Sometimes, the things we plan to do at work get completely derailed by other events that demand our attention. Your internet connection goes down, the lights blow out, a client emergency arises, or someone calls in sick.
In these moments, it’s easy to become both exasperated and tense. ‘How am I going to complete my list of tasks?’ you wonder. ‘Why did this have to happen?’
When unplanned events throw a wrench in your plans, your best strategy is to practice going with the flow. Going with the flow means you take a deep breath, adjust to the circumstances, and trust that things will work out. Going with the flow requires accepting the current reality of what just happened and moving with it.
Going with the flow at work is not an airy fairy response to emergencies and interruptions. Rather it’s an understanding that these sudden events are a part of life.
If something happens today that upsets your plans, try going with the flow. Take a deep breath, incorporate the new reality, and trust that tending to this inconvenient occurrence doesn’t have to ruin your day.
This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is so beautiful, it needs to be its own meditation:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
One concept that is very hard to comprehend but very powerful when practiced is acceptance. Most people mistake acceptance for something else; they think that accepting a person or thing is the same as approving of it.
“I’m not going to accept my supervisor’s moodiness. That would be condoning the behavior.” Wrong. Acceptance is looking at what is and saying, “this Is my reality.”
So, for example, you can accept the fact that the economy is reeling but you don’t have to like it. You can accept the fact that your lazy coworker always finds reasons to dump work on your desk, but you don’t have to complete his or her assignments. You can accept the fact that you don’t like a certain customer without having to forfeit the business.
The simple act of stating what is and accepting it as your current reality breathes some air into the problem; makes it a little less dense; acknowledges your reality.
When something bugs you today, try accepting it. Just say, “I accept the fact that I’m caught in a traffic jam,” or “I accept the fact that my computer is down,” or “I accept the fact that Joyce talks incessantly.” Write down the facts about the people or things you don’t like then practice accepting them.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
Some days start off well and glide by seamlessly. Other days are stressful from the start. If your workday looks like the former, take a moment to really enjoy the ease of it all. Appreciate your work environment and savor your interactions. If your workday is the latter (highly stressful), take many moments throughout the day to B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathing is the easiest way to calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Breathe in deeply (counting to three), hold the breath briefly (counting to three), and breathe out slowly (counting to six). Do this until you feel your body calm down. Breathing won’t solve everything, but it will help. Try it and see.