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14 Things to Remember When Having a Bad Day. (And Any Other Time.)

14 Things to Remember When Having a Bad Day. (And Any Other Time.)

Sometimes everything just seems to work out fine. And sometimes, well, it doesn’t.

Here’s 14 powerful reminders to help you find your footing back when life throws you a curveball and things go different than expected.

1.  Some people will not like you and what you do.

And that’s fine. Their opinion is just that – their opinion. And not the absolute truth about you.

2.  You’ll fail.

And that’s fine too. It doesn’t mean you haven’t got what it takes. It just means it didn’t work out as expected. Know that you’ll thrive tomorrow thanks to the mistakes you’re willing to make today.

3.  Success is the action you took, not the result.

Value the effort and dedication you put in – especially when the results are less than what you hoped for. You did show up. You actually took action, and that deserves a pat on the back.

Don’t use any less than results to beat yourself up with. Those results as just feedback to inform your next step – no more, no less.

4.  A should is just a could in disguise.

Don’t should yourself into doing something.

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It’s not because it worked for them that it is right for you. It’s not because you always did something that you need to keep doing it. It’s not because they expect you to do something that you should comply.

Every should holds a choice – even though the should might present itself as a unshakable truth or a must comply with instruction for how to live your life.

Replace the should with a could – literally – and see how all of a sudden abundant possibility opens up.

5.  A halfhearted yes makes everyone lose out – you included.

You, them, the work you are doing – we all lose when you don’t engage 100%.

When you say yes to something, give it your all. And if it’s not a 100% yes, then make it a no.

You’ll be astounded by how much time you’ll free up to spend with people that truly nurture you.  You’ll be amazed by how much time you’ll free up to do things that truly light you up.

6.  A tiny change does make a big difference.

Do just a bit more of what makes your heart sing and soul soar each day. And just a little less of what drains you. You’ll be astounded by what a huge difference those small changes make.

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7.  Slow and steady is good – even when everyone else seems to be moving fast.

Slow and steady can move mountains. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you should take big steps and turn your life upside down overnight because someone else did.

Choose a pace that works for you and keep moving one tiny step at a time.

8.  Other people’s success is not a prescription for how to live your life, nor a measure of your worthiness.

Be inspired by other people who are living their dreams and know that their success doesn’t mean that you are a failure for not being where they are in life.

Use their approach to life as an inspiration to fuel your dreams. See them as an example of what’s possible, but stick to your own voice, your style, your personality, your pace.

Don’t copy them and how they do what they do – you’ll never be able to be as good as the original, nor should you.

9.  All is not as it seems.

Your outside doesn’t always reflect how you feel inside. Neither does their outside always reflect how they feel inside.

So don’t be fooled by appearances. Don’t sabotage yourself by thinking that they always got all the answers, oozing confidence 24/7.

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They search for answers too. They feel small, worried and insecure too. That’s how we all do it.

10.  Rest is not a luxury. Rest is a necessity.

So rest. Vigorously.

Rest is fuel for the soul. It’s not a waste of time, but a life-saver. Don’t save on it.

11.  Laughter truly lights up a bad day.

Yes, that sounds cheesy. But yes, it is the truth – genuine laughter and a dose of playfulness do light up a tense conversation, a gloomy mood, a rainy day.

So laugh. Be goofy. Be playful. A lot. And then some.

12.  You are your soulmate.

Shower yourself with love. Just because. Unapologetically. Unconditionally. And even when the going gets tough.

Love yourself when you’re happy and love yourself when you’re not. Because there’s not a moment when you don’t deserve your love.

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13.  You are a one-of-a-kind original.

Honor what makes you you – instead of hiding it.

Your ideas, your voice, your style, your way of doing things, your work, your dreams – they’re as worthy as anybody else’s.

They’re what make you irresistible to the people who truly get you. They’re what make you irresistible to yourself – fulfilled, joyful and free.

14.  Following your fascination brings you closer to who you truly are.

It might seem crazy, weird, stupid and out-of-character, but explore your fascination nonetheless.

Your fascination is a pointer to something you are longing for, something that you might need to bring into your life. It’s your soul talking to you. Make sure you listen.

 

What do you remind yourself of when having a bad day? What do you tell yourself to find your footing back?

Featured photo credit: myxabyxe via flickr 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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