6 ways to improve your patience at work
Words / Jessica Lee
Do you often feel exasperated and impatient when you have a heavy work load? Have you noticed that the pace of your schedule is faster than it used to be? Do you struggle with distraction or avoidance of tedious tasks?
If you do, you aren’t alone.
It is a common fact that most of us do struggle to manage the pressures of daily life at the office. The pressure to stay ahead, move quickly and achieve more can definitely affect your stress levels. We don’t just expect fast from others, we also expect it from ourselves. By raising the bar so unachievably high our patience has begun to wear thin. To help those dealing with work-related tension, here are 6 strategies for developing more patience.
Trust your journey
Do you ever catch yourself comparing where you are to where others are and feeling flat and frustrated as a result?
The problem with living your life from a place of “shoulds” and comparison is that it ignores the fact that progress and success take time. Being exceptionally critical of yourself and expecting quick results career-wise is not a healthy habit to adopt. Through this train of thought you shift out of the present moment and instead focus on what is lacking in your life, becoming less grateful and energised. Becoming patient is about feeling ok to take time arriving at your destination and not dwell on the amount of work that needs to be done. The journey will provide you with valuable insight and help you realise that work is not the be-all-and-end-all.
Take time to look back
There is a danger in only looking forward.
When you look forward, you are looking at what is yet to be achieved, which can make you feel like you are always playing catch up to reach your next milestone. This can rob you of your ability to enjoy the moment and celebrate your past success; whether it is that you achieved your work deadline or got lots done at the office. So take the time to reflect on your past, remind yourself of the challenges you have overcome and congratulate yourself.
Understand your fear attached to time
We all have feelings and beliefs around time, but those beliefs are not always true or helpful. The idea that productivity equates to long hours and strenuous work can be damaging. When you understand the why behind your thoughts and behaviours, you can begin to challenge them and choose new responses.
Choosing to live a slower pace of life and resisting the push to always be working harder and faster is initially going to feel unfamiliar. If you can move through the strangeness and develop new healthy work habits, like not taking your work home, you can find a new way of living that’s far more sustainable.
Reframing your thinking
When you reframe how your feel about the time available to you at work, your brain will start to think differently. Start thinking, “I have all the time I need”, and your brain begins to visualise you achieving what you need to in your time-frame.
Visualisation is a powerful tool.
Use visualisation when you have a looming deadline. Seeing yourself reaching a deadline primes your brain to feel like you have already done it. Taking a small break during your day to reflect and think in a positive manner is so important for your wellbeing. This will ultimately help lower your stress levels and improve your patience, allowing you to feel in control, calm, patient and trusting.
Simplify your life
Is a jam-packed work schedule causing you to feel impatient, stressed and frustrated? If you’re feeling frantic and pressured because your boss asked you to take on a significant load of work, look at what commitments you could remove from your diary. Or could you give yourself permission to slow down, to say no and take on less and enjoy the moments of your life more?
For lots of us, the fear of freeing our diaries and not being crazy busy means they would actually have to confront things in their lives they know aren’t working. The problem with staying busy to not feel the discomfort of facing the truth is that the challenges and issues don’t go away but continue to grow.
Challenge yourself to wait
To strengthen your ability to withstand waiting delays that come with everyday work life, challenge yourself to wait for something you normally access instantly. Could you wait till midday to check emails and social media? Could you save up for a purchase instead of putting it on your credit card? You can retrain your brain to not expect everything now and, in doing so, recapture the joy and anticipation of delayed gratification while also learning greater patience.
When you can challenge your thinking around time and what you expect of yourself, you can begin to live your life with more patience, self-compassion and contentment.