Making Work Seem Less Like It
With the new year flying by and too much to do and too little time, you’re probably stressed out. In fact, Americans are reporting a stress level of 4.6 on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being totally stressed out. So today I’m going to suggest tangible actions you can take to make your workday just plain better. I often talk about print management as a great way remove stress from your business life. But let’s look at a few more general suggestions that might apply in almost any business.
Say “No” More Often
This one is difficult. No matter how much work we’re dealing with, we’ve trained ourselves to never show it. So even when we’re swamped, if someone (especially a boss) wants to throw another thing on our pile, we too quickly respond “sure, no problem.” We think of it as job security and scoring points as a team player.
But we’re usually not as heroic as we think we are. We’re really doing two things. First, we are letting others increase the pressure we face. Perhaps more importantly, we are risking diminished results on the new project as well as the things we’re already working on. Change your thinking. It is simply being professional and proactive to decline politely in those situations. Although it may make you feel uncomfortable or cause a few raised eyebrows, the “drama” we imagined seldom occurs when we say no.
Make Your Workspace Your Own
No matter what the architects had in mind when designing your office or “cube” you can add something they never could: personality. No one knows as well as you do what makes you feel most productive. That can mean everything from arranging your desk or workstation to the way you decorate it.
Think ergonomics and convenience. Put things where you want them, or can access them most efficiently. And surround yourself with enough personal touches of home, family and favorite activities that help you relax. Make your workspace a nest. Realize that work is only one segment of your life’s “pie chart.” Keeping perspective can smooth out a rough day. Oh, and if your particular company frowns on displaying such personal touches, keep reading.
If You Don’t Like Your Job, You Owe Yourself a New One
This one is obvious, but you might be experiencing a “forest for the trees” vision problem. We human beings can be very resilient. Often, we suffer in relative silence, just preserving the status quo and not wanting to create any upheaval. We might go to a job day after day that we have come to dislike, or that at least fails to provide much professional satisfaction. Oh, and quite frankly, sometimes that “resilience” is actually laziness in disguise.
But those eight hours (and usually well beyond) you spend at your job are too important to suffer through. No matter whose “fault” it is—yours or the company’s—it doesn’t make sense to sentence yourself to boring or unsatisfying workdays. It’s an exciting new working world out there, and chances are there are positions you would love. The only thing standing between you and a better workday is getting out of your comfort zone (especially if it’s really a discomfort zone).
Interact with Coworkers More
I don’t mean heading to the bar after work (though maybe that’s not so bad once in a while, either). I’m talking about frequent during-the-day human contact. Forget emailing the person two desks down. Go talk to them. Get a quick answer and little social contact.
Many studies have shown that our many forms of electronic interaction, via email, social media and the like, have given us a great many “digital” friends, but far fewer of the real, flesh-and-blood variety. It can warm up an office and a workday to share a few friendly stories or common interests in the course of getting the job done. You might get to see what and whom matters to your co-worker along the way—if, of course, he’s made his office his own.
Have a Schedule and Stick to It
A better workday might well mean a shorter one. Plenty of current research is available showing that workers who make it a point to leave the office to be home for family dinners and events are not only happier, but more productive during their working hours.
Most organizations are finally shedding the old notion that an employee’s value or commitment are measured in a number of hours hanging around the office. Getting things accomplished feels satisfying, and can improve your attitude all day long.
Can We Help?
I don’t mean to turn this into a commercial, but Superior offers print supply chain and promotional product technologies, services and solutions that will simplify your workday and increase efficiencies. Why not contact Superior today and see if we can suggest something that will reduce your stress and get you out of the office on time at the end of your workday? Oh, and before you answer, I’d prefer you save that “say no more often” thing for another time.