You know that work is supposed to be challenging—but there’s no way it’s supposed to be this challenging.
Even the simplest of tasks take you twice as long as anybody else in your office, and you’re beginning to think that you’re the problem.
Here are four ways that you might be making things way harder than they need to be.
1. You’re Clinging to Outdated Processes
Change is hard—I get it. Sometimes it seems way easier to hang on to your standard way of doing things than to adjust to your company’s new process.
But, here’s the thing: That change was probably introduced because it’s better and more efficient. So, white-knuckling that tired and outdated workflow is really only slowing you down—not to mention frustrating your colleagues.
Figure out what you need to do to familiarize yourself with that new approach. Do you need a tutorial from a team member who has already mastered that piece of software? Do you need to write detailed instructions for yourself so you remember what to do next time?
Getting up to speed can take a little work, but I’m willing to bet it won’t be long before you’re glad that you did it.
2. You’re Seeking Everybody’s Stamp of Approval
Personally, I thrive on confirmation that I’m on the right track. It not only makes me feel like I’m knocking things out of the park, but it also prevents me from sinking too much elbow grease into something that’s heading in the wrong direction.
However, if your boss has already given you the go-ahead, that should be enough for you to move forward. You don’t need that same affirmation from every department manager, your entire team, and even the UPS delivery guy. Seeking that is only adding unnecessary bloat to your work.
Perhaps much of your desire to get a stamp of approval from a dozen different people is the fact that you aren’t sure who has the final say on whatever project you’re working on.
When starting a new task or assignment, figure out exactly who is the key decision maker. That will give you the confidence you need to move forward—without hearing from absolutely everybody involved.
3. You’re Forgetting Previous Feedback
You’re beginning to feel like you have to complete every assignment twice. There’s your original attempt, and then your second one after everybody has torn your work apart with a red pen.
Revisions and constructive criticism are inevitable. But, you might be adding extra hassle by not remembering or implementing feedback that was offered previously. There’s nothing more frustrating for you (and everybody else!) than needing to change the same thing time and time again.
You need to keep better track of those suggested changes so that you can remember them moving forward.
Start a simple feedback log for yourself—it can be as straightforward as keeping a document within easy access on your computer. Treat that as your cheat sheet, where you can reference changes that were suggested previously and ensure that you incorporate them into your future assignments.
4. You’re Planning for Every Possible Scenario
There’s nothing wrong with being a planner—in fact, there are plenty of times when it will serve you well. However, it’s also far too easy to fall victim to analysis paralysis.
Overanalyzing every potential pitfall or roadblock means you’ll continue to delay getting started on a project—not to mention seriously stress yourself out.
Just get started. It sounds simple in concept, but can actually be pretty difficult for those of us who like to plan for every last scenario. But, if you’ve been carefully plotting every last slide of that presentation to your company’s board of directors, give yourself a kick in the pants and begin by creating a few slides and dumping some information into them.
Rest assured, you can still make tweaks and changes down the line. But, at least you’re finally putting pen to paper, so to speak.
If you absolutely can’t squelch your compulsive desire to plan (guilty as charged), set a designated planning period for yourself. Once you hit that end date, you just need to get the ball rolling.
Work isn’t always easy—that’s why it’s called work. But, it also doesn’t need to be insanely complicated. However, when it comes to keeping things simple and streamlined, we can be our own worst enemies.
Keep your eyes open for these four common situations when you’re making things way harder than they need to be. When you recognize one? Make the necessary adjustments and get ready for a little less stress in the office.
Photo of person at computer courtesy of JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author