Posts tagged: On the job

5 steps to bounce back from a bad day


A bad day starts when you spill coffee everywhere on your way to work. Then you space out about the important tasks you had to get done. The icing on the cake? Your boss cancels a presentation you spent all yesterday preparing for. Bottom line: Today sucked.

Even if you love your job, an occasional bad day is par for the course. It can be hard to shake grouchiness when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, are annoyed by at work, or distracted by world events or relationship drama.

The secret to recovering from a bad day is learning how to move forward despite it. How you respond can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a full-blown funk.

Here are 5 steps to help get you back on track so you can come back stronger tomorrow:

The only constant is change.

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How “not to-do” lists saved my life


I used to be a chronic maker of to-do lists. My lists lived on little scraps of paper, the back on envelopes, and Post-It notes. I would buy planners and fill them up with timely tasks and then never follow through.

Needless to say, when I didn’t always get around to taking care of business, I’d be disappointed in myself. Leftover tasks would pile up like dishes in the sink… which was especially problematic if “do the dishes” was on a to-do list.

Worse yet, I would swear off to-do lists entirely, only to return to them again and
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What toddlers can teach us about working with picky people


On the fourteenth round of edits, I sat befuddled when she asked if we could return to the original edit of her document. As a freelance writer, I tend to encounter a perfectionist every once in a while.

But there are perfectionists and there are picky people. This client, she was the latter.

 

The difference between perfectionists and picky people

Perfectionists have a standard, are usually decisive, and often can express to you exactly what they want. Once you have an understanding of that person’s needs, you simply just deliver their vision of perfection as best you can. But picky people don’t really know what they want. Therefore, they can take you on a long, frustrating, journey of guesswork until they do.

At about the four-month mark for a project that should have taken one month, I decided to switch tactics and hopefully put the project to bed. The constant return of minuscule requests
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5 ways to catch burnout before it catches you


Long before it became a common part of the workplace lexicon (or modern life, for that matter!), the term “burnout” was most associated with physics.

Here’s how Oxford defines it: “The reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.”

Of course, it’s more common now to hear burnout used alongside words like fatigue, exhaustion, or collapse. But the original definition might be the best one — we can all relate to the image of our personal energy literally being reduced to nothing through overexertion and constant burning.

Burnout is everywhere

You don’t have to be in a stressful office environment to suffer from burnout; it can stem from home life, constant social interactions or obligations, the political climate, or even social media.

Now consider how blurry the lines between personal and professional have gotten or think about how technology has made it feel like we’re always on the
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The difference between being busy and being productive


It’s easy to be busy. You’re probably busy right now! And depending how your busyness manifests itself, you might be reading this while eating a piece of a toast or walking down a sidewalk or having a conversation with someone. (If you’re doing all of these things at once, please feel free to stop reading, you are a wizard and we can do nothing for you.)

Busyness can be many things — checking email, looking up next week’s weather, obsessively keeping up with the news, seeing if airfare to Minneapolis has gotten any cheaper yet. Busyness can look like productivity, it can feel like productivity, it might even enable productivity, but busyness can never be productivity. If productivity is a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, then busyness is a generic imitation brand with a name like Allspice Bread Crisps.

The difference between productivity and busyness

The key difference is that busyness is easy
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How to make the perfect soundtrack for your life


Planning weddings can be stressful, and one of the most fraught parts of planning my own recent wedding was choosing which song would play during our first dance. (We eventually went with “Razor Love” by Neil Young). 

That’s because music is important. Even in much lower stakes scenarios than weddings, music simultaneously sets the mood and communicates the significance of whatever’s happening. The wrong music can make a task impossible — imagine trying to fall asleep to heavy metal — while the right song at the right time can make a moment magical and a party come alive.

So that all said, how should you go about DJing your day? How should your soundtrack change to suit all of your diverse activities?

Waking up

In my own life, I’m what’s not always affectionately referred to as a “morning person.” I generally greet the day with a smile on my face (so long as I
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How to battle impostor syndrome


In my practice as a coach and social worker, the most common confession clients share is that they think they’re a failure or a fraud. “Why are other people so self-assured while I struggle with constantly feeling inadequate?” they think.

This feeling of inadequacy followed one of my clients, Mandi, to work and was beginning to hold her back in her career. By all outward standards, Mandi is successful. She has multiple college degrees, a well-paying job, and was recently promoted to a management position.  

Yet nearly every day she goes to battle with her inner critic, the voice in her head that says she’s not good enough or smart enough. She worries that someday soon she’ll finally be exposed as unqualified for her job. In an attempt to control her fear, she’ll stay up all night perfecting projects before submitting them. Even though her team praises her work, Mandi is
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How to negotiate a power struggle at work


Power struggles personify the worst kind of office politics. They sap energy. Distract from purpose. And hold the potential to derail success and happiness.

It’s the rare individual who actually enjoys a power struggle. Most of us want to do what we’re paid for, joke around with our colleagues, and feel like we’ve contributed.

That’s not so easy when emotions are running high. Empathy is replaced with an “us or them” mentality that can quickly escalate. Then we’re stuck either dodging bullets or picking sides. What other choice do we have?

The heart of the struggle

Power often evokes the image of a corner office where people in expensive suits lay down the law for the rest of us. But the reality is, power — and the fight for it — can come from anywhere.

To help us understand workplace struggles, and how to respond to them, we asked our colleague Sara Kalick
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