Manage 'Transition Times' In a Day

I recently coached a client who brought out a beautiful aspect that most of us experience but rarely realize. He said managing time at work in virtual mode is not much difficult for him and that is something he has adapted to a good extent. He is able to manage work, meetings, and personal tasks in a day. Interestingly, he and his family members have also identified the patterns of no-distraction or open slots for some communication allowed in a day.

But the most challenging times are "transition times" while he starts work in the morning and ends the day in the evening. He adds that earlier transition time was either during travel or while meeting everyone at work in the morning or concluding work in the evening, etc. which actually gave signals both mentally and physically that now we are transitioning to work mode or vice versa.

Does that ring any bells for you too?

Well, it did for me! And with this, I also realized that yes, transitions are important to be even more productive during our peak productivity time.

We had a great discussion and these are few things that he committed to start while working virtually-
  • follow the regular schedule to start and end work
  • organize your remote workstation at the start of the day
  • set up to-dos at the start of the day and summarize tasks towards the end of the day
  • along with action items for the next day
  • have a wrap-up routine
Keep an eye on these mistakes that you may be making-
  • unorganized desk
  • starting and ending day during different times daily
  • checking emails again and again outside work hours
  • end your day with lots of pending tasks with no proper prioritization
Are you struggling to keep your calm at work and managing tasks? Are you doing well at the workplace but you feel you can be better? Then, I would love to get into a conversation with you.


Thoughts, Thoughts Everywhere, nor Any Word to Say

Does this line remind you of a saying coined by Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge – “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink”?

This saying means despite being surrounded by something, you cannot benefit from it. A similar situation came in front of me while I was coaching Mridu, an Associate Consultant in a US-based MNC with about 2 years of experience in the corporate world.

She was well prepared for a presentation at one of the virtual meetings at her office, but she was shivering and couldn’t deliver it up to the expectations. Although she got demotivated for a moment, then she decided to talk to me and discussed what she is going through and how she can overcome this fear.

As Mridu started her corporate journey amidst supportive managers and peers, she had no idea how to handle things at the office. She stated ‘All I learned in college was a theory with some practical knowledge and we all know that at education institutions we have a warm and cozy environment where we are surrounded by seniors and professors to help and guide us in every possible manner but when we enter the corporate world, believe me, it is not easy at all! All you know about is how to execute the work you were supposed to, but no one is there to help you with the mental challenges such as communication skills, organizing your thoughts as in how to say it, demotivation, peer pressure, and work-life balance.

As a young professional, resistance to speak up and give your opinions at work is normal. This can be because some of us are introverts and some do not have enough confidence in ourselves and our opinions.

The following points came up during the sessions with her–

I am not sure if I am right

Is being right really important or speaking up your thoughts count? None of us is an expert on the subject of discussion/meeting. Initially if you are hesitant to come forward and speak, go prepared. Do not be discouraged if your point is not considered, rather use disagreements as an opportunity to explore the subject further, talk to your co-workers, ask for resources to learn, on the whole, keep COMMUNICATING.

I am too new to give my opinion

Even the management knew that you are new to corporate culture, but they hired you for a reason, the reason that they found you fit for the role. These days corporates follow an open culture where the opinions of every co-worker whether senior or junior are heard. But it is very necessary for us to come forward and COMMUNICATE. “Look for opportunities in each meeting to make your presence known early on, ideally in the first 10 minutes,” Joel Garfinkle, an executive coach suggests - even if your remarks are just agreeing with, or adding a bit more information to, what someone else has said.

I have lots of ideas but not able to put them forward

While in a discussion, are you always thinking? You have lots of ideas but not able to present them properly? Are your confidence and productivity getting ruined because of a lot of incoming data in your mind? Are you just a step away from sharing that idea and still not able to do it?

Relax, you need to work on organizing your thoughts and communicating to the point. How? PRACTICE these simple steps in your day to day conversations-

  1. Of all the ideas in mind, think of one basic thought and consider that as an outline of your discussion
  2. Be clear and crisp in what you are talking about
  3. Understand the inclination of your target audience to continue further at that point of time or pause for a later detailed discussion
  4. Summarize your point

The challenges shared here are not only faced by new professionals but experienced leaders as well. Your ideas will be of no use if you are not able to share them with the right people at the right time.

Initially, my client thought that the sessions will involve ‘she’ sharing her problems and ‘I’ giving solutions, but she felt empowered to figure out her challenges during the discussion and setting up action items for herself. Mridu was committed to change herself and learned that challenges on a personal and professional front are a never-ending process, one just needs to come forward to discuss and be prepared to tackle any situation.

I would love to see your thoughts and similar experiences in the comments section.

Talk to me if you are also looking for an accountability partner to help you sail through the challenges that you face at the workplace, setting up goals for yourself, and make a positive impact in your professional life.