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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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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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