Bloom where you're Planted

Ever find yourself daydreaming at work... looking at Pinterest for Friday night outfit inspirations, scanning Facebook for a notable headline to discuss over lunch, or tagging your credit card expenses from the night before so they fall into the right budget categories... (or maybe that last one is just me... I LOVE doing that!).  

We all do it. We use the minutes or hours of our workday on personal matters. Sure, the work / life balance concept is more blurred these days - there are real reasons we need to use work-time to handle personal things (like doctor appointments, phone calls from the kids, etc...). No big deal. But what does it mean if these 'day dreaming' things are a form of procrastination?

If it's procrastination, why are we stalling? Is it because we disagree with what needs to get done? We don't like our boss? We are bored with the job tasks? We feel we are under paid or under appreciated? We cannot stand our co-workers? Or maybe it's on us - that we're so severely behind on a deadline that we just keep putting off the inevitable.

Whatever the reason, there are things we can do to overcome the barrier and find some relief - or energy - to power through the day and get that sh*t done!

With inspirations coming via Twitter and Facebook this week on a variety of angles to this theme, here are my top 5 key things to think about the next time you find yourself daydreaming:

1. Assess the relative importance of the Daydream
If the distraction is something time sensitive or serious, then give yourself the time and space to handle it. Carve out the time on your calendar, plan your steps, get organized, and then tell your boss. [What??!!  Yes - tell him/her!] Let him or her know that you have to handle something at home and how much time you'll need. Take paid-time off (PTO) if more than 4 hours or else work with your boss to flex the time throughout the rest of the week. Hopefully, your boss will understand and you'll be able to handle it so you can get back to focusing at work.

2. Identify what bores you
Take a moment to reflect on what about the job is boring to you. Try to think of these things in large chunks that I'll refer to as "tasks". Write down each task on a list. Then, next to each one, write down a rough percentage of time that that task is required of you on a quarterly or annual basis (ball park numbers). Now go back and add them up. Consider taking action according to the grid below. [Disclaimer - these are merely suggestions; what you do with this information is totally up to you :) ]

0-20% The tasks are not significant enough to require a change. Decide to continue doing the tasks as they are but adopt a more positive attitude or turn it into a game so your brain doesn't turn numb.

20-40% The tasks take up enough time to be a nuisance. Consider ways you can change the work so that it takes less time or find someone else to do it. Be creative in how you think about the work and/or consider the bigger purpose and if it's still even needed. Discuss your ideas with your boss for help and other inspiration.

40-80% Yikes - I'd be building new Pinterest boards if I were in your shoes. Nothing more annoying than 40-60% of your workday on meaningless tasks. Consider holding a conversation with your boss about the larger responsibilities of your job and if there's room to shift them, off-board them, take on other responsibilities, and/or find another role within your company. If the job truly requires repetitive, seemingly meaningless tasks that you have to do, then consider how to shift your mindset or else make it into a game. Heck, maybe ask your co-workers to join in to either compete or else hold you accountable to daily improvements.

80-100% Find a new job. Either they're working on a way to give your job to a robot or else you'll die of boredom.

3. Adjust your Expectations on Appreciation
Appreciation and recognition at work is a HOT topic right now. Just look at Globoforce's WorkHuman movement (one of the best conferences I've ever attended, by the way...). There's significant reasons why companies and HR Leaders should be adjusting their overall recognition plans and strategies. With recent research one workplace dynamics, human motivation and brain science, there are new options that are really exciting and truly impactful for any person in most workplaces.

However, what if we approached work with an entirely new attitude - that we do it to get paid, to do a good job, and to go home - not for the recognition. What if we totally released our workplaces of the expectation that they need to recognize us for our work and just do a good job - regardless. How freeing would that be? How much less frustrated would we be? Consider it and try it.. see how it goes.

4. Adjust your perspective on your co-workers
Similar with #3, what if we looked at our co-workers as an opportunity to sharpen our skills in working with different types of people... versus an expectation that we would all get along or that our cube mates should be our best friends. How would that change our perspective or how we relate to the people we see each day? Give this a try and sharpen your skills while you're at it.

5. Book the time to finish that Project
Okay, so you're behind. It happens. And you're likely not the only one. But how you respond from this point forward matters. So put away your phone, open those emails, and reengage in the project. Get back to where you left off and start writing down the questions you have. Next, find 1-2 people who can help you get those questions answered. And then get to work. Maybe you don't have to have all the answers and can ask those same people to help you out with the task. Maybe you can ask for a deadline extension. Or maybe the goals have changed since you last checked in on this project, so perhaps go back to the person(s) who need this work from you and clarify expectations. Whatever you do, the action is what will get you moving in a positive direction and who knows - perhaps you'll find that it wasn't so terrible after all.

Overall, in every situation, we always have the choice in how we respond. So consider these options and look for more inspiration in Twitter and Facebook this week to get more ideas in how to make the most of the job you're in!

#ChooseGreatWork #WorkHappy

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