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9 Things No One Told You About Difficult Times

9 Things No One Told You About Difficult Times

Who likes difficult times? I know I don’t. I don’t think you do either. But guess what? I am in love with difficult times. Obviously when they happen, they make you feel totally alone, worthless and even stupid. But after they have gone, and I reflect on the things that I’ve learned rather than the bad times, I feel I have gained a gold mine because these times reveal who I am, and they teach me many important life lessons. It’s how you react to those situations that shows your true identity.

Here’s what happens when you go through difficult times.

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1. You learn new things.

When you go through difficult times (those times that you hate), you are under pressure, worry, anxiety or all of the above. You learn how to manage them, you learn how to work under pressure, you learn how other people behave, you learn if you are the one who always gets help from people or the one from whom people run away, you learn to stretch your limits and know that you are capable of doing more than you think.

2. You learn to be proactive.

There comes a time when you have to take action even if you don’t want to. That’s why they’re called difficult times. And the more action you take, the more results you get. When you become proactive, you gain the advantage over others as 80% of people hate being proactive. It’s the remaining 20% — the proactive people — that bring the results.

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3. You really learn what responsibility means.

Being personally responsible for everything we do is a trait very few people have and if you want to get an extra advantage, grab this opportunity. When you are going through difficult times, accept your responsibility and start doing work. Don’t grudge over past mistakes or waste time complaining. Responsibility is accepting the task you were supposed to do and doing it without any complaints. When you make it a habit, things will begin to change and you’ll begin to see results quickly.

4. You become master at difficult things.

The person who is proactive and is willing to accept responsibilities will not be afraid of doing difficult things. He knows he’s learning so much and the only way to be great at something is to do difficult things first.

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5. You get support of other helpful people.

When people see you working hard, they genuinely want to help you as they know that you are a kind of person who will always help them. And also because they know that by helping you, they’ll be helping many people in the process through who you are connected.

People want to make some impact and when they see someone making it, they naturally feel inclined to help them.

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6. You earn the trust of your subordinates.

People are tired of office politics and mean co-workers. When you stop complaining and take personal responsibility for your task, your behavior is rare and you gain the trust of your subordinates. Everyone wants to be around the person who is genuine and helpful.

7. Your self-confidence increases in an amazing way.

Slowly, as things begin to change around you as a result of your behavior and you begin to see positive results, you become confident in your work.

8. Things don’t seem hard to you now.

We don’t need more skills, we only need more confidence. When you have the confidence in you to do the difficult things with the required support, things that seem hard to others are part of the routine for you as all the hard work and efforts have finally paid off.

9. You become fearless.

The only way to overcome fear is to take action. And you are by now fearless because you took action, you took responsibility and when the right people supported you, your confidence grew.

More by this author

Dhaval Gajera

Author and Speaker.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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