Staying Grounded..

It’s Monday evening and I can honestly say that today was a pretty smooth start to the week.  I was a little nervous that it’d be a struggle to get my body moving after a long holiday weekend.  Luckily, I was able to have an extra hour of sleep this morning thanks to my husband. 

I’m in the middle of a transition at work, where I will be moving to a new department.  I’m having to learn a whole new set of skills, along with working with a new set of team members.  Change is both exciting and scary.  The thought of learning something new and being able to use the knowledge I’ve gained from my previous experience at this company is the part that is exciting.  The fear enters when I think of everything there is to learn and being able to be an effective team member. 

So in the midst of this transition, I’ve been trying to practice “staying grounded” at work.  By staying grounded, I mean, finding ways to enjoy and embrace the transition without getting too overwhelmed.  Below are some ways I’ve found to stay grounded…

  • Prioritize my work:  At the end of each work day before I leave the office, I make a list of items that I was unable to finish or get to.  This way when I come into work the following day, I have a starting point on what needs to get done.  If work comes up throughout the day that needs to take precedent of what I’m currently doing, then I make sure to put a sticky note on that bit of work to remind myself where to pick up later on.
  • Organized filing system:  The position I’m transitioning to utilizes tons of paperwork.  At first, this left me feeling very overwhelmed.  I couldn’t wrap my head around how I would even begin to keep up with all the papers.  I asked for suggestions, but soon realized that I just needed to find a system that worked best for me.  I decided fairly early on that I would need a filing system.  I cleared out a  filing cabinet at my desk and I labeled some filing folders based on the most common types of papers I deal with on a daily basis.  This way, I can file papers throughout the day in one designated spot.  Having this organized filing system has definitely eased some anxiety of the transition. 
  • Ask questions:  I’ll admit, I’ve always been the type to not want to feel like I don’t know the answer to a question or appear clueless.  In this transition phase though, I’ve learned that no question is a dumb question.  Though I ask alot of questions and feel like I may be a burden to the new team members by doing this, I’ve learned that I gain more confidence about my work and can document my new knowledge each time I get an answer to a question.  I’ve also found it helpful to make a laundry list of questions as they come up and then I can ask them in one sitting instead of going back and forth to team members. 
  • Drink it up:  Before I ever took on working in an office, I was never much of a coffee or tea drinker.  That quickly changed when the computer and desk became my friend for 8 hours a day.  Though it may sound silly, I find that either drinking a flavored tea I enjoy or coffee brought from home, helps me feel grounded at work.  I guess it comes with the warmth and the taste of something I love.  There are even weeks where I sneak in an afternoon Diet Coke for enjoyment!
  • Quote It:  I’ve always been a big fan of collecting quotes.  Sometimes these quotes might be song lyrics or bible verses as well.  When I found myself struggling for a few days in a row one work week, I decided to stop what I was working on and look up some encouraging quotes and verses.  I wrote them on small notecards and have them sitting beside my computer screen.  Any time I need a quick dose of something positive, all I have to do is pick up the notecards and read them.  It helps to have something that is right in front of me that I can quickly grab if I need to ground myself.
  • Walk it Off:  My job allows for 15 minute breaks (x2) each day and I use those break times to walk and get fresh air.  There’s a perfect ‘path’ that takes my husband and I just about 15 minutes to walk.  Yes, my husband and I work at the same company!  We generally take one of the breaks in the morning and one in the afternoon; usually at the same time everyday.  It’s kind of a nice way to ‘break’ up the morning and then to ‘break’ up the afternoon.  It’s amazing what fresh air and some movement will do to help me stay grounded.
  • Listen:  One really big perk of my job and even the one I’m transitioning to, is the ability to listen to music throughout the day with headphones.  Amazing right?  I can’t tell you how many times, putting on a favorite song and just taking a minute to relax and enjoy it, helps me stay grounded.  Granted, there are days where little, if any music gets listened to, as I have phone calls to make, meetings to be a part of, or training to attend.  The past 2 weeks, I learned that I could access one of my favorite radio stations (KLOVE) and listen to their station online.  I’m sure soon enough that it’ll get blocked by security, but for now, I enjoy it at work while I can.

I realize that all of the things I’ve listed that help me stay grounded, may not be ones that are available to you.  I hope I’ve at least stirred some creativity and  you can develop some grounding skills for yourself, whether you are going through a transition  at work or not.

“I have always argued that changes becomes stressful and overwhelming, only when you’ve lost any sense of constancy of your life.  You need firm ground to stand on.  From there, you can deal with that change.”  ~Richard Nelson Bolles

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