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Self reflection: Looking forward to not drown at work

Hello! Amanda here from the Think Team!

I would like to wish you Happy Eid for everyone who celebrates it!

Coming back after a long holiday got myself reflecting on where I aim to go and where I am currently. I had the time to catch up with my friends from college who worked different fields from unicorn start ups, government sector and work for themselves as self entrepreneurs. We shared about how fun and unexpected life at 20s can be. Among other things, we connected on this one thing, "drowning at work". Most of us went through a phase where we were once hard working, ambitious, driven person, and our first instinct when faced with a pile of work was to double down and work hard. But one way or another, we found ourselves anxious and drowned at work rather than feeling more achieved and progressing towards our goal.

Then one of group member said that stressing about work is like to falling into body of water. For most of us (including myself), our first instinct tend to swim hard and moving uncontrolably, while the best thing to do is to float or gently tread water, staying calm and conserving resources while the shock goes away. This is actually much easier said than done. The same is true for when you drown figuratively – in work. It often occurs due to the pressure comes from the sensation of absence of control – "Am I missing something important and I am not aware of it?" "Am I investing too much energy in this and I will not have any time left for X which is truly significant so I'll need to stay up at night and on the weekend finishing it?". Rather than double down in work and taking up your physical and mental health, fight your instinct for a short period of time, take a step back and sit with the pressure:

  1. Why am I stressed?

  2. What is under my control? What can I do about it?

  3. Go ahead and do it (if you can).

With a bit of reflection, we shared how for some of us the stress generated from the unclear expectation , not having enough time to follow up client request or direction of task is unclear thus they stress about upcoming multiple revisions. I personally am grateful that in several of this stress has been eliminated by the system that we have. Company Manual and ASANA for directions of the task, OKR for expectation and CRM for client management. Although it is still not perfect and fully integrated, but step by step we are moving toward more automated system. As one of the team who help set up the system up, along with Okta in the business team, the part outside of the company (legal, plug in platform etc) is actually the one that slightly generate a bit stress for me because there too many information in the internet world and it is hard to narrow it down. This is what check ins and meetings are for. We share what the problem and solution we have found and done, and seek for others' suggestions to solve the issue. This way I was able to be prioritized by focusing first on what truly made the most difference.

I don't intend to sound excessively oversimplified about this theme of stress. However, some of the time, you know, it truly is this simple. Take a step back. Sit with your pressure. Always as the question "Why" at least 5 times. Act deliberately, and not instinctively. Last but not least, don't forget to work out!

Thanks for reading my blog and have great rest of the week!

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