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4 Ways to put a Spring in your Step at work

Chick

Winter is finally over. The days are getting longer. The trees are blossoming and all around us cute, fluffy bunnies are happily hopping about as the birds sing hallelujah and lay chocolate eggs for Easter.

…Not quite accurate? Are you struggling to find the joys of spring at work? Feeling a bit flat or stagnant? If so, read on for  4 practical ways to help you put a spring in your step at work this April:

1. Spring clean your to-do list

Spring clean

2018 may feel like a distant memory, but maybe you still have tasks hanging around. If you’ve been carrying a task (or tasks) from list to list to list that you never get round to doing, try this:

  • Do it

If it genuinely needs to be done, make time to do it. If it’s a huge task then break it down – give yourself a small chunk that you can tick off.

  • Dump it

Ask yourself if the task is still relevant? If it’s been on your list for this long and no major consequences have come from not doing it then it may be time to get rid.

  • Delegate it

Is the reason you’re putting it off because it actually isn’t your task? Is there someone else who could do it? Should they? Could they do a better job of it? If so, pass it on.

For more tips on productivity, have a look at these to-do list tools.

2. SWOT up

The changing of a season is a great time to take stock and think about the lay of the land. Using a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is both easy to use and hugely effective. This brilliant and simple tool can be used in a myriad of different situations. Last week, (and I kid you not) I used it in both a strategic planning meeting with one of my Directors, and then again at home – working out what to cook for friends. It will help you analyse a situation, a project or even yourself. If you’re looking for a strategic way to help you make a decision, this is a great starting point.

And before you groan, let’s take a quick quote from our favourite strategy guru Bernard Ross:

I’m so bored hearing people say they’re bored using PEST or SWOT. On day one at Harvard Business School you learn that PEST and SWOT are essential for your planning process – and you learn to do them properly. Strategy isn’t necessarily meant to be fun! And sometimes you have to do boring stuff to be successful.”

In a nutshell, the tool asks you to figure out what the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are.

Some specific examples (with instructions) for different uses are:

3. Tune in (EI > EI > OH!)

Spring is all about growth and development, therefore it may be time to focus on your personal development. Understanding and honing your Emotional Intelligence is vital to success at work, from decision making to building positive relationships. Thanks to a lot of proven research and a number of years since the concept was introduced, Emotional Intelligence (EI) doesn’t tend to get the eye roll response at work that it used to. But it also doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. With many organisations looking at how to implement the latest psychological thinking into their work, from neuroscience to behavioural economics,  it’s also worth remembering to develop EI as a way to unleash potential and develop further. Do you really need it? Well unless you’re working completely by yourself and never have to interact with any other humans (even by email) ever… then learning the basics of EI is a fundamental part of a successful life.

Using emotional intelligence

There are five key elements in emotional intelligence: Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Social Skill and Empathy. If you can learn how to recognise and respond to all five of these,  you will be more confident, more resilient and perform even better at work.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about what means what, and how you can become more emotionally intelligent in work situations: Emotional Intelligence at work

4. Work out when you need a break – then take one

Have you been working flat out since New Year? If so, you may not be working in a productive way. If we don’t take breaks, we end up breaking. There are a lot of suggestions online for how often you should take a break in order to reach maximum productivity. The most specific I’ve seen being ‘work for 52 minutes, break for 17.’ But if like most of us, you’re too busy to look into optimum work/break times let’s start with this: you need to take a break.

Relax

  1. When you are working constantly, it is hard to stay fully engaged in a task for long periods of time. Clock when your concentration starts to drop – is it roughly always the same amount of time? Does it depend on the task?
  2. Start building in breaks just before this drop-off point – even if you just go and make a cup of tea, walk round the block or go to the bathroom. Try to take 10 minutes if you can.
  3. Take a lunch break. If you really can’t leave your desk – then at least give your brain a break. Read a book while you eat, plug in headphones and catch up on Eastenders. Letting your mind rest will make you far more capable for the rest of the day.
  4. Book time off work far in advance. It’s not about going to the Bahamas to relax on a yacht, staying at home for a break can be just as effective. But if you don’t book holiday in advance, chances are by the time you realise you need a break you won’t be able to take it because of work commitments.
  5. Check your batteries at home too – this article offers a tool to review your home and work energy levels.

We all know we’re more effective when we’re not stressed up to the hilt and utterly exhausted… so my final spring tip is to take a leaf out of NHS doctors in Scotland and prescribe yourself some outdoor nature time. Even if you can’t take time off just yet, a walk around the park at lunchtime or after work will work wonders. With the longer days and warmer weather, get out there!

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you and your organisations work more effectively and in more productive ways, call 020 7978 1516, or contact us online.

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