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How to Stay Positive in the Workplace

How to Stay Positive in the Workplace
Cube Dweller
    Happy Cube Dweller

    Last week I wrote an article entitled “How to do a Simple Productivity Audit”. One reader who called herself “Cube Dweller” pointed out that she has little control over what she does and how she does it. As a result the tips I had advised were of no use to her or to the millions like her. So I started to think, what if you have no control over your day or the way you organize it?

    Micro Managers changing your focus every time they walk your way. Supervisors changing the rules of the game just when you got used to the previous ones. All of this can be frustrating to say the very least, so if you have no control over your job and how it is organized, is there anything that you do have control over?

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    Attitude

    The answer is something that is truly yours to own; your attitude. How you chose to react to your circumstances is within your own control, and no manager or supervisor can say otherwise. Nelson Mandela chose to react with dignity when he was released from Robben Island after 27 years of incarceration. He could have reacted with anger, but he chose compassion and forgiveness.

    When you are dumped upon, or your movements controlled or restricted, you can chose to react with frustration and anger or to react with joy, gratitude and positivity. Far-fetched you may think but isn’t being happy what we all want?

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    Happiness

    Wayne Dyer says it well when he says “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” We all share the same goal in life, and that’s not to win the lottery. It’s to be happy. If we look closely at all the goals we have, if it be run a marathon, write a book, or get a promotion, we believe that the experience that we will gain from achieving these things will take us closer to a happy place. So rather than struggle every day to achieve happiness, can we not just be happy now?

    Gratitude

    Again my cube dweller may tell me he or she has nothing to be grateful for when it comes to the workplace, other than the fact that they have a job, but stepping outside the workplace and looking at your life holistically. What are the things you are grateful for? Your family, friends, health, wealth, nationality, intelligence? Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. It is difficult to feel sorry for yourself when you are feeling gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful tool which can help you through difficult times.

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    Acts of Kindness

    When you do nice things for others not only does it contribute to a sense of well-being and satisfaction, it also means that the good will come back around to you. As it says in the bible, “What you sow so shall you reap.”

    Strengths

    Are you using your personal strengths? According to Martin Seligman the father of Positive Psychology, if you know your strengths and are using them for the greater good, you are much more likely to have a happy meaningful life. If you are working in a job that uses your strengths you are lucky, some people have to work difficult or boring jobs to feed their families, but hopefully these people use their strengths in different ways outside of the workplace. Ideally if you can use your strengths in the workplace it would make for a larger portion of your life where you feel you are making a difference. It may be something you want to consider, up-skilling or working towards having a job in the future that uses your talents and skills and makes you feel like your days are spent contributing to the bigger picture. If you can do this you will more likely be a happier soul.

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    So can there be positivity in the workplace? If you try to focus on what’s good in your life as opposed to what is bad, that will be a good place to start. Remember you are in control of your life and your thoughts; it is up to you how you choose to react.

    If you have any other tips for bringing positivity into your life and your workplace I would love to hear them.

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

    There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

    The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

    For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

    2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

    The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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    3. Still No Action

    More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

    4. Flicker of Hope Left

    You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

    5. Fading Quickly

    Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

    6. Vow to Yourself

    Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

    Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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    How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

    Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

    To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

    2. Plan

    Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

    3. Resistance

    Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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    What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

    4. Confront Those Feelings

    Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

    Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

    5. Put Results Before Comfort

    You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

    6. Repeat

    Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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    Final Thoughts

    Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

    If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

    Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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