Over-worked? An Easy Way to Gain a New Perspective.

When a company lays off a group of employees, did you ever wonder who does their work after they leave?”

In my personal work experience, sometimes I witnessed whole departments and products eliminated.  They just didn’t become profitable quickly enough.  If you were unlucky enough to have purchased that product, your support was very limited. If you worked in that department, you were “surplus”.

Other times the company wanted to reduce costs to save a floundering business and just cut without consideration.  In 1997 my department of 15 people was reduced to 5.  I was working on lots of different projects all of which I handed off to someone else to work on.  The remaining employees now had two or three times the number of projects to work on.  Needless to say that employee’s new and old clients got less attention than before.

Put yourself in the place of those who were left behind.  The amount of work they had to do was staggering.

In 1997, we were just beginning to get the notion of 24 by 7 service.  To offer that level of service today workers are working even more frantically.  A job ad in the Boston Globe reads: “We are offering a way of life not a job. 9-5ers need not apply.” Recently I read that most people call into their voice mail daily while on vacation.  Many are taking work with them on vacation.

For most people working this way keeps them constantly stressed and not very happy at work. There is no time to disconnect from work. This pace can be harmful to both the people and the company.  Studies show that employees who try to multitask are less productive! Many times, in my corporate career I thought to myself: “I’m so busy I don’t have time to think.”

Creativity, new ideas and innovative strategies come to us when we are relaxed.  I’ve been known to keep a pencil and paper beside my bed because I always get useful ideas as I am going to sleep.

Whether you work for someone else or have your own business, the pace today is faster than it has ever been.  Do you find time in a busy day to spend 10 or 15 minutes quietly relaxing?  If you have 10 or 15 minutes of quiet time, can you sit or lie down and not do anything?

Depending on your work situation this could be a real challenge.  If the idea appeals to you find the time of the day that works best for you.  You may want to have a space that is comfortable, where you can sit or lie down and be supported by a couch, bed or chair.  The room needs to be free of any loud noises or the possibility of sudden noises or interruptions.

The first time I tried this I kept a pad of paper beside me.  I knew I’d learn something I wanted to write down.  I’ve since been able to quiet my mind without the paper. I know the objective here is to let go of thoughts and concentrate on just breathing.  (This is still a challenge for me.  It sounds easier than it is!)

One of my concerns is always that I will get behind in my work.  It seems to me that I need every minute of the day for work.  Years ago when I told my coach that her response was I probably would never finish my “to do” list.  She’s right!   If I accept that, then 10 or 15 minutes really makes no difference.

So think about it.  If having 10 to 15 minutes of quiet time for yourself every day, sounds attractive to you, try finding the time each day for one week and see how it goes for you.  If you find that having that time for reflection gives you a new perspective on your life and you feel less overwhelmed, you may want to make this pause in your day a habit.  It can be one step in the direction of being happy at work.

Try these steps:

  1. Find a place for your quiet time.
  2. Make the place even more appealing by bringing something that relaxes you – a picture, flowers, a candle .
  3. Make an appointment with yourself once a day for 7 days. Write it into your calendar

At the end of the week, what are your observations?  Is it something you want to continue?  It takes about 3 weeks doing it daily to make it a habit.  What would be the long-term effects of doing this regularly over a year?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with work?   As your coach,   I can help you to understand what is overwhelming you.   Together we will then develop strategies to deal with the overwhelm.  One client said this about me: “You have a way of going right to the heart of what’s happening and helping me see my problems and obstacles in terms of strategies and solutions instead of anger and angst.”  Please call me at 781-598-0388 if you are interested in setting up an appointment to discuss coaching and how it can help you.


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