11 Tips for Sustaining a Positive, Productive and Healthy Work Environment
by Erin Cheever, Director
In the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic, negativity and fear have been at the forefront of our personal and professional lives. I have been trying to approach my workdays as I always have – with a positive light to create a productive and healthy environment for myself. As many people struggle to find this balance, the following tips have allowed me to stay focused and fortunate for what I have today as I continue with my career at Boomer Consulting.
We all have job descriptions that include the overall day to day functions and responsibilities of our positions. To keep things fresh and challenging, it's crucial to take on more challenging roles. I want to be a part of projects that made me think outside the box. Allowing myself to take on tasks that aren't part of my general day-to-day provides opportunities to learn new things and grow within my position.
Steer clear of negative influences
Don't allow yourself to become involved in negative situations or entangled with negative people at work. Remember that those people are having issues and need to deal with it on their own accordingly. Don't fuel their fire. Try to remain a positive influence and suggest constructive options to get them out of their funk. Become a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
Have a life
Eat + Work + Eat + Work + Eat + Sleep. For most people, this is what their work/life balance formula looks like. There is no inclusion of family or friends or fun or free time – only the basic necessities to survive a long, never-ending workday. There is really no "life" at all in the formula, only work. This is not a formula for great work-life balance.
You need movie nights, free time when you don't pick up your cell phone because you're too busy re-living old times with your friends, time in total silence, sitting on a beach, or drinking a margarita. A life with all these things creates a better life for you and everyone around you. Take time to figure out how you want your formula to look, and you will see that the right formula is not about survival, but how to live.
Take time to breathe
Sometimes the simplest way to take a break from a stressful assignment or workload is to just breathe. Take five minutes (or more) and focus on something else that won't elevate your current stress level. Take a moment and walk around your office, enjoy a bit of exercise and get some fresh air. It's important to realize that another part of balance includes in some of those "life things" that can calm you down and bring you back to center.
Develop a personal development plan
Most plans focus on specific tasks or to-dos to accomplish during that quarter or calendar year. They are almost entirely career or work-focused. Rarely do they take your personal and family goals into account. And rarely do they focus on your life goals and growth. A personal development plan should encompass all of these factors. It can include overall career goals as well as personal and family goals, all wrapped into one single plan. These goals can be a culmination of what you want to accomplish over a lifetime, along with details on how. For you, it can create your own personal map of how to get there.
What are your methods for prioritizing assignments? How do you differentiate between the "needs to get done ASAP" tasks and the "doesn't need to be done until year-end" tasks? No matter your process, it's crucial to start breaking down your items in a more realistic and specific way to get moving through your workload.
When prioritizing your items for a specific day, try to determine the task that needs to be your number one priority that day. At the end of the day, this one item needs to be complete or, for some long-term projects, at least started. This should help set your focus and get the highest priority task done first.
Remember, although all items might seem important, it's necessary to realize what level of importance they fall into. Are they relevant only to you and your goals? Are they meaningful for the objectives of your team? Are they critical to building revenue? Are they based on a deadline?
When setting your priorities for the day, week or month, try to consider how they relate to your overall goals. Making sure your priorities align with your set goals (whether personal or professional) can also help you determine how important that task really is at any given time.
With a little planning and prioritization on a daily and weekly basis, all items will get done but more efficiently and effectively.
Leverage unique abilities
Your co-workers can be a fundamental part of helping you balance a full workload. By using their unique abilities, you can apply a whole other set of experiences, expertise and knowledge to your projects and tasks. Don't be afraid to reach out. For some of your to-dos, having an extra hand or resource may be the difference between getting the job done and coming up short on the assignment.
When you recognize the need for help when you are extremely busy, you can see that the expertise of other people within your firm can help you move through and get out from underneath many of your daunting tasks.
Become a leader
Perhaps you don't exactly hold a leadership position in your office. Maybe you are a new employee, and the word "leader" isn't in your vocabulary yet. Even if your job title doesn't have you at the top of the company ladder, there are still many ways you can start developing yourself into a leader at work.
First, figure out what kind of leader you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your leadership characteristics? What is your leadership vision? What leadership statement best describes you? Find the answers to these questions, and you can begin to develop a leadership plan to focus on now and in the future.
Know when to say no
We can all sometimes be a 'yes man.' We want to be able to do everything and take on any responsibility thrown at us. In the past, you may have said yes to everything when it came to your career. You say yes to this project and that favor, and the result was an impossible workload. For a while you can push through and get everything done, but as soon as you say yes again the heavy workload reappears. I've slowly learned that sometimes being a "no man" benefits my career.
Take the project that you were just offered. Does it help you and your career grow? Did someone ask you to do that project because of the value you would bring to it? Or did they ask you just because they know you would say yes? Sometimes, saying no can increase the overall value of the things we say yes to. Think about that project and determine what type of focus you can and want to give it. Does it move you or give you passion? Does it make you happy to work on it? Can you give it the attention it deserves? Knowing what the benefits are of saying no in certain situations and knowing the right way to say it helps you work towards a successful career.
Train, learn and educate
It's your career. There is never a better time than now to start honing your craft. It's time to start polishing what you do. It's time to start building it for the future. Identify the areas of your job responsibilities that you want to grow in and start learning more. Take a class that teaches you something that you don't already know. Shadow a colleague to understand what it takes to do their job. Read a book. Write a report. And above all, ask lots and lots of questions.
My general personality is a bit more reserved, but with time at Boomer, I have learned to step from behind the curtain and start speaking my mind. Take the opportunity to make yourself heard at your next all-company meeting. Even if you think your idea if off the wall or even just a small brainstorm of something that isn't quite developed, get it out there in the open and start talking about it. Start taking the initiative and express yourself.
Do you want the tools and accountability to start from where you are now and get where you want to be?
The Boomer Certified Consultant Training program helps equip accounting professionals with the mindset and skills to become true trusted business advisors to clients. If you’re interested in learning more about this unique 3.5-day training program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org schedule a call today!
As the Director of Project Management for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Erin plans, organizes, secures and manages resources for the firm’s many service and program areas, including providing assistance and constant communication with clients and sponsors and serving as an even liaison. Her primary duties include overseeing and managing the specifics of all Boomer Consulting, Inc. communities.