VOL. 126 | NO. 121 | Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Light Their Fire
You to the Rescue
Are you doing more with less? It’s obvious from the looks on everyone’s faces that the stress of increased workloads is taking its toll. To add insult to injury, raises aren’t exactly free for the asking. If you’re doing more with fewer rewards, can you avoid burnout?
Yes, but you need a new way of thinking and a new way of acting.
Do you feel you have to meet unrealistic expectations? Whose fault is that?
I once worked in an understaffed department where my boss filled my inbox with items that were all marked “Hot!” in red ink. She placed equal importance on writing the company’s quarterly report and responding to a college student’s request for information about the company. I had to decide which ones truly required my immediate attention. But at the same time, I’ve been known to get so caught up in “doing” that I put impossible demands on myself.
Be sure you’re not pressuring yourself. Prioritizing is vitally important when you’re doing more than one person’s job. Ask yourself what can be reasonably done today and what can be put off until tomorrow or next week.
Self-talk can be the most insidious monster we face. Stop telling yourself it’s the end of the world if everything doesn’t get done. Honestly, does world peace depend on your having the report out by 5 p.m. today versus 10 a.m. tomorrow? Do you truly believe you’ll lose your job?
Are there things you’ve been holding onto that you could delegate? Perhaps they won’t get done just as you would do them, but you can always review the work and ask for changes. And not everything has to be perfect.
Don’t sabotage yourself by taking on more than you can do. If you’re rushing through projects, you’re likely to do a slipshod job. You may think that taking on more work will make you look like a hero, but poor results will only make you look bad. This is not an extra credit test.
Take some time to relax or laugh. Working nine hours versus eight and a half will not necessarily get the job done any faster. You can afford a 15-minute break twice a day to take a walk, chat with a friend, play a computer game or just close your eyes and breathe.
Would you benefit from working at home once in a while? I find that sometimes I can sit in bed with my laptop and accomplish more than if I were dressed in business casual and sitting at my desk. Ask for a break from routine and I’ll bet you get it.
Trade a helping hand with a co-worker. Four hands make work easier.
Ask your boss for help. Remember, she’s dealing with her own avalanche and may not realize you’re being swept down the mountain.
You’re in charge of your own destiny, and only you can put a smile back on your face.
Susan Drake is the President of Spellbinders Internal and External Marketing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.