In the spirit of better work relationships, I have begun practicing a new attitude: letting things go and not investing in what does not serve me well.
I have been working on this in my personal life, and recently started letting this be my guide at work. My idea of building good work relationships doesn’t center on being super-sweet or fun or nice (read my last article), it’s based on how peaceful and tolerable I want my work day to be, how much work I would like to complete and how stress-free I want my tasks to be. It sounds simple enough, but how do I manage this, when not everyone is at this level of being? Naturally, people don’t work at the same pace, so how do I manage my levels of expectation and keep my annoying sidekick, Anxiety, at bay? I just let go and let it be…
When Emails Attack
This is difficult for someone who feels better in the space of possessing control. Try as you might to stay off of your work email at home, it’s hard. If you’re like me, you scroll through your social media timelines, and the next app that my thumb is drawn to is Outlook. What is going on at work? What happened with that issue? Did so-and-so email me back? I tell myself I do it, to know what kind of day I have to look forward to when I arrive to work the next day. The truth is, I’m a bit of a control freak. So here I am, after hours, during the weekend, or on my off days, replying, annoyed mind you, to emails. The messages typically are things that not only (and most importantly) can wait, they tend to be things already discussed, instructions already given or laid out in previous emails, and my favorite — emergencies that with proper planning, didn’t have to be emergencies.
How a Let Go and Let it Be Philosophy Can Help the Team
I understand that things happen that are out of our control, but have you ever had that one co-worker, who always has an emergency? Like, they cannot seem to plan anything? It’s frustrating, to say the least. I can’t change them, so I had to change my viewpoint and ask myself if I contribute to this bad behavior.
Ever feel like you do such a great job performing miracles, that people think miracles just happen?Tweet
How many times do I create monsters at work (and home) by trying to fix and correct everything? How often do I begrudgingly do things, angry that I am in that position, but fix the problem anyway? Upon reflection, I realized that I’m not so innocent in these situations after all. Instead, I am an enabler of bad work behavior. How does one fix this? Although sometimes it is hard to pull myself away from reading emails, I started leaving them unanswered. Emergencies? I let those work fires that have spread from someone else’s lack of planning and non-existing attention to detail just… smolder and burn.
I stress myself out so much trying to take care of others who don’t think or respect me enough to do the same. When I fix the issue, no one ever knows there was or is a problem, the responsible party never learns a lesson or deals with consequences, and I’m in total flux. Do you ever think that sometimes we do such a great job at performing miracles, that people think miracles just happen? The work and time involved are never seen or considered. So the cycle is never-ending. At that point, who is to blame really? Whether it’s personal or work related, when I release my need to fix things or make things right, my stress level reduces significantly. I just repeat in my head, “they’ll figure it out,” and they usually do.