React to a Problem With the Right Attitude. Get Rid of the Problem.

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The problem isn't the problem. Jack Sparrow QuoteAndy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Wellbeing, and Peak Human Performance.

recently spoke with a friend who was  frustrated because his boss would randomly come to him with a project that had to be done immediately without regard to the schedule already set in place.

The situation would go something like this:

Boss: I’ve got something I need you to do for me, and it has get done tomorrow.

Friend: Okay, but I have A, B and C due tomorrow, and I don’t have time to get this done too.

Boss: I don’t care. There are no excuses. I need immediate results and this has to be done now.

For the next hour, my client would spend time pleading his case to the office about how inconsiderate this was to his process and how he couldn’t get it all done. He would go to his supervisor and complain. He would go to his creative team and complain. He would go to his project manager to complain. He spent an hour complaining until a coworker finally said, “Let’s both get it done now.”

So the two of them sat down to get the project done and were finished in less than two hours. Progress was made and everyone was happy, and the following day, all the projects that had to be finished, were finished on time.

This is all well and good, but I couldn’t resist bringing up the point that he made his own day more stressful because he reacted negatively. Yes, his boss was being a jerk, but when it came down to it, everything was taken care of and complaining only hindered, “his process.”

In work and in life, stuff comes up that you’re not expecting. You may face difficulties on a regular basis that require you to sacrifice your process and react quickly.

This story brings me to four core productivity points.

1. Venting doesn’t help. 

Venting is one of worst things you can do if you want to stay motivated and energized. I depletes your energy and makes your attitude toxic. It’s distracting and makes everyone contemplate what negative things they have to think about. Picture a room full of babies and one of them starts crying. What happens? All the babies join in the sob fest. So rather than be that baby, be that awesome person who takes bad news and makes it good. Use this opportunity to be a problem solver rather than a troublemaker.

2. Sometimes you need to ask a teammate for help. 

It’s understandable that my friend was overwhelmed, annoyed and stressed when his boss threw this task on his plate. However, its not understandable that he wasted his and his coworkers time to complain when he could have spent that time to collaborate and finish the task at hand. He ended up getting the job done because of collaboration, because unlike venting, team work boosts energy and motivation. 

3. Go with the flow.

Once you stop resisting the challenges in life, you’ve learned to take the setbacks in stride. You’re day is stablized and you don’t let the emotions of stress get to you. When you do this on a regular basis, your days get better, and when your days get better, your life gets better.

4. No one likes a martyr.

Everyone is busy. Everyone has stuff on their to-do list that they don’t want to do, and if they had the option, would just as well skip. But life isn’t always about things being easy. So instead of giving the woe is me speech, shut up, get it done and mark it off your to-do list like a boss. This takes you from baby to badass in one swift move and that is definitely a better office reputation.


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Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
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About Andy Core
Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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