Tag Archives: focus

Leave the Drama at Home: Personal Issues and Your Day at the Office

369014983_153e8b24e6_mOne of the biggest challenges young career women face is leaving their personal lives away from the office. Up until your first job, it’s totally normal to vent to everyone around you about the breakup you are going through with your boyfriend, the fight you are in with your best friend, or how rough you are feeling from going out last night. Unfortunately this type of talk is not well suited for most work environments if you are hoping to be seen as a leader and a professional.

It is inevitable that we are all going to go through rough patches at home or in our personal lives. The challenge is not bringing it to the office. Going through some of these things for the first time in Corporate America myself was difficult and taught me some important lessons about balancing personal issues with your job.

First, there will be good days and bad days. The bad days are REALLY bad, and you may feel like you can barely function at work. This may mean catching up on filing or organizing to stay active. Make sure you aren’t doing something that requires tons of “brain power” or attention to detail if you are having a terrible day, because chances are you are distracted and will make some big mistakes, leading to more stress later.

Second, don’t recruit your co-workers to participate in conversation about your personal drama. Women often feel healing through talking about what is bothering them. Unfortunately, this is usually not ideal while at work. Not only do you look stupid, but it’s a waste of time and eventually everyone is going to get sick of hearing the latest update of what’s going on. Soon enough your co-workers will start avoiding you like the plague, consider you immature and unfocused.

Third, as tempting as it is to email your friends and family about how you are feeling all day, you are better off closing that personal email and focusing on work. Why? Because nothing is going to change by 5pm. Also, the more you start emailing, the more you get sucked in. Time will vanish; you will be behind on your work and worse off from where you started. Before you know it, your bosses and clients are upset with you for things you forgot to do thanks to your emailing spree, and you feel even more stressed out and upset then you did to begin with.

Lastly, do nice things for your self to get through the day. For me, this means getting a manicure at lunch, stopping at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on the way to work, or taking a walk at lunch. If you’re going through a breakup, remember to think about all the movies that feature girls who went through bad breakups and then ended up better off for it (Legally Blonde, The Holiday).

If you’re going through something personal, no one expects you to be perfect. It’s inevitable that people have bad days. Just try your best to put a smile on and stay as focused as you can. If things get really terrible, it may be best to take a day off to clear your head. The last thing you want is for your co-workers or superiors to think that you are incapable of doing a good job at what you were hired to do.

Make it a Great Week!

Happy Monday!  Today is the start of the last full week before many of us go out of town for the rest of the year, which means it has to be a super productive week at the office.  I’m sure many of you feel the heat of hitting Q4 goals, tying out the year end financial statements, or dealing with clients who need extra attention at this time of year. 

Thanks to a few of my Twitter friends, here are some tips to help you rock your week so you can enjoy the Holidays without feeling guilty.  Thanks Zach, Allie and Jessica

·        Take some time to plan out this week’s task and project list on Monday morning so you have a clear vision for the week.  Clear up any issues from last week so you have a fresh start.

·        Avoid spending too much time on high maintenance clients who are a detour to your productivity.

·        Put your Crackberry away.

·        Take advantage of Tuesday.  It is said to be the most productive work day of the week.

·        Don’t check your personal email first thing in the morning.  All those forwards, you tube videos and interesting articles may end up wasting hours of your day without you even noticing.

·        Work your day in blocks.  Close your email and send calls to voicemail if possible to focus on the tasks at hand.  Give yourself a limited amount of time to finish a task and move on.  This is especially great if you work well under pressure or have a case of ADHD like me!  You can look forward to the small break after that time period is up and be proud of yourself for actually finishing something before jumping around to the next.

·        Have a great attitude.  Research shows that productive workers are happy workers.  You will feel much better when you just get it done than you will when you put things off.