Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Show Up Fully And Share Your Limits

One of the tragedies of modern life is the way it fragments our attention. We are almost never completely present in anything we do. There are a dozen things on our minds and a bevy of blinking and beeping devices to make sure we stay frazzled and fractured. We bring work home with us, and we bring the concerns of home to work. As a result, everything suffers. Nothing gets our full attention.

Make a pledge to turn that around.

First and foremost, make a pledge to fully show up wherever you are. When you’re at work, be at work—100 percent. When you’re at home, be at home. Both work and home will benefit from your full attention. Schedule “free days” where you do not think about work. You need that restorative time so that you “focus days” at work can create powerful results with limited time.

At work—turn off the cell phone and don’t turn it back on again until after work. Studies show that people who have their cell phones on are 40 percent less productive than those who turn them off.

And when at work—work. Complaining to your teammates that you’re overwhelmed is not work. Stopping to chat with your neighbor is not work. Often people who are overwhelmed are just not focused. Put in a solid day’s work and then go home relaxed knowing you were powerfully productive.

And set definite limits on work done at home. Sometimes bringing work home is unavoidable. But when it becomes a norm to work through the evening, you are sapping your energy and reducing your productivity.

Finally, share your planned limits with those around you. If you’ve decided not to work after 7 pm, tell your spouse and the kids. They’ll hold you to it! It will force you to be more productive prior to that time.

Kindness

Author Sam Parker knows the power of kindness for business. A company in which employees take action to make things better for each other and for their customers is a company that works. It’s a company that ends up with a healthy and productive culture. And that means profit.

He calls it the Smile & Move principle.

It’s about going above and beyond to find ways to make a bigger difference for teammates, bosses, and customers, to practice random acts of kindness.

As a bonus, nothing boosts your own self-esteem as much as doing kind things for other people.

Our day is full of choices. Every time something doesn’t go right, you have a kind way and an unkind way to handle it. Your character is revealed by how you make those choices, time after time. Choose kindness. It costs you nothing, and in fact, those around you are more likely to reciprocate when you make the kind choice.

Everybody wins!

Exceeding the minimum

It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing just what’s required and no more. I mean, if they wanted more, they would have asked for it, right?

Sure.

Perhaps stop thinking about it as having a job. You don’t have a job. Instead, you have responsibilities. And if you want to keep that job, you need to meet and exceed those responsibilities. That is the game.

But let me ask you this: Do you pay the minimum amount due on your credit cards each month? If you do, you might want to take a close look at your next statement. Give the minimum and it can take seven or ten or twelve years to pay off the balance.

But if you pay MORE than the minimum, you’ll polish it off in a fraction of that time—and pay a whole lot less.

Now apply the same logic to your job. If you’re just doing the minimum, you might be digging yourself a hole. If you think it’s okay to have your coat on at 4:59 every afternoon, for example, you might be the first one out the door in a way you DON’T want.

Instead, make a point of exceeding the requirements of your job. Blowing past expectations is the best way to make yourself irreplaceable.

Building renewal into the day

Business author Tony Schwartz has spent fifteen years looking at the American workplace, so he knows that engagement is always a struggle. But the latest numbers even took him by surprise.

70% of workers say they lack time for creative or strategic thinking. Two-thirds say they can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. And nearly as many say they never have time for the things they enjoy most in their work. The urgent, he said, overwhelms the important on a daily basis.

The solution is to take control of your boundaries. There are no finish lines any more in American business. We are going all the time. But research shows that being relentlessly “on” diminishes productivity, creativity, and focus.

Turn off your devices and don’t reply to emails in the evening or on most weekends. Encourage others to do the same so it becomes the norm at your company.

If you have control over your break schedule, short breaks every 90 minutes DRAMATICALLY increase focus and productivity, much more than a single long lunch break.

Do what you can to work smarter, not harder, and the results will speak for themselves.

Want to succeed?

Stop blaming the outside world

Jim Harter at Gallup was recently asked what successful organizations have in common. The answer might surprise you.

It isn’t huge financial resources. It isn’t charismatic leaders. It isn’t perfect products or services.

Sure, these things help. But it turns out these are not the deciding factors in success. So what is?

It’s a refusal of employees at every level to use the economy, or any outside circumstances, as an excuse for failure.

The economy will ebb and flow. That’s a guarantee. And across all industries, Harter has found that those companies taking the lows as an excuse to fail are much more likely TO fail than those who, as he puts it, “just leaned into it a bit more.”

Just a bit more!

A recession or tough economy can get into your head like a cancer. And once you have that excuse, it’s easy to let yourself fall short of success.

But if you want to join the winners, don’t find excuses outside of yourself. Meet the inevitable challenges, and lean in!