1. Water Cooler Conversation
It’s important to take a break and engage in banter and even build relational equity with your co-workers but there’s a fine line between that and wasting time. One of the biggest wastes of time is idle chit-chat and irrelevant talks. Office gossip, sports, politics, and our private lives become more important to discuss than the needs of the day.
You can easily trip yourself up as you’re climbing the ladder by hanging out in someone else’s cubicle discussing your hobbies. If that’s not you, make sure to put boundaries between your co-workers that do struggle with that. Lead by example and let them know you’re busy.
2. Time Management
You can take your work seriously but you should make sure to prioritize your tasks. Being productive is a daily exercise in making sure the big things get big attention and the little things get little attention.
Can that email wait an hour while you tackle a report? Are you making sure that you’re on time and not starting the day off 15 minutes late? Are you over-thinking every detail of the meeting you just had or about to have? Every hour you waste on the small stuff adds stress to the big stuff.
The last thing a busy, hard-working team needs is a bunch of interpersonal drama. The truth is, there are going to be conflicts from time to time. But conflicts don’t have to turn into prolonged emotional baggage that invades every corner of the workspace. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the office to excel.
Find someone outside of the office to vent your frustrations. Learn to meditate. Exercise your anger away. But don’t drag your irritations around like an anvil. It will create a toxic work environment and slow you down. Also, don’t participate in someone else’s drama. Before you know it, you’re carrying someone else’s needless baggage around.
4. Admit You Don’t Have All The Answers
Some gurus like to tell people that, even if you don’t have the answer to a problem, you should act as though you do. The hope is that the initiative you’re taking will impress co-workers and bosses alike. This sounds like a great bit of go-getter logic. On the surface, it’s not a terrible bit of advice.
It’s just as important to admit you don’t have the answers. Being honest, especially in a crisis, is crucial. Don’t assume you’re failing if you can’t respond perfectly to every situation. Sometimes, you’ll create more of a problem by giving the impression that you know more than you do. It’s best to admit you don’t know something, but that you’re willing to grind and figure it out.
Photo credit: Lukas Blazek
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