How to Deal with “To Do” List Overwhelm

relaxed-at-work-feet-up-250Most of you know I was laid off from day job in 2011 and been helping small business owners develop their core values, improve their sales pages and create amazing product launches. The business has been going well, but there are struggles too. Last week my son was sick and I had to keep him home with me. Every hour of work time is precious to me, but like any family man with strong family values my son comes first.

He stayed home with me last Tuesday and Wednesday. He broke his fever on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon he was back to his happy self.

On Wednesday night I looked at my “to do” list that had piled up. I felt behind. Overwhelmed. I felt this panicky feeling bubbling up inside me. You probably know that I like to call this my “arch nemesis”. That little negative inner voice that tries to scare the heck out of me every chance he gets.

Take Back Control

Instead of letting my arch nemesis take over I looked at where this stress was coming from. I began to feel like I didn’t choose to stay at home with my son. This made me feel even worse. I was lying to myself to motivate myself to be more focused. It wasn’t working. I was freaking out. I couldn’t focus.

As you know fear isn’t a very good motivator or at least too much of it is bad. There is a difference between good stress (Eustress) and overwhelming stress (distress).

I had a little chat with my arch nemesis. We went for a short walk.

I needed to readjust my attitude. Taking 15 minutes out of my day to do this saved me from wasting hours of work worrying instead of actually getting something accomplished.

Conversation with My Arch Nemesis

Me: “It’s ok to feel behind.”

Arch nemesis: “No it’s not. You have 100 things to do to take your business to the next level.”

Me: “I agree, but who is more important my “little dude” or the work?

Arch nemesis: “I hear you, but…what about the blog post, client call and proposal that you have to do today?”

Me: “They are all at the top of my list. I’ll get it done. I have 4 hours. If you ease up on my a little bit I’ll be able to get a lot more done.”

Arch Nemesis: “Ok, what about the first draft of the landing page you have to write?”

Me: “Number 4 on my list and I’ll get it done. I can only do one thing at a time.”

Arch Nemesis: “Hmmm, what about your ebook that you wanted to outline?”

Me: “That’s going to have to wait until tomorrow.”

Arch Nemesis: “What?! But you were so looking forward to it and once it’s done you can get started on it and that’s going to really help level you up.”

Me: “I know, but we did what was right. Our little dude needed us. Right?”

My Arch Nemesis puts his head down in defeat.

Arch Nemesis: “Ok, you promise to work on it for at least an hour tomorrow?”

Me: “I promise.”

After our conversation was over I felt much better.

It’s amazing what a walk with your inner arch nemesis can do to improve your perspective.

Your Turn

What do you do to bring your “To Do” anxiety back under control?

Why 86% of People Are Looking for a New Job This Year

how-to-be-happy-at-work86% of people who have a job right now will be looking for a better job, according to Inc magazine.

Why will you be looking for a new job this year?

Because you don’t feel appreciated, that of course makes you feel unhappy.

You aren’t appreciated because you don’t have enough leverage at work. You haven’t been able to carve out a niche – a place in your company where you are the “go to” person to solve certain problems. This could be because your core values and your company’s core values aren’t in sync. This happens and figuring out how to realign your needs with your company’s will help level up your career.

Becoming a “go to” person at your company isn’t easy, but when this happens you feel needed, appreciated and useful.

That’s what a great career gives you.
[Read more…]

The Simple 5-Step Method to Having More Energy At Work

high-energy-300Some people will tell you “Just have a cup of coffee” when you are feeling tired. This may help for a short while, but the coffee only masks whatever underlying issues you may be having.

You may not feel a connection to your work like you once did. You may not be getting enough sleep. There are many reasons why you may be struggling with your energy level at work.

The key is to look for the underlying issues.

Last week 3 pm struck and I had hit a wall. I literally couldn’t even see straight.

I knew something wasn’t right. Usually I can work late into the day without feeling tired at all.

Then I realized that I hadn’t taken my short walk. I was so busy trying to get stuff accomplished that I forgot my walk.

I jumped up and went for my short walk, but it was too late. My routine was thrown out of whack and I never recovered.
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Jeez! Baby Steps! BABY STEPS!

baby-steps-croppedSometimes I feel like I need to scream at myself. I’ve always been tough on myself and it’s a big reason I started Work Happy Now back in 2008. I wanted to research and test out ideas that helped me become happier and more productive.

I know getting mad at myself doesn’t solve anything. It’s just such an ingrained habit that’s hard to break.Every now and again it sneaks back in. Then I take a deep breath and tell myself it’s up to me to create more positive habits.

So I’ve been taking more time to apply Active Relaxation to my workday. I also tell my clients don’t compare yourself to others, take baby steps and enjoy the process. I haven’t been doing any of these things. I’ve been beating myself up by letting my arch nemesis dictate my happiness.

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The One Secret Guys Don’t Use in an Interview

big-smile-girlYou’ve probably walked into an interview ready to answer any question that they can throw at you. You are focused and ready to land the job.

This post is geared to guys because women are usually much better at doing this one thing in an interview. Although a lot of them do make the same mistake.

As the interview is moving right along you realize that you are doing a great job. They seem to like your answers.

After the interview is over they shake your hand. You just know you are going to get that call back.

As you replay the interview over in your head you are happy with the results.

Then a few days go by, a week and nothing.

What did you do wrong?

You didn’t…
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How to Turn Rejections into Inspiration

fire-works-castleEditor’s note: This is a guest post from Jess of Hack My Modern Lifestyle.

Have you ever had times in your life when you found it hard to get up after being rejected?

Being rejected is difficult to handle in any capacity in life. Whether it is in your love life, social life, or work life, rejection often hits hard, and can sometimes knocks the wind out of your sails. Rejection in the work place has a special kind of sting to it, while rejections in relationships or social life are full of emotion.

Finding a way through rejection is not always easy because the reason for the rejection can sometimes be biting. Even comprehending “feeling better” immediately following a rejection can be difficult. This inability to feel better immediately is a normal reaction, and it can actually be a great moment of clarity for the individual.
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Freedom at Work is Relative

feeling-freeSo many of my friends complain about the restrictions that work puts on them. They have to come in at a certain time, they don’t have the resources to make their projects successful or their co-workers are difficult. They don’t see how these obstacles are windows into their ability to feel happy.

I do the same thing.

When you work for someone else or yourself there will be restrictions within your day. Your co-worker might ask for your help right in the middle of working on your own project or you might get a phone call.

It’s how you handle your restrictions, distractions and difficulties that will really support your happiness.
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Top 10 Greatest Career Development Quotes

quote-of-week-500Quotes have been a constant inspiration to my life. It’s one of the reasons I started Work Happy Now. At first I was afraid to start a blog. Would anyone even care what I have to say? It turns out that they do. If I never read the #2 quote on this list who knows if this blog would even be alive today.

Quotes help steer my thoughts into a positive direction when I’m letting my arch nemesis dictate my happiness.

I compiled some of my favorite business quotes to help inspire you. There are a lot of entrepreneurs that give up on being happy at work. They think if they just work really hard and ignore everything else, it will be ok. They are missing the point. We are put on this earth to do great things, but we can’t sacrifice our health and happiness in the process.

I don’t care if you work for yourself or for someone else, work dictates a huge portion of our happiness. It’s up to each of us to make our working lives happy so that we can make the biggest impact possible for as long as possible.

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Stop Ordering Yourself Around

relaxed-at-work-coach-250Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Mike Bundrant of iNLP.

“Do it, Mike! Just do it! Stop your whining and get off your butt!”

This is how I used to motivate myself. I carried around an inner high school football coach to bark at me whenever he thought I was slacking. The problem was, I constantly stressed myself out. Worse, half the time I “rebelled” against this inner dictator and became passive aggressive toward my own goals. How’s that for nutty?

Patterns

Actually, this is a common pattern. A “dictator” style of motivation has an undermining effect in the long run. Most people don’t like to be ordered around. In the workplace it leads to low morale and a low productivity, high-turnover workforce. Dictator-style parents tend to divide families and create harsh rivalries in the home. Ordering yourself around leads to the number one killer of personal development goals: self-sabotage.

Think about it. To your mind and body, a harsh, loud voice ordering you around is jarring, regardless of the source. You respond with stress and resistance whether from an outsider imposing his will or you imposing your will upon yourself. In the end, your brain experiences the commands in a similar fashion. Your mind places a lot less emphasis on the origin of an experience than you may think. All of us can make our mouths water just by imagining a delectable dessert. We’ve all reacted with fear to inner thoughts that had no basis in external reality. Ordering yourself around is being ordered around, period. Chances are, you don’t like it and will shut down, refusing to take any action at all.

The stress and resistance of dictatorial self-motivation is an expressway to self-sabotage. “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do!” is the common response to inappropriate commands, even when those commands are self-generated. It’s a perfect set up.

A New Way

Zen Motivation changes all this. The need to bark orders and force yourself to do things doesn’t even arise in a Zen motivation state. Motivating yourself to do things, even unpleasant things, is a normal part of living and comes quite naturally when in a more Zen-like state, connected to the present moment. Do this exercise and see what I mean.

1. Consider one thing that you need to motivate yourself to do, such as exercise, pull weeds, meet with a difficult colleague, and so forth. If you can, write down the name of the task in the middle of a piece of paper (if you have a pen and paper).

2. Become aware how you would typically motivate yourself to do this and write down (if you can) the thoughts and feelings that come next. For example, “Get it done!” or “Let’s move!” or “I just have to get this done!” or “Come on, Mike!” or (feelings, too) “Tension in chest and shoulders.” Write freely for a minute or so and don’t censor yourself.

3. Just clear your mind for a few moments. Shake it off.

4. Forget everything and enter a more present, grounded state by tuning into a mundane sound, such as the sound of distant traffic, the hum of your computer (or the white noise of a fan, refrigerator, running water, etc…). Don’t do anything else or try to relax – just tune into the sound. Keep listening for a minute or more, until you feel settled.

5. When you feel more settled, reconsider the task you need to get done. Write it down on a clean sheet of paper and notice the thoughts and feelings that come to your mind and body. Do you notice the difference? In this more calm state, what words can you choose to gently motivate yourself? How much easier is it to avoid ordering yourself around while you are feeling more settled and connected to the outside world?

For managers, the key to motivating employees rests with the quality of the relationship – how well do they treat their employees? Likewise, the key to motivating yourself is correlated with how well you treat yourself. Zen motivation allows you to motivate yourself from a more grounded, connected state. When you do, your tendency to order yourself around will vanish and your productivity will increase. Best of all, you’ll be respecting yourself more.

Mike Bundrant is an NLP trainer with the iNLP Center. Visit iNLP for a free personal development mini course and learn more about the Zen Motivation Twitter Party.

Image courtesy of phoeric.

Be the Rabbit with Focus

tortoise-hareAlmost everyone loves the story of the tortoise and the hare. It’s a classic.

I hate it!

It’s too limiting.

If everyone thinks of themselves at the tortoise, nothing would get done. Yes, I understand the story’s concept. If you stick with something you’ll win the marathon in the end.

The rabbit has the superpower of speed and that’s great, but like any great strength he lacks passion and focus. This is where I actually love the book.

Yes, I admit. I love the book too!
[Read more…]

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