Ep 9: Six strategies to feel better (& do more) at work
When you find yourself in a pattern of hustling and burnout at work, it can seem like that it’s just the nature of the work and there’s no other way to do it. But, the WAY you show up in your work actually has a huge influence on the level of stress – and you DO have a ton of control over that.
When you get curious about your own work habits and learning new techniques for time and energy management, you can get more done in less time – with less stress.
In this episode, I share 6 simple techniques that you can use to feel more confident, calm and at ease in your work.
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Hello, my beautiful introvert friend. Welcome to episode number nine where we're going to talk about six strategies to feel better and do more at work. So I'm coming to you alive or recorded from. Co-work where I did not intend to record this podcast because I recorded it earlier at home with my great microphone. But when I came here to do the editing, lo and behold, I did not have any audio. So I must've had the mute button pressed super easy to do. And now I get to record this again and make it even better than the first time. So today's episode. Is really for folks who feel like you are tired of work, like, it feels like a hustle. You've probably been at your work for a little while and. It's gotten to the point where it's just like day after day of answering emails, dealing with fires. And trying to get through your never ending to do list so that you can have a well-deserved break. But that almost never happens. So you end up overworking really pushing through your work and probably feeling burned out. So. Has that has ever happened to you? I'm raising my, both of my hands here, then you're in the right place. So often in this type of pattern, We tend to think that it's the work. That is the problem. That it's just the nature of the work. That's the way it is. And so we don't take the time to actually do something about it. But. Actually, there is so much that is within your domain, even if you're working for somebody else, like you still have so much influence. In how you're showing up. And experiencing your work. I like to think about it in like in the solar system where you're a planet going around the sun. And yes, you're receiving sun. Like, this is your like little work, your work setup, but you are an individual planet and you've got all kinds of resources. So when you get curious about your work habits and you learn new techniques for time and energy management, You can really get more done in less time and with less stress. Which changes the experience of your work? So today we're going to go through six techniques to help you do just this. I want to start by setting the stage with a scenario of atypical burned out worker or employee, or if you're self-employed. All applies. And this is essentially a compilation of different clients that I have worked with. And as well as myself and the things that I have observed. So. If you connect with it in some, in a few areas, add on the rest of the things that I missed here that are specific to you. We'll use this client profile. I've got, I'm doing those air quotes. So client profile here to later apply the techniques to. And see how that changes their experience of work. So let's call this example client Sigourney. I don't know where that came from. Sigourney Weaver, maybe. So so, Sigourney, she works in middle management where she's got folks that she's responsible for, but then she also has a boss has a manager or has a board that they need to report to. And she is a decision maker. She is talking with a lot of people has lots of communications. So her email inbox is crazy. And she's always thinking about it. She wakes up in the morning and eat before she even rolls out of her bed. She checks her email. She goes to the bathroom. She's on her email. She's very concerned about responding to people's emails about making sure that she's in the know of anything that's coming up and all day long. This is how she's relating to her email. Even during lunch. After work, she wants to be available for people because she feels like she is an in-between and that she doesn't want to slow things down. There's a lot of time dependent work projects, maybe it's fundraising money. That she feels that she needs to be responsive before. She doesn't want to let anyone down. And she, you know, she feels like if she doesn't answer that. Not only will it slow things down, but that. They won't, they won't like it. And they might think that she's not doing the best job possible. Of course. This creates a lot of pressure. Creates a lot of stress. There's a lot of worry happening all day long. If she's not on, on her email then, or like, she's going to a lunch with a friend and she puts it on, do not disturb. She's still thinking about it. It goes on a vacation, instead of totally signing out from work. There's like in the background in her brain, she's worried about it. She might sneak off her email in times that she said that she wouldn't. So, Sigourney has a very hard time disengaging with work. And other people also expect that from her, they've become used to her being available. And so if it's 10:00 PM at night and they have a thought or a problem, they will reach out to her. They'll email her, they'll send her a message. So. Really Sigourney has very little boundaries. She's very reactive to other people's needs. Thus in that reactivity, it takes away her focus from other responsibilities that she has often reducing her effectiveness to get it done. So it takes a long time to do things. It's very scattered. It's very, very stressful. Often things don't get done. And often she doesn't ask for help. She doesn't really share what's going on, how she's thinking, how she's feeling. She doesn't ask for support. Instead. She just decides to just going to work late, just going to get it done. She's going to work on the weekends. And you know, as an introvert, she is often very intellectually engaged in overthinking. Kind of isolating herself within her experience. And often underneath all of this, there is a layer. Of not enoughness. Feeling like her worth is based on her ability to please people to be responsive. The lack of boundaries is a way to ensure that other people are happy so that she can received their approval. So she becomes very concerned with how people react. And. Ahead of time, often really thinking about how people are going to be reacting. So she'll spend a lot of time on communication, a lot of time trying to get things just right. And this creates so much stress that a lot of extra time. And when this kind of pattern happens over time, it definitely leads to burnout. So let us then help Sigourney. But before we do. If you're connecting with this. Take a deep breath and. Just notice how that feels. Let's see if you can find some sense of acceptance of like, okay, this is where I'm at. This is what is, and zero judgement. But really, really good to know. Because when you see it, then you can change it. So our first technique to help Sigourney, to help you, is to be in charge of your own experience of work. This means getting away from this idea of you show up to work and you are beholden to everything there to the way that the culture is and the time expectations and so on and so forth. But rather to ask yourself questions, like, what do I need to work best? How do I work best? do I need a quiet space with an office so that I can focus? Versus having an open seating plan? Do I need to have fully in office so that I have accountability and focus? Or do I need to have some days at home? Right. Asking yourself questions like, okay, what's not working well with this current setup with this current situation? Not from a place of judging it and then complaining about it every night to your partner, but from a place of genuine curiosity. It's seeking answers, seeking solutions, what is not working well? What could I try? What could I do differently? How do I need to be supported? This might be support from people. This might mean delegating. This might mean in your environment, setting up your body so that you have a more ergonomic desk. Or having a walking desk. Maybe it means having a nap every day. You get to decide. And be brave because when you are honest with yourself, And when you can come up with answers for these. Then you have, then you can make different decisions. You can do what you can within your. How do I say this? You can decide there's some things that you can do without talking to other people. But there are some things where you're going to want to communicate to other people. And you can ask, you can advocate for yourself. But in order to do that, you need to know what you, what do you need first? So be in charge of your own experience, be curious, be loving. Approach it with a growth mindset. Second technique is to have clear boundaries around your time. So for Sigourney, in our example, She needs boundaries around her email. What I would suggest. And of course, you know, within what is appropriate for the company. Or for her organization is to have a specific times for email, say eight 30 to nine. 1130 to 12 and three to three 30. She creates, essentially office hours. She puts that in her email signature. She tells everybody about that. She has an auto reply on, so people know what to expect. And then those are the only times she engages with email. Of course, if there's an emergency, that's fine. So what that does is allows her then to have the rest of her time to do. The third technique, which is focused times. Focus time is when you take a look at the work that you have to do. And you organize it into chunks. By priority. So you determine what is the per top priority task like for today? And how much time do I need for that? Then you work on that for The amount of time, allotted half an hour to two hours or whatever it is. And you work on only that. Everything else on your computer is closed. There's nothing that's going to distract you. Your phone is on, do not disturb. You've got a sign on your door that says, you know, do not disturb come back during my, you know, specific hours. You've very clear about your focus time. So what this will do is enable you to get so much more done. You'll get the important things done. You won't be distracted and like responding to everyone else's problems, but you'll be able to be in your best, do your best work. Along with this is technique number four, which is to build in breaks. I like to think about efforts and ease that when we are being productive, it's like a sign wave. So that top part of the sign wave where it's like a nice round hill. When you're at your peak, you're at the top of that hill and you're very focused. You're getting a lot done, but there's a natural waning. And if you follow the natural cycle, it's going to go down, down, down to dip and in that dip is where you relax, where you replenish, where your body goes from a state of stress to a state of relaxation. And in that state it builds its energy reserves. It builds its ojas, which is Sanskrit word we use Ayurveda for vital energy. And when you build that sufficiently, then you have the battery, then you have the power to move back into another cycle of productivity. Now, breaks, you can think about them in terms of a day, a week, a month. The sine cycle, this wave, it happens on all different scales. So for example in the morning time, say it's a work day. You could build in a break after your focus time. Maybe it's five minutes, 10 minutes to get up, go to the bathroom, walk around the building, do some stretching. And then come back and do another focus time or do your email. Or maybe you use lunch as your downtime. And this means, instead of engaging with your phone or your computer, you might go out and have lunch in your car beside a lake. And then go out and have a walk or have a nap. It does something that you really disengage. You can really relax. It's almost like a mini vacation. Looking at a week, you can think about planning more intense activities, intensive work and interspersing them with times of easy work. And then also throwing in some bonus, afternoons off to go watch your kid at a baseball game or go get your nails done. Right. Something fun, bringing some fun to break up that productive energy. Because in our culture, we tend to think that when we're looking at that sign wave, when we get up to that peak, like, okay, that's where we want to stay forever. Right. That that's the good place. That's the only place we should be at in our work. When in reality, like we are human beings on that cycle. And when we try to push ourselves to stay up in that productive cycle, it takes more and more energy. And it creates more stress. And when you do that consistently over the long haul, you create burnout. Technique number five is to create ritual. The ritual. Is really any activity that helps you to connect to yourself or to a greater mission or a greater power. And gives the work sense of meaning or grounded-ness. And. Oftentimes. It gives the work. Like, it's not just. Every work. Isn't everything like you are coming to work as a whole human and original is a way to help you stay connected to that. So, and it can be something very simple. Like when you start your Workday. You have a crystal or a picture of your family. And before you turn your computer on you put one hand on your belly, one on your heart and look at your family. Connect with them with love. Take three deep breaths and connect with yourself. And how you want to show up. Today. No matter what happens. Connect to love, connect to service. Maybe you have a mantra. Whatever it is. And then you go about your day. Or. Let's say you are an HR person and today's the day that you need to fire someone. So before you speak to them, you might have a little moment where you connect with yourself, with your intention, your. Be like you're well-wishing for that person, you connect to whatever needs you need to, to be strong and. Make the interaction the best possible. And then afterwards you have a ritual to clear the energy to help you transition to the next thing that you're doing that day. So it can be very simple. Okay. So. Last. But not least. Is number six, technique number six. Is have a self sufficient mindset. Create confidence for yourself. Don't depend on the opinions of your coworkers or your boss to feel good about your work. Don't feel beholden to their opinions, to their needs. In order for you to feel that you're doing a good job. No, of course you have responsibilities within your role. But it's really up to you to show up. And know how to show up in a way that you are fulfilling it to your best capacity. And people will, of course always try to like with the email example, like if they're emailing you, if they have bad email habits, they want you to respond. But if you decide not to, and they don't like it. When you have a self-sufficient mindset, it's not a problem. Right because you know, that it's for the best. For you and probably for them too. You're setting an example. When you're not requiring your work to help you feel like you're enough. Then it puts you in a position where. You don't need to worry so much about others' opinions. You don't need to spend so much time. Crafting the perfect email or essentially people pleasing. Cause you're okay with other people having their opinions. They don't need to like you to work well together. But the thing is when you are showing up with confidence, the confidence that comes from within. The relationships that you have in your work are going to be healthier. They're going to be based on you being your empowered version of yourself. And isn't that just so much better. So to have a self-sufficient mindset. I'm a coach. So my number one suggestion is that you do self coaching or of course, work with a coach or work with me. But that this is a practice that you do on a daily basis. It's a practice that I've done on a daily basis for many years, because I need it. Right. My default is self doubt. And in order to stay in a self-confident in place I just do a little bit of coaching. Sometimes it takes like 30 seconds and I feel myself confidence. I feel connected to vision. I feel connected to my power. And then I show up in my work from that place. All right. Those are the six techniques to help you feel better at work. When you feel better, you're probably gonna do more. Or maybe less, if you take more time for yourself, but you're going to be more productive. If you want some help with this with helping you to create better work, I have a worksheet called wildly successful at work that walks you through questions to help you create a strategy to feel better at work. And that strategy can include these techniques here. But there's more work that you can do to identify exactly which techniques do you want to incorporate. The ones that are really going to be the most effective for you. I've put a link in the show notes for that guide, that strategy guide, and you can visit my website. It's right now, At the very top of every page, pretty much you can click the link and get the download. All right friends. We did it. I think that this is shorter than the original one, so awesome. I love the, the brevity do things two times and it gets even better. So, thank you so much for joining. If you have any requests for topics, please let me know. Next week is my 10th episode, which was my original goal is to create 10 to start. And then from there, just keep on building. So thank you so much for tuning in and I will see you next time.