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Keep pet peeve from nipping productivity

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

It’s 4:30 p.m., and one of your bosses has finally given you the documents you expected to receive that morning—the documents you need in order to wrap up a task by the 5:30 p.m. deadline.

“You’ll still be able to finish it today, right?” he asks.

This is your biggest pet peeve—receiving things late (and without warning), but being expected to complete the task on time.

What to do? You could ask other people not to turn in things late. But that doesn’t always work. Instead, try training your pet peeve so that you won’t waste as much time feeling frustrated, suggests Steven DeMaio on Harvard Business Online.

Here’s how:

Anticipate when your pet peeve will bother you. In the example above, if you see that your boss is bogged down in meetings all morning, or if he hasn’t responded to your e-mail reminder, you can probably guess that he’s running late.

Mentally prepare for the possibility that the other party will be late. Think, “What will I do, in that case? What steps will I take to manage the project?” The more prepared you are, the less likely your pet peeve will nip at you.

Reward yourself for good behavior. When you’ve managed not to let it get you all worked up, allow yourself time for a more enjoyable task or mini-break.

Learn to spot others’ pet peeves. Keep in mind that everyone is nagged by different things. You may even be able to help your co-workers train their own pet peeves.

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