Have you returned to the office after the holidays and the reality of your work situation has slammed into you? You are sitting there at your desk, same view, same people and same problems to solve. Suddenly all your holiday relaxation and goodwill has fizzled.
OK, I’m going to speak calmly and slowly so as not to panic you….if you don’t change anything this will be your return to work feeling forever more! Your return to work can feel different. You can make the changes that will have a positive impact, honestly, it can be done.
Step 1: Get organized – I LOVE lists as you should too. List out everything that you want to get done – not just the needs but the full wish list. Don’t just put work tasks on the list add ones for your home life too since they also play in your mind during work hours. Just getting them to paper will stop them from percolating in the background and being a distraction.
Step 2: Prioritize – Do you really need to have everything in the office supply room alphabetized? Are you really going to change your moody colleague into a gentleman? Do you need to make a 3 course meal every night? You don’t need to do any of these things. Cull the list of the things that are really just “nice to do”. The act of acknowledging these tasks, giving them some thought and then dismissing them will help take them off your mind.
Step 3: Highlight the actions you can do yourself – start with these and just push your way through them. It feels great because the course of progress is within your own hands.
Step 4: Highlight the ones you need help with – this is a big step for so many people. Why pretend you are a superhero and can manage everything yourself? You can’t accomplish or fix everything by yourself so it is best to deal with that reality and get over it. Once you have highlighted the areas that require assistance set out to find the people or person you need. Only then will these actions start coming off your to-do list.
Step 5: Check your list at the start of each day – sounds basic but it keeps your mind focused and, if you are ticking things off, you can also allow yourself to feel energized and positive for the day ahead.
Step 6: Change your view – you may not be able to change much but everyone can replace old and tired art work. Update the pictures of your family, replace curled toddler artwork with new treasures. Find images that inspire you or invoke a positive feelings, it really can make a difference. Maybe you can position your desk to get more natural light or not be facing a distracting hallway. A fresh environment will only help.
Step 7: Get to know a broader circle of colleagues – engage colleagues that you have never really spoken with. Ask people questions about their lives and really get to know them. It is surprising how good it can feel to make someone else feel special. It also lays the foundation for a happier office culture which benefits everyone – including you.
Step 8: Be kind to yourself – why are we always so mean and hard on ourselves? If a friend spoke to you like you speak to yourself they would be off your facebook friend list in an instant. Accept and believe that you positive attributes. You don’t need to be perfect all the time so, when you make a mistake, accept it and move on. Indulging in negative thinking is self-defeating and accomplishes nothing.
Step 9: Find 3 words to live 2014 by – mine are Self-Belief * Focus * Determination. These are words that inspire my actions every day. Find your 3 words and place them in sight at work and home as a constant reminder to stick with them and the feelings they inspire in you.
Step 10: Get serious – if things are really that bad then a big change may be needed. Nobody should commit themselves to years of unhappiness in a role they hate just to keep that large pay cheque or get that pension. Honestly, money is not worth the cost to you as a person and the downstream impact on your family and friends. Get serious about being happy in your work. Are you overwhelmed or unsure of what to do next? Tackle the problems head on and get the help you need because waiting will only make it worse. We spend a massive percentage of our lives at work, don’t spend them unhappy.