This isn't the typical type of post you might find on Distilled’s blog. I’ve always been a glass half full person but the honest answer is that my positive attitude is a result of listening, learning, testing and being open to the world. I’m going to give you my approach to being positive at work.
It didn’t happen overnight; it took time and practice. You’ve got to want to be positive!
The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.Roy T. Bennett
I’m going to tell you the things I do, hopefully, you’ll want to try a few!
Meditation, gathering your thoughts, visualization - or whatever you want to call it, I’ve found giving yourself time to consider what you want out of a day, every day really helps you be productive!
Try this: every morning spend between 5 to 20 minutes visualising what you need to do, yourself doing it and completing it like a dress rehearsal in your head. Think of it as creating a game plan of what you want to achieve that day!
Meditation calms me, enabling me to focus on specific challenges. I’ve found it particularly useful when I’ve got a big challenge on or if something unexpected happens. A few minutes of considered focus breaks the tunnel vision and opens your mind to answers you may not have thought of.
Considering what you want to get out of day sounds so simple, and it is. The trick is to keep doing it!
Be positively direct!
Don’t beat about the bush, the best way to get things done is to be clear, concise and direct.
Being direct with people will help them respond to your need precisely, saving you both time.
Try this: refine how you ask for help on projects, for the information you need or, in fact, for anything at all. Be brief, to the point and make sure what you’ve requested is understood.
Be respectful of others time, understand they have things that are a priority to them, inform them what you need (even offer to send a bullet point email after you’ve had the chat) and say thank you! This isn’t easy but I’ve found that being polite and saying “I know you’re busy” shows you understand their position, opening them up to the conversation. Even if they can’t help you there and then, it starts the conversation and you’ll be surprised how often the person you asked responds without you having to chase them.
Don’t pester people either, that's just annoying!
This is an obvious one right. I’ve found a few good manners go a long way, and that doesn’t just apply to the workplace!
I know everyone is always in a rush and has ‘stuff’ to do but it takes 10 seconds to open a door for a stranger or compliment a barista on their nice shirt that day. Manners show you have respect for others. Being pleasant, showing you have time for others and doing that nice thing for someone all leads to one outcome, you’ll be liked!
I always go the extra mile for people I like and if people like you they’ll do the same. Getting things done becomes much easier if people see you as a nice person. Remember to be genuine and authentic, people know when you’re being nice just because you want something.
Try this: ask how people are, how their days going and listen. You’ll be remembered for the person you were long after your work is forgotten.
Side note, please do you’re best to be the best version of you, too many people don’t find the time just to say thank you!
How would you feel?
“I feel like X”, “I think Y”, “I need Z”. Notice the ‘I’.
Do you consider things from the other person's point of view?
The ability to show people you understand their viewpoint is invaluable; it helps resolve disagreements, identify quick solutions and gets things done smoothly and efficiently.
Try this: when tackling a problem together, ask the other person what they think is the best way forward and why they think that. And really listen to what they say. You’ll find you become more open to suggestions and discover solutions you may not have thought of. You’re likely to get a positive resolution more quickly.
Looking at life from the other person's point of view is a fantastic self-education tool and teaches you to build rapport. This leads to you being able to connect with people easier, in a positive way that encourages others to share with you more freely. If you’re open to others, they’ll be open to you too.!
What did I learn from that bullshit?
“I’m so glad that bullshit is done” or “I’m so happy I don’t have to work with that idiot again”. Sound familiar?
In every situation, good or bad, look for a learning. You may already do this, in which case hats off to you; the ability to look for positives helps you to reinforce a positive mindset. You can learn from your shortcomings.
Try this: ask for feedback on where you went wrong or why you didn’t win a project. If you can identify what you’re doing wrong then you can take action to correct it. You turn a negative to a positive by taking this learning on board to improve next time.
Take a break, have a coffee
Ok, you don’t have to have a coffee (although being a caffeine addict I would advise it). Have a biscuit, go for a walk, just do something to take a break.
If you can focus on a solid 8-hour working day please email me and explain to me how. Some people can focus for hours, others bursts of 30 minutes. I focus for 45 minutes to an hour before my mind wanders. By breaking my day up into periods of focus and resetting I’ve become more efficient and maintain my positive attitude.
When I meditate in the morning I break my day into sections, e.g send emails, write a proposal, call with a client and so on. In between these tasks I may walk around the office for a few minutes or make a coffee, this helps me to wind down from my last task. When I return to my computer I’m fresh and ready to go again.
Through creating clear breakpoints between tasks, you can generate a sense of achievement (task is done) and give yourself a mental refresh boost. If you have a mammoth task, break it down into smaller manageable tasks - the bonus here is that you’re less likely to procrastinate too.
Try This: The Pomodoro Technique. Break down work into intervals using a timer and take a short break between intervals. My version is through Spotify, listen to a number of tracks whilst doing work, then break time!
You need to have a long-term goal
If you’re planning a trip, you’d be a fool not to consider the route, the time, what you need and where you want to end up, so why would you start a task without know what you want to achieve?
If you’re looking at what do you want to achieve this year, you need to consider what you need to do each month or week to achieve it. Create a timeline, with the actions you need to complete and by what time to reach your goal. Setting a deadline will give you a focus and encourage you to move towards the goal.
Try this: When breaking down a goal into the task, begin with a mindmap and think about everything I need to do. Then I set tasks and deadlines. Discipline is key to success here, find the system that works for you!
Remember it’s so easy to slip into short-term priorities rather than long-term goals.
Be prepared for the unexpected
Life never runs smoothly and there is always that thing that appears out of the blue to turn your day into Ragnarok.
Breathe, consider the challenge and don’t get overwhelmed or freaked out - this happens to us all.
If you prioritise tasks (I would advise captured somewhere, even if it’s a scrap of paper) from ‘must do’ through to ‘would be nice to do’, it gives you the flexibility to adapt and add / re-priorities tasks. This means you’re able to free up time to deal with that unexpected thing you need to deal with today as you’re able to identify those task you can roll to a later date to focus on the urgent one today.
This really comes down to creating a well-thought-out system to manage your daily schedule. I would recommend the book Getting Things Done, it’s a labour of love to read but if you stick with it you’ll get a great direction on how to get a great personal management system in place.
I use Trello as my personal management system. It’s super useful for creating to-do lists and helps to organise and prioritise work (you should check it out).
Always have fun and dream
“The creative adult is the child that never grew up!”
It’s easy to fall in the professional mindset where work is work, but work forms a large chunk of your time on planet earth, so enjoy it and have fun.
I’m lucky to work with people that are great, embrace individuality and want to create a work environment which is fun to work in.
Have a way to wind down or switch off from the world. I watch cartoons or go on a funny meme browse. I’ve even got a ‘go to video’ I watch to make me smile (you’ll find it here - it’s Kanye West or Ye related, just to give you a heads up).
Remember work is important but so is your mindset, have a dream.
Everything in life comes down to how much you want it. I’ve made the above activities into habits. The more you practice, the more they will become second nature to you.
Let me know if you already do any or all of the above, if you do anything different and if you found these suggestions worked for you, all feedback is welcome!
Have an amazing day and thank you for reading,