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!

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?

Stop Multitasking and Focus

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m a pro at multitasking!”?

Maybe you’ve said it yourself.

I have bad news. Multitaskers may not be as productive and tuned-in as they think they are. Studies have shown time and time again that not only is multitasking less efficient, but it may actually be impossible.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an interesting article on multitasking research.

Now, I’m not here to be accusatory. I’ve definitely been there. Up until a few years ago, I would have insisted that I was the queen of multitasking. And then, suddenly, I realized I wasn’t.

I had taken a job as an assistant to three executives, plus my role required project management work. My brain was constantly running in eight different directions and while I was able to keep myself organized, I found it was taking me longer and longer to get through tasks that were seemingly simple. Why was it taking me so long to book travel and get it on calendars? Expense reports were taking twice as long to get done. And I just couldn’t seem to get my project reports sent out. I was drowning.

Something had to change.

Batching Work: Your Productivity Super Tool

Being productive isn’t something you just “are”. Productivity stems from having numerous tools in your toolbox to tackle the hundreds of tasks that get thrown at us every week.

In addition to setting daily priorities and scheduling my to-dos, I have one more big trick up my sleeve to keep the overwhelm at a minimum. I batch my work.

What exactly is batching your work?

Increase Your Effectiveness with this Daily Habit

A common productivity hang-up is the inability to stay focused on what’s important. Whether it is feeling buried under all the tasks that need to be completed or dealing with constant interruptions, getting thrown off course is so easy. Plus, life is just full of distractions. Then you get to the end of the day and feel like it was wasted. Where did the time go? Did you actually get anything done that you needed to?

I’ve been there – I get it.

However, you don’t have to be a victim of this black hole. There is a way to get everything done and feel accomplished, rather than frustrated, at the end of the day.

Stay on Task by Scheduling Your To-Do’s

As part of my morning routine, I cruise LinkedIn to find interesting articles about the workplace. One day, I came across Forbes’s 15 Surprising Things Productive People Do Differently and one tip stuck out to me.

Secret #3: They don’t use to-do lists.

Throw away your to-do list; instead schedule everything on your calendar. It turns out only 41% of items on to-do lists are ever actually done. And all those undone items lead to stress and insomnia because of the Zeigarnik effect. Highly productive people put everything on their calendar and then work and live from that calendar. “Use a calendar and schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks. It sounds like a pain, but this will set you up in the 95th percentile…”, advises the co-founder of The Art of Charm, Jordan Harbinger.

Now, I don’t subscribe to this entirely. I still use a physical to-do list because writing down my tasks helps commit them to memory and prioritize what needs to be done. However, I do schedule my to-do’s and let me tell you, it’s a game changer.