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Posted on May 26, 2013 in How to simplify, Resources | 0 comments

Simplify Your Job


I was sitting around a bonfire with friends last night, and we were all recounting the week at work.  Everyone in the group works hard, does their job well, and tries to treat people kindly.  Every one of us, however, was struggling with people who make that difficult.

You know the ones:

  • The one who never gets the job done, and always has someone or something to blame.
  • The one who always seems on board with a plan in the meeting, and then does what suits them best, leaving the rest of the group to deal with the fallout.
  • The one who has nothing but bad things to say about others.
  • The one that puts things off until there is a crisis, and then tries to get you help them make the deadline.
  • The one who is always outraged by something the boss did, and wants you to be angry with them.

Clearly, work is the important thing to focus on, not the drama. How can you change focus without seeming unsympathetic to your co-workers?

You don’t have to be friends with everyone at work.  If you try, you might find that you are working harder to be liked than you are at your actual job.  A key strategy to accomplish this is to take one small emotional step back.

You can simplify your job (like your agenda and your shopping)  by changing your focus:

  • Be Aware.  Take note of those who always leave you feeling resentful or sap your energy. When they are gone, think about why.  This will give you some perspective when the angry one comes with tales of outrage, or the procrastinator tries to get you to help with their overdue project.  If you can give yourself even a few seconds before you respond, you could avoid getting caught up in the emotions completely.
  • Avoid.  You can make an excuse or pick up the phone when you see them coming.
  • Avert.  You can just listen with a neutral face.

 Blink.  Blink.

They might not come back.

  • Acknowledge.  You can say something to show that you understand their pain, and regret your powerlessness to make it better.
  • Resources (Is there an “A” word for this?)

Interested in identifying and avoiding manipulators?

Interested in avoiding complainers?  Here is a whole book about that.

Want to be more focused at work?  Try this.

Seth Godin writes about focus quite a bit on his blog.


Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives
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