Is a work-life balance attainable?
After practically two years of clocking in remotely transformed the way we work, across every industry, people are seeking opportunities that prioritize their lifestyle more than ever, even if it means less money or relocating.
But while the majority of employees are looking for companies that prioritize outcome over output, the changes are still slow to take hold in upper management. Work is still a huge stressor for most Americans, and many feel overworked, under-appreciated and rarely trust their employers to have their back when the chips are down.
So to go along with your morning latte before you head into the office, I’ve put together a couple of strategies to help you work smarter — and be calmer and happier.
Here are my Top 5 tips to help you feel more invested and inspired in your work — no matter if you’re climbing the corporate ladder, a boss babe entrepreneur or walking the red carpet toward acting success.
1) Be Mindful of Your Self-Care
Brigit Ritchie and Court Roberts, of strategic business consulting firm WE, help companies create work environments that both support their employees and foster the principles needed for success. When we’re personally invested in our work in a healthy way (not like zombie workaholics), we perform better at our jobs and are happier (functioning) human beings. 🙂
They call their methodology relational mindfulness, and the process begins by creating intentions around how you’re going to show up at work and incorporating mindfulness techniques, like breathwork and meditation, that help you slow down and remain present, even when you’re under pressure.
One of my favorite centering activities is the 4-7-8 breath, which is also shown to help calm your nervous system and quell anxiety attacks.
All you have to do is inhale with a closed mouth, through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound for a count of 8. Repeat this exercise 3 more times.
It’s also excellent right before a big audition or scary meeting. Check out this video if you need a demonstration.
In front of any deadline or meeting, your health has to be your number one priority, so remember to take extra care of yourself when you know things are going to be stressful in your professional space.
And plan ahead for when you don’t too! I have a client who buys herself a few gift certificates to her favorite spots for a pedicure or a massage, so they’re there when she needs an instant stress-reliever from a busy week. It’s like a gift to your future, busy self.
2) Create a Culture of Listening
Raise your hand if you’ve ever attended a meeting or had a conversation with an “assertive fast talker”, who gabs so fast you don’t have time to compute what was said before the conversation is steered toward their new topic.
Or what about a classic interrupter, who won’t let you finish your full thought before they offer an opinion on it? Both my hands are up, for the record.
It can be tough to put the kibosh on that behavior for good, but I love this technique for meetings from Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio — a two-minute rule: “The two-minute rule specifies that you have to give someone that uninterrupted period to explain their thinking before jumping in with your own.”
The purpose of a meeting is to get everyone on the same page and create action on a project or topic, so this way, everyone is able to express their ideas, and no one feels like their time has been wasted.
Even if you aren’t able to set the parameters of the meeting you’re attending, this is something you can also foster by example in private one-on-one conversation.
Giving others the space to be heard is just as important as expressing your own thoughts. Good listeners are likable leaders.
3) Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
If misery loves company, what does awesomeness attract?
If you want to boost your confidence at work (or in life), you need to surround yourself with people who make you feel that way. Grab lunch with an old mentor or that co-worker who you think has brilliant ideas, or the assistant who is always consistently kind to everyone.
If you can’t find a co-worker you vibe with enough to spend time with outside of the office, make a mini-Mastermind group out of your best buds.
Just be sure to avoid “low-grade unity”, which is bonding over negativity. Your time together would be less, “These hours are killing me” and more, “You killed that presentation!”
4) Enjoy a Healthy Brag Session
Speaking of celebrating your wins, I love this concept by Kris Carr. We often brush off our victories, big and small, because we think it makes us sound conceited, but how can you expect other people to see your hard work, if you minimize it yourself?
Don’t shy away from talking about the things that are going well in your life or the accomplishments that you’re proud of.
Just do it as Kris says, “with class and share the stage”. Be sure to listen up when your friends and fellow co-workers do well too. High fives all around!
5) Keep a Work Journal
Keeping track of your daily grind can be both cathartic and beneficial. You can brainstorm ideas for later, record your progress on your goals and work through ways to improve your performance.
You also might see patterns and habits that are preventing you from enjoying your work or staying focused.
This simple practice can help you feel more invested in the work you’re doing and why you’re doing it, which is easy to lose sight of during the day-to-day; sometimes you need to look at the big picture.
What are your favorite “work smarter” tips? Let me know in the comments below!
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