Here is a simple list of ten things you should be aware in the workplace. These points are all basic essential work skills to keep your sanity and improve your productivity.
1. Define success at work
People often work hard to gain success without knowing what success really means.You may climb a career ladder only to find out that it has been leaning against the wrong wall. We receive differing messages about success – through the media, our families and our culture but ultimately, success comes from leading a fulfilled and balanced life – whatever your pay packet.
Action: Write down your own definition of success. Programme it into your mobile – as a constant reminder.
2. Avoid hurry-sickness
We are working faster than ever before. Yes, speed is important, but it must not override quality of work. You may enjoy living in the fast lane, but you must realise that there are costs, in terms of your health and well-being. Slow down to make quicker progress.
Action: Take your three most important tasks. Now allocate a realistic amount of time for achieving them. This shouldn’t be just about how fast you can do them – but the time you need to do them well.
3. Don’t be anxious – be happy
How much anxiety does it take to solve a problem? None, because anxiety is not a solution for anything. Instead, anxiety is a sign for you to take action. Identify the cause of your anxiety and write down the possible things you could do to counteract it. Decide on the appropriate action, and begin it now.
Action: Write down the things that are making you anxious. Decide what you can do about each one. If there’s nothing that can be done, drop it. If there is – do it now.
4. Beware of the activity trap
It’s easy to become addicted to constant activity, and to let your idea of your own value become related to the number of things you’ve ticked off on your To Do list. Temper your drive with reflection. This gives you a chance to recognise your real achievements.
Action: Write a list of your recent achievements, and spend a minute appreciating what you’ve done.
5. Don’t burn out
Many heart-attack victims can be categorised as “high fliers, fast fallers”. These are people who live in a fantasy zone believing that they have an inexhaustible capacity for doing more. However, this is a high-risk strategy. Signs that things are starting to go wrong include exhaustion, a short fuse, impaired vision, poor productivity, and crisis in confidence. If you seek escape through alcohol, or are avoid coming in to work, it is time to get help.
Action: Create a health plan. You need to eat well, exercise regularly, rest up and book yourself a massage.
6. Switch off
Clearly designate what is work-time and what is family time, what is “time out” (which is just for loafing) and “me time” (for something purely selfish). If you do this, you will probably find you work fewer hours but produce more focused work. When work time is over, learn to stop thinking about it.
Action: Turn off mobiles, laptops and email when you leave the office each day.
7. Watch out for “false success”
It’s all too easy to confuse success with constant adrenaline, endless activity, all work, no rest and no play – and for that, you can pay a high price. The habit of busy-ness eclipses real business. It gives rise to the “start early, finish late” work ethic that confuses constant effort with real effectiveness. Avoid keeping busy out of a sense of habit, duty or guilt.
Action: Find three things to delegate – and delegate them before the end of the day.
8. Managing urgency
When everything seems so urgent that it’s impossible to prioritise, take a moment to stand back. An urgent task is something that requires immediate attention, whereas something important has to do with the big picture – and what matters most. Have the courage to put what’s important first. Action: Make five minutes before the end of the day to prioritise your tasks according to their importance, not their urgency.
9. Give up struggling
People who battle with stress and work overload often believe that struggle is an inevitable price for success and happiness. It isn’t. They invite struggle, because they refuse to ask for help, make a change, or try to feel relaxed. Whenever you are struggling, ask yourself how you could do things more easily. Use your imagination to find a better way. Action: Get a role model – find someone who has mastered ease – and ask them how they’ve done it.
10. Bring back the fun
Today, you need to be more dynamic, creative and innovative than ever. This is difficult if you haven’t got the capacity for enjoyment. One of the main causes of poor team spirit is everyone waiting for the team spirit to improve. Take the initiative. Be the “cultural architect” that enables fun to flourish.
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