Lessons from me… Advice part 2

In my previous blog, I gave some advice from my career based on a question that I had from a follower on Twitter. This was really well received and I was asked to continue adding some more information.

Scenario 1: Struggling with toxic colleagues / political colleagues.

This is a common struggle that people can have in your organisations. Sometimes there are people that you just dont get along with and that’s normal but within your career, you just need to learn how to work effectively. In my career, I have had this several times and the way to navigate this is to remain professional and to not rise to any anger / attitude that you may have. I’ve made a few mistakes when I’ve been dealing with toxic colleagues. These are namely:

  • Trying to play the politics game when I’m not aware of all of the players, what motives that they have and what is really going on (mainly when I was a junior/inexperienced PM)
  • Being too honest with them and having these comments escalated to my Manager
  • Not ‘reading the room’ and either saying too much or not saying enough in important situations.
    • This can be really difficult to manage / master as it can be difficult to know what is the right balance between effective communication and too much/too little. I learnt a lot from coaching / more experienced Project Managers.

Scenario 2: Keeping a work/life balance

I have struggled with stress for several years. I have struggled with having a good work/life balance as I want to be the best Project Manager and leader that I can be. I want to be there for my team but in reality, it is more important to keep yourself sane. There are always busy times at work and it’s important that when it’s quieter, that you take that time to rest, recover and catch up on the activities that you put off whilst you were busy. A few tips that I have for keeping a good work/life balance are:

  • Block out your day / keep a strict calendar for ‘time draining activities’ like admin/emails
  • Analyse where you’re spending your time.
    • A good exercise for this is tracking every minute of your day from the minute you log on, until you log off in the evening. This should include: Time spent talking to colleagues, breaks/lunches, emails/disruptions, meetings etc. You can then analyse where your time is being spent and if you can be more critical / remove some of the unnecessary distractions.
  • Turn off your phone. When you leave for the day, make sure that you leave your phone off/ give your mind a rest
  • Take a break! I try to take a break from my work every 30-45 minutes. This can be getting a drink, walking around the block/garden. This just helps realign my focus

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