It's probably happened to you more times than you'd care to remember. You're at the top of your game in the office. Your tasks are done, your projects successful. As a result, your quotas and goals have been reached and decimated. But then suddenly, you discover nasty rumors about you brown-nosing a supervisor or supposedly working your way up the ladder using unsavory tactics. Somehow coworkers take any opportunity to undermine your achievements by knocking you down a peg with their comments or actions. And you thought your colleagues were the best mates ever. Australians have an informal phrase to describe this phenomenon —tall poppy syndrome — the disparagement of someone who's risen to a level that's higher than the other poppies in the same field. In other countries, you're more likely to hear expressions such as the familiar, "Stop making the rest of us look bad." Whatever form it takes though, the results are the same: High-performing individuals sometimes have to endure negative backlash — even social undermining — from their peers because of their work ethic. The psychology of social undermining There are many negative social consequences to excellent performance in the workplace. A study in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour defines social undermining as behavior intended to hinder a worker's success, reputation, and positive relationships over time. This behavior might look like: Someone badmouthing your work or reputation Someone competing with you in order to gain status or prominence over you Someone purposely withholding information you need to do work Someone intentionally giving you false information about a task you're doing so you miss a deadline That same study considers social undermining a form of workplace aggression and identifies three main distinguishing factors, namely: This behavior is intentional. It's done on purpose and with a negative goal in mind. This behavior seeks to interfere with work relationships by influencing how coworkers or supervisors view the victim. This behavior assumes that the above negative outcomes will occur. An article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology studying 1,087 recently unemployed respondents shows that those who experienced social undermining in the workplace reported having poorer mental health that manifested itself in feelings of irritation, anxiety, depression, and more. It impacts the worker and their output in a significant manner. In short, it's an attack meant to slow you down and bring you back down to the attacker's level. And its effects are detrimental to a person's psychological well-being and relationships at work. How to deal with undermining behavior So how does a top performer deal with being the target of resentment in the workplace? Or, what advice can we give to "tall poppies" and overachievers alike? Talk to your colleagues Once this undermining starts impeding your output, you should take concrete steps to alter the situation. First off, confront the people talking about you. If you know who they are, have a simple talk with each person one-on-one, and explain that you want the behavior to stop. This is often the most effective way to solve the problem. Report it But if your plea falls on deaf ears, take it up the chain of command. Talk to your manager, your department head, Human Resources, and so on. File a formal complaint with HR stating just the facts. Make it clear you will not accept this behavior. Pack your bags The simplest option is to weigh your pros and cons and figure out whether it's worth the mental aggravation to come in every day and work in a pit of vipers. If your "cons" column weighs heavier, then begin a new job search and find a friendlier workplace. TIP: Read the reviews of your next company on websites such as Glassdoor. Those anonymous reviews typically spill all the beans. Just remember: no company is perfect. Or... ride it out When confronted with a reader's dilemma that sounds exactly like the opening paragraph of this blog post, HR leader and Forbes columnist Liz Ryan shares this nugget: They say that the emotion most likely to follow intense dislike (even loathing) is boredom. Ryan's point is: If you don't let your sniping colleagues have the satisfaction of seeing you hurt and panicking, they'll eventually move on to another target. This is assuming, of course, you choose to stick it out in a toxic work environment where you have to deal with childish treatment from supposedly adult coworkers. And if you're unsure whether your workplace culture is toxic or safe, then rate your current office with the checklist in this piece: 10 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic. Control what you can: Yourself Finally, the age-old adage is true: you can only control your own reaction to a situation. You can't control what other people say about you or your work. If they're catty or passive-aggressive, you can choose to ignore them and refuse to take the bait. If they're hostile, you can choose to walk away. Meanwhile, you continue to do the work you were hired for to the best of your ability. Because doing it any other way (i.e. slacking off and choosing to produce mediocre work) is an insult both to your capabilities as a performer and to your employer's trust in you. Protect your mental health If you find the stress of dealing with toxic colleagues is bleeding into your personal life, it's time to reach out. Talk to a friend or trusted family member. Research the resources your company offers to support mental health. Remind yourself of the skills and expertise you bring to your organization and why you were hired in the first place. You can only do so much Excellence is divisive in an organization where mediocrity rules. Realize that you can only do so much to fit in or to try and change the culture before you yourself are tainted. It's better to find a company where your skills and your drive can be appreciated. And where, instead of worrying about colleagues stabbing you in the back, you work with people who have your back.
When faced with a doozy of a problem, where do you start? And what problem solving techniques can you use RIGHT NOW that can help you make good decisions? Today's post will give you tips and techniques for solving complex problems so you can untangle any complication like an expert.
Information overload is supposedly a very real, very current phenomenon that our parents never had to deal with. And if you believe we're just a wimpy generation compared to our forefathers, here's a stat to knock your socks off: we see more than 34 billion bits of information per day online — an equivalent of 2 books a day. The stat comes from Adrian Ott's research while writing his book The 24-Hour Customer. It captures our predicament aptly: now more than ever before, we're drowning in potentially meaningful information. We interviewed Getting Things Done author David Allen, who calls this phenomenon an attack by the "barbarians of overwhelming opportunity." See the video below: Information Overload: Not the Real Problem To be clear, even though consuming 34 billion bits of data daily is massive, that's not what's creating the crisis. It's the potential meaning that could be in the information we've received that stresses us out and keeps us from focusing on one thing at a time. Allen explains with an example: nature. When you set foot in a forest, every one of your senses feeds you information about your surroundings. But you don't implode because there aren't that many potentially meaningful things you have to worry about — until you come across dangerous animals or suspicious fruits. Email is a different story. You never know which message is urgent or life-threatening, and which is just spam. Hence every new message in your inbox becomes a potential mountain lion or poisonous berry. Not knowing which is which causes stress and pressures you to get through it all. Suddenly you're looking at 15 emails instead of working on your report. Addicted to the Ping Which leads to the addictive behavior connected with email, or with putting out fires that aren't even on your to-do list. Handling and organizing all these little pings on our attention creates dopamine in the brain, making them highly addictive. It's not surprising then that approximately 28% of our working day is spent interacting with our email. We simply love the rush of going through new messages and sending off responses ASAP; it makes us feel productive. In actuality, the time-suck it's sapping us of the energy we need to do our real job: creative problem solving. Cognitive Load, Overloaded! Handling all the potentially meaningful information in our inboxes and in our daily lives takes effort. And according to a study by Baba Shiv at Stanford University, there is a limit to our "cognitive load," the amount of mental effort needed to accomplish a specific task. Once this load is taxed, no energy is left to make good decisions. Clarify and Organize Your "Barbarians" So how does one deal with all this info without getting stressed mentally and physically? You have to set apart a time to clarify and organize these inputs before you can act on them. Allen's GTD method calls this the processing stage: you decide what you want to do with each idea. Is it urgent? What’s the goal? What’s your next action step? Are we just a wimpy generation? So to circle back to the original question: is information overload real? Absolutely. Though the real danger is the flood of potentially meaningful info we let in. Why not make it your New Year's resolution to adopt the GTD practice of processing all your input so you aren't overwhelmed by the barbarians at your gate?
Most of us make work-related New Year's resolutions knowing we'll probably fail within the first four weeks. But we do it anyway. Because the beginning of a year is always an optimistic time, and working toward a promotion, or a salary raise, or inbox zero, or improving communication is a noble aim. But the numbers are against you. According to a survey of over 3,000 people conducted by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, 88% of all resolutions end in failure. So those New Year's resolutions you posted on Facebook and bragged about at the office holiday party? They're likely to fail — unless, by sheer force of will, you're able to do the following: 1. Cure yourself from your need for (or addiction to) instant gratification Kelly McGonigal, Stanford University health psychologist and author of The Willpower Instinct, posits that people who are having a tough time sticking to their resolutions aren't experiencing difficulty because their goals are flawed. Merely that it takes a lot of willpower to stick to long-term goals. This is particularly tough when we (and our entire culture) value the gratification of short-term desires. It's always a struggle between giving in to the "future self" versus the "immediate self." TIP: Keep your "future self" in mind. Remember the kids put to the marshmallow test? If you can decide against instant gratification and tolerate temporary discomfort, you will be more fully able to stick to resolutions that have long-term benefits. 2. Remove yourself from situations of temptation And speaking of the marshmallow test... original researcher Walter Mischel figured out that the children who were successfully able to delay gratification weren't wired any differently from the unsuccessful kids. They simply adopted a better strategy, something Mischel dubbed the “strategic allocation of attention.” The kids stayed under the table, or covered their eyes, or tied and retied shoelaces — any activity to get their minds off the marshmallow or to obscure it from their view. TIP: To resist the temptation of your own personal "marshmallow," you have to remove yourself from its presence, or from situations which trigger you wanting it. 3. Stick with it for at least 66 days Roy Baumeister's book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength suggests concentrating on only one goal at a time. Baumeister explains that willpower is like a muscle that we can exhaust, so you have to concentrate on one goal at a time for success. But alongside this, every resolution boils down to reprogramming your mind to adopt a new habit. And researchers say that new habits require an average of 66 days (or a little over two months) to fully form. In fact if the behavior is particularly complex, it may take up to eight months! TIP: Don't throw in the towel after just a week. Give your new habit an actual chance to make a change in your life. Learn more from our Slideshare about productive habits: 4. Limit the amount of stuff you're memorizing In an experiment led by Baba Shiv at Stanford University, two groups were tasked with memorizing a number. One group was given two digits, and a second group was given seven digits. Then they had to decide between eating a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad. The students who had to memorize the seven-digit number were nearly twice as likely to choose the cake as students given two digits. It's a concept called cognitive load — the idea that the total amount of mental effort (the need to memorize extra numbers, for example) saps our ability to do other things, such as resist high calorie desserts or stick to resolutions. TIP: Instead of keeping stuff in your brain, unload your ideas and to-do items into a trusted organizational system that you can refer to anytime you need. It's a fundamental principle of David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity method. What makes your New Year's resolutions worthwhile? What advice do you have for sticking to your resolutions? Hit the comments and help us out by letting us know what keeps you in line after the new year!
We need to look at our routines and audit our habitual usage of our apps and digital products. Do they aid us in living better quality lives? Or do they harm our ability to focus and function? Here's how to accomplish a digital detox so you can reclaim some of that time back from your apps.
If you've ever worked with a task management tool and wanted to customize your workflow in the tool to closely resembles how your team actually works, then you know not every tool out there offers that functionality. Wrike does. Our Custom Statuses are unique features built into Wrike Enterprise that allow the creation of workflows tailor-made for your team. And when you combine them with the power of the Dashboard, you gain visibility into whatever slice of the work pie requires your focus. If you're wondering what is a dashboard in project management, it's a way to visualize your project's key deadlines, team member's workloads and tasks, for better project success. We'll teach you how to set up insightful Dashboards using Custom Workflows, starting with a refresher on Custom Statuses. What are Custom Statuses? Custom Statuses allow you to describe the unique stages of your workflow in finer detail than the Wrike default task statuses. The intended sequence in which your teammates should use your Custom Statuses builds your Custom Workflow. You can create specific workflows for every team, and assign each Custom Workflow to be the default workflow for one or multiple folders in your workspace. For example, you could build an Advertising workflow where a task's status goes from "planned" to "in process" to "peer review" to "client approval" to "published" — it all depends on your needs. How Can Dashboards Help? When you combine Custom Statuses and Dashboard Widgets, you gain instant visibility into just the right areas and processes you want to monitor with just a glance. If you notice bottlenecks often happening at the "client approval" stage, setting up a Dashboard to track these tasks gives you a chance to take action before long-term problems arise. A Sample Dashboard with Custom Statuses Here's how to create a useful Dashboard Widget using one of your Custom Statuses: Start by navigating to the Folder or Project you wish to monitor. For many people, this will be a department or team folder containing tasks you need to watch. Let's say you want to create a Dashboard for marketing department tasks with the Custom Status "Pending Approval". Get to the main Marketing Folder Click the Filters icon to open Filters in the right panel Find the Custom Workflow that contains the "Pending Approval" custom status and select only that status. Go back to the center panel and click the three-dot menu button. Select "Add to Dashboard" and choose the Dashboard where the Widget should live. Name the Widget you've just created. And you now have a Widget on your Dashboard showing all the tasks with the "Pending Approval" status! You can check it daily to see which tasks don't seem to be making progress. Note: When tasks move from the “Pending Approval" status to a different status in their workflow, they will automatically disappear from the Widget, so you know you don’t have to worry about them anymore. Create a Kanban Board With Custom Statuses You can keep adding status-specific Widgets to one Dashboard and create your own Kanban board. Use the steps above to create a new Widgets for every status in your Workflow. Then, drag-and-drop them into the correct order on your Dashboard. You can also combine multiple Custom Statuses into one Widget to track the many steps of a detailed workflow in bulk. For example, if you want to know the 4 main stages of work, one option would be to organize them like this: Widget 1, name it "TO DO": Include all your "not-yet-started" Custom Statuses (E.g. Idea, Proposed, User Stories, Planned). Widget 2, name it "DOING": Include all your active Custom Statuses (E.g. In Progress, In Design, In QA, Testing, In Review). Or separate the different stages as you see fit. Widget 3, name it "REVIEW": Include all tasks waiting for feedback from other people. Widget 4, name it "DONE": Include all your "completed" Custom Statuses (E.g. Completed, Published, Released, Done). Create whatever Widget categories make sense for you and your Kanban tool. When you change the Custom Status of a task, say from To Do into Doing, then this will correspondingly move the task across your Widgets. If you need more help setting up a Kanban board for your team, contact our Support team. More Resources: Help Page: Custom Statuses Video Tutorial: How to Create Customized Dashboard Widgets Help Page: Building Dashboard Widgets How to Create an Approval Process in Wrike Eager to Try Custom Fields and Custom Statuses? Custom Fields and Custom Statuses are available to Wrike Business and Enterprise users. If you're not on Wrike Business or Enterprise yet, start a free trial to test-drive these customization features. Have any lingering questions or need a little help? Contact our Support team.
It's the day before Christmas and all through the hall, Not a worker is working, they're home one and all. Yet here is our Roundup, it will never fail. Cause when you're done feasting, you'll check your email. ;) We hope you've subscribed to our blog's daily feed So you get our blog posts — "Hey, a new thing to read!" If it helps you work better, our job here is done. So Happy Holidays to everyone! 7 Productivity Beliefs You Should Ignore (Fast Company): The problem with a lot of the productivity advice you read online? It's never a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are 7 productivity myths that experts say we should avoid, and why. How to Avoid the Most Costly Onboarding Mistakes (Entrepreneur): Matt Straz outlines four of the most expensive onboarding mistakes, including how to fix them in order to get the most from new hires. 5 Lessons Learned in Project Management for 2016 (Girl's Guide to PM): Elizabeth Harrin shares five hard-learned lessons from 2015 that should guide your projects into the coming year. How Product Hunt Really Works (Medium): One entrepreneur shares his personal research into successfully launching on Product Hunt. According to him, it's not the number of votes your product gets, it's still who you know. A Manager at Google Wrote the Perfect Email on Time Management (theHustle.com): An important reminder to all knowledge workers: you have to carve out deep pockets of quiet work time (aka "Make Time") on your calendar. Or else you'll be in meetings all day. More Work Management Reads Go Try This: How to Make Every Piece of Content SEO Friendly (Content Marketing Institute) 17 Productivity Tools Inbound Marketers Need (Sea Monster Marketing) How To Get The First 1,000 Users For Your Startup (Roy Povarchik) Sally Hogshead on How To Be Fascinating (Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast) Think About This: Why We Unsubscribed 250K People From HubSpot's Marketing Blog & Started Sending Less Email (Hubspot) Launching a Google App the Startup Way (Medium) Working Remotely: More Efficient or More Distracting? (Smarter Office Blog) The Uberization of Work...And How Businesses Can Leverage it to Scale Faster and Smarter (Cloud Factory) Browse The Work Management Roundup on Flipboard If you use Flipboard on your mobile device, then you can check out these links via The Work Management Roundup magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine.
If you’ve started using Wrike and are wondering about “proper manners” when collaborating with remote team members, then allow us to suggest these 11 rules of Wrike etiquette. Incorporating these rules into your daily work should smoothen collaboration and make it much more pleasant for your team, no matter where they may be working.
Friday is finally here, and with just one week left before Christmas/Winter Holidays, we're bringing you the Work Management Roundup filled with articles not just regarding productivity and working smart, but also thankfulness and team-building. Thanks for coming back every week to read our roundup. It's our privilege to share our favorite links and advice with you. Enjoy! Show Your Appreciation by Changing Just One Word (James Clear): 'Tis the season to be thankful! A really short read by entrepreneur James Clear on how to exercise gratitude. It may just change your (work) life. Why I Don’t Want My Startup to ‘Go Viral’ (Observer): Laura Roeder shares a common problem she sees in startups: thinking that a viral loop can be planned. Doesn't work that way. You have to put in the hard work and find the right marketing to grow your user base. The Ultimate Guide To Winning Your White Elephant Gift Exchange Using Game Theory (FiveThirtyEight Life): Since it's holiday party time, chances are you're having some type of gift swap game. Thanks to Ben Casselman, here's a surefire decision-making system that will allow you to get (or steal) the best gift every time. 8 Team Building Exercises That Rock (Slideshare): And just in case you feel the gift swap is too outdated, you may want to peruse our Slideshare for 8 team games that you can play at the holiday party this year. How I Learned to Suck Less at GTD (Todoist): If you've ever tried the Getting Things Done productivity system and failed to maintain it, you may want to try these two tips that were written for the average disorganized Joe. 5 Ways to Winterize Your Cubicle (Payscale): It's cold, we know! (At least it is for us here in northern California!) But there are concrete steps you can take to make your work area much less wintery and much more comfy. Our favorite tip: sip hot water to keep you warm. More Work Management Reads Think About This: The Startup Framework to Validate Your Idea Before You Spend $1 (Medium) Information Overload Causes Fatigue Among Smartphone Users (Infographic)(Adweek) The 9 Email Mistakes That Make People Ignore Your Messages (Fast Company) Drinking Alcohol Will Not Help You Feel Warmer (Mythbusters) Go Try This: How to Work From Home Without Losing Your Mind (Entrepreneur) 9 Ways to Start a Conversation With Someone at a Networking Event (Hustle + Grind) 9 Ways to Make Sure You Run Effective Meetings (Infographic) (Wrike) How To Sleep Better: 16 Proven Tactics You Can Use Tonight (Mintfull) Browse The Work Management Roundup on Flipboard If you use Flipboard on your mobile device, then you can check out these links via The Work Management Roundup magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine.