We’ve made it to 2022… The rollercoaster ride isn’t over yet. Let’s focus on what we can control, and accept the things we can’t.
We’ve researched the best hacks to maintain a positive attitude, because we find it a lot easier to cope and overcome whatever gets thrown at us with a good attitude, and a smile.
Here we share our findings, divided into three categories: focusing on what to control; tips to stress less; and ways to work smarter, not harder.
1. Control what you can
You may not be able to control the outcome, but you can control your actions. Even with hard work, it’s still possible to fail to achieve a business goal. There’s power in focusing your energy and attention into constructive, useful outcomes, instead of fear and worry.
Taking the right action consistently is helpful and makes you more effective. So, what sort of things can you control?
- Mindset: your thoughts and beliefs shape how you feel, what you think, and do. Mindset governs attitude. Attitude determines how positive and persistent you are. So, your mindset can help you cope and even thrive in challenging times.
- Work ethic: it’s the reason you work hard and take pride in what you do. It’s demonstrated in how you show up every day to do your best, be a good teammate, determined to go the extra mile to get results.
- Care for others: simply put, treat others as you want to be treated. In trying times, being the colleague who brings kindness, consideration, respect and humour to a team, can make a huge difference.
- Self-care: eat nutritious food, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and make time for fitness and relaxation. This balance is usually the first casualty of a busy work life; so, build self-care into your daily planner.
2. Stress less
Focusing on what we can control takes discipline. Become more protective of your energy – when stress pops up, ask: can I control or influence this? If the answer is yes, then take action. If the answer is no, let it go and redirect your energy into the next task.
Stress is sneaky. You can start the year, week, or day with the best intentions and a reasonable to-do list. Suddenly, you’re struggling through a storm of curve balls, giving in to unproductive worry and bad habits.
Protect yourself from overwhelm with these habits:
- Tidy desk, tidy mind: at the end of the day, tidy up and make a short to-do list for the next day. Write it down, so it’s the first thing you see when you sit down, making it easier to crack on with your priorities, and harder to be distracted. Turn this into your ritual for closing off the day, and you’ll start each morning in a great space.
- Organise your computer: clear your desktop of distractions and set your browser tabs for the next day’s priorities. Decide what notifications to allow – be ruthless about pesky pop-ups that swallow your attention and break your concentration. Sort out your folders, inbox, and the programmes you use most – keep your priorities easy to find and use.
- Create a focus ritual: try the Pomodoro technique – its 25-minute focus period is an ideal block of time to be productive, and the timer creates an urgency that reduces procrastination. Also try meditation apps that encourage mindful breathing or listening to nature sounds for a few minutes. Mindful breathing is an ideal, easy focus ritual to schedule every hour to 90 minutes – do it standing up and combat the physical fatigue that comes with being desk-bound all day.
Feeling totally spent? Don’t fight it. The simplest way to tackle fatigue is to simply step away. Do something that refuels you or allows your mind to rest – tick off mundane tasks, take a short walk, or get a change of scenery.
If you’re working from home, the 20- to 30-minute power nap is a wonderful option. It delivers a better energy boost than caffeine, reduces stress and anxiety, and resets the brain’s ability to focus, analyse and problem-solve.
3. Work smarter, not harder
Try these handy hacks we’ve uncovered:
- Technology: take a moment to identify any bottlenecks and complex tasks in your workflow. Research and compare tools that will potentially solve the problem you need solved, that ease those points of friction. Make the most of online tools that offer demos and live chat staffed by helpful techies to find your best solutions.
- Automate: automate repetitive and routine tasks as much as possible. Collect information via forms, use your website analytics to learn about your customers, use your calendar, and set up tasks a month or more in advance. Save time and simplify inbox management by setting up auto-responders and directing non-priority emails into their own folder. Create templates for regular tasks such as presentations, correspondence, and reports.
- Simplify: reduce paperwork wherever possible – keeping everything electronic makes it easier to store, find and automate business documentation. Give yourself fewer decisions to make on any given day. Decision fatigue can cause mistakes and ramp up stress; so, put whatever decisions you can on autopilot.
The pandemic has taught us to adapt thoughtfully to uncertainty. Well, here we go again. Hopefully our ideas bring you simplicity, focus and steady progress. Help yourself to whatever appeals and makes your work-life a smoother ride.