How to stay professional at work?

We are not robots, and although we may strive to be as professional as possible during our workday, sometimes it can be hard to switch our feelings off. If you’ve ever had an issue in your personal life that runs into your work life, you’ll know what I mean. Trying to concentrate in a board meeting whilst your brain is in another place, working on a PowerPoint Presentation whilst wishing you were anywhere else. This is normal to some extent – as I said, we are not robots – but how do you stop personal drama affecting your productivity? We spoke to Selema Enang, Emotional Intelligence Coach to give us some tips.    

 1. “How can I shut out the noise and calm my brain? Every time I have a heated conversation with my partner, I tend to fall into the same pattern which keeps me in the loop of the conversation. It’s pretty hard to bring back my focus at work.”

    Selema: When I coach clients, I try to teach them about Mental Gateways and Pause Buttons. Basically, the brain has a gateway system, in that when you feel one emotion, it tends to shut down other emotions and just focuses on that. So in a heated conversation, you start to feel irritated or angry. The brain will pick that and focus on it to such an extent that long after a conversation is over switching back is hard. So how to avoid this? Pick an emotion. If what you feel in that conversation is anger, choose calmness and focus on that. This then brings me to The Pause Button. This is basically deciding in your mind to not engage in a certain argument, conversation and or interaction further than you have to. It’s stopping yourself from getting into the emotions that come with that heated conversation. For some people the pause button is “Stop” in their minds, for me it’s “Breathe”. Decide that you will create your Mental Gateways. You don’t always have to feel every emotion -  with these gateways you can move out of the emotions. Create the gateway, apply the pause button. Tell yourself I will not be angry in this conversation; I will be calm. Then tell yourself “Stop” or “Breathe” when you’re in that situation. You must practice these in your quiet time so you can apply in real life situations.    

2. “I have been dealing with family drama lately and it is really bothering me. My family always send a bunch of annoying texts in the group chat. Is there any quick fix to tame my anger whilst I’m at work?”

     

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