This post is about about our 9 to 5 jobs…and the odd jobs in between, the rat race and the environments in which we stay to slug it out in the race…aspects of our occupational health touched on by Dolly Parton in her song! One of my facilitators in my MBA days, asked the question,’ If you win the race, do you leave the rat race?’ I’d love an answer to that, if you’ve got one.
Most of our workplaces these days are high pressure environments, what with deadlines, targets, deliverables, KPIs and all those fancy sounding words that essentially act as proverbial ‘kicks in the butts’ (forgive my French) to get busy and achieve more. Do I have a quarrel with any of these? Not necessarily…the world we live in has changed and the truth is that to out-smart the competition or even create a ‘first-in-class’ situation, ‘it don’t come easy!’ (forgive my grammar…or lack thereof ;)). As a result of these high powered, high pressured environments, different people feel different ways at the start of the work week.
So, where do you fall in? Do you start off on work days feeling unwilling to get up and out of bed? Wake up on a Monday morning feeling exhausted? Even when you’ve spent the weekend sleeping? Do you dread going into the office…but go anyways, because you need the money (don’t we all?) Do you feel your colleagues are after your job? That bright youngster ‘they’ just recruited is doing exactly what you were employed to do…could it mean your time is up? Is there more to do than you think you can deal with? Appears you’re on a never-ending race against time…and you’re just not winning? Or do you wake up, absolutely excited and happy to be alive, raring to go and do BIG things etc? I wish we were all like the latter; but we’re not! Truth be told, I am not like that on a number of mornings!!!!!
Okay, solutions anybody? I wish I had them. I don’t…I only have some tips to help us along.
First, you’ve got to work on your attitude. If you perceive a new task or even an old one as a source of stress, then indeed, it becomes one. If we were all to approach each task as an avenue to learn more about part of or a whole task, then we would be improving personal efficiency and effectiveness. And more importantly, approaching the task with positive energy and a smile 🙂
Prioritize and manage your time! Plan ahead. Make a to-do list in order of priorities! Trust me, no matter how much you want to get everything done today, it just ‘ain’t gonna’ happen and you set yourself up for disappointments if you believe they will. Sequentially (as much as practicable) tick them off, one by one until the end of the day. Then pat yourself on the back and continue from tomorrow! Get organized…trying to do everything at the same time, is a recipe for disaster!
If you’ve got a big task, break it up into manageable bits…or significant milestones. This helps you work from one phase to another, achieving victory with every milestone reached…rather than try to achieve a huge task all at once!
Maintain control. Did I hear you ask, ‘how do I do that when I’m not the boss and can schedule activities to suit me?’ Well, you can certainly control your reaction to the situations, people and issues you have to deal with. So if that co-worker angling for a promotion over you tries to throw a spanner in the works, keep your cool. Click ‘ignore’ or keep written (or email) documentation of correspondences on issues with said person and use them when they try to show you up (Okay…that sounds kinda vindictive. So you didn’t hear that from me ;)). This is simple native intelligence or should I call it…managing appearances in the work place?! You tell me!
Make a friend or two in the office! That feeling of social inclusion improves your social health and helps deal with the pressure of your work environment. Picture that friend that you can share snide smiles with and laugh away situations that would ordinarily be stressful?! This improves occupational health.
Exercise! Yes, find fun ways to exercise in the office. Sitting down for long periods of time exposes you to dangerous diseases. Click on the link below for more.
Take short breaks…to walk around or drink some water. This helps de-stress and helps you get in some exercise during your working day too. A friend told me she’d started having walking meetings. She works close to a nice park and so she invites a colleague who she’s supposed to meet with, to take a brisk walk with her while they talk. Hmm, sounds interesting. Anyone up for this? 🙂
Finally, be flexible. The best made plans often flop and chances are that yours just might…sorry 😦 But hey, take it in your stride. This is an opportunity to show your ‘survival’ and innovative skills as you have to quickly come up with plan B. Keeps your brain juices flowing too.
So people, let’s stop complaining about our work environments and the stress there-in. Let’s face it, especially in Nigeria, not too many people are lucky enough to do what they really love. In most cases, people do the work they do to survive. And so, if you are an employee, there are millions waiting to take your place for half of what you earn if you leave. If you are an employer, there are millions waiting for you to slip up, so they can take up the slack with your customers. But, you can get to love what you do for the time you’ve got to do it…and who knows, that may be your passport to the big stuff!