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Doesn’t Feel Like Work: 15 Signs You Are Doing What You Love

Doesn’t Feel Like Work: 15 Signs You Are Doing What You Love
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Doing what you love looks and feels an awful lot like, well, being in love!

1. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

You’re working on your project, and you think of a solution to a particular client’s problem, so you jot it down. And then you stumble across a really cool article that you just have to share with your social network. And then you get a call from a client who needs a quick consult. And then you think, “Oh, I should call this person and wish them a happy birthday.” While you’re talking to them, you think of other people that your work would help and ways to tell them about it, and you jot those down. And oh, yeah, your stomach is growling, you really should eat. And now, oops, time to pick the kids up from school already, and you totally forgot to walk the poor dog or update your website!

Why, oh why, aren’t there about five of you?

2. You bound out of bed, full of energy and eager to get the day started.

You rush through the “have tos”—exercising, eating, brushing your teeth, all of the other bodily maintenance stuff we all gotta do—so that you can dive in.

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3. You can’t wait to finish what you’re doing so you can start the next project.

While working on your current project, your creativity is in overdrive, coming up with new schemes and products—each one so much more exciting than the last!—that you have to force yourself to finish what you’re working on before starting the next one.

4. You are an idea-generating machine.

You wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, your head spinning with new ideas. You begin keeping a notebook or a voice memo recorder next to your bed, because you know you won’t be able to get to sleep again until you write these ideas down.

5. When you’re working, time flies.

You start working at 9 a.m., and when you look at your watch again, it’s after 2! (Oh, crap, missed that lunch date with the girlfriend, and she’s gonna be pissed).

6. You work like your hair is on fire.

You’ve been eating nothing but rice for the last five days because you can’t be bothered to go to the grocery store, and you find yourself turning your underwear inside-out and wearing them again because doing laundry means you would have to take a break from working, and who has the time?

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7. You have to resist the urge to tell everybody in the world what you’re doing.

When people ask you, “How are you doing?”, you have to bite your tongue to keep from talking their ear off about your latest project, even though, deep down, you really don’t care what they think. But you want to keep a FEW friends!

8. Your income starts increasing.

You started out doing this for free, or for a few dollars an hour, but before you knew it, you started getting calls from clients who wanted to pay you $50, $100, $500, $1000 a project—and you weren’t even looking!

9. Your health gets better.

Those stubborn pounds you’ve been trying to lose for the last 20 years just start melting off without your doing anything different. Your energy is through the roof—but wait, did you even drink any coffee this morning? Your psoriasis or acne clears up, and you can’t remember the last time you had a migraine. You go to the doctor, and he takes you off of your blood pressure medication and antidepressants because you no longer need them.

10. Good things start happening to you.

Suddenly, clients start lining up outside your door, or you get a big promotion or pay raise at work. Attractive, eligible men or women start showing up in your experience, or your partner starts wanting more sex. Your car, which is usually fussy about starting in the morning, mysteriously starts firing right up.

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11. New, positive people start showing up in your life.

The person sitting at the next table next to yours in the cafe spontaneously starts talking to you, and pretty soon you’re chatting as though you had known each other your whole life. Or someone you haven’t heard from in years gives you a call out of the blue, and to your delight, they are even more awesome than you remember them!

12. Suddenly, everywhere you look, you see more and more things related to what you love.

You’re cruising down the highway, and suddenly you notice billboards advertising products or services like yours, and you appreciate their clever marketing tactics. Or everybody starts posting videos and pictures about your favorite topic on Facebook. Or you see something that you need for your business marked down 50%.

13. People start treating you like an expert.

You’re going about your day, dum-de-dum, and suddenly someone emerges from the woodwork and tells you about a problem that they have that you can solve. The thing is, you’ve never seen this person before in your life!

Creepy? Nah. Meet your next client!

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14. You wish everybody could feel like this.

You want to shake everyone and say, “Look! Look! Look at how cool everything is! You can do this, too! Why are you choosing to stay so miserable?”

15. At the end of the day, you fall into bed, exhausted and deeply satisfied.

As you lie in bed, you review your day and remember the things that made your client happy, the smile you put on someone’s face, or the kick-ass article you wrote, and know that you have done the best job you ever have in your whole life. And tomorrow, it’s gonna be even better.

How many of these things have YOU experienced?

Featured photo credit: Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing / Richard Foster via flickr.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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