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Success & Career

4 Steps You Can Take to Deal with Negative People at Work



4 Steps You Can Take to Deal with Negative People at Work

At one point or another in our career life, we all run into a person who sucks the life out of being at work. Such individuals typically love to complain about their job, spread office gossip, highlight everything that is wrong in the World and add dramatic flare to whatever they are talking about. Underlying such behaviors are negative, pessimistic and dramatic personalities; Personalities that can make going into work dreadful.


Figuring out how to deal with negative people in the workplace can be challenging as there are many factors that need to be considered. Factors like, who is this person? Are they your superior? Do you have to work closely with them? Do they have a lot of clout within the company? Answers to such questions will not only impact what you say to them but how you deliver it – directly or indirectly.


The direct approach of dealing with a negative person generally entails being upfront with him/her about what you’re willing and not willing to tolerate. The indirect approach, on the other hand, centers more on being subtle and relying on the other person to pick up on your cues. Determining what approach is best to use can be done in a couple of steps.


First – evaluate the situation. As previously mentioned, ask yourself, “Who is this negative person and what is his/her role and level of influence within the company?” In other words, the approach you take needs to be tailored to the person you are dealing with. For example, let’s say the most toxic person in your office is your manager, who has been with the company for several years and spends his/her free time with the CEO. Taking the direct approach in telling them how you feel about his/her negativity may not be best. Especially, if you are a person who worries about what other’s think and/or are a newbie at the company. An indirect approach in this situation can be a great way to test the waters by allowing you to gauge his/her reaction.


Second – know thyself. Understanding your personality type, your insecurities and capabilities is just as important as evaluating the situation. For instance, are you the type of person who gets easily frustrated when trying to get your point across? Do you fear that others may not like you? Do you have difficulty being articulate? The answers to such questions can help you decide what approach to take. In other words, if you are a worry-wort/people-pleaser, being direct may rid you of the stress associated with dealing with the negative person but feelings of anxiety may take its place.


Once you have evaluated the situation and reflected on your strengths and weaknesses, then it is time to take action. While there are various steps you can take and things you can say, below are a few techniques that have worked for many of my clients dealing with negative people at work.


1). Set limits and boundaries with how you engage

Negative people often have no problem spending valuable work time gossiping and/or complaining about others. While it may be intriguing to listen to, it is important to understand that by doing so, you are inadvertently letting them know you are okay with it.


In order to prevent this from becoming a routine it is imperative to nip it in the bud. Otherwise, it will set the stage for them to continue coming back to you. If utilizing the direct approach, you may want to say something like, “I’m sorry to hear you are having a rough day but I ___________ (fill in the blank) – prefer to stay out of office gossip, prefer to not get involved, don’t have time for other people’s problems, etc. The indirect approach would sound like, “Sorry to interrupt, but I really need to finish this task I’m working on.” The point with either approach is to make it clear to the other person that work is your priority and will take precedent over gossip and drama.


Body language can also be used to subtly send a message. For example, if every time this negative person comes to your desk you completely turn around to face him/her, you are sending a message of interest to them. Instead, as they are talking, keep your body facing your computer/desk, organize some paperwork, sort through work emails, etc. The intention is not to be rude but instead to show you will not drop what you are doing simply because they came over and started chatting with you. This can result in shorter conversations if they see you are not giving them your undivided attention.


2) Minimize your Interactions

If possible, try to avoid going to lunch and/or on breaks with this person. Spending your free time with him/her can be seen by them as a perfect opportunity to have you as a captive audience. Should they inquire about taking lunch with you or going for a smoke, you can try indirectly saying something like, ” While I normally would go, I have a few things I need to take care of so I’ll be doing lunch on my own.”


The key to this type of technique is that you must be assertive. Words like “think, should, maybe” are not to be used when you are relaying your message. Such words express doubt and uncertainty, thus increasing the likelihood that they will try to convince you otherwise. Being consistent with your message is also key as it will get them to see you as an unreliable source and can decrease the number of times they will interact with you.


Minimizing your interactions indirectly can also entail physically distancing yourself from him/her when possible. Try to avoid going to common gathering areas like the lunchroom, water cooler, bathroom, etc., when he/she is likely to be there. These are prime areas for getting sucked into conversations. If you work in a small office and he/she is a loud talker, try distancing yourself from their voice by wearing earbuds/headphones and listening to music. Doing so sometimes can give us the break we need from hearing what they have to say.


In some cases, unfortunately, the indirect approach will not work. This can be especially true for negative nellies who are persistent and/or lack respect for personal space. Being direct, therefore, is necessary. Statements like “Thanks for the invitation but I prefer to be alone on my breaks,” or “I don’t like spending my down time thinking/hearing about other people’s drama” can definitely get the point across.


3) Keep Conversations Light and Friendly

One sure way to welcome a negative response is to ask open-ended questions. Questions like, “How was your weekend?,” may normally get a response like, “Good. And you?” But, when dealing with a negative person, it can often turn into a play by play of how horrendous their weekend was. Instead, keep the interaction simple and short. A simple “Good morning” or “Good evening”, should be sufficient enough to maintain a polite and cordial relationship.


4) File a Complaint

In the event that none of the above works, your only recourse may be to file a complaint according to the protocols of your workplace. This can especially hold true for those negative individuals who are toxic, controlling and combative. Doing so can help prevent this person from creating any more toxicity while also making the workplace less dreadful.


Overall, there are many things that can be done to deal with negative people at work. As mentioned, they can range the gamut of ignoring the person to complaining to your boss. Factors, like work culture, size of the workforce, office layout, your personality type, etc. all play a role in how you should approach this negative situation. Ultimately, however, it should be addressed so that you do not find yourself suffering because of someone else.

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Success & Career

5 tiny habits that can change your life and career



Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

When it comes to the daily grind, time seems to keep passing by – yet many things remain the same. We are so busy trying to get things done, keeping our heads above water, that we don’t take real time to think about things like balance, self-care, or making necessary changes.

Little do we realize that small tweaks at home and at work might create opportunities for us to have true balance, and even achieve that elusive success.

Let’s look at five tiny habits you can implement today to control the chaos – and start changing your life and career.


Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life and Career

1.) Embrace the concept of a “clean slate” at work.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

This involves implementing a few simple routines and organizational tools upfront. This will save you time in the long run, and will leave you feeling satisfied at the start – and end – of your day.

For example:

  • Create folders in your e-mail inbox by person and topic. Be sure to move applicable items there. The feeling of a clean inbox can reduce anxiety and enables you to find important material faster!
  • Write phone messages on a notepad next to you each day.
  • Return each call.
  • Note the status of what you were able to do, what needs to be done, and cross out which ones have been taken care of.
  • Complete your list before you leave work.

Nothing feels better than looking at the list and knowing that you have attended to every person, every item, and every task you started with. Yes, more may come in later. But these were your starting tasks.

You are leaving with everything crossed off, a clean slate for the day. You can start tomorrow with a clean slate as well. You’re more organized: able to look at a detailed history of each item you did, each person you spoke to, each item you completed.

A well-structured system and way of doing things is mentally good for you. It’s also a nice feeling to walk away with a complete sense of accomplishment for the day.


2.) Surround yourself with people who nourish your soul, NOT people who infect it.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

Think about the people you chose to be with. Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries, no matter who they are. Be honest if someone is a “toxic” person in your life. Surround yourself with folks who build you up, support you, are honest but fair with you, and those who have your best interests at heart.

We of course need people who are going to tell us the truth. But remember that truth can be told with kindness. We can give ourselves permission to distance ourselves from, or let people go. These are individuals who make us feel bad about ourselves, or take every chance they can get to criticize our every choice.

There is enough negativity in the world. We don’t need to have it in those closest to us. You will be amazed at the difference when you give yourself permission to set healthy boundaries. So surround yourself with healthy relationships. Stop feeling like you must endure unhealthy ones.


3.) Clutter creates anxiety more than you realize.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

Whether it’s your home or your workspace, getting organized makes a huge difference in your state of mind. So start practicing tiny habits that create structure.

At work:

Get those piles into drawers and desktop storage. File folders are your friends! Label by topic, date, etc. Having things organized and at your fingertips will save you time and a great deal of anxiety.

Have trays for things that are needed on a daily or weekly basis. Organize your office supplies neatly. Remember that your desk is also a presentation of who you are.

You may think that those piles make you look busy – but they really make you look disorganized. Create your own system so that you can locate anything instantly. That, is more impressive than a pile.

At home:

Think more in terms of scaling down to get organized. Make it a goal to make you space your solace. Organize, donate, and find a place for everything. If you have not used it in a year, consider donating. If things belong together, group them. Get the right storage to hold things.

Group things where they make the most sense. Move things where they work and function best. Get rid of things that no longer work, are expired, are outdated, or that could benefit someone else more than sitting in a pile at your home.

You will not miss them. You will probably feel pretty good for sharing the love. Nothing feels better as having a fully functional home where you can live and breathe; where there is no clutter, and where everything has a place.


4.) Practice good, daily self-care.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

It may seem so simple, yet we all seem to fall short when it comes to this vital area that impacts our lives and our careers. If we practice tiny habits of self-care, we function better, perform better, and surely, improve our opportunities for success.

Good self-care includes things, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep each night. This includes going to bed and getting up at the same time, seven days a week. When going to bed, there should be NO electronics, including screens or cell phones, as they stimulate the mind and keep you awake.
  • Eating food that nourishes you – such as whole foods, not processed foods.
  • Drinking eight glasses of water each day.
  • Enjoying treats in moderation, no need to crash diet!
  • Be sure to wake up 30 to 60 minutes earlier than usual to ease into your day, and allow yourself to practice your morning routine.

Whether it be reading the paper, listening to a podcast, watching a TV show, yoga, or morning meditation, how you begin sets the tone for the day. So set aside time in the morning so you are not rushed. This is an essential part of your day.

If you start rushed, you are going to feel that way the whole day. Starting with balance, leads to a balanced day.


5.) Self-talk is one of the most powerful habits we can change.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

If we think about how often we thought something negative about ourselves, someone else, or about a situation, we would see how powerful negative self-talk can be. Now think about how better our lives could be if we stopped ourselves before doing it. It’s possible – but it takes effort and conscious work.

You simply need to pay attention and catch yourself. But as you do, the difference can be profound. You start to see how by removing negativity and replacing it with realistic thinking, you feel more balanced. Imagine the impact it can have on your work and relationships, to not see things in the worst possible light?

By implementing these tiny habits, you can bring about tremendous changes to your work and personal life. A few would only be one-time tasks. While others require minimal, but – hopefully welcome – effort.

If things are not working well in these areas of your life, why not give these tiny habits a chance? You will at least be a little more organized. And hopefully, be well-rested at the end.



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Success & Career

7 Ways to Organize Your Day for Success



Organize Your Day for Success

Nope, don’t panic. I’m not going to start by telling you to get up earlier! As an Integrative Nutrition® Health Coach, I firmly believe in bio-individuality. This is the idea that we are all unique: just as some people can’t tolerate gluten and some can, there are early birds and others are night owls. Neither is wrong – they’re just different.

So yes, just as our definitions of success look different, how we structure our days for success will vary as well. However, I believe that there are some things in common.

For the sake of having a starting point, let’s agree that success is showing up in your life (career, relationships, physical activity, etc.) in the most biologically effective way possible (i.e., you are healthy in every sense of the word).

So how would you organize your day for success? Here are seven ways to try:


7 Ways to Organize Your Day for Success

1.) Wake up without an alarm if possible (see also #7).

Organize Your Day for Success

Jolting awake to an alarm is a sure-fire way to feel like you’re off to the races first thing in the morning. Instead, learn how many hours of sleep you are naturally inclined to. Then try to get that every night.

Waking up naturally prevents that influx of fight-or-flight chemicals coursing through your veins: nobody needs that kind of stress at the start of the day! Chronic stress can wreak all kinds of havoc with your body, starting a cascade of poor health outcomes.


2.) Start the day with screen-free “me time”.

The moment you check your email or social media, you are giving others power over how you spend your time. There will almost always be an email that just can’t wait or a post that brings on a severe case of #FOMO. Before you know it, you’re sucked in.

Instead of reaching immediately for a device, consider starting a new practice that can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes (or less) or as much time as you create for it: breathing, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, journaling.

The Web is full of resources for these – just don’t go looking for them first thing in the morning! Are you an early bird? Use this gift of time to work out, meal prep, read, etc.


3.) Create time blocks (see also #5).

Organize Your Day for Success

As much as we think we can multitask, research shows we really can’t. “Task-switching” – what we’re really doing when we think we’re multitasking – can cost us as much as 40 percent of our productivity.

The solution: block out specific times on your schedule for tasks that require your full attention. During those times, close all other tabs and turn off all your notifications – and I mean all of them!

In between these blocks and not before, take a break to check email, make some calls – take care of some smaller tasks. Set a timer that indicates your next productive block is starting.


4.) Schedule your workouts and meals.

We seem to have time for everything but what really nourishes us: fuelling our bodies well and moving them regularly. As a health coach, when you tell me, “I don’t have time to…” what I hear is, “I don’t prioritize…”

I see you rolling your eyes. Let me tell you: if you do that enough, they’ll stick back there. But seriously – it comes down to this: if you wouldn’t cancel on your work, your client’s needs, your spouse’s needs, your kids’ needs, why would you cancel on yourself?

Meaningful self-care is putting on your oxygen mask first so you can help those who depend on you. Organize your day and put those blocks on your schedule. Treat them as unbreakable appointments with yourself.


5.) Multitask…intentionally (see also #3).

Organize Your Day for Success

Yes, I know I told you not to multitask. Now I’m telling you it’s okay if you do it intentionally. What does that mean?

In my work, I talk a lot about primary foods – all the other things in our lives that nourish us (or don’t!) besides what we put in our mouths. Think: sleep, career, spiritual practice, physical activity, time in nature, etc.

The multitasking I encourage is the kind that helps us nurture ourselves on the primary level, NOT the type that tries to manage a staggering number of little tasks that make our schedules so overwhelming.

What this looks like:

  • Need to spend quality time with family members? Instead of adding an outing (with all the planning, preparation, and consensus-building it requires), combine it with another area that needs some attention: take suggestions on the week’s meals, shop together, do some meal prep, etc.
  • Missing time with your girlfriends? Combine it with a workout or better yet, a walk in nature.
  • Desperate to do a little meal prep for the week? Invite a few friends over to cook so that you all get to stock up for the week. (There might be wine involved?)
  • House feeling like a hardhat zone, but you’d rather read? Clean while you listen to an audio book.
  • Time constraints making you choose between a workout and your spiritual practice? Take a walk in nature or practice a walking meditation.


6.) Make a plan for tomorrow.

You don’t have to organize your day down to the minute (although that works for some people). Instead, write down 1-3 large tasks to be done tomorrow and prioritize those once you’re done with your “me time.”

Are the tasks unpalatable? Brian Tracy has written about this concept in his book ‘Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’. He calls the tasks we are most intimidated by (and therefore put off doing) as “frogs”.

His recommendation: start your work – not just the day – by “eating a frog”. If all the frogs look big and ugly, eat the biggest, ugliest frog first.


7.) Get to bed on time to get the sleep you need (see #1).

Organize Your Day for Success

Once you know how many hours of sleep you need, organize your day and figure out when you need to get to bed. Make sure to end the day as you began it: NO screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime!

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