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This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

Toxic people are all around us, sucking our energy, the way a vampire sucks blood from his victims. At least, this is the general, dramatized  picture of toxic people, but who are they, for real? They don’t come with a label, so you must first learn to recognize them and then do your best to deal with them, like most successful people do.

Toxic people have a high destructive potential, thus they can make a difference between you living a successful life and failing in all departments. This is why it is so important to know how to protect yourself from them.

Avoid people who try to take control over everything, the eternal-victim type, the arrogant type, the self-appointed judge, the gossip, and all the people who rely on lies and negativity to gain what they want.

How do these people affect you? They stress you out! Stress can bring an incredible amount of chaos in your life and you may end up failing on your job. Recent studies conducted at Stanford and Berkeley Center have confirmed that stress can deplete neurons, leading to brain damage and lower cognitive performance.

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Buddha put it simpler: “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your body.”

How can you stay away from toxic people? Here are some of the methods used by highly successful people—embrace them, adapt them to your own lifestyle, and make the most out of your life!

Victims and complainers? Set their limits!

One of the most common types of toxic person is the complainer: they tend to portray themselves as victims and try to find people to listen and join their self-pity parties. The best way to deal with these toxic people is to define limits for them—don’t be rude and just push them away from you. Instead, let them explain their problem and then ask them how they plan to solve it. This will stop the complaints and can actually help that person, so you will be in a win-win situation, like you should be, if you want to be a successful person.

Control your emotions

The secret of all toxic people is that they tend to overwhelm you and make you respond to them on an emotional level, which is the point at which you become part of the negative mix. To deal with this, you must detach yourself and think about who you are and what your goals are. This will put you back on track and help distance you from their storm.

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Stay aware of your own emotions and allow yourself some time to rethink the situation. Remember you only need to respond to facts from toxic people, not to their emotional roller coaster.

Pick your fights wisely

When you are dealing with a warrior type of toxic person, you must know when to fight back and when to call it a day. Many negative people can be really violent, with the sole purpose of making you react in an impulsive manner— and impulsiveness often means poor judgement. Don’t try to beat them at their own game. There is a harsh phrase for these people: “Never argue with stupid people; they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”. Just replace “stupid” with “toxic” and you have a new motivational to pin on your board.

One tip on this point is to limit your caffeine intake, because it stimulates the release of adrenaline, which makes you more prone to fight an angry co-worker or so-called friend. Instead of coffee, drink more smoothies and green tea, which are known to boost your energy and refuel your vitamin and mineral intake, as well as raising your intake of antioxidants.

Be consistent

In order to impose limits and be able to pick your battles, you must be consistent in your behaviour. Never, ever step out of your armor, because you will be hit by toxic people. If you’ve made up your mind to avoid a certain person, do so, all the way. One single leak can turn into a river and you will be instantly drowning into the waves.

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Forgive but don’t forget

Successful people know how to protect themselves. Don’t be afraid to be egocentric, and don’t let other people’s mistakes bother you or steal your productive time—give a person a chance, then move on when they fail on you. If you invest time into giving a toxic person a second chance, you are bound to take a couple of steps backward in your own self-development.

And when you feel guilty about this, remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right; for you’ll be criticized anyway”.

Focus only on the positive side

Focusing your attention upon your problems or on someone else’s problems is a sure way to get stuck. What you should be doing is focusing on solutions: this relieves stress and makes room for the so-called constructive stress, which is the urge to solve the problem. This will put your blood in motion and help your mind focus on positive emotions. In terms of toxic people, this can be translated as focusing on how to deal with them, not on how dysfunctional they are. Again, this is a win-win situation.

Minimize the impact of toxic people

After an encounter with a toxic person it is normal to feel bad about yourself, to a certain extent. But, you need to minimize this impact and the amount of time you spend thinking about toxic people and their problems. Negative self-talk is not only useless, but can drive one mad and is a strong barrier against productivity. The only thing you will manage to do when you lose yourself in self-talk is to focus on all the negative thoughts and bring a bad karma all around you, which is basically bad energy. This promotes depressive states and procrastination, among other things.

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Get support

Humans were built to live in communities and support one another, especially during hard times. Dealing with toxic people is difficult, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. A fresh point of view can help you solve the problem, relieve you of the person who is bothering you, and make you feel better about yourself.

Make constructive associations

You can’t pick your family, but you can and should make wise picks when it comes to your friends, co-workers, and mentors. Detach yourself from people who are disrespectful to you and your work, and seek the company of inspiring, creative, and supportive people who can teach you new things and help you boost your performance. Remember the Latin phrase “festina lente”—hurry up slowly—and invest your time in own self-development, making every second count.

Singer Adele can give you a strong example of how to do it: “I have insecurities, of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”

Enjoy life and be happy!

Last, but not least, don’t let toxic people steal your joy. When you are proud of yourself for something you’ve done right, don’t let an arrogant person steal your happiness—block all the negative remarks and take your time to enjoy your moment of glory. However, don’t dive too deep, because you risk developing a toxic personality yourself. If needed—in other words, if you feel like doing it—take other people’s remarks and find the positive, constructive ideas in them, so you can learn from them, even if they are not the best teachers one can have.

And remember, the only person who really knows you is yourself, and only you can work on your faults in order to achieve personal and professional success.

Featured photo credit: toxic via flickr.com

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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