Adapted from her new paperback bestseller “Emotional Freedom”
We’re in the Age of Impatience. We’re addicted to technology and instant gratification. We want more information quicker and in fewer words. It’s easier to catch up with 100 friends on Facebook than to spend time with just one. And we can’t sit still without our smartphone, iPad, iPod, and laptop flashing and beeping new messages to us every few seconds.
A fallout from the technology boom is techno-despair — burn out, impatience, and frustration — leading to workplace stress, job dissatisfaction, reduced performance, and coworker conflict. The antidote? Learn patience and practice getting good at it. Doing so results in increased productivity and happiness at work — and offers health benefits as well. Try these techniques:
Find opportunity in disappointment.
Are you wanting that report…yesterday? Are you frustrated by the seeming ineptitude of a coworker who can’t learn the new software? Ask yourself, “How does this setback help me?” Disappointments viewed through this lens cultivate patience, leading to unexpected rewards.
Know your tech tolerance.
Machines, like people, have energy — and some people are more sensitive to tech energy than others. If you notice that you get easily stressed out by the buzz of computers, or your email alert, or even just the ringing of a phone, you may be highly sensitive. Drink water, go outside in the fresh air, and take a break.
Laugh it off.
Injecting levity into a frustrating workplace situation is the quickest way to counteract impatience and techno-despair. If there are tech glitches in your big sales presentation, make a joke or put a humorous spin on it. Instantly, you’ll feel less negative.
Note what’s working.
When we’re impatient, we tend to focus on the negative — the employee viewing YouTube instead of working, the unread emails overloading our inbox. Changing your attitude changes your mood. If you feel negativity creeping in, focus on something positive — something that’s going really well at work.
Go with it — temporarily.
Did your computer crash right in the middle of composing a report — and you didn’t save it? Like a long line at the store, sometimes you just have to go with it. Accept that there’s nothing you can do about it this time around. Watch what happens to your stress level when you do.
Take a micro view.
One reason we get impatient and frustrated at work is because we’re trying to grasp too many pieces of information at once — projects, deadlines, to-do lists, meetings, strategies, policies, emails, tweets, texts, and so on. Try focusing on one specific issue at a time, say, getting the most out of this morning’s meeting, or catching up on 5 emails.
Sometimes we’re so impatient to finish a project that we multitask to save time, get overwhelmed, and end up finishing the job poorly — or not at all. Try this: Stop pushing yourself for one day. Relax into your job. The patient tortoise always beats the frantic hare.
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About the Author:
Judith Orloff MD, a UCLA psychiatrist, is author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011, Paperback Edition). She is also author of the bestseller Second Sight. For more information and inspiration visit www.drjudithorloff.com.