Author Cy Wakeman shares more about her new book "The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace" and offers tips for dealing with your workload at work.
Change the "story" you have created about your workload
So many of us believe that our "suffering, stress or issues" are the result of our circumstances, which puts us at the mercy of those circumstances. What a joyless place to be! To get relief, we focus on somehow getting our reality to change, as if it was our managers, not the forces of competition, that were determining the size of our job. We look to our leaders to "fix" our circumstances and take something off of our plate. But here is the reality: our circumstances are not the source of our stress - our story about the circumstances is the true source. The story we tell ourselves is that it is unfair, we are not supported, the expectations are unrealistic, our bosses don't care, and our organization is trying to take advantage of us. But what if the facts were simply that I am being asked to grow and develop in proportion to the changes we are experiencing in the needs of our customers or the organization? How can being asked to grow be such an insult?
Find the real source of your stress
When we are faced with jobs that ask more from us, the pain we experience is not the size of the job, but the fact that it reveals all the places we are "unready" - where we have not kept up with the times, and where our skillsets are outdated. Most of the time, our stress doesn't come from the fact that the scope of the job has changed, but from the fact that I haven't personally changed my approach to the job in years. I am trying to use the same tools, skills, and mindsets that I have used for years on new situations and they don't work.
Constantly tweak your approach
Our frustration and stress are clear indicators that it is not working, but we tend to ignore the clear feedback which would require us changing and instead take an unaccountable approach which blames the size of our job. How do I know this to be true? Every job someone says is way too big, I find that another person has been able to succeed there because they were ready for what's next - they kept flexing their approach until they found something that worked, and they are working differently than they did even a month ago.
Get ready for what's next, and grow faster than the needs of your job
The issue is not the size of the job, but lack of readiness. Want total freedom? Get ready for what is next - grow faster than the needs of your job, and you will be unphased by any additional responsibilities you are asked to take on.