How to Handle Work Guilt

Call it whatever you want – on some level we all experience some level of guilt around our jobs, especially if our work is particularly demanding. Today, there’s a focused emphasis on “Mom Guilt” but the reality is that dads experience it, caregivers experience it, married people experience it, single people experience it. Unfortunately, the guilt is real for most workers.

Why is guilt so prevalent in our society? First, it’s important to note that this guilt is nothing new. We’re just talking about it more – and making more memes about it. However, due to the climbing cost of living, we have more people in the workforce who are working longer hours to make ends meet, which is resulting in less time at home with our loved ones. Also, technology, while wonderful, is keeping us perpetually connected to both work and home, stretching our attention to full life awareness at all times. We’re hyperaware of all the things we aren’t doing and all the people we aren’t spending time with.

Work Guilt can be overwhelming and lead to emotionality, rash decisions, and mental breakdowns. While you may not be able to change the circumstances around the core of the work guilt (if you have to work, you have to work), there are ways we can manage how we feel.

Change Your Job

Stick with me here. If your guilt is stemming from hating your job (whether your role or the environment), seek out another form of employment. Consistently showing up at work resentful, angry, or stressed serves absolutely no one. And if you’re going to make the argument that the job pays too well to leave, I pose a different perspective – what is it costing you?

Change Your Dialogue

Pause to consider the language you are using with yourself and others about work. We hear this all the time – mindset matters. Talking about work like it’s the bane of our existence and a pain in the ass will only set you up to expect and receive just that from your job.

Instead, start by focusing on positive aspect every day day. You could keep a list somewhere, journal it, or just think about it – whatever works for you, but once a day, fixate on one good thing that happened that day. It could be anything such as Donut Day, getting over the hurdle of a project, learning a new skill, or even just that you have a job.

And when someone asks how work is going, here are two suggestions. First, don’t use the word “busy”. Newsflash, we’re all busy. Second, create a balance in your language, such as “It’s been demanding lately but I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks and we’re almost to the end of the project!” You don’t have to lie, but again, land on a positive note.

Have Conversations About Your Actual Work with Loved Ones

Every job goes through busy and slow times, whether seasonally – like accountants and retail workers – or project based. However, the accountants have a leg up on everyone else – we know when they’re underwater. Have you ever tried to make plans with an accountant at the end of the quarter or during tax time? Sheesh!

However, for the vast majority of us, our loved ones have no perspective on what we do all day. Remember those memes about the different perspectives around various job roles? We have fallen so hard into the practice of not bringing our work home with us that we’re compartmentalizing to our detriment.

Alternatively, involve your loved ones in conversations about your actual work. And no – I don’t mean fill them in on all the office gossip. Talk about (as much as you can) current projects that are on your plate. Discuss challenges that popped up and how you worked to resolve them. If you’re hitting a high season, let them know and fill them in on what to expect during that time.

For example, if you have reports due at the end of every quarter, let your family know! Let them know what the reports require you to do (tons of meetings, putting together spreadsheets and charts, working a few extra hours) and explain to them why it’s essential to your job. This opens up a conversation about what you actually do and sets expectations around your availability and energy levels.

Improve Your Time Management

Work Guilt can stem from feeling overworked. However, let’s have an honest moment – could you be better at time management? Take a quick look at your schedule. Are you over committing yourself? Are you handling tasks in a timely manner? Are you allowing yourself the personal time you actually need?

Do an honest and thorough evaluate fo your habits and see what could be tweaked. If you need help getting started, check out my blog posts on scheduling your to-dos, setting daily priorities, and batching your work.

Be Present When at Home

Finally, be present when you’re at home. Turn off work and other unnecessary notifications on your phone and computer. Allow yourself to decompress and be with the ones you love – giving them your full attention. Even better, create an active, engaged environment at home. If you’re cooking dinner, involve the whole family. Nothing on the agenda for the day? Take a walk and then have a board game tournament. Or have your own movie marathon with the added fun of trivia questions. Make home a place where you suddenly wonder where your phone is because you haven’t seen it in a few hours. Work, social media, games, sports updates – they’ll all be there when you decide to check back in.

Above all, remember that you’re not in this alone. Everyone experiences some form of guilt related to their work. Chat it out with friends – find out their techniques for coping. And if you feel like that’s not enough, seek professional help. Therapists can do wonders to give you perspective and tools.

Be kind to yourself!

Increase Your Self-Awareness with the Left-Hand Column Exercise

Self-awareness is all the rage lately. Emotional IQ training. Meditation. Journaling. We’ve made self-awareness trendy.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Slowing down to figure out how we are affecting the world around us is more productive and expected as we interact with each other.

I learned the Left-Hand Column Exercise years ago at my first full time job and it’s been a valuable tool for me over the years. Whether a tense verbal conversation with a coworker or customer or an uncomfortable interaction that you can’t quite put your finger on why it was awkward, this exercise will help you identify factors you may not have noticed or considered before.

10 Tips for Planning a Successful Event

Planning an event for your company or business can be an insanely overwhelming. The sheer number of details can trip planners up. However, have no fear – there is a method to the madness. You just need to have some insight and help.

Whether putting together an all-day meeting or holiday party, the tips below will set you on the right path to hosting a successful event.

Have a clear purpose and audience for the event.

The first step in any event planning is getting clear about the purpose of gathering everyone and defining who needs to be in attendance. The purpose and audience dictate the rest of the planning parameters, including venue, budget, meals, and materials needed.

Guidelines for Effective Email Writing

One of the biggest complaints in today’s modern communications is there are too many emails. We step away from our inboxes for an hour and BOOM! Thirty more emails. And then, we start to dig in and have to use extra energy and focus just to get to the main point of each message.

Let’s be honest – we’re all friends here. You’ve read an email and thrown your hands up asking, “What the hell do you want?”

Whether the email is too wordy or the asks are not clear, we easily get flustered when reading a message simply because… if it is taking this long to figure out what this person wants, how long is it going to take me to get through the rest of my inbox?

The reality is you may be the culprit as well. You may be sending emails that cause this anguish and frustration. While we can’t please everyone, we can certainly aim to write the best emails possible for the masses.

That’s where these simple tips come in.

7 Tips to Clean Up Your Digital Files

Digital records management isn’t something we spend time thinking about until we need to find a file. We spend far too much time searching, wondering where we would have thought to save the file when we were working in it. Frustration sets in as we jam every term possible into the search bar and still we have to sort through file after file to find what we need.

I personally despise wasting time looking for files. It’s one of those delays that drives me nuts mainly because it’s so easy to prevent.

If you’re relating to this, don’t worry – most people do. We’ve become disorganized digital hoarders. With endless storage capacity and search functions, we aren’t as discerning about what we’re saving and how it’s organized.

How to Use LinkedIn’s Find Nearby Networking Tool

Have you ever been to a conference or networking event and you wish you could connect with everyone? Getting to every single person in the room can be daunting but you have a shared experience or interest and you’d still like to connect.

Picture this… You’re at a networking happy hour with your organization and there are lot of fresh faces. You’re working the room but it’s not realistic for you to get face time with everyone in attendance. Thanks to this function built into LinkedIn, you can at least invite them to connect with you and hey! You’ll schedule coffee with them later.

I’m about to change your networking life with a simple LinkedIn tip.

Who this is for:

  • Attendees of limited-seat workshops who want to connect with fellow attendees.
  • Speakers who want to open their LinkedIn to connect with their audience.
  • Networking groups that you want to connect with quickly and swiftly.

Tips for Email Management

Unsurprisingly, email tends to be most workers’ biggest headache. Whether it’s a burning desire to document everything or senders just like the ease of email, we are inundated with messages at all hours of the day.

How do we manage the chaos?

Well, first, start thinking of your inbox as a tool, not the bane of your existence. There are a lot of functionalities built into email clients to make our lives easier – we just have to discover them or actually use them.

So, set some time aside today and let’s get organized!

7 Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant

You’re working your little heart out, losing track of time, and starting to consider hiring a little extra help. And you begin to wonder, “Am I ready for a virtual assistant?”

The reality is if you’re starting to wonder if you’re ready for a virtual assistant you may actually be in desperate need of one.

That brings us to tip #1…

Tip #1: Hire a virtual assistant before you need one.

Hire a VA to help you scale your business, not to dig you out from being buried by it.

If you’re already buried, that’s okay. Let’s get you positioned to hire the right person, fast.

Tip #2: Know what you’re looking for.

Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant

The real title of this blog post should be “The Crazy Amazing Benefits of Hiring a Real-Life Virtual Assistant Instead of Doing Everything Yourself or Relying on Technology.”

But that’s not catchy.

I hear it all the time. “With all the technology today, why should I hire a virtual assistant?”

Simple. Technology can’t replace human critical thinking, strategy, brand awareness, autonomous behavior, compassionate response, and much more – all at once.

Sure, there are plenty of ‘virtual assistants’ out there – Alexa, Echo, Siri, Google Assistant, and tools to automate your business. You can set up all your systems and hope they do exactly what you’d like them to do. But chances are you going to spend more time managing your tools than you will be working on your business and still none of those tools can apply years of administrative and business expertise to make sure you make the right decisions for your business.

Sold yet? No?

How to Protect Your Time and Energy by Creating Boundaries

In our ever-connected world, we are being drained by our work. Access to email means your boss can find you wherever, whenever. Customers and colleagues are using social media for business at alarming rates. Throw in collaboration and communication tools like Slack, workflow managers, chat, text, *gasp* the phone… and the idea of unplugging becomes downright laughable.

On top of all this communicating, you have to get actual work done and live a life.

It’s enough to drive people absolutely mad. And I’ve seen it happen.

I’ve been there.

Years ago, I was working myself to insanity because I felt an overpowering sensation of indebtedness to my job and an unwavering commitment to an unscalable definition of good customer service. I was always on-call, responding to emails within moments of receiving them and handling tasks quickly because I didn’t want to be a bottleneck in productivity. People would politely chastise me, “It’s so late! This isn’t urgent!” But for me, it was. Good customer service meant dealing with every single task with a sense of accessibility and urgency.

But the burnout hit me hard.