. While it is your first day and you have relatively little to think about, there’s a good chance your co-workers are immersed in piles of work, and you don’t want to interrupt or distract.
Focusing on these tips will help you take a sometimes overwhelming situation and break it down into simple actions for a good first day. At the end of the day, you will feel confident in the work you’ve done, the impression you’ve made, and the outlook for your new job.
Work can lift a man up but also makes an animal of him. The doctor in the new hospital and the slave carrying a heavy load are both working. But the doctor can learn everyday something new, he realises that he has things under control and is able to accomplish difficult tasks. The slave has to do the same tiring work again and again. How do we feel in our jobs, like the doctor or the slave?
Adam was punished by God with the curse "cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life...by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food" (Genesis 3:17-19). Most cultures consider work (just like the Bible story) as a curse to be avoided as much as possible!
There is something strange about work. If we wouldn´t care about luxury, cars and beautiful houses, there would be no much need for hard work. But the more we put our energy into material goals, the harder it is to realise them. To meet our climbing expectations, we must work harder, physically and mentally and use more and more natural resources.
Work does not need to be unpleasant. Working can be tough or at least tougher than doing nothing but people can enjoy their work and it can be the best part of their life.
Scientists in Italy have studied traditional communities living in the Alps. These mountain people are happy people. Why? Because they don't make the difference between work and spare-time. Although life is not easy living in these mountains, the people in these villages do not experience their heavy work as a burden. They feel free, free in their work, they can do what they want, they don't have a boss telling them what to do.
If your work is in a dark and dirty factory, even then you can enjoy your work. How? By trying to manipulate and transform the opportunities even the simplest job offers. That is the difference between happy and unhappy people in their jobs. You can stay within the boundaries of the given reality and become unhappy. Or you can try to pass these boundaries and become happy. Even if your work is dull, give yourself new goals, make your work a game, more complex than it is.
During World War II many Jews practised this mental technique in prison. In order to avoid madness, they start counting the bricks in their cells or start asking questions. What was this brick made of, who made it, where did this man live? They made the killing dullness into a game. They looked behind their boundaries.
If you use your mental energy to achieve this, you will find out that you too are able to lose yourself in your job (you feel part of a flow and you forget time) and you will see your work as a result of a free choice.
Work has the potential to give people the feeling that they are competent, it gives them challenges. This make you feel happy, strong, creative and satisfied. In spare-time many people feel sad, weak, listless and dissatisfied. But whoever you ask, people will always say that they want to work less and have more spare-time!
What does this mean? During work, people give little attention to their senses. They neglect the quality of the immediate experience their job offers them and base their motivation on the cultural biased stereotype of what work ought to be for them. They consider work as a burden, an obligation, and an enemy of their freedom. So work should be avoided as much as possible.
But many people do not know what to do in their spare-time. Ironically work can make you easily more happy than spare-time because work has goals, feedback, rules and challenges which stimulate you to commit yourself to your job, to concentrate and forget yourself.
Spare-time on the other hand is unstructured and asks for a much bigger effort to be enjoyed. Hobbies which ask for a certain skills and inner discipline can make spare-time into what it is really meant for : re-creation. Most people let the change go by to enjoy spare-time more than their work.
The entertainment industry tries to help people to enjoy their spare-time. But in stead of using our physical or mental abilities, many people spent every weekend hours in a stadium, looking at famous sportsmen and sportswomen. In stead of making music themselves, we listen to music of rich musicians. In stead of making art we admire the paintings in the museum. In stead of acting on our beliefs, we prefer to watch actors who pretend to be in adventures and who seem to live exciting lives. In stead of making our own webpages we only use our computer to visit other webpages we didn't make...
Using your own skills leads to personal growth. Being passively entertained leads to nothing. We waste our energy for nothing, even more it tires us and discourages us.
Work and spare-time can both be disappointing unless you take control. Many jobs and leisure activities are not made to make us happy and strong. They are only there to make another person rich. If we do not resist this, it will use up all our life-energy. But work and spare-time can also contribute to our needs. You can learn to enjoy your work and use your spare-time fruitful.
Intrigued, the consultant visited the archives to see if he could find a clearer form, to discover what was originally being reported and whether it actually held any significance. When he found the old reports, he saw that the zero return had continued uninterrupted for as far back as the records extended - at least the past thirty years - but none of the forms was any clearer than those presently in use. A little frustrated, he packed away the old papers and turned to leave the room, but something caught his eye. In another box he noticed a folder, promisingly titled 'master forms'. Sure enough inside it he found the original daily report proforma master-copy, in pristine condition. In the top right corner was the mysterious box, with the heading clearly shown ...... 'Number of Air Raids Today'.
The Michigan DOEQ letter...
Subject: DEQ File No.97-59-0023;
T11N; R10W, Sec. 20;
Dear Mr. DeVries,
It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:
Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.
A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.
The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2003. Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that our staff may schedule a follow-up site inspection.
Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.
Land and Water Management Division
Mr Devries' letter response...
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County.
Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to respond to. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan. A couple of beavers are in the process (State unauthorized) of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of nature's building materials "debris."
I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.
My first dam question to you is: (1) are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or (2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.
I have several concerns. My first concern is: aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation, so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing flooding is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names. If you want the stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers, but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.
In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams). So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2003? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.
In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality (health) problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!) Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.
Ryan Devries and the Dam Beavers
The Great Zumbrati was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, "You can do it - I know you can," he urged.
"You really believe I can do it?" asked Zumbrati.
"Yes - definitely - you can do it." the supporter gushed.
"Okay," said Zumbrati, "Get in the wheelbarrow..."
Being An Effective Team Requires Trust And Action, Not Just Words.
One day, a man approached Plumb and his wife in a restaurant, and said, "Are you Plumb the navy pilot?"
"Yes, how did you know?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied.
Plumb was amazed and grateful: "If the chute you packed hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today..."
Plumb refers to this in his lectures: his realisation that the anonymous sailors who packed the parachutes held the pilots' lives in their hands, and yet the pilots never gave these sailors a second thought; never even said hello, let alone said thanks.
Now Plumb asks his audiences, "Who packs your parachutes?..... Who helps you through your life?.... Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?....... Think about who helps you; recognise them and say thanks."
Don't Forget The Support People On Your Team!
After the new line had been switched on successfully, and the formalities completed, the guests relaxed in small groups to chat and enjoy the buffet. In a quiet corner stood three men discussing trucks and transport and distribution, since one was the present distribution manager, and the other two were past holders of the post, having retired many years ago. The three men represented three generations of company distribution management, spanning over sixty years.
The present distribution manager confessed that his job was becoming more stressful because company policy required long deliveries be made on Monday and Tuesday, short deliveries on Fridays, and all other deliveries mid-week.
"It's so difficult to schedule things efficiently - heaven knows what we'll do with these new cans and the tight demands of the supermarkets..."
The other two men nodded in agreement.
"It was the same in my day," sympathised the present manager's predecessor, "It always seemed strange to me that trucks returning early on Mondays and Tuesdays couldn't be used for little local runs, because the local deliveries had to be left until Friday.."
The third man nodded, and was thinking hard, struggling to recall the policy's roots many years ago when he'd have been a junior in the despatch department. After a pause, the third man smiled and then ventured a suggestion.
"I think I remember now," he said, "It was the horses..... During the Second World War fuel rationing was introduced. So we mothballed the trucks and went back to using the horses. On Mondays the horses were well-rested after the weekend - hence the long deliveries. By Friday the horses so tired they could only handle the short local drops..."
Soon after the opening of the new canning line the company changed its delivery policy.
Sharing Information Can Help To Solve Problems
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.
When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house", he said, "my gift to you." The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.
So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we'd do it much differently. But we cannot go back.
You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board or erect a wall. "Life is a do-it-yourself project" someone has said. Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the "house" you live in tomorrow. Build it wisely!!
We tend to believe that we are better than others. We think we are handsome and strong. We are more attractive and influential. We are well informed and better equipped. We are a class above the rest, well honoured and respected anytime and anywhere. The sad fact of life is that we are seeing the world only through our own eyes.
For the most part of our life, we are lying and cheating to ourselves. In reality, others are living better and progressing faster than us. They are advancing at all times in every field that they put themselves into. They learn by leaps and bounds while we are enjoying our sweet moment of success and glory. O dreamers, wake up. The world has left you far behind. Wake up from your lethargy, put your plans into actions and double your efforts to achieve your goals.
Heaven knows how miserable we must have fared after these many years. We love to judge others but we don't even have time to examine ourselves. We are mean to others and we are mean to ourselves. We don't want to see progress and we try our best to hinder others from progress. Yet, we ourselves refuse to progress. What an irony. Every day we are refreshed and ready for a new adventure. Yet we live as if we don't have much to contribute for the welfare of the world that we live in. We are having a life of living death.
We avoid the fact that others are watching us. We tell ourselves that we don't care, yet we yearn for their attentions just like pampered children. We want them to stay behind, follow our foot steps, and attending our ways. And we teach them to look scornfully and sneering at others who refuse to heed our ways. How immature we must have become after all these years.
O man, how have we progressed after all these years? How many tomorrows can we afford to waste? Come on. Don't linger anymore. Let's go forward for a new adventure.
The journey of a thousand miles begin with one single step. The best time to take that first step is right now.
We must start today because it matters.
One today is worth two tomorrows. Most people over-exaggerate yesterday, over-estimate tomorrow and underestimate today. But the good old days were never as good as we remember them to be, and tomorrow often isn't as productive as we think it will be. Today is the day that matters, the day with the greatest potential for accomplishment. Start now, because tomorrow may not be yours to start.
We must start today because it removes the greatest barrier to our success - delaying.
Anyone who brags about what they're going to do tomorrow probably did the same thing yesterday. The greatest gap for a successful living is always between knowing and doing.
We must start today because today ia the open door for opportunity.
It's the job that never get started that takes the longest to finish. We cannot win if we do not begin. We must go through the door of opportunity when it opens to us, because we never know how long it's going to stay open or if it will ever open for us again.
Successful people have three key qualities in common: A Positive Attitude, Able to Adapt to Change And Loving What They Do. How about us?
There is no magic solution to success. But there is alway a first step, and that first step is to start now, not tomorrow. We need not wait a single minute before starting to improve ourselves and our world. Start improving ourself today, and the rest will be history.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Keeping yourself engaged at work can be a challenge. The day in and day out repetitiveness of work can start to wear you down. Here are tips for getting more enjoyment out of the job you already have.
Negative thinking will get you nowhere. Focus on the aspects of your work that you enjoy, such as a nice view or an engaging project.
Being a loner at work is no fun. It can make anyone self-conscious and lonely. Offer to take a coworker out to lunch, stop by to say hello or share a funny email. Having friends at work will make your day go by in a hurry.
Listen to music
Don’t let the phones, clacking keyboards and loud talkers bring you down. Come to work prepared with earphones and some tunes.
Stay away from Negative people
That guy who complains about the coffee, the carpet, the customers and your boss is not the person you want to make friends with. Nothing will ever make him happy, and you can bet that he wants you to feel the same way, too.
Make Friends With Your Boss
Perhaps you’re feeling underappreciated or looked over. Schedule some time with your supervisor to discuss where you stand. Find out how he or she feels about your quality of work and what they’d like to see from you in the future. This can provide some positive affirmation and guidance about your role within the organization.
Ask for a raise
Don’t be afraid to ask for your fair share. Consider your overall impact on the company and what you’ve done that merits more pay. Perhaps you’ve absorbed some accounts or developed a more efficient work process. Point out how your actions have benefited the company with effort and money saved.
Check your work processes
Are there unnecessary or inefficient steps? We live in a world of technology that makes our work more efficient every day. Are you using available technology to its fullest? Instead of printing out 100 page instruction manuals and mailing them to the customer, just send them a CD with the files. Better yet, email them.
Overworked? Ask for help
If you have entirely too much on your plate, you need to unload. Don’t hold on to too much work just because of silly pride. Ask coworkers to lend a hand. Remember, this works both ways. Be prepared to pitch in when it’s time to return the favor.
Avoid over-committing yourself
At some point, you have to say no to work. You can politely offer to do the work at a later date or recommend a colleague that may be able to lend a hand. It’s okay to try to make everyone happy. Just remember that the happiness you should care about most about is yours.
When you have so much work to do, you should at least figure out where to start. Determine the importance of your tasks by asking yourself a few questions. Does this task have a deadline? Is this task important to me or to someone else? What will happen if I put this off or don’t do it at all?
Do what you like
If you’re busy past the point of prioritizing, just take care of the items that you would like to do the most. Accept that we aren’t all superheroes and that work sometimes just doesn’t get finished. If you do the work you feel like doing, at least you’ll be happy about what you were able to complete.
Running out of work can be almost as stressful as having too much work. Don’t be shy about it. Talk to your boss and coworkers about what they might need help with. Ask for new projects or create your own.
Get on a committee
Planning awards and company functions can be very work-intensive. Help the company with by using your extra time on the committees that run them.
Plan an event
Are you not connecting with customers? Invite them to your facility for an industry get-together and have a chance to put in lots of face time. Does your team need a morale boost? Work on putting together a company outing to help everyone blow off some steam.
Take a class
Invest in yourself. Education, whether it’s just one class or an advanced degree, can open up new doors. A new MBA could mean finally getting promoted above middle management. At the same time, a refresher sales course can keep you at the top of your game.
Find a mentor
A mentor can be a great resource at work. They know the company’s terrain well and can guide you on a path to success. Ideally, you should choose a mentor who has achieved success you’d like to emulate. Schedule a standing lunch date with them each month and find out what made them so successful.
Sure, you’d like a promotion, but to what position? Do you want to retire with this company? Or would you rather gather experience and leave? To know what you should do today, consider what you want for tomorrow.
Celebrate small milestones
Once you’ve set your goals, you have to follow through. When you’ve achieved milestones like finishing a large project or negotiating for more retirement stock options, celebrate. It will encourage you to carry on with the rest of your goal.
Reorganize your work space
Papers, binders and folders have a nasty way of taking over your desk and sanity at the same time. Tame them by reorganizing your space. Use files and trays to keep everything in its place. A clean desk will do wonders for lessening anxiety.
Concentrate on the task at hand
Avoid distractions whenever possible. Close your email, hang a do not disturb sign and let your calls go to voicemail.
Don’t worry about the kids and dinner
When you’re at work, commit yourself to it. Don’t let responsibilities from home invade work and vice versa.
Treat work like a game
If you’re stuck doing repetitive tasks all day, treat them like a game. Time yourself and try to beat your personal best. This will both challenge and entertain.
Get excited about something
We all need something to look forward to. Think about the promotion you’ve been working for or the sunny vacation you’ll have in two weeks. It will help you stay motivated.
Stay away from the junk food
Avoid foods that are loaded with carbohydrates or sugars. Sure, they taste great, but they will bring down your energy level. Opt for more complex carbohydrates which will sustain your energy.
Don’t just sit there
Get up and stretch your legs every now and then to help maintain your energy. Take a lap around the office and say hello to your friends. Take the time to hand-deliver a document. Use every opportunity to get up and get some exercise.
Dehydration can cause headaches and leave you feeling lethargic. Staying hydrated will help you feel better and fight fatigue.
Explore a flexible schedule
Traffic, classes and your child’s events can all interfere with your work schedule. If you think it would be great to come in a few hours early in exchange for leaving early, this might be for you. Speak with your boss about exploring a flexible schedule.
Leave the office at the door
Don’t let a failed project bring you down at home. Do your best to keep your work and home life separate. Remember that a large motivation for working is to provide the means to enjoy life outside of work. Allow yourself to relax and disconnect from the daily grind.
Don’t take your mobile device to bed
Staying connected is great, but at some point you have to let go. Establish boundaries for when you will check messages while not at work. Otherwise, you may feel like you’ve never left. Keep your devices charging in a different room if it’s necessary.
Get some sleep
You need quality sleep time to do your best at work and play. Don’t sabotage tomorrow by pulling an all-nighter tonight.
Make a lateral move
If you have a difficult boss or coworkers, but love what you do, it can be hard to justify getting a new position. However, you may be able to find a welcome change of pace in a lateral move. Try doing your same job for a different team or location and see if your outlook changes.
Swap assignments with a coworker
Perhaps you feel like your friend in your team gets all the plum assignments, but he feels the same way about you. The grass always looks greener on the other side-check it out and see. Try your coworker’s job on for size and see if it is better suited for you.
If you’re still feeling unsatisfied by work, go ahead and look. Compare what you have to what you might be able to get. You may find that you are being grossly underpaid or overworked, or you might realize just how fortunate you are to have your job. Either way, a job comparison can provide motivation for a job upgrade or a new appreciation for what you have.
Find a new job
Finally, consider the possibility that the job you have just doesn’t fit anymore. If you’re feeling unchallenged, have no growth opportunities, or are on a sinking ship, perhaps it’s time to leave. Sometimes you’ve just exhausted the possibilities. Don’t be afraid to move on to a new company that can provide you with something better.