Making it work

How to not sweat the small stuff

By Gerald McGroarty, BrighterLife.ca

Comments (1)

From the mundane to the insane, it is often the little things about our jobs that drive us crazy and put a crimp in our day or a cramp in our style.

How to not sweat the small stuff

Contrary to popular advice, some of us do sweat the small stuff, but today we’re going to put a stop to that, or at least offer up some fun suggestions to combat the little things at work that make us check out, walk out or freak out.

1. I’m too busy to get my real work done.

Are you drowning under a tide of “small” requests? Just say no. Easier said than done? How about trying these responses on for size the next time someone asks you do something you really don’t want to do: “There is a person who totally kicks butt at this, and I’m not that person.” Or, “I would love to say yes to everything, but I’m cautiously optimistic that it won’t get done.” Bottom line: Just say no.

2. I forgot my password.

Well, you wouldn’t be alone. According to recent research, the average person has at least 17 private passwords and 8.5 work-related passwords. No wonder we can’t remember them.

But there are solutions to one of today’s most common brain cramps. If you type in the words “apps to remember password” in any search engine, you’ll soon discover a wide variety of applications available. Do your homework on which one will work best for you, as many of these apps not only keep track of all your passwords, but are also safe and secure places to store other personal data such as credit card and bank information.

3. I forgot to back up my files.

Many of us have fallen victim to not backing up our work on a separate drive or not having access to our files from different locations — myself included. Well, now you can put those fears to rest with a multitude of options for online storage.

There are a number of websites that allow you to store files, photos and videos and access them from any computer, phone or tablet. For business, these cloud-based filing and collaboration solutions make it easy to share with your team, clients and vendors. Just like the password apps, enter the words “online storage filing” in any search engine. External hard drives and USB memory keys are great, but technology is making life easier with cloud-based applications for storage and easy accessibility to your files.

4. My keyboard is filthy.

Yes, it is. Researchers say your keyboard most likely harbours five times as many germs as a public toilet seat, keeping in mind public toilets are often cleaned at least once a day. Make no mistake: Food, germs, dirt and dust are only a fingertip and a keystroke away. Thankfully, there are countless suggestions on the web for combatting keyboard filth. One of my favourites: To retrieve crumbs or dust trapped between keys, use a sticky note. And remember: You can seldom go wrong with pre-moistened wipes, especially ones that include a disinfectant and or anti-bacterial ingredient. At best, anti-bacterial wipes can eliminate many germs; at the very least, they are an excellent catch-all for dirt and debris.

5. I can’t get my priorities straight.

Welcome to the club. For many of us, setting and completing daily goals, objectives or tasks is an exercise in frustration ending in despair or disappointment.

Most successful people employ an effective process to keep them on track to get things done. Brian Tracy, one of North America’s leading sales trainers uses an A-B-C method.

The technique is simple: Write down your daily tasks every day. Put an A beside the ones that are highly important. These tasks have severe consequences if they are not completed, and are therefore your must-dos. Rank the remaining, less-important tasks with a B, C or D. Put your focus on the A list and do not move on until all the tasks on it are completed. It’s as easy as A, B, C.

6. I’m addicted to Candy Crush.

Nothing kills productivity better than a good distraction. From Pinterest to Facebook to the handful of games you’ve downloaded, distractions negate what we are all paid to do: work.

If you are going to download anything in the future, try one of the network-blocking applications on the Internet. They’re easy to use and work on Mac, PC and Android products. You simply set the application to the length of time you want to be locked out of the net, and then you can focus on your work, distraction-free. Increasing your productivity will actually give you more time to play!

And finally…

7. Where’s my car?

This tip has nothing to do with work, but it could save you from the walk of shame that many of us have endured. It might sound crazy, but did you know that if you place your keyless remote under your chin and slightly open your mouth, you can increase the distance its signal carries? What is even crazier is it works — I’ve tried it numerous times when I’ve lost my car in the mall parking lot!

I’m no scientist, but as I understand it, the fluids in your head act as a conductor or antenna and actually increase the range on your remote. Yes, you might look a bit odd with your mouth open and keys under your chin, so if you prefer a more subtle way to locate your car, try this: Take a photo of your car with your cell phone. Make sure you capture any landmarks or distinctive markings in the snapshot, and take it from the same angle as you will be approaching your car on your return.

I hope some of these simple and fun tips can make your life a bit easier and alleviate some of your frustrations. At the very least, we’ve given you some conversation pieces for lunch.

On a more serious note, always remember to put the most mundane frustrations in the right context. Most of life’s annoyances and irritations are just a small blip compared to what really matters. And if you really must sweat the small stuff, try doing it with a smile.

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billclayton on

For sure, don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m finding that there’s a lot to be learned before being properly retired. For instance, how to leave the office behind… how to be alone — things like that don’t come naturally for everyone. I read Brighter Life every day. Then I read this one, which I find entertaining and informative. http://tinyurl.com/ppcr2yw

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