No manager would say: Today is bring your personal life to work day.
Then why do you do the opposite? Why do you bring your work to the dinner table; to your kid’s soccer game; to your bathroom while you are brushing your teeth?
Twice a year, Bill Gates disconnects from reality in order to reconnect with (and redefine) his goals. During each one-week break, Gates travels into the woods of the Pacific Northwest where he dives into papers written by the Microsoft community. He scribbles notes, maps out ideas, and writes summaries for executives. There are no interruptions (besides a caretaker who provides two meals per day and a steady stream of Diet Orange Crush), no employees, friends, or family to accompany Bill; even his wife stays at home. This is a time of deep thought, reflection, and goal creation, and has been responsible for many Microsoft innovations.
Columbus was at play when it dawned on him that the world was round. Newton was at play in his mind when he saw the apple tree and suddenly conceived of the force of gravity. Watson and Crick were playing with possible shapes of the DNA molecule when they stumbled upon the double helix. Shakespeare played with iambic pentameter his whole life. Mozart barely lived a waking moment when he was not at play. Einstein’s thought experiments are brilliant examples of the mind invited to play.
One of my writing friends gives all her workshop students toothbrushes. She tells her students, “This is one of the most important writing tools I can give you. Use this twice a day: once in the morning and once at night.” The toothbrush does two things for these creative misfits who spend too much time in their heads thinking about stories:
I think we’ve cured boredom.
You wake up with an app that tracks your sleep. You respond to all the text messages you received during the night. You get an email notification while texting. You pour some of your green-machine juice and do a web search for “reconstituted concentrate” to see if your juice is really 100% juice. You track your breakfast in a nutrition app. You get a Twitter notification (swipe it aside, you’ll look at it later). You read the news using an app that selects stories based on your interests. A Facebook notification interrupts you. Before you leave for work you check your step count so far this morning, and look to see how you compare to your friends. You check the weather app and decide to bring an umbrella. You listen to that new song on your streaming music app and tweet about it. You Instagram the sunrise on your way to work. You get another notification but ignore it. Your boss sends you a text asking you to pick something up from the printer/copy center. In line, you buy tickets to a concert this weekend. On your way to the office, a local coffee shop sends you a message using a location-based restaurant app promoting their seasonal drink that happens to be on special. You buy a coffee and pay for it by scanning your phone. In the elevator you Yelp a review. Good morning.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Smile, your mood is contagious." Your mood and behavior can affect everyone on your team, this is especially true for managers. As you may have experienced, a short-tempered manager can create a productive or toxic environment. In the latter, employees will not be used to their full potential; they will go home at the end of the day exhausted and not feel like they have accomplished anything worthwhile.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you prefer to learn through reading. This is just one of the several ways people take in information, process it, and commit it to building a new skill or perform a task. Surprisingly, many people don’t know we learn differently. In communication, knowing how someone learns is just as important (if not more important) than the content of the message you are communicating. In this post, I will discuss the types of learners there are and how you can use this to have more effective communication.
There are a ton of survivor-style television shows out. You know, where one or several people get dropped in a location they do not know without anything (or next to nothing). They have to “make it” for some amount of time or form a tribe and work through the tribe interactions. When you get a new job, the experience can be very similar. You take the job, get a set of stuff and are expected to survive and thrive. Both follow Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs. Maslow stayed really busy creating a lot of theories about humans, and most are patterns that I use to understand what I need to give and get from a job.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working with a team that focused on chasing and being chased, and trying to limit the amount both team members have to do. In business, you rely on other people to provide you something so you can do your job, and others rely on you to provide something to somebody else so they can finish their job. Hence, chasing and being chased.
Many people in the workforce are disenfranchised with the company they work for and have limited loyalty to the company. There are several factors surfacing this feeling in current and new workforce entrants. Holacracy is a different approach to running a company that removes structure and distributes authority and responsibility.
In Neuro-linguistic(NLP) Part 1, I wrote about how NLP is based on the theory that we experience the world through an internal map of reality we have created, not reality itself. This sounds more complex than it really is. What it means is we emotionally respond to language and other signs and symbols. How and why we respond the way we do comes from our past experiences and present sensory interpretation.
NLP, or Neuro-linguistic Programing, is a communication approach focusing on how language affects the nervous system. It challenges us to become more aware of how we think about the world around us. Using symbols, such as pictures and language, NLP can help us push through resistance and trample barriers as we move toward success. The tools developed by NLP have been used to improve communication and personal development. Notably, it has been used to help people work towards goals, phobias, mentor and coach, change habits, and emulate patterns of success. It is a practice you can continue to work at throughout your entire life.
Author note: this list was composed based on my own experiences, my observations in the workplace, and input from fellow Millennials. If you are a millennial and I missed something or got something wrong, feel free to add or correct me in a comment below. If you are a baby boomer, this is honest advice with a little bit of tongue in cheek humor tossed in the mix. Enjoy!