When things are spiralling out of control, and one bad thing seems to trigger 5 other bad things, how do we find the positives in this situation?
Well, this happened to me last week – here are a few of my negative experiences:
- Someone failed to finish a piece of work so an important deadline was missed
- Something was more complicated than it looked and took 3 times longer than allocated
- Developer says we cannot remove the code we don’t like, leaving us with a feature we don’t want
- Users are complaining that the invoicing is wrong and there’s a whole paper trail that has to be put right
- Someone else has failed to get the purchase order they were supposed to get, so something can’t be approved by the sponsor, and sponsors have now gone on holiday for three weeks.
You know, when you have this kind of day, it is a big leap to start appreciating the positives! However, I think that we can get something positive out of it – we can take time out to do things that make us feel good.
We all have different preferences for how we like to work and the type of work that we enjoy. When things are going wrong, we can spiral into pessimism and anxiety. To give ourselves a boost, we need the happiness, satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment that doing things we like and we are good at can give us.
Think about the things you find easy and satisfying – they might not be the most important tasks, but taking a short break to accomplish some of them can turn you from feeling overwhelmed to feeling in control.
My own “go-to” tasks involve planning because I am the type of person that gets comfort from knowing what needs to be done and in what order it is going to be done. I take 5 minutes to brainstorm my packing list for my next business trip or a list of all the things I need to ask the builder to fix in my house.
Another of my “go-to” tasks is tidying things up – I might take 5 minutes to delete a lot of emails that I no longer need or action all the pieces of paper on my desk.
Find the tasks that give you a sense of achievement, and include them in your working day to enable you to enjoy your day and stay positive. For more ideas, read this paper or join my resilience webinar on Wednesday, May 17th.