New in Town | Daily Post

ImageI just moved to a new city and I’m keenly aware of the need to make new friends. This is my second move in 8 years for my current company and I have the benefit of what worked/didn’t work in our last city to build upon.

The biggest lesson I learned was to make sure and have lots of friends outside of my job. In our last teeny tiny city, my co-workers became the cornerstone of our social network. They were amazing, wonderful people for the most part. I’m still dear friends with a few and Facebook friends with many, but there are many problems with the friends@work thing.

Problem #1: Non-stop talking shop during social gatherings. Painful for spouses and not the best stress reliever.

Problem #2: Gossip. What happens after work becomes fodder for discussion at work.  With everyone.

Problem #3: Awkwardness as you/they move up/down the ladder or move around the organization.

Problem #4: Crazy awkwardness when people get fired or are performing poorly.

Problem #5: Double crazy awkwardness if those mentioned in Problem #4 suspect/believe that you had anything to do with their situation.

Of course there are good things about work friends, too.  My favorite benefit is when I’m having a work-related crisis, they can come up to speed on my issue and offer advice or empathy quickly because they get it.  The short-hand of someone who knows they lay of the land is a huge help when the going gets tough.

Outside of work, here are my recommendations based on my experiences the past 6 months:

  1. Join a church. Some of our favorite people and deepest relationships in our last city were friends from our Bible Study small group. Knowing we could find a church and connect in this way was one of the things that gave us confidence to move again. We have landed in a small group and are enjoying getting to know this new set of brothers and sisters in Christ. They are wonderful people.
  2. Say Yes. We have been fortunate to have received several invitations and I/we have consciously leaned in and said Yes to the following:
    1. Bunko
    2. Zumba
    3. A neighborhood Christmas party
    4. Attending the annual homeowners association (HOA) meeting
    5. Volunteering to serve on the HOA board (my husband thought I was CRAZY!)
    6. Hosting the quarterly HOA board meeting
    7. Going to a brand new neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party based on an email blast to the HOA
    8. Attending all of my son’s lacrosse games
    9. Going to a new acquaintances restaurant
    10. Coming Soon (Hot Yoga!)
  3. Throw a party. We were inspired by the new neighbors who moved in Christmas weekend and then managed to host a New Year’s party just a few days later. They motivated us to put our last few unpacked boxes in the garage and start entertaining. We have hosted a small new acquaintance dinner party in February and then a larger party with about 20 neighbors for St. Patty’s. We also had a pot-luck with our new small group. We are looking forward to summer barbecues and keeping the festivities going.
  4. Rekindle old friendships. One of the biggest blessings of moving here has been the opportunity to reconnect with a childhood friend who just happened to move to this same metropolitan area 6 months ahead of me. (thank you Facebook!) She is everything you would want in a dear friend and I can’t believe we haven’t been hanging out the past 40 years.
  5. Don’t forget about your old friends. With Skype, texting, Facebook and hands free cellular built into the steering wheel of my car, it is easier to stay connected with my geographically challenged friends than ever. As much as I look forward to the new friends God puts in my path, I treasure the oldies but goodies, too. Occasionally when I feel lonely and wonder why I’m not beating new friend requests off with a stick, I think about the people I hold near and dear and the mutual respect and love we share. I must be doing something right to have these amazing people in my life.

As part of my Happiness Project I will devote the entire month of June to the quest for new friends.  So I have two months to devise a game plan. One resource I hope will generate multiple new ideas is my next audio book.  Looks like a fun listen!

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Daily Post | Why Can’t We Be Friends

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en-Listed | Daily Post

ImageI think my fascination with lists started as a teenager when my parents would leave me home alone for a few hours and would write a list of (super easy) chores to complete before they returned.  Once I had conquered the list, I was free to talk on the phone, watch TV, raid the refrigerator.  As long as each item was done, no questions asked.  My love affair with lists continues to this day. Lists complete me.

Here is my Top 10 list of tips for getting things done:

  1. Make a list of the task at hand and the sub-tasks that go with it. This will help you find manageable chunks of smaller tasks and will also highlight where you may have dependencies on other people.  Get busy asking those people for what you need ASAP. Give them plenty of notice and ask nicely. Your emergency isn’t their emergency. Yada yada yada.
  2. Put yourself in jail. “I can’t leave this office until I create that pivot table.”  “I can’t lay down on this bed until I fold the clean laundry.”  “I can’t have a glass of wine until I hit my 10,000 steps on my Fitibit.”
  3. Do a mind map. Sometimes trying to write an orderly list is a barrier to getting started. You may need a less structured way to brain dump and find a path forward. If you haven’t done a mind map before, check this out. A great tool!
  4. Set a timer. Shut out all distractions and set a timer for 10 minutes. You are only allowed to work on the 1 project for that 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, decide whether or not to do another 10 minutes. You’d be surprised what you can get done in a short sprint. I’ve written this list (so far) in about 10 minutes!
  5. Get down and give me 20. Write down 20 things that will help you achieve your goal. Don’t give it too much thought just keep writing until you have 20 ideas. Getting to 20 is often a struggle. You will have to think outside the box to complete the list. Warning! Be on the lookout for breakthrough ideas.
  6. Imagine if. Tell yourself a story of how the world will look when this project/task is done to perfection. When I don’t know where to start or don’t have all the details I just close my eyes and imagine that future place when this seemingly impossible project or problem is finished and I’m accepting an award for my outstanding achievement. Who is there? What are they doing? What has changed?  What am I wearing? Writing myself a few paragraphs on what that imaginary place looks, tastes and smells like is both motivating and productive. Once I’ve glimpsed a better place, I have to get there!Image-Eat-a-frog
  7. Do the most unpleasant task first. It may be that this 1 painful thing is prohibiting you from getting started, so just get that 1 thing out of the way.
  8. Reward yourself. Sometimes hard work is its own reward and sometimes you need a fro-yo or a mani/pedi. Right-size your reward with the task and make them both happen.
  9. Outsource it. Is this really yours to do? Can you trust someone else to do it? Can you hire a service to do it?  Many people (guilty!) bury themselves in tasks because they can’t give up control. Maybe your husband can be trusted with your fine washables. Maybe someone else on the team would be willing to arrange that meeting. Maybe your son is old enough to write out his own birthday invitations. Maybe you can bring lunch for a month and hire a professional painter versus spending two weekends on a DIY project.
  10. Don’t do it. Will this matter in a year? What will happen if this doesn’t get done? Could this possible be a nice-to-have? Will this jeopardize another priority? Sometimes we are reluctant to start a task because we don’t see the value in doing it. Not doing it is always an option. Like the song says “Let it go.”

Daily Post | Wasted Days and Wasted Nights