January 15, 2018

Five tips to ensure you don’t stab anyone on your first day back from break

Did you start 2018 with renewed hope in the state of our world? We didn’t either. But there are people who did, and they bring that enthusiasm, uninvited, to the workplace. Thankfully, NonprofitAF has tips on being back at work.

3 min read
Photo courtesy: Creative Commons.

CC Creative Commons.

If you are reading this, it means that 2018 is here, and your holiday break—if you had one—is over.

You’re not alone. If you wish you were back in your warm cozy bed and under a fluffy comforter that seems at this moment like it’s stuffed with puppy snuggles and angel kisses, we can all relate. Most of us feel like crap. Heck, I plan to be surly and scowling this entire morning, starting with today’s staff meeting, led by my Managing Director.

If there’s an icebreaker that involves going around the room and sharing New Year’s resolutions or something, I am going to stab someone with a swag pen.

If you’re in a similar state of mind, here are a few tips to ensure that your day, and the start to your year, goes well, and that no one gets hurt in the process. Like with a strategic plan, use what’s helpful, ignore the rest.

1. Repeat this mantra to yourself: “My email inbox does not define me. My email inbox does not define me.” Do it quietly, under your desk, for an hour, while holding your knees to your chest.

2. Take your time in answering emails: It’s the thoughtful, considerate thing to do. If you respond fast, it will create a chain reaction, where other people will feel pressure to respond quickly to your response. It always ends badly, probably with someone having to plan an event.

3. Look at pictures of cute baby animals: Researchers discovered a correlation between looking at pictures of baby animals and increased productivity and probably decreased stabbing. I’m not making this up.

4. Divert people who talk about their resolutions: When a donor, volunteer, client, or colleague mentions how excited they are about their new year’s resolutions, say “I heard rutabaga leaves are the new kale.” That will get them to leave you alone to google rutabaga leaves.

5. Invent time machine, go back in time: invest in Google, Amazon, and Bitcoin, retire early, and commission a painting of yourself sprawled in front of a fireplace on a fake bear rug. Maybe holding a cane for some reason.

Related article: Your nonprofit Christmas wishlist

There you go. I hope those pieces of advice helped. If not, then here’s a final tip, something that always helps me when I’m feeling blegh:

Remember the difference you are making. I know, this work is hard and taking a much-needed break just reminds us all of how difficult it is. The long hours, the constant cashflow worries, the endless funding restrictions, and, for some of us, the lack of heat in the office. We come back to all these and other challenges.

But your work matters. Everything you do, no matter how minor you think it is, makes our world better. Your filing of notes, de-duping of CRMs, calling of donors, writing of reports, running of programs, reconciling of expenses, attending of meetings, none of these things are in vain. With these tasks, you are lifting up families, changing lives, building communities, and making the world more beautiful.

On days like today, it might seem that your work is overwhelming and futile, and you might doubt if you’re having any sort of impact at all. Trust me, as someone whose family has benefited from your work, the effects of your actions reach further than you may ever know. It’s OK to spend some time today feeling like crap, but do not tarry long. As Rumi once said, “Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.”

This is an excerpt from the original  article published on Nonprofit AF.  The original article has 12 tips , and can be read here.

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Nonprofit work is stressful. But it is fun, and there’s tons of humour to mine from it. Nonprofitaf explores what it is like to work in nonprofit, including fundraising, working with donors, special events, community engagement, donor cultivation, program implementation, outcomes and metrics, who should staff the board, when staff are bored, bored board, board-staff relations, and unicorns.