We’ve all heard the saying, “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” The quote has been attributed to Marc Anthony, Confucius, and Mark Twain. The Beatles famously sang, “All you need is love.” These ideas are the rose-colored glasses of the inspiration and motivation world.
Ten years ago, I landed what I believed was my dream job at the age of 32. I knew this was what I was meant to do, and I could not believe I had somehow managed to get that job before I was 40. However, while I remained passionate about my work, I quickly found myself burnt out and resentful. I was doing what I loved. Why was I miserable?
Adam J. Kurtz @adamjk on Twitter summed it up perfectly in his Tweet from March 6th, 2019,
“Do what you love and you’ll work super f*cking hard all the time with no separation or any boundaries and also take everything extremely personally.”
I had exactly zero boundaries. I was scheduling appointments well outside of my business hours, working on weekends, responding to emails at 2 am, and quickly becoming a case study on how not to be successful. My performance and my attitude tanked. I was terrified of what it would look like if I wasn’t making myself available to everyone all the time.
Much like the Beatles, I was wrong. No one expected me to be that available. In fact, being that available created more work because I was frequently providing substandard service to those I was engaging with. I needed to make a change, or I risked losing this job I was still quite passionate about.
I was able to create boundaries regarding my time with my colleagues and clients. My boundary issue was working during my downtime, so I had to create a boundary to address that. It was easier for me to do this via digital communication so that my work hours and expected response times were clearly documented. I set up an out-of-office communication that I turned on at the end of every shift. I made sure my work hours were in my signature. I made small changes that made a big impact. For me, this approach eliminated my fear of conflict. No one really expected me to work outside of my business hours, but I had a hard time telling people I would not be available when they might want me to be available.
This change made a huge difference. My performance and my attitude improved. I am still with the organization over a decade later. I didn’t have to sacrifice my sanity, and by creating and maintaining a clear boundary, I was able to alleviate the resentment I had started to feel.
Nedra Glover Tawwab, in her book Set Boundaries, Find Peace, states,
“People treat you according to your boundaries.”
We live in a world where we are constantly connected. The urgency of alerts and the fact that we always know there is something we can and often feel like we should be doing creates challenges to setting boundaries. How do we turn away from the thing we love, and that may also pay the bills? Setting boundaries is not turning away. Setting boundaries is knowing and communicating your worth. In an office space, it may be using all your vacation days. As an entrepreneur, it may be ensuring charging your full fee and remembering that you are the boss and make the rules.
Maybe the Beatles didn’t get it wrong. Maybe a love of yourself is all you need. But you still probably need more than love to get by.
5 secrets to a more productive morning, free of distractions
(EDITORIAL) Productivity is king in the office, but sometimes distractions and other issues slow you down. So what can you do to limit these factors?
Regardless of whether you’re a self-proclaimed morning person or not, more efficient mornings can be catalytic in your daily productivity and output. The only question is, do you know how to make the most of your mornings in the office?
5 Tips for Greater Morning Productivity
In economic terms, productivity is a measure of output as it relates to input. Academics often discuss productivity in terms of a one-acre farm’s ability to produce a specific crop yield, or an auto manufacturing plant’s ability to produce a certain number of vehicles over a period of time. But then there’s productivity in our personal lives.
Your own daily productivity can be defined in a variety of ways. But at the end of the day, it’s about getting the desired results with less time and effort on the input side. And as a business professional, one of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your morning in the office.
Here are a few timely suggestions:
- Eliminate All Non-Essential Actions
Spend the next week keeping a log of every single action you take from the moment your eyes open in the morning until you sit down at your desk. It might look something like this:
- Turn off alarm
- Scroll through social media on the phone
- Get out of bed
- Eat breakfast
- Take shower
- Brush teeth
- Walk dog
- Watch news
- Browse favorite websites
- Get in car
- Starbucks drive-thru
- Arrive at office
- Small talk with coworkers
- Sit down at the desk
If you do this over the course of a week, you’ll notice that your behaviors don’t change all that much. There might be some slight deviations, but it’s basically the same pattern.
Now consider how you can eliminate as many points of friction as possible from your routine. [Note from the Editor: This may be an unpopular opinion, but] For example, can you skip social media time? Can you make coffee at home, rather than drive five minutes out of your way to wait in the Starbucks drive-thru line? Just doing these two things alone could result in an additional 30 minutes of productive time in the office.
- Reduce Distractions
Distractions kill productivity. They’re like rooftop snipers. As soon as they see any sign of productivity, they put it in their crosshairs and pull the trigger.Ask yourself this: What are my biggest distractions and how can I eliminate them?Popular distractions include social media, SMS, video games, news websites, and email. And while none of these are evil, they zap focus. At the very least, you should shift them to later in the day.
- Set Measurable Goals and Action items
It’s hard to have a productive morning if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to be productive. Make sure you set measurable goals, create actionable to-do lists, and establish definitive measurements of what it looks like to be efficient. However, don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on true productivity.“There’s a big difference between movement and achievement; while to-do lists guarantee that you feel accomplished in completing tasks, they don’t ensure that you move closer to your ultimate goals,” TonyRobbins.com mentions. “There are many ways to increase your productivity; the key is choosing the ones that are right for you and your ultimate goals.”In other words, set goals that are actually reflective of productivity. In doing so, you’ll adjust your behavior to come in proper alignment with the results you’re seeking.
- Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Sometimes you just need to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are plenty of ways to shut out interruptions but make sure you’re also simultaneously cuing your mind to be productive. Vagus nerve stimulation is one option for doing both.Vagus nerve stimulation gently targets the body’s vagus nerve to promote balance and relaxation, while simultaneously enhancing focus and output.
- Optimize Your Workspace
Makes sure your office workspace is conducive to productivity. This means eliminating clutter, optimizing the ergonomics of your desk, reducing distractions, and using “away” settings on apps and devices to suppress notifications during work time.
Make Productivity a Priority
Never take productivity for granted. The world is full of distractions and your willpower is finite. If you “wing it,” you’ll end up spending more time, energy, and effort, all while getting fewer positive results.
Make productivity a priority – especially during the mornings when your mind is fresh and the troubles of the day have yet to be released in full force. Doing so will change the way you operate, function, and feel. It’ll also enhance tangible results, like income, job status, and the accolades that come along with moving up in your career.
Is the tech industry layoff bloodbath coming or is it already here?
We have large online communities for job seekers, and we can affirm that the layoffs are on the way, but there is a silver lining for all involved…
If you were on Twitter at the end of last week, you probably saw a dribble of conversations about layoffs in tech coming, and today, the volume was turned up to 10 on social media. Several founders have said they’re cutting parts of teams and are nixing contractors. We’re about to be in a recession, y’all, and we can ALL feel it coming.
While this has been happening all of this calendar year, a pending recession is kicking the stock market in the teeth (especially in tech), and combined with a slowdown in fundraising, fuel has been added to what was simply kindling, and layoffs are already rapidly escalating.
The next 6-8 weeks is going to be a bloodbath. I'm hearing rumors about a ton of companies preparing to lay off 20-40% of their team https://t.co/R6Ufq6zjXs
— JD Ross (@justindross) May 5, 2022
JD isn’t the only one hearing it, my inbox has slowly been lighting up on this topic. In response, Joshua Baer noted that it’s a great time to scoop up talent. Love or hate him, he’s right.
Good time to add great talent to your team if you are still hiring! https://t.co/NPzwcp09x2
— Joshua Baer ?? (@JoshuaBaer) May 5, 2022
There is a lot of data on tech layoffs, for example, Layoffs.FYI has been tracking meaningfully since COVID began, pulling info from public reports. We expect they’ll be busy for the next few months.
While VC funding in 2021 was at a global high, so far, 2022 has shown a significant slowdown, according to CrunchBase. Many believe valuations are tumified, a bear market is believed to be upon us, and tech firms are struggling to increase profitability, all combining to a bubble about to burst.
As Baer noted, the silver lining is for anyone looking to hire. It’s bad news for anyone about to get a pink slip, but it’s also empowering to know that candidates are still in the driver’s seat in this market and negotiations are still in their favor.
We at AG have communities dedicated completely to job seekers and employers, and have created neutral ground on which they can meet, and they do by the thousands (Austin Digital Jobs and Remote Digital Jobs).
We’re not seeing the “bloodbath” of folks with pink slips in hand yet, BUT today, a dozen mid- to senior- level technologists reached out to me personally that got laid off Monday morning.
With our finger firmly on the tech employment pulse, we agree with the assessment that layoffs are coming.
More on this topic: “Why are tech layoffs coming after such great Q1 earnings?!”
Here’s the TL;DR version in memes:
40% of newly-onboarded employees are already looking for another job
(EDITORIAL) The job market has been booming. That’s right, 40% of newly-onboarded employees are looking to make a move, AGAIN!
Currently, in the United States, employees are changing jobs every 4.2 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pandemic and other economic factors have accelerated that rate.
Two of every five workers who switched jobs in the past year are already looking for work again according to a survey published in April by Grant Thornton.
21% of American workers changed jobs in the last 12 months according to the company’s State of Work in America survey.
“The power is going to the employee right now,” said Tim Glow, who leads Grant Thornton’s employee listening and human capital services team. “They are in the driver’s seat.”
Those leaving jobs say pay and benefits are huge factors in leaving. However, of the 40% looking to make a move again, many say the pay increase they took when changing jobs wasn’t enough to keep them in their current job.
The Great Resignation is creating an opportunity for employees, and employers are looking at increased pay and benefits to keep workers happy.
Employees making a shift successfully are willing to leave a job again for a better work environment. And experts say more pay or better benefits are valid reasons to continue looking for new employment.
In the past, experts recommended staying at a job for three-five years before moving, but The Great Resignation has changed the status quo.
So what can employers do to keep their workers?
Gallup’s research shows employers that create a strategic, values-based program have a better chance of keeping and attracting employees. Highly engaged teams – that employ a holistic approach to wellbeing – quadruple their potential for success. And according to the American Psychological Association, 89% of employees are more likely to recommend their company if the organization supports wellbeing initiatives.
Employees not engaged with employers who build engaged teams can search for companies that live by that approach.
As Jerry Cahn of Forbes says, a better term for this period of employee power might be the Great Exploration. Employees looking for something more have a chance to do just that. And employers that offer more have a better chance of acquiring and retaining their team members.
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