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5 Things You Should Do Now If You Don’t Like Your Job

5 Things You Should Do Now If You Don’t Like Your Job

If you cannot stand going to the office anymore and loathe Monday mornings, then it is time to start thinking about what the alternatives are. Ideally, you want to be in a job which gives you satisfaction, minimum levels of stress and one in which you can develop your career. So, if you don’t like your job, read on to find out 5 things you should do now.

1. Think about what exactly is wrong.

This is the most important step in the whole process. It is recommended by Dr. Katharine Brooks in her book You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career.

Set aside a time when you are not in the workplace and when you are feeling fairly relaxed. Make a list of all the things that are driving you mad, holding you back and are causing you stress. Your list will probably include some or all of these points:

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  •  Relationship with the boss is difficult. List the reasons.
  • Certain colleagues are not collaborating, are unpleasant or are simply incompetent.
  • Job satisfaction is practically zero because your skills are underused or because you are overworked.
  • Working hours are inflexible.
  • You were passed over for a promotion.
  • You seem to be getting a lot of the boring tasks.

Assess when the rot set in. Try to pinpoint one event which really started the downward spiral.

2. Reflect on the pros.

In spite of all the negative points, there will be one or two advantages in your present job. Try to list these. You may have a reasonable salary and the work environment may be pleasant enough.

Leaving your present job could be a bad move because the next job may also be a mismatch for your skills or the new environment may be even more toxic. In addition, too many job moves are not going to look good on your resume. It is calculated that the average employee will have 5 job switches before retirement, although this number is increasing all the time and could even reach 25 in the future!

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3. Talk to HR or your manager.

Before deciding to leave or making any rash decisions, try to talk to your line manager and tell them why you are unhappy with your present job and responsibilities. Your conversation might cover:

  • Working hours. Any chance of flexible hours or working from home?
  • Reallocation of duties. You may feel that you are overloaded.
  • Recognition of the work you have done on a project. You may feel that you have not been rewarded sufficiently.
  • Talents/skills are underused and you do not feel sufficiently challenged. Mention a project you would like to be involved in. Ask for more responsibility which may be a better match for your skills.

4. Look for ways to improve your present job.

If there is no willingness on the part of management to meet you halfway, you can still try to improve your own work environment. You can also start to think of acquiring new skills and getting involved in projects which you have dismissed up until now.

  • Seek out new mentors or colleagues who can be allies.
  • Express an interest in a new project and say you are willing and able.
  • Avoid toxic colleagues as much as possible.
  • Try to beat a deadline and finish before time. This can earn you praise and appreciation from colleagues and management.
  • Offer to help a colleague you like with a difficult task.
  • Break the dreaded routine by doing something pleasant both before and after you finish work. In this way your working hours are preceded and followed by activities that you can really look forward to.

If work stress is affecting your family/personal relationships, get professional help.

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“There are countless studies on the negative spillover of job pressures on family life, but few on how job satisfaction enhances the quality of family life.” –Albert Bandura

5. Time to move on?

If all the above measures fail to improve your situation and you still find the job unbearable, it may be time to start a job search and try to move on. Look for jobs which suit your talents better. If you feel that you are lacking in any skills, aim to train up. You will need them on your resume.

Think of this as a long term project and that every day is moving you closer to escaping from the present inferno.

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Make sure you know that you are a strong candidate for that dream job. Have you all the qualifications and experience? Are your people skills suitable? If you are in any doubt, try the quiz here.

Finally, make no rash decisions which could affect your stress levels, family finances or overall mental health. Take things one step at a time.

How have you managed to stay in a job you hated? Did you succeed in escaping and finding a better job? Let us know in the comments below. 

Featured photo credit: Peter Owen happy at work/ Jacob Botter via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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