April 13, 2020

Tips for working Bravely during COVID-19, Part 4

We’re back with five more tips that will help you build your best life at work, during the pandemic and beyond.

Tip #16: Set the right pace.

We’ve all heard of “eating the frog,” the idea that you should start your day with the most difficult or unpleasant task on your plate. If you’ve tried it, you know that it doesn’t always work, and can leave you exhausted early in the day.

You can put a twist on “eat the frog” by starting with the tasks you’re most intrinsically motivated to do, and end with those that are based in extrinsic motivation (like tasks that are energized by interaction with other people).

Takeaway: Trying different ways of structuring your to-do list is all about understanding your own patterns, like how your energy and concentration fluctuate throughout the day or week.

Tip #17: Think critically about vulnerability.

In a past tip, we suggested some ways of taking off the armor being vulnerable at work.

A few weeks and countless stressors later, the challenge for many of us is knowing when to keep the armor on.

Remember that vulnerability is most effective when it’s actively helpful in some way, like:

  • Making someone feel less alone in what they’re feeling
  • Putting someone at ease in an awkward situation
  • Providing the emotional context for an action or decision

Takeaway: There’s often a fine line between “vulnerable” and “over-sharing.” You can walk it gracefully by asking yourself, “Is this helpful to others?

Tip #18: When in doubt, ask.

Even with a few weeks to adapt to the loss of true face-to-face communication, you may still be struggling with misunderstandings via email, or direct message.

Today, don’t be afraid to ask for clarity, even when it might normally feel like overkill. You can even paraphrase a message back to the sender to make sure you’re on the same page: “So is what you’re saying that…?”

Takeaway: Paraphrasing and probing questions are active listening skills. They’re especially useful in resolving conflict or building rapport in working relationships.

Tip #19: Set micro-goals.

A lot of the things that keep work motivating are harder to find right now, because remote communication takes more effort. You may have to create new ways to make work engaging and dynamic.

Break out large projects into smaller, discrete tasks, and reward yourself for each one you achieve. Small wins are still wins, and are the building blocks of your larger progress.

Takeaway: Breaking formidable goals into achievable milestones can be an instant boost to your satisfaction and productivity at work.

Tip #20: Approach your workload with curiosity.

In a past tip, we mentioned the importance of curiosity. Now we’re looking at another way you can bring curiosity into your work.

Look at the things that have been taking up the most of your time. Ask yourself, “Are these my real priorities? And if so, why?” If you don’t have a good answer, consider talking it out with your manager or other stakeholders.

Takeaway: Seeking these answers will help you focus your energy more strategically, and to stay connected to the impact of your work.

Check out our other tips, and tell us what’s worked for you on social media: @workbravely.

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