Author: Jen Merritt
December 6, 2017
The end of the year is motivating. We know in January there is a sense of renewal as the new year starts, so we create all kinds of professional and personal goals. We are doing everything we normally do, and lots more. Prioritizing is number one on the list of things to do. With so much going on, no wonder they say, “winter is a time of slowing down.” We blame the cold weather, but what if we are just exhausted by everything we did getting ready for the new year. By following a few of these steps, and giving less attention to what is exhausting and more attention to what is fulfilling, you may have a much better new year.
LET GO OF “RIGHT AND WRONG” WHEN THE ANSWER DOESN’T GET YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO
Choosing to improve communication over showing someone a different way to do something can greatly improve productivity. You got where you are because you worked hard at learning productive ways of getting things done. Sometimes knowing a faster or different way to do something ultimately takes a toll on relationships at work. The next time you catch yourself thinking, “I would have done it this way,” ask yourself, “is this necessary?” Would it be better if I shared this information or would it be better if I celebrated that it’s done? It is often a habit to share information, but it is not often necessary. The more we celebrate what is done the more we encourage each other to do more. This can also improve communication. The next time your coworker has a problem, they might be more
likely to ask for your help because you know when to offer advice and when to say “job well done.”
TAKE A ONE WEEK WORD-FAST
This could be a great team building exercise or something you can do personally that no one else needs to know. The objective: For the whole week (or more if you like) be conscious that the words you use have an intention to support what you're doing and fast the words that don’t.
I want to tell you a story of a client that was helped with this. They came to me for general self-improvement and also wanted to improve relationships at work. There was a specific project that they were having trouble focusing on because it was a slightly new task and there was a learning curve. Also, all of the regular tasks still needed to be done. They found that whenever they sat down to do this one particular task they would get overwhelmed by the other tasks that weren’t getting done. I asked how they dealt with it. They said, “it is easier to focus after talking to a friend/ coworker about the overwhelm.” This temporary fix wasn’t really getting them where they wanted to be though. So I
told them about the word-fast, "it's worth trying and seeing if this simple action makes a more permanent change." Whenever they started feeling overwhelmed and they wanted to get it off of their mind, instead of saying to their friend all the things they need to do, they talked about one of the recent accomplishments. For them, it helped to have a list of more positive things to talk about, for example, motivating stories, that helped them get in the right frame of mind. Right away they felt an improvement and soon after their coworker was also telling more motivating stories.
This kind of activity is a fun way to support each other. It can help you feel more accomplished and motivated to focus on the task at hand. If you want to support someone during their word-fast and they start to share their overwhelm, simply shift the conversation, keeping this exercise fun and light.
TAKE SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE DOING, THEN FILTER OUT ALL THE UNNECESSARY THOUGHTS
Consider this reflection as apart of brainstorming for productivity; it is a great way to start an activity and get in the right frame of mind. Reflect on the activity from beginning to end and mentally place your thoughts into two categories:
1) Thoughts that help me get it done.
2) Thoughts that slow me down.
You might do some creative thinking and really build up the thoughts that help you get it done. Then cross out the thoughts that slow you down and start the activity. Whenever that thought pops up, imagine crossing it off your list. It’s not necessary to think about how much we don’t like something, that thought is only self-sabotage in the making, and it’s making you unhappy.
One reason we often dislike certain tasks has nothing to do with the task in itself. We might simply be irritated that we are choosing to skip lunch to get it done, or we didn’t take a break because we finally got into a rhythm and we don’t want to stop. The thought, “I have to keep going, or I won’t get back into it,” could be replaced with the thought, “I’m taking five minutes and then I’m going to get back into this with even more clarity.” It is possible for you to think like this, and the more you practice the more it will naturally happen, and you will feel better about your work.
With these simple and possible changes in thoughts and actions, we can get everything done, in the best way possible, improve relationships and feel great about the end of the year.