Simple Ways To Change Your Mindset At Work (Part Two)
Dear, Entreprenistas. In the last post we discussed the first few tips in the EM ‘mindset series,’ and now we get to dig into part two! Note: The next two paragraphs are a bit of a repeat from blog one, in case you’re just joining us. If you’ve already read this portion, skip to the first tip!
Developing a negative mindset at work can be a raw deal, but it is also part of having a career and being a professional. Whether you love or hate your current job (or profession), know that it is normal to feel super ‘put out’ and discouraged by your work environment from time to time. There, I said it; you can breathe a sigh of relief. You are in fact normal for not LOVING every minute of your job. PS anyone who says they do LOVE every minute is, in my humble opinion, a big fat liar. Just kidding; not really. 😉
However, if you develop a negative work mindset, it doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck. More importantly, it doesn’t say that you must change careers or quit your job. Woohoo! 👏I feel a simple approach to mindset change is best. Here are what I consider the most reliable and simple ways to change your mindset at work.
PS once I started writing this blog, I realized how much I wanted to share with all of you Entreprenistas out there! Therefore I’ve split it into three parts. If you haven’t read part one, click here to start at the beginning. When you’re done reading part two, read part three!
Create a zen workspace
Have you ever started in on a project or professional meeting only to realize halfway through that part of your butt cheek is hanging off the chair you’re working in, or that you’ve been sitting in the ‘fight or flight’ position for over an hour and now your legs are completely numb? When you do notice, likely you move around and try to get more comfortable, right? But what if this is how your work environment is all the time? What if the space you work in is just thrown together by happenstance? Do you think that’s going to create positive vibes over time? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, NO! Instead, you’ll start to feel discouraged. Whether you work in an office, a coffee shop or at your kitchen table, don’t let your work environment control or define your mood. Take the environment by the reins and show it who’s boss! Make your space zen, and you’ll find that you’re as peaceful as a monk when you are in the zone. Okay, here’s the fun part. How to ‘zen your space’: I’m not gonna lie, this could be a whole blog post on its own!
If you like peaceful mountain photos, get some! If you get in a happy place when death rock is playing, find a way to insert this vibe into your space (without offending your colleagues of course). Here are some creative options, but really, it’s up to you!
Create a vision plan...and post it in your office
Ok, I’m going to tell you a secret. I actually hate the term ‘vision board.’ Perhaps it’s because the term has been overused and often does not apply to professional goals and visions. Perhaps it’s because I have a hard time buying into some of the more ‘inspirational’ professional tips. That said, I am definitely a planner, and I love setting goals, writing about them, visualizing them, and hopefully seeing them come to fruition. So in honor of this approach and the different ways we women find to execute our visionary planning, I’d like to propose that creating a vision plan, goal-setting journal, or some other kind of visionary exercise may be just the thing to bring the ‘zen’ to your workplace and change your mindset. 💆How can this tactic be effective? You might ask. Well, I’ll tell you! I am sure many of you reading this have gone through the exercise of creating a vision board or journal at some point in your life (I have many times). BUT, the big 'but' is, what did you do with it after you completed the exercise? Did you put it in a place where you could easily refer back to your vision aspirations? Or did you put it in a drawer or the back of your closet to collect dust (like mine did)? One of the harder lessons I’ve had to learn over the years is that you get what you ask for, but only if you really ask for what you want. Writing down a bunch of visions and goals and then never looking at them again is equivalent to window shopping. You can see what you want on the other side of the window, but unless you go into the store, you’ll never purchase the product. Don’t settle on window shopping for your dreams. In other words, take your work, whether it be a journal, vision board or other exercise, and put it in a place where you will see it daily. You are the boss of your own destiny. Shift your mindset and make it happen!
PS here’s a great post on vision planning from Forbes.
Add some plant love
In comparison to the last tip, this one may seem a little shallow, but I promise it’s not. Whether you’re on board with vision planning or you think it's a crock (not everyone drinks the Koolaid, and that’s okay!), there are feng shui inspired changes you can make to your workspace that can have a hugely positive effect on your mindset at work. One of these changes could be that you add a few happy indoor plants to your work area or office. Again, this may sound silly, but it’s not, and it’s SOOO easy to buy a few indoor plants for your workspace. An article from NBC News states that “Extensive research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxin in 24 hours. Studies have also proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15 percent!), reduce stress levels and boost your mood — making them perfect for not just your home but your workspace, too.” 🌱🌵👌
Put up art that inspires
Similar psychology stands behind the concept of using art or decorations on your walls to influence your mood and mindset. But with this tip and the last one, the point is that if you create a space, you actually want to work in, you will actually work there and feel more satisfied. Very few of us want to go to work in a space that is bland, blank and uninspiring, right? So why don’t we, as a cultural workforce, take the 'look-and-feel' of our professional home more seriously? I can’t tell you the number of offices I’ve visited where there is no art or decoration of any kind on the walls, let alone plants placed around the space. Often in these settings, I find boxes in the corners and papers piled mile-high on desks. Seeing the lack of creative expression makes my skin crawl. Not because I think everyone is and should be creative, but because without any decoration or spatial planning, these spaces feel akin to a prison. In America, most of us spend more time at the office than we do at home. Don’t work in prison! Go to Costco, TJMaxx, an art gallery, log onto Amazon or wherever you can and get some art and/or decor that inspires you! Put it up, look at it every day, and you’ll quickly see a change in your mood.
Bring your headphones
Perhaps it’s because I've worked in office environments where I couldn’t find a quiet space to work and write. Maybe it's because I love to listen to music or be where there is white noise while I work (hence my obsession with coffee shops), but not having a way to tune out the other workers around me has been one of the things, in my past experience, that has brought my mood down quicker than anything else. At one point I worked for a company where I sat in a cubicle with lots of foot traffic. In this position, I was in charge of most of the internal marketing writing, and on a daily basis, I found it almost impossible to write! Why was this? Because every Bob, Joe, and Cathy that I worked with thought they could stop by and chat with me as they passed my cube. I got to the point where I thought I might have to resign due to the frustration of being interrupted 15 times per day. But then I realized, I just needed a way to tune out! I’m sure I didn’t make any friends with this tactic, but I started bringing my headphones to work and plugging into a writing-friendly playlist while at work. At first, I think a few colleagues were offended by my unavailability, but quickly the office got used to my approach, and I became more productive and much happier! 😍
Get practical with self-affirmations
The power of positive self-affirmations is well researched and proven to be effective in changing your mindset if used in a way that is right for you. Just affirming that ‘you are the best’, or ‘most attractive and smart person,’ may not be the approach that you want to take. Read this post from The Cut for more on the topic of how to effectively use self-affirmations. But, if you choose to focus your affirmations on practical and achievable things in your daily life and mental well-being this tactic can be quite useful.
For me, I need to set my affirmations in a visible place. If you work at home, you might be able to put them up in your office on sticky notes or a whiteboard, but if you don’t work in a private environment, displaying your affirmations might not be super comfortable or appropriate. If this is the case, try putting your positive self-affirmations in your phone calendar as a reminder, or in a journal on your desk that you can look at daily. Also, it might be helpful to change up the wording or the statements themselves about every four months. Otherwise, they will become part of the office wallpaper, and that won’t make your dreams come true, now will it!
Invest in a productivity app
Using a productivity app pairs nicely with bringing your headphones to the office. In an age where digital technology is improving and advancing more quickly than most of us can keep up, now’s the time to get on board with some of the beneficial ways these technological advances can be a benefit you! Think time management, optimal lighting for writing (love this!) and functional to-do lists. Check out this article from Set App on the top productivity apps out there right now.
Delegate exhausting tasks
To delegate or not to delegate, that is the question. I’ve gone back and forth on my stance regarding delegation at work many times, but ultimately I’ve come to the realization that learning to delegate tasks or projects is NECESSARY if you want to advance in your profession. All of us Entreprenistas get overwhelmed in our businesses from time to time (some of us more often than others), but regardless of how often this happens to you, it can be a major downer. If it happens too often being overwhelmed can lead to burnout and a loss of engagement in your work. Delegating exhausting tasks is the only way I have found to avoid burnout and the development of a negative work mindset. But if you’re like me, you probably have a hard time delegating tasks. Maybe you convince yourself that it will ‘take too much time to explain’ and you need to just do it yourself. Or, perhaps you don’t feel like you have anyone to delegate to and therefore must suffer through the business. These excuses are just that, excuses. For one, if it can take you five to ten minutes to meet with a colleague, employee or another person on your team and tell them what you need to be done vs. taking the two hours it will take you to complete the task, it’s worth it, right? It could just be a matter of reorganization with another department or team member, or it may be that you need to say, ‘I am overwhelmed and need help!’ Whatever the scenario is for you, consider delegating the tasks that most exhaust you first. This way you can focus on what you’re good at, and give someone else the agency to excel in the area you have delegated to them! Get more information from MindTools on finding ways to empower and delegate without creating more work for yourself here.
You have reached the end of part two of the ‘Mindset Series,’ I know! Hard to stop now. Read part three here.
Let me know what other creative ways you’ve learned to change your mindset at work! Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Have a guest blog you’re dying to share with our Entreprenista Tribe? Get in touch with me here!