Block Negative Impulses From Your Workday

By Chelsea Babin

We’ve all been in a place at work where our patience is wearing thin and one little thing threatens to send us over the professional edge. How do you counter these unprofessional impulses to blow up, send an angry email, or blow off your responsibilities out of spite? It helps to think of these impulses as nothing more than waves of temptation.

Think about it, when you’re at the end of your rope, your desire is pulling you into an unprofessional area. If you wait the recommended 10 minutes for this wave to pass, you’ll be in a more rational headspace and able to act in a professional manner.

Riding out this wave can be applied to so many workplace impulses such as the sudden desire to quit, wanting to abandon a frustrating project, wanting to scream about a problem that needs to be solved, wanting to divert yourself from the job search you know you should be doing and wanting to have an argument instead of a rational conversation. Those with Zen inclinations would recommend you simply take a few deep breaths. That method is helpful for some people but many professionals recommend waiting it out for 10 minutes before you give in to that temptation.

The best way to make sure you get through those ten minutes is to distract yourself with something you enjoy that won’t have a negative affect on you, your coworkers, or your workday. This may mean taking a quick walking break, switching back to a project you feel more comfortable working on, or answering the unrelated emails that have piled up in your inbox.

Do you find that you’re prone to these teetering on the edge moments? It may have something to do with your eating, sleeping and exercise habits. Your brain runs on glucose and, when its supply is running low, it’s harder to fight urges and impulses. Eating sugary foods that spike and then drop your glucose levels, being inactive and getting too little sleep at night all contribute to lowered glucose levels during the day.

If you have all of those aforementioned habits in check but still find yourself struggling to fight urges that will send your workday into a negative spiral, it’s time to reevaluate your current job. Are you doing the work you’d like to be doing? Are you in an office environment that encourages your personal work style or are you fighting against the set standards because they aren’t what you prefer? Are you isolated from your coworkers or at odds with your boss? Any of these factors are simply company culture issues that are ingrained into your current role. If these issues are what are causing you to give into negative impulses, it’s time to start looking for a new job.

Try this method out next time you feel yourself about to give in to something that will have a negative affect on your workday and tell us how it went!