Today’s To-Do List for the workplace: Don’t do the following if you want to survive

The more pressure there is the more manic, yet Zen, I tend to get. I have come to realize I enjoy working under pressure. Ok. Enjoy is too strong a word. I tend to thrive under pressure. I get focused and task oriented. Yet, I still manage to see the big picture. Many people wilt under pressure, getting unfocused and scattered in their thoughts. When I am not under pressure, which occurs rarely these days, I tend to lose focus. I suppose those moments of no pressure are surely needed to bring a restorative sense of balance.  This coming week will be one of those not-so-rare times where I have much to accomplish while on the business road.  As a result, today will be a day where I need to accomplish a hundred tasks by 4pm, go to my acupuncture appointment, followed by my physical therapy appointment, and then followed by a team meeting.  Upon getting home, I will have another set of a hundred tasks both home and work related. As Glen Frey noted with his song The Heat is On the pressure gets inside one’s head and “you can make a break, you can win or lose. That’s the chance you take when the heat is on.”

Now even though I thrive when the pressure is on, it does not mean I go into a Monday blind as to the levels of anxiety and craziness that may exists in the workplace.   I go in hoping for a good productive day at work.  As do probably you as well. You sit down to make your daily or weekly to-do list that becomes a horrible reminder of how much life sucks by mid-day or mid-week.   Instead of making a to-do list, create a list of things to NOT do in order to survive the pressure.  Happy Monday!

a moment of zen

a moment of zen

  1. Don’t go to your boss’ office first thing in the morning. Better yet don’t go at all during the day. I warn everyone, even my own team members to not go to the boss’ office, unless you are prepared to put more things on your to-do list. You never leave your boss’ office without more work. It is just the law of the universe.  Inevitably they will come up with some wacky project that they will probably forget about but you can’t take that chance.
  2. Don’t have three large cups of coffee by 10am.  Being caffeinated to the max will not make work any more tolerable. Trust me on that.   What it will do is make you a bit jumpy. It will give you a never-ending full bladder that makes you pass by countless of people, on the way to the restroom, who you would much rather avoid.
  3. Don’t ask the ever-angry person “how’s it going.”   Most people understand that social conventions dictate you don’t give a real answer when people ask you how your day is going.  No one wants to really hear it. They are being polite and essentially making small talk to get by the day. However, the angry office person (and there is always one), will actually answer and they will do so in a way that you wish you could poke your eye out. They will go on to rattle the latest slight or injustice they have faced at the workplace.  The same advice goes for the office paranoid individual. There is always one of those as well.   Ask yourself if you need to have your heart rate raised for no good reason such as enjoying a good horror film.   Paranoia and anger breed paranoia and anger. Stay away from it. You may just leave the day with your sanity intact.
  4. Don’t answer your office phone unless you recognize the number.   Most people adhere to this rule in their personal lives. Hardly anyone picks up their home or mobile phone anymore when it rings.   Caller id is a gift from the gods; use it at work as well. I never answer my work phone. Voicemail exists for a reason. Every time I have answered my phone, I have regretted it. Inevitably the phone caller is someone I could have just done without. There go 10 minutes of my day I will not get back and that led to nothing of consequence.
  5. Don’t blind copy or CC someone’s boss (unless they are also in the conversation loop already).  That is such a bad habit people have picked up in the workplace.  Doing so will come back to bite you more often than not. Why bring on the needless aggravation?  When you send an email to someone in which you copy their boss, it sets up a tone of mistrust and annoyance. I know people have to engage in “CYA” (look it up).  Just forward the email afterwards.
  6. Don’t take your phone to the bathroom in your back pocket (or take at all).  I will give you another tip. What gets flushed down the toilet stays there.  No one is going to scoop up the phone for you.  Give yourself a break from being attached to a device all the time.  You can go for five minutes without having access to your friends’ latest selfie, self-affirmation or rant.  Give yourself that opportunity to just breathe, think and be.
  7. Don’t look at other people’s computer screens.   Inevitably, when you do so, you see something you wish you hadn’t. It could be they have up on their screen: porn (yes it does happen), their cover letter/job application, their odd google search or even their diary.  You want a day without drama, avoid other people’s screens. I have mistakenly caught all of the above and regret it to this day.
  8. Don’t go to a work presentation because there will be free lunch.   I once went to a pharmaceutical presentation being given at my office because they got good catering and I was starving because I had just kept working at my desk all day and didn’t have time to run out to get lunch. I walked into the presentation where the presenter was talking about adipose tissue and poking at a visual aid that looked like greasy noodles inside our bodies. I put my plate down and walked away.  I left thinking I should have just walked outside for a hotdog.  On a related note, ignore all emails that proclaim that there are leftovers in the office kitchen. Number one it is usually crap.  Number two, by the time you get there the likelihood of there still being something leftover is small. You will have wasted your time, gotten your hopes dashed and have to see other people who were similarly disappointed.   Want to stay in a good mood avoid all so-called free lunches and food.
  9. Don’t leave opened liquor bottles in plain-sight.  Leaving such bottles creates an air of uncertainty. People will look and wonder. They will be distracted during the whole meeting wondering when the bottle was opened or last poured. I know when I see such bottles in people’s offices I wonder if they have a spare cup. Ok. Obviously, I am joking a bit with this piece of advice. However, it really is quite on the money.
  10. Don’t assume others also read the news first thing in the morning (or any part of the day, really).  Many a conversations I have had went nowhere quickly when I referenced a news item (i.e. government shutdown) to only have blank stares to look at.  It is demoralizing. It is unnerving. It is crazy. There are only so many times one can shake one’s head in dismay. Thus, just don’t talk news with people.  You are better off asking if they saw the latest Housewives of Atlanta episode.
  11. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Have a few good laughs.That is what this post is all about.

Got the Monday blues? Just laugh and place a smile on your face.    It will help, trust me on that one.

Inspired in part by the daily prompt of: the heat is on.


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17 replies »

  1. This is really a great post. Laughed. My partner fits the ‘More pressure, more manic, more Zen’ package. Cannot sit still and, when on fire, Jobbies are the rule. Her idea of a holiday is to cram it with relaxing at a frantic pace. I am eternally exhausted just watching her, said the turtle to the hare. However, if you want a job done you ask a busy person- or so They say. I never could work this out, if someone is already busy I see that as peaking with no scope for further problem solving. Then again you can’t drive a car without wheels, so I guess my pace is important and my partners pace is just as vital. Pillow talk tonight will be fun, thanks for the tips. B


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