Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stop Being a People-Pleaser

Today I received this article from a colleague in a gchat.  At first I was caught off guard as I was in deep thought in an email I was currently writing but I was also surprised by the title. "Stop Being a People-Pleaser."   When I finally read the gchat message from the colleague, which said "this is SO you," I was immediately curious to read this article and figure out why this particular article made them think this was SO me.

After reading it, I realized, this is me.  100 and 10%.  The advise in this article is exactly what I needed.   I have been battling with myself on time management, quality of work, and always being accessible to others, regardless of what priorities are on my plate at the current time.

This part of the article, struck a chord with me the most.  (I am guilty of this, more than I even realized, so thank you Elizabeth Saunders for giving me this wake up call)

"The "Yes!" Man or Woman Scenario:  
If you're an energetic, service-oriented person, your tendency is to always respond to any request by saying, "Sure, I can do that." Or when you're sitting in a meeting and someone asks for volunteers to help, you always raise your hand. Or even when no one asks for help — but you know they need it — you offer to assist. In and of itself, a strong desire to take action isn't bad. But if this attitude means that you're completely overloaded with work and unfocused on your top priorities, you are failing to keep the commitments that truly should fall under your ownership.  In many instances, there are other people who can step up. If you can't resist the urge to jump in, disconnect yourself when you're off hours so that you're not even aware of every crisis.  Even if it seems like a can't-miss opportunity, remember that there will always be other chances. There will always be more events, more conferences, more articles, even more crises to solve — more of everything. If you don't make time for what's an enduring priority for you, such as sleep, rest, or time with important people, you'll miss out on what truly matters."

Yup. That is me.  To the T.  Now all I need to do is take Elizabeth's advise to heart and to use. ASAP.

My role at work requires individuals to be contacting me via email, gchat or by the phone throughout the day, everyday.  Sometimes I have 15 gchat conversations going on at work with folks who need answers from me or have a question, while emails pile up in my inbox and my phone may have a few voicemails.  At meetings when people ask for volunteers or help, I always offer to participate.  When someone refers to me as being someone that would "know" or be good to help (I almost always say yes, without fully considering my band with first)

May be this is how a people-pleaser thinks.  Try to answer everyone and anyone's immediate needs as fast and graciously as you can and trying to fulfill every request thrown my way.  Even with my emails, I answer emails for people I know need my answers/responses the fastest, but I also don't like writing terse emails, because the last thing I want to do is come off wrong or that I am "too busy"to care.  However, spending too much time on an email is not proper use of time so can you see how this can be a little overwhelming for a "people-pleaser?"

According to this article, I need to start slotting time on my calendar where I am "not" available so I can do top priority work undisturbed.  I need to learn when to say "I am sorry I cannot help at this time" and how to protect my time and energy.  This sounds like a much better plan than me doing work after normal work hours for high priority tasks.  These tasks should be done during normal work hours.  Right?

I don't know about you, but my weekends and evenings typically consist of me working for some amount of time with my laptop on my lap, some nights more than others, because let's face it, it is my quiet time and undisturbed focus time.   Weekends are usually my time to catch up on work and unanswered emails.  I should be able to find this sort of time during regular work hours, but for the past few months, that has been almost impossible.  Now I know why.  I've been a Yes Woman for way too many requests lately and it's finally caught up and bite me in the butt.

I also recently read this article by Fast Company called "What Successful Night Owls Get Done Before Bed" and this article made me realize that may be I am just wired to be a late night worker.   My mind is focused at night and I get a second wind usually around 8/9pm and it lasts until 11:00pm/Midnight (hence why this blog post was posted so late in the evening).   Is this normal? (sure).  Is it healthy? (may be, may be not).   Does this schedule have a negative impact on the people in my life and my job? (a little).   So what do I do about it?  I can't be an "all-the-time" worker because that is definitely not healthy, but I need to make some changes so I can be a great manager and worker.

All in all, I want to have as much of a balanced workload and life as I possibly can.  I do not want email overload or work anxiety.  I want to leave work at the end of each day feeling like I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish instead of feeling like I am chasing after a car that is rolling down a hill with no hope of me ever catching up to it.

Hopefully these two articles can help me find my balance and new best practices so I can achieve my goals and surpass them.  If I can make even a few small changes, then I know I will be on the right path to continue taking myself and my career forward.

Have you ever struggled finding ways to balance your workload all the while be a people-pleaser at work?

Can you relate to either one of these articles? If so how?

No comments:

Post a Comment