This article was first published on ksl.com
Things at work have been extra stressful lately. With changes in management, policies and procedures I find myself missing important deadlines. This leaves me feeling unnecessarily rushed, stressed and incompetent. Any suggestions for helping me get my act together at work?
In order to properly address your question I would ask if this is an external (work) or internal (you) problem or a mixture of both?
Ask yourself if you are missing deadlines because you are worried you will not measure up to new responsibilities. Are you afraid of looking bad to the new boss? Are you falling behind because you do not like the new management or its rules? Is there any part of you that is resisting the changes you are now required to make? These questions can help you realize if this is an external or internal problem.
As children we were required, encouraged and/or forced to do many things. Now as adults many of us feel resentment when asked to do things we do not want to do. That includes things we know are good for us. We feel rebellious and subconsciously resist being pushed. This could cause some subconscious sabotage at work.
In every dimension of life there needs to be accountability. This means learning to hold yourself accountable, be responsible and to do what is asked of you, whether you want to or not. This also applies to tasks you are trying to force yourself to do that don't involve other people. Achieving personal goals takes time, commitment and dedicated effort. Like an out-of-shape muscle our personal-responsibility muscle needs to be consistently worked on, to keep it strong and in shape.
If missing deadlines is something you have always struggled with consider what Linda Galindo writes about in her book "The 85% Solution."
“You can keep doing what hasn't worked for you in the past if you want to, but it's not going to work for you in the future, either," the book reads. "A lack of personal accountability is at the heart of chronic stress. It saps us of productivity. It wastes our time. It makes us less satisfied with our jobs, our relationships and ourselves.”
On her blog Galindo states. “If you don’t like structure, you probably need it. What will seem counterintuitive at first is the amount of structure required to realize lower stress, greater productivity and the satisfaction of completing each day completely in time.”
Galindo recommends that you schedule each step to increase your productivity.
“When you agree to do something, put on your calendar the time it will require, not only the deadline. If you are going to write a report, for example, block time for research, writing and revision. When you schedule a meeting set aside time to prepare for the meeting and for follow-up activities such as preparing and distributing the minutes.”
Maybe you have generally been able to meet your deadlines in the past and you are now experiencing growing pains in a restructuring environment. Realize these challenges may be temporary but still require you to put in extra time until you are in a workable rhythm with the increased demands.
If you have determined the problem is external and cannot be fixed by becoming more organized or spending more time at the office you may need to get creative to find solutions.
Are there others in the company who would be willing and available assist you with some of your assignments?
Is there anything you have been asked to do that isn’t time sensitive that you can table until the prioritized projects are completed?
Do you need to request extra help be hired?
If the problem is a combination of external and internal factors the most important thing you can do is to be very clear about what you can and can’t reasonably do within the timeframe provided. Often fear of not wanting to be the employee who can’t get it done may tempt you to take on too much. This will cause extra stress and in such an environment you will make more mistakes.
The next important step is to make sure that you follow through 100 percent on any commitments you have made. If snags come up and challenge the deadline or pending results on the projects you have agreed to, speak up as soon as possible. When you do fall short on not getting the job done and done well — own up to it 100 percent.
You brought up feeling incompetent. The way to ensure you can trust yourself and feel confident in what you do, is to accept your wins and your losses are not you and don't affect your value. You must separate your intrinsic value from your performance and work. When you do make mistakes, make no excuses. People will respect you more, and you will respect yourself more when you take your licks, learn from them, and recommit to doing whatever it takes to not let the same mistake happen again.
Our losses teach us much more than our wins ever could. The only man who hasn’t fallen is the one who never got up and tried. Being a person of integrity is being someone who takes full accountability when they mess up.
Pay attention to any thoughts you have along the way that tell you lies such as: you aren’t smart enough, educated enough, experienced enough, etc. Challenge these thoughts and work to see the situation and yourself in the situation accurately. Make the decision to see your life as a classroom with lessons to practice each day you give yourself (and others) permission and space to be a work in progress.
Everyone feels in over his or her head at times, but if you are taking steps to ensure you have what you need to accomplish every task in a workable timeframe and then go about doing everything in your power to make it happen your confidence in your abilities will grow and you will find a new level of success.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. Shauna Jensen, who co-wrote this article, is also a popular local Claritypoint Coach.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.