face it: it's HARD to always be "on" when you're at work. No matter how
much you try, even the best-laid plans and schedules break down;
sometimes it seems like all the forces are against you. You can get
discouraged, weary, frustrated and unfocused. You can blame your boss,
your spouse, interruptions, computer crashes, too much work, too little
time...the list goes on and on.
When it comes right down to it, though, we each have to take
responsibility for our work environments. It's up to us to create pride
and excellence in our workplaces. We need to take responsibility for
our own productivity, morale, creativity, motivation and sense of humor
that we bring to our work.
You say "but stuff just happens that I have no control over." That's
true. "Stuff" will happen, so it's your job to come up with disaster
prevention and back-up plans. Interuptions and snafus don't need to
become setbacks. Lists and schedules make the world go round. Be sure
to prioritize, and take note of a few things that could be
realistically postponed, if need be. Speaking of realism...be realistic
in estimating how long it will take you to do the tasks at hand.
Computer maintenance can make a big difference in minimizing downtime.
Regular virus scans, firewalls, defragmentation, and file back-ups are
crucial to maintaining computer health and well-being.
There are a few well-known organizational tips worth repeating. My
personal favorite is not touching mail more than once. I sit down with
the mail at my desk, waste basket on one side, file cabinet at the
other, and sticky notes in front of me. If it's junk, toss. If you can
deal with it right now, do it, then toss it or add a sticky note with
the details and file it. You aren't going to deal with it right away?
Then sticky note and file it. Do NOT just add it to a pile on your
desk. Can you tell piles of papers are my personal Waterloo?
My other favorite is standing up when someone comes into my workplace.
It doesn't matter who it is or what's the reason. The message to myself
is: this is my workplace and I am here to work. If I'm not seated,
chances are my guest won't sit down either. It's a bit more polite than
just continuing to work without looking up...and if you do that,
chances are the guest will still sit down.
Here is where a back-up plan is important. Have it already in your head
what you will say if you are interrupted. "I'm busy at the moment, can
you come back in____ minutes...hours"...whatever works. "Would you like
to make an appointment?" "I'm taking a break at_____, would you like to
join me?" And so on.
This even works when I'm working at my computer at home and the cat
comes in. She loves to sit on my hands on the keyboard! or my lap, or
right in front of the monitor. I stand up (no lap) and I even make an
appointment with her (in my own mind of course!)...to play, feed her,
watch tv for a few minutes so she can sit on my lap; sometimes we play
Catch the Cursor for a couple minutes...something. She quickly leaves
or curls up somewhere else if I'm not sitting down.
You may be thinking that productivity and organization are a lot easier
to take responsibility for than motivation, morale, creativity and
humor. Maybe your boss is stubbornly refusing to give you a raise, no
matter how well you do your work. Maybe the job is "straight and
narrow" with no room for creativity, and humor is ok in small doses,
but not really appreciated. Maybe its your own work ethic nagging at
you to work, work, work, no time for play. Maybe its your spouse
nagging you with money worries, or feeling neglected.
You need to realize that in order for you to be a healthy, balanced,
satisfied, and fulfilled human being, you need these things in your
life. Rather than just going to your boss and complaining, you need to
creatively bring your own suggestions and solutions to the table. You
need your sense of humor to maintain a healthy perspective. The ability
to express yourself creatively is as important as the ability to
support yourself; so brainstorm with others, research, its up to you to
find the innovative solutions. You need the breaks: 5 minutes; 15
minutes every hour or two; weekends; or a REAL vacation, so take them.
And if your spouse misses you, take the vacation together.
If no matter how hard you try, you can't get a grip on your present
lifestyle, then its time for YOU to change it. Consider a new
workplace, or possibly being your own boss. Pride and excellence are up
to YOU. It's YOUR life.