Monday 31 July 2023

Why Persistence Matters

Many great achievements in life don’t come easy so if you want to succeed in your job, you’ll need a certain amount of persistence. Perhaps you have targets or goals that you need to achieve to secure that much needed pay rise or promotion, or maybe you simply take pride in your work and want to do the best you can. Whatever sights you have set for yourself in your job, it will likely take a lot of determination and hard work to achieve your goals.

While the idea of ongoing persistence and dedication might overwhelm some people, remember that the effort you put into something makes the end result even more rewarding as it becomes of greater value.

Why is persistence important?

Rarely do our jobs take very little effort, and if they do it’s likely our work life will begin to feel unrewarding and unsatisfying. When we don’t have something to aim for or obstacles to overcome, we can become demotivated and unfulfilled. These kinds of feelings can cause us to lose our self-esteem and self-worth, making our lives feel less meaningful and over time this can impact our mental health. If we give up on a task at the first sign of difficulty, it can make us feel as though we’re not good enough or scared to attempt anything else in the future for fear of failure.

When we understand the importance of persistence, having goals at work can be exciting and motivating, making our role much more rewarding. Overcoming obstacles and challenges also allows us to grow and evolve, which has a positive effect on our mental wellbeing and can reduce anxiety and depression. In a study published by Psychology Today, it found that “People who refuse to give up on achieving specific goals and approach challenges with a positive outlook are at lower risk of clinical depression…generalized anxiety disorder… and panic disorder”.

Ways to be more persistent

Set yourself clear goals and understand why you want to achieve them so that you have a reason to be persistent. By knowing what you want to gain, you’ll become more resilient and determined to overcome any obstacles in your way.

Remain humble and accept that you might not always know the best way to achieve your goal. By listening to constructive feedback and learning from mistakes (which you will most likely make many times along the way), you accept that it’s all part of the process in getting to where you want to be.

Don’t be afraid of challenges because throughout history they have been a major part of many successful journeys. Imagine if Einstein had given up at the first hurdle!

Don't be afraid to change your plan. Try to be aware when something isn’t working and rather than continuing on a certain path just because that’s how you envisioned it, look at other options and try something new. Much of being persistent is about being flexible and knowing when to change your approach.

Once you have mastered the art of persistence, you’ll reap not only the material rewards, but you’ll have improved your mental health along the way.

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Perfecting the Art of Patience in the Workplace

As the saying goes, “patience is a virtue” and it can come in particularly useful in the workplace. No matter what kind of job you do, at some point your patience will have been tested and as we well know, this can cause a great amount of stress and annoyance. Whether you’re waiting on someone to complete a task, queuing for the printer or sitting through a lengthy meeting when you have a pile of work to do, your patience can be tested to its limits.

What is impatience?

Before you can master the art of patience, it’s important to understand impatience and the effects it can have on our mental and physical wellbeing. When we feel impatient, we tend to become easily agitated and irritated, and this can stir negative reactions such as:

  • Anger
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Frustration

If you find yourself becoming impatient regularly, these reactions can play havoc with your physical and mental wellbeing and over time they’ll not only affect your mood, but they can increase your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, making you more prone to heart disease, poor sleep and high blood pressure. In a study undertaken by associate professor of psychology at Baylor university, Sarah Schnitker found that people who are often impatient are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, she goes on to say “Research shows that people who are more patient have higher wellbeing — more life satisfaction, hope, self-esteem, positive emotions in general. They seem to be able to pursue their goals with greater effort and have more satisfaction with their goal progress.”

How to become more patient?

To become more successful at work and to avoid the effects of the stresses that being impatience causes, you can learn to be more patient with a few simple exercises.

Breathe. When we feel impatient our breathing becomes shallower so by taking slow, deep breaths, we can start to relax a little and be more in control of our emotions, meaning we’re less likely to react irrationally.

Put things into perspective. Impatience can really blow things out of all proportion as we become more agitated and even angry in some instances. When we consider the importance of the situation, we often find that what we’re feeling stressed about is minor in the grand scheme of things. Also, remember that some things are simply out of our control and being impatient has no positive benefits and will only cause unnecessary stress.

Make use of the waiting time. We’ve all experienced the infuriating hold music when we’re trying to get through to a company on the phone but rather than sit there becoming increasingly irate, make use of your time and do something productive while waiting for the call to be answered.

Find a distraction. If you find yourself waiting around for someone else to complete a task or you’re waiting for your computer to update, do something that will take your mind off the situation. Maybe take an early lunch, go for a walk or catch up with a work colleague.

Pay attention to your body. Certain factors such as tiredness, hunger or dehydration can all play a part in making us feel less patient so to maintain an optimum mood, make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, eat healthily and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Ways to Overcome Perfectionism at Work

Many people see perfectionism as a way to be viewed as successful in their job, whether that’s through fear of seeming like a failure if everything doesn't go right first time or to gain respect from their peers. However, striving for perfectionism all the time can be extremely unhealthy for both your mental and physical health, depending on the job you do.

In many workplaces we are often criticised by colleagues or management for making mistakes as it can sometimes be costly and time consuming. This kind of relentless pressure can take its toll and can lead to mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression and can cause us to feel a lack of self worth. Not only this but striving for ongoing perfectionism can be exhausting.

Sadly, we live in a world where our lives are played out on social media and at the push of a button, we can remove our flaws and present an unrealistic impression of ourselves and our lives. Because we are continually being judged and scrutinised, we feel even more pressure to appear perfect in every way. Being at work is no different – we want to be perceived as a perfect human who succeeds in everything they do. But behind closed doors, we all know that this isn’t a realistic picture, and that can cause us to suffer from low self-esteem or even more serious mental health issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or eating disorders.

The impact of striving for perfectionism

Because we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, most of time to impress others, we are placing too much pressure on ourselves to be the best, to be respected, or to be admired and this is a recipe for unnecessary stress and anxiety. 

An article published by Healthline, states that "People [prone to] perfectionism hold themselves to impossibly high standards. They think what they do is never good enough. Some people mistakenly believe that perfectionism is a healthy motivator, but that’s not the case. Perfectionism can make you feel unhappy with your life. It can lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm. Eventually, it can also lead you to stop trying to succeed. Even mild cases can interfere with your quality of life, affecting your personal relationships, education, or work.”

So how can we shift our focus from being perfect to being happy and fulfilled?

  • Occupy your time with activities that make you feel happy to prevent overthinking outcomes at work.
  • Make a conscious effort to enjoy the process of a task rather than just focusing on the results as this can increase your motivation and relieve some of the pressure.
  • Try to let go of specific systems or routines that you might have put in place to ensure things are done a certain way and learn to be less rigid about structuring your work.
  • Accept that you are human and it’s okay to be less than perfect as we all make mistakes sometimes.
  • Instead of focusing on every little mistake, celebrate your successes instead.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others, you are unique and will have different skills and qualities to others.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

How to Become More Satisfied in Your Job

'Satisfaction' means different things to different people, but many people aren’t satisfied in their jobs. Perhaps that’s because they feel have too much responsibility or not enough pay or maybe their work is mundane, and they don’t get any enjoyment from their job. According to Positive Psychology, satisfaction is what makes us prosper as individuals and makes us feel like our life is meaningful and rich.

The quality of our lives is often determined by material, emotional and physical wellbeing which makes us feel satisfied with what we have achieved, whether that be at work or in our personal lives. Because we spend so much of our lives working, if we don’t feel satisfied with our job, it can heavily impact our mental health. Many of us have busy jobs that can leave us feeling anxious or stressed and over time this can lead to depression.

Effects of feeling dissatisfied at work

There are many aspects of our work that might affect our mental health and if you are experiencing any of the following, you might need to make some changes so that you can feel more satisfied in your job.

  • Boredom
  • Unappreciated
  • Overworked
  • Resentful
  • Exhausted
  • Stressed and anxious
  • Hopeless 

Why is it important to feel satisfied in your job?

When we don’t feel satisfied at work, it can affect our overall quality of life and wellbeing. You might believe that your life doesn’t have any meaning or purpose and you have little hope for a positive future. Because of financial or family pressures, it’s easy to become stuck in a rut at work and you fear any kind of change. But you don’t always have to go out and start looking for a new job, there are ways that you can gradually become more satisfied in your current role.

How to become more satisfied at work?

  • If you are bored at work and you don’t feel challenged, ask your manager if there are any other tasks you can take on. Easing the monotony and trying something new can give you a new lease of life and increase your motivation.
  • Consider what it is that you’re passionate about and see if there’s any way you can incorporate that into your daily routine at work. For example, you might have a specific cause or charity that you care about, so perhaps try organising a charity event with your work colleagues. As well as giving you something to look forward to each day, it is also a good way to strengthen working relationships.
  • If money is a concern and you believe you have too much responsibility and not enough pay, ask your manager for a pay increase or if they can reduce your workload. You might be surprised at the response and just a small change could make all the difference.
  • Many companies offer training courses through work so why not train in a different skill that reignites your passion and improves self-development and personal growth?
  • Set yourself personal targets at work and plan a reward for when you reach certain milestones like a weekend away, dinner at a nice restaurant or a shopping trip. Having something to work towards can kick start your motivation and also give you a great sense of achievement.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

How to Perfect the Art of Delegating

Are you inundated with tasks at work? Do you find your to-do list growing quicker than you can cross off tasks? Is your workload causing you anxiety and stress? If the answer is yes to these questions, then it’s time for you to perfect the art of delegating.

What is delegating?

Delegation is the distribution of certain tasks to the relevant people or departments rather than trying to complete them all yourself. Doing this ensures the tasks are completed on time and in the appropriate fashion. Allowing tasks to pile high because you don’t want or trust others to complete can often result in burn out and mental health issues.

How to delegate as an employee

If you aren’t in a managerial position, delegation can become tricky when superiors expect you to take on extra tasks. 

When you are given tasks in addition to your 'business as usual' expectations:
  • Compile a list of the tasks you currently have with deadlines attributed to them. Send this list to your boss and ask them which one or ones they would like you to postpone in order to do any extra tasks they have asked you to do. This allows your manager to see just how much you have on your plate and to understand that if they present new priority tasks then other tasks won’t get done on time.
  • Block out time in your calendar to complete tasks. If your calendar can be viewed by colleagues and management block out an hour or so as 'busy' so others know not to disturb you during this time. You can also let your manager know that you’ll be doing this to ensure you can complete tasks on time.

How to delegate as a manager

It’s important not to take your employees for granted but allocating tasks to employees can mean allowing them to learn new skills which will benefit them in future. It also shows that you trust them with certain levels of responsibility, which can boost their confidence and increase their levels of motivation.

When delegating tasks as a manager:

  • You don’t have to do it all. The first step for many managers is acknowledging that you can’t do everything, even if you want to. There is nothing wrong with delegating tasks, in fact, doing so gives you the opportunity to be a great manager to employees who want to learn new skills or have more responsibility.
  • Make sure the employee you select has time to complete the tasks. Go through any current responsibilities they have to ascertain if other tasks can be sidelined and if they have the time to complete new tasks.
  • Choose the right person for the job. If an employee is an excellent problem solver or loves research, then give them tasks to suit these skills. Likewise, if an employee is great with admin, or known for being a spreadsheet whizz, allocate these types of tasks to them.
  • Be very clear about your expectations and what the task entails. Provide examples of similar tasks and their results if possible. It’s also important to let your employees know to communicate with you if they need any additional information or are uncertain about any elements of the task, or if they are having any difficulties completing the task. 
  • Don’t micro-manage. Once you’ve delegated tasks, trust your employee to do the job. Don’t be tempted to continuously check in on progress. If you’ve given a deadline, trust they will deliver by this time.