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“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

May 04, 2016

How many of us have heard of this wonderful saying?

It’s a proverbial phrase that is used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. We all need a little uplift sometimes don’t we?

So let’s use it when focusing on attitudes in the workplace. When faced with tough targets, large workloads and increasing pressure, how do we try and stay positive. It’s so easy to fall into a downward spiral of feeling down, like you can’t cope. If we are honest with ourselves, we’ve all been there at one time or another, perhaps you are feeling like this right now, either as an employee or a business owner. So how do we take our lemons and make lemonade?

Positive mental attitude
Pretty much what the proverb above says on the tin. It may be hard to get into the habit of but once you do, you will be amazed the effect it will have on your day-to-day work life. Approaching work with a smile on your face and your head held high means you can face the day with a positive outlook. If you groan as soon as you open up your emails, your emails will start groaning back at you, so don’t start the day off wrong.

Make a “Today list”, not a “To-Do list”
If you’re a list making lover this is for you. How many times do you make a to-do list and list each and every single thing that you need to achieve work wise? This probably includes work that isn’t due for months but you need it on the list otherwise you might forget to do it. Well, change all this. Make a “Today list”, list the things that you need to achieve today and today only. Not only will this make your workload seem less daunting but once you have ticked everything off you will feel a great sense of achievement at the end of the day, which is what we want. Don’t set yourself up for a fall, go and find a ladder.

Did you know that on average you will spend over 92,000 hours of your lifetime at work? That’s a lot of time! More time in fact than you will even spend with your family and friends. So with that in mind, start having fun! Some companies can be funny (pardon the pun) about having fun in the workplace but they shouldn’t. It can increase not only productivity but employee retention, loyalty, a reduction in staff sickness and most importantly a happy workforce. BrightHR commissioned a study called ‘It Pays to Play’ which revealed Millennials (people born between early 1980’s to early 2000’s) said fun at work was very important to them. 44% stating it encouraged a harder work ethic. It was also interesting to see that 58% of those who hadn’t experienced a fun workplace had taken 11 days or more off sick a year compared to the 42% of those that had. People have many ideas of what constitutes as fun, so why not have a meeting with your colleagues or employees and discuss what a fun workplace is to you and how you could make fun work in your business.

So you’re sitting at your desk feeling like the world is on your shoulders, but how do you know your colleague right next to you isn’t feeling the same? Communication is such a vital factor in turning those lemons into lemonade. If you’re feeling down talk to the people around you, offload what’s on your mind. Of course there are going to be people you trust and consider friends at work so share the weight with them and they might be able to help or even comfort you’re fears and feelings. They may even be feeling the same and if so, perhaps it is an issue that can be taken further with senior management to help you both. Don’t forget, the people you work with are the people you will spend 92,000 hours of your lifetime with so it’s important to make conversation as best you can. Of course not everyone in the office has to like each other, but talking is something everyone can do in a respectful manner, you will be surprised how even a simple “Hi, How was your weekend?” on a Monday morning can lift spirits.

Taking a little break
Sometimes to gain a positive attitude and take on the day, you need a break away from it all. If you’ve been working really hard, meeting loads of deadlines and you feel deflated, take some time off. Everyone needs to re-charge their batteries once in a while to make them refocus and face new challenges and tasks. You might not need to take annual leave to achieve this, sometimes a simple 10 minutes away from your desk can help, so maybe go for a walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air or have an informal chat with a colleague in the canteen area for a little while.

All of the above should help turn your lemons into the tastiest lemonade. Here’s a little re-cap:

  • Have a positive work attitude.
  • Set yourself realistic goals and lists.
  • Have fun.
  • Talk to colleagues, managers, friends & family – don’t bottle things up.
  • Take a little break now and again.