August 9, 2013

Keeping Your Sanity Intact at Work

Businessman about to crush laptop with hammerLet’s start out with something light. How about the annoyance, nay the indignity, of brown-bagging it every day to just eat at your desk as phones ring, coworkers chatter (and steal your food), and email mounts. It’s a wonder that the atmosphere of the office doesn’t steal your appetite altogether. Not to mention to the typical unappealing nature of the standard brown bag lunch (bologna sandwich anyone?).

There are, however, ways to deal with the unsavory situation, such as spicing up your lunch with cubicle-friendly foods like burritos, less-messy meats such as ham and chicken breast, fruits and veggies, cereal-in-a-cup, and non-sugary drinks. And if it’s practical, use earplugs or bring along your mp3 player to drown out the cacophony of your surroundings.

Moving up the annoyance scale, our next stop is the mundanity and the sheer boredom brought on by the day-to-day performance of your job. Repetition, droning
conversation, and sleep deprivation make a killer combo for creating the workday’s antidote to coffee. But don’t fret. There are ways to dispel your sleepiness at your desk such as using a bright light, listening to up-tempo music, and trying out stimulated scents. Or, you could just give in to your drowsiness and take a 15-minute power nap to get you through the day.

Next up, are workplace distractions. Regular access to the Internet, your smartphone, conversation with coworkers: All of these things can work to pressure you to do anything but actually work. But if you want to stay more focused on your actual tasks, try limiting your distractions by first identifying them. Audit yourself so you can determine just where your time is going. Once you know what is leeching away your time, you can respond appropriately. If it’s a chatty coworker sapping up your day, let him or her know that you are busy and don’t have time to talk. Or get a pair of headphones and immerse yourself in music. If apps and websites are your primary distractions, work to limit your time with them through the use of programs like Leechblock and StayFocused that work to remind you to get back to work when you attempt to access certain websites. Also, expand your work apps to full-screen so that distracting windows are removed from

Last, but certainly not least, is the horror of an awful boss. Who knows which of
the myriad behaviors your boss may act out to make your work life a living hell. Perhaps he buries you in mundane busy work, refuses to allow you to develop your skills, steals your ideas, or is just an all-around jerk. Regardless of the situation, the fact is you wouldn’t mind if he went off on a permanent vacation. A few tips to deal with a terrible boss is to keep a log to record all of his obnoxious, mean-spirited, or inappropriate behaviors. Keep a
written copy of any requests made by or to your boss, and simply try to stay out of his/her way as much as possible.

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.