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How to Find a Better Rhythm at Work

How to Find a Better Rhythm at Work


    A month ago, I wrote about how you can take a relaxing vacation. But as the calendar shifts from August to September, vacation season is coming to an end for most of us. Fortunately, going back to work doesn’t have to mean going back to the same old grind. Here are some tips for finding a new, better rhythm when you head back to work.

    Set Better Goals

    In my experience, many people set their work-related goals the wrong way. They ask themselves, “what am I best at?” and “what do I like doing?” While the answers to these questions certainly matter, they’re only part of the story. You should think beyond the “supply side”—what you want to do and what you are best at doing. You must also consider the “demand side”—what the world, your organization, or your unit needs most from you.

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    For instance, in my career as an executive at several mutual fund companies, many brilliant analysts came to me with their plans to start new, exotic mutual funds. While their ideas were always fascinating, I usually directed these analysts to focus on maintaining the performance of our existing mutual funds—our company’s highest priority.

    Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with creativity. Indeed, some organizations need their employees to take risks and be creative, even if that is outside their comfort zone. The point is simple: your organization’s particular needs—whatever they are—should heavily influence the goals that you set.

    Manage Up

    At all levels of your organization, your boss will be under pressure from above—maybe, to cut costs, or perhaps to expand globally. When considering how you can be most useful to your organization, you should keep your boss’s own pressures in mind. In general, if your boss gives special weight to a particular goal, you should too.

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    (Of course, if you work for a “bad boss,” you probably won’t want to go along with him or her: here are some tips for dealing with this situation.)

    More generally, you should consider “managing up” to be a critical goal in its own right. You’re unlikely to be very productive (or very happy!) if you don’t have a mutually beneficial relationship with your boss.

    So make an effort to do your work in a way that’s compatible with your boss’s personality and habits. As a simple example, you can match your boss’s communication style: if he or she tends to communicate through email, that probably reflects his or her preferred method of incoming communication as well. In a broader manner, use your interpersonal skills to learn to anticipate what your boss wants.

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    Establish a Solid Routine

    Put bluntly, professionals can’t be at their best if they regularly sleep less than 7-8 hours each night. They might be able to spend more time at the office by burning the midnight oil, but in my experience, they’re often too tired to actually get much done.

    Likewise, professionals might skip their regular workout in order to stay in the office a little longer. However, a short workout session is a good investment of time: it will leave you feeling happier and more energized for the rest of the day.

    So, for your health and your productivity, you should commit to a daily routine that allows you to sleep eight hours and exercise nearly every day. Schedule your workouts around the same time every day, and try to sleep during a particular eight-hour window (for example, from 10:30pm to 6:30am each night). Over time, this schedule will help your body and mind get “ready” for each activity.

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    After a fun vacation, going back to work can be a drag. But by setting better goals, managing your boss, and fitting sleep and exercise into your daily routine, you can establish a better, more pleasant rhythm—both at home and at work.

    (Photo credit: Drumstick on Cymbal via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

    The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

    “Good morning Sir. It’s 7 a.m. The weather is going to be cool today with chances of light showers.” From this wake-up call to working, cooking, drinking your cup of caffeine-elixir, and working out, do any of these activities involve you without your cell phone?

    A mere device of convenience has smoothly transformed to become a major intrusion. With cell phone distraction at bay, the increased dependence on screens has been an alarming phase for your life, maybe more than you care to admit. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we even stated that this has become a complete addiction.

    Considering this addiction, we will be treading with caution. Our approach to its solution will be aligned with the 5 stages of addiction treatment.

    Let’s get started with this support group therapy, shall we?

    Stage 1. Pre-Contemplation

    This is all about denial—a denial that you can’t move your screen away from your eyes, denial that you may have Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia. We completely understand that. But with this stage, it is all about making you realize how strong the addiction is (maybe stronger than Biohazard’s 928mg of caffeine)!

    While you might have already internalized the damage, here’s offering some help with your addiction. We would be providing you a holistic idea about the consistent pandemic called mobile distractions and guide you around with hacks to tackle the addiction.

    That said, it’s time to dive into the details!

    Stage 2: Contemplation – A Peek at Cell Phone Distraction

    Look around you. Apart from the N-95 masks and frenzied use of sanitizers, what do you see in common? “Expressions projected at the screen held in front of the eyes.”

    It will probably be safe to say that smartphones have become quite the companion, so much that the real companion is often ignored for the virtual ones. You must have come across many memes based on this topic.

    Additionally, the terrifying statistics on your cell phone addiction are not going exactly subtle on the massacre that this distraction has become.

    Here’s to give you some perspective with the numbers:

    • Average mobile phone users click, tap, and swipe their mobile phones 2,617 times a day.[1]
    • Worldwide phone users have crossed the threshold of 3 billion and are predicted to have exponential growth of several hundred million in the coming years.[2]
    • 61.20% of the globe’s population own smartphones as of September 2020.[3]

    While the latter two statistics prove the rising reliance on phones, the first number is indicative of the twiddling-thumb syndrome following the addiction.

    Considering your widened eyes over the numbers, we can safely assume that you have moved on to stage 2: contemplation. This stage will let you see the change that you need to undergo to ensure a screen-free healthier lifestyle.

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    While we acknowledge the crucial role that screens play for some activities, we believe you can easily do away with some of these engagements, reducing the time consumed to a bare minimum.

    Think of the physiological, psychological, and sociological impact. With so much at stake and the distraction breaching all ages, it is time to start on with some hacks to break up this cell phone distraction.

    Stage 3 & Stage 4: How to Break Up the Distraction

    Let’s not get obvious here. We won’t tell you about the:

    • reduced attention span,
    • potential loneliness,
    • mitigating eye-health, etc.

    That’s something that parents all over the globe have been putting out on banners. As a result, these facts are much likely to be considered ‘preaching.’

    We, on the other hand, have a greater concern—your cell phones, most likely, are gnawing away your me-time and hence, your creative potentials. That is something that should never be compromised. Thus, it’s time you follow up on the hacks from the pros that have been proven to be effective across all ages.

    Here let me fire away the life-altering, screen-shattering hacks that pose as Stage 3 Preparation and Stage 4 Action to cure your addiction:

    1. Lean on an App to Track Your Daily Usage of Cell Phones

    It would be safe to say that you have some tiny “time thieves” lurking in your mobile phones, crunching and munching away your precious hours. For the hacks, we start with the most convenient one—installing phone usage tracker apps.

    Here is a list of the best ones for both the Android and the iOS platforms in 2020.

    • QualityTime – My Digital Diet
    • YourHour – Phone Addiction Tracker and Controller
    • Stay Focused – App Block (Control Phone Addiction)
    • Social Fever App Usage Tracker
    • PhoneUsage Tracker

    With either of these apps playing the ‘personal trainer’ or referee, your hours spent on social media platforms and your phone, as a whole, are tracked down. While you check the hours for the first time, beware: the numbers may not be for the weak hearts!

    2. Re-Subscribe to Your Hobbies

    The price that you pay for your cell phone distraction is your growing distance from your hobbies. While you kill time with your screen-related engagements, you lose the roots of your hobbies.

    So, make sure to do the following steps:

    1. List down your hobbies.
    2. Put it up on your headboard or sticky notes.
    3. Start slow on your hobbies.
    4. Set realistic goals, dividing the time spent on your phones and your hobby.

    Once you rekindle your old, highschool-sweetheart of love, the attachment with the screen will eventually wither away.

    3. Take a Vow of Silence From Social Media Platforms

    When was the last time you ate without taking a click or went out with your friends without hashtagging the pic on Instagram? How often do you giggle while scrolling down Facebook feeds or go ‘aww’ at the cute kitty and doggo videos?

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    We are guessing, a lot!

    The numbers confirm our opinion. As per the World Economic Forum, Millennials spent approximately 2 hours 38 minutes and Gen Z 2 hours 55 minutes daily on social media platforms.[4]

    Additionally, if you thought Covid-19 changed Ecommerce only, you are mistaken.[5] The recent pandemic state and its lockdown and social distancing have unfortunately brought you closer to your screens.

    The landscape looks something like this:

      So, here is the most challenging hack of all—go nuclear on your social media apps. Before you go AWOL on us after listening to this, hear us out!

      The potential impact of social media platforms goes even beyond the mere time spent on it. You tend to take more interest in others’ lives, ending up comparing that with yours. And this, our ‘friends, Romans, and countrymen,’ has innumerable adversities.

      Remember, even if you delete the apps, you still have your accounts there. Also, if deleting it seems too much of an anxiety trigger, follow up with the time spent (using the apps on Hack 101) and put a realistic cap to it.

      4. Get Your Silent/Do Not Disturb Mode Working Occasionally

      For this hack, acknowledge first the fact that introspection or “me” time is incomparable. The diverse ringtones and tunes emerging from your cell phone are baits that will draw out hours from your life.

      While putting your phone on silent during meals or work meetings is a matter of manners, doing the same at other times means you are just prioritizing yourself. This will help you go back to your old habits and stay away from technological labyrinths.

      5. Set a Realistic To-Do List for the Day Sans Any Screen-Involvement

      How often do we treat ourselves for a great performance at work? Maybe a pizza or a bowl of ice cream? Why don’t you do the same for your cell phone distraction?

      What you need to do is:

      1. Sit down with a daily bucket list before sleeping off at night.
      2. Make sure that the list of activities involves minimum screen time.
      3. Accomplish the listed jobs and then reward yourself with some social media scrolling.

      So, do we have a deal? Get started, ASAP!

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      6. Where Have Your Books/Magazines Gone?

      Ask around, and your last generation will tell you the attraction of the tangible books—the tranquility involved in flipping the pages while your palm hugs a cup of your warm caffeine.

      With Kindles, Ipads, and tablets, that charm is long lost. However, for those looking and determined to dig away from this distraction, we suggest you try this reconnection. Reading, not on screens, but with the physical and tangible books will help you feel grounded and rekindle yet another hobby that will be responsible for your personal growth.

      So, dust the cobwebs off your bookshelf, and get your mind its treat of imagination!

      7. Go Serial Killer on Your Notifications

      Don’t get us wrong! We are not asking you to go all ‘Ted Bundy’ on your notifications but also, can you do that, please? Hear us out before freaking out completely.

      All of your sneaky apps frequently give out tiny beckonings via notifications, reminding you of their existence.

      While being notified is appreciated occasionally, it can surmount to considerable distraction if the phone goes off every 5 minutes.

      The best way out? Turn off notifications, even if for a couple of hours. You will then have the power not to be distracted from your contemporary activity and enjoy scanning through notifications at your preferred time.

      8. Get the Screen Glares Away an Hour Before Sleep

      What’s the best excuse that you put on for keeping your cell phone on your nightstand?

      Let me guess. Alarm?

      Quit the excuse queue, your alarm clock can serve the purpose well! Additionally, you won’t have the ‘convenient access’ to your screen right before you sleep.

      Seems harsh? Follow through and you will experience a sudden and considerable improvement in your daily schedule. Without your phone in an arm’s reach from your bed, you also won’t start your day by scrolling social media feeds.

      9. Go for a Black and White Mode

      OLED or Organic Light-Emitting Diode is the latest call of the display technology in cell phones. With promises of better black themes and incredible pixel-views, the color contrast in this display is too attractive.

      However, it is this color-coding that fetches and attaches you for a longer time on your cell phones. For those seeking to get rid of your cell phone distraction, your best way forward is by opting for grayscale. This makes the screen much less desirable to look at.

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      As of recent, multiple phones come with ‘bedtime mode’ that switches off the phone to grayscale mode. With the color drained from your phone, the social media platforms become immediately unattractive. In case you are seeking a reference, think of the memory Dump ground in Pixar’s Inside Out.

      10. Be Ready for the Withdrawal Symptoms

      Much like any addiction, acting on the cell phone distraction also brings in withdrawal symptoms (read up Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia). While planning to leave your phone at home might seem a brave move, agitations, distractions, stressing out, and getting upset are surefire consequences.

      Considering that cell phones have become the representative for connectivity, staying away from them is a huge stress. Researchers have also gone their distance to say that compulsive cell phone behavior is a resultant of the Pavlovian conditioning system.

      The tune of cell phone notifications somehow sends a signal that some great news is on its way, and you are compelled to check your phone, considering that the notification meets up to your expectation leading to a release of dopamine into your system. With that dopamine release around, your anxiety is sure to kick in. So, prepare yourself for that!

      11. Pro Hack: Embrace Your Smart Speakers

      Do you know that grey pretty piece of technology greeting you with the weather update? Your Alexa/ Siri/Cortana/Google at play via smart speakers? They can be quite the acquaintance when you are trying to get rid of your cell phone distraction.

      Considering that you need the support of your phones to carry out daily activities, you can always rely on screen-less technology. This will help keep the smartphone away from your hands for a prolonged period.

      The Final Stage

      Nearing the end of your addiction recovery, the last stage matters the most.

      This 5th and final stage is all about maintenance or recovery. Don’t let your cellular bridles go loose thinking that you are over your cell phone distraction.

      You can always rely on the ‘hair band technique’ to keep the scrolling thumbs away. Maybe, you will be reminded that those opposable thumbs of yours can do much better—the guides of which you can find in the diverse blogs posted on the site or our social media sites.

      What say, you game?

      More Tips to Avoid Cell Phone Distraction

      Featured photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash.com

      Reference

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