What’s one thing you can complete today?

In this age of multi-tasking, multi-texting, multi-platforms and constant responding, it can be very difficult to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a work day.

Each day may require that you attend several meetings, respond to hundreds of emails, juggle many projects.

One way to help yourself get organized is to simply decide on ONE THING that you need to accomplish each day. Pick one thing — it could be a sales pitch you need to finish or an important email that you want to send. It could be a call you’ve been meaning to make, or a design you want to refine.

Focus on and complete one thing — It will help the rest of your day fall into place. And it will satisfy that part of your mind that needs to see results.

Try it. Pick one thing. Complete it. Check it off the list. Then see how you feel.

Responding to negative feedback

How do you feel when someone offers negative feedback to you? Do you appreciate it? Do you wish the person would go away? Do you bristle or blush or get steaming mad?

Receiving, processing and responding to feedback that isn’t positive can be a challenging exercise for many people. If you’re someone who cares deeply about your work, if you’re determined to produce excellent results, negative feedback can be humbling — even painful.

But it’s also extremely rich. If you can take the message and use it for learning purposes, (instead of a whipping post) negative feedback always helps you grow.

Today, if someone criticizes your way of performing a task, or corrects your presentation, or re-writes your copy or critiques your design, see if you can take the information in without feeling bad about yourself or despising the messenger.

Say “I’m willing to find the good in this moment.” Take a breath, thank the person who delivers it, and take a little time to cool off. Then use the feedback to improve your professional self.

Before You Offer Advice…

Before you offer advice, make sure that the person on the receiving end is open to hearing it.

Sometimes, we think we know what someone needs to do or say or even wear at work. We’re sure that we’re right, and if our colleague or client would just listen to us, a certain problem or situation would immediately improve.

But offering unsolicited advice to someone who’s not ready to receive it can create more problems going forward.

Before you offer advice, stop and take the recipient’s temperature.

Say, “I’ve got a few ideas about how to resolve _________. Let me know when you’re ready to hear it.”

If you’re itching to advise a colleague on a personal matter like health or weight or love life, you’re better off waiting until that person requests your input.

If you can’t hold it in, say, “I’m having a strong reaction to ________. Can we discuss it?” Or “I’m really concerned about ________ . “ and see how the listener responds.

It may be hard to zip your lip. You may feel anxious and frustrated. But learning when and how to offer advice is an important life skill. It takes practice to offer assistance in a way that can be received.

Hitting the Pause Button

If you are like most people, the people and devices around you at work require constant interaction. Emails demand a reply. Meetings fill your calendar and require participation. Social media portals buzz, click, tweet and ping – insisting that you respond in kind. It’s easy to spend an entire day reacting and responding, without actually accomplishing anything.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed; if it seems like you never get any traction on the projects that you truly care about, try hitting the pause button. The next time someone insists that you take on a new task, ask for a moment to think about it. If you’re at your desk feeling pulled in ten directions, close all your files (paper and digital) for a minute. Hit the pause button, allow your brain to re-boot and discover its priorities. Pause long enough to evaluate what efforts are worth your time and what can simply wait.

Sometimes, you may discover that you need to say, “no,” to the latest demand for your attention, or “not now.” Sometimes, you may decide to put down whatever you’re doing and address a more pressing issue. Pause, recalibrate, and move forward with your day. Take a few moments to decide what matters most.

Accepting what we don’t like

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.

Do you unhook?

Unhooking is a system for changing your reaction to emotionally upsetting circumstances at work. It could be a difficult coworker, a demanding boss or an impossible client. To unhook, you have to stop waiting for the other person to change, and start taking back your power. The first step in unhooking is physical.

Unhook physically by taking actions to release the negative energy stored in your body from dealing with someone else’s bad behavior. Methods for unhooking physically include washing your face, taking a walk, playing sports, working out, doing yoga or simply breathing slowly and deeply. Try it today. If you feel your head throbbing, your neck aching, your stomach churning or your arms tingling, do something physical to unhook. You’ll be glad you did.

Low on HoHoHo

It’s that time of year again, and I’m in a frenzied, anxious state of mind. How are you? If you are able to weather this holiday season calmly, please tell me your secret. Tell me because, despite my best efforts, I find this time of year deplorable.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the lights, I like the fellowship, I like the idea of reconnecting with family and friends. But I hate the pressure and the barrage of advertisers insisting that I buy, buy, buy.

My hohoho usually comes from enjoying people, not things. At work, I am grateful for my clients, my business partner, our agent, our vendors, our service providers and everyone else who makes daily interactions and business exchanges pleasurable.

At home, I’m grateful for my loving husband, my stepchildren, my extended family and our overall health.

Okay, now I’m feeling a little bit better. But there’s still so much to do, right? I welcome your ideas on experiencing joy or peace or laughter or light during this time of year.

How to ride a bad mood

This week has been interesting because I can safely say I’ve been in a bad mood for much of it. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want summer to end. Maybe it’s connected to the approach of 9/11. Or Maybe it’s just ‘cuz. While it’s tempting to wonder why, the bigger issue is how to ride it out.

When I’m in a bad mood, external experiences tend to match. So this week, I lost my purse on my commuter bus (then had it returned), our phones went out for two days, the rain created two water leaks in my office, and I discovered that our basement was infested with mold (which I aggressively vacuumed away).

It’s kind of cute how the universe picked up on my bad mood and magnified it.

The good news is that I’m old enough to know that this too shall pass. I can see my mood and the irritating events of this week as tiny blips on life’s screen.

And I know that it would serve me to slow down, catch my breath, and do one of the many things we often suggest: restore my energy with exercise, yoga or rest; repair my emotional state by meditating, and spending time with people I love.

How do you ride out your bad mood(s)? Maybe we can help each other out.