As you begin to focus your attention on work/life sway you'll want to be more assertive. You will want to put your foot down when you want to leave work or if mommy guilt bubbles up you won't want to be distracted for long. You're going to feel the urge to say no more often and mean it.
Work/life sway is about moving your mental focus between work thoughts and family thoughts as easily as possible.
This mentality helps you go with the flow of life and not fight reality. When you try to achieve this goal you may need to persuade others, even yourself, to follow your lead. You're going to need to be assertive.
When you feel resistance to swaying you'll want to appear non-threatening, apathetic and confident in how you feel about the situation. Your words and actions show that your firm on your position and yet open to discussion. You don't want to come off as aggressive. There are values and priorities that are so important that you're willing to take a stand. This is assertiveness.
If assertiveness isn't your thing, no sweat! These six assertiveness techniques that will help you fight off the resistance and enable you to control when you sway.
Follow The A-E-I-O-U Model to Manage Conflict
When you face conflict do you retreat? Then you must master the A-E-I-O-U model. In as little as five sentences you can confront someone and not be offensive.
Here's a brief description of what this acronym looks like.
A is for Acknowledge the other persons point of view. E is for Express how you feel about the situation by using the phrases, "I feel" or "I think". I is for Identify an alternative plan of action. O is for outlining the steps involved in your plan.
Last, U is for gaining understanding from the person you're presenting the plan to.
Use Fogging To Handle Someone's Aggressive or Manipulative Behavior
What happens when you through a rock through a cloud of fog? Nothing. The fog doesn't throw it back to you. It just accepts it and isn't affected by it.
This is how you need to be when someone is aggressive toward you or is trying to manipulate a situation. You want to not react in a negative way, acknowledge any truth the other person is saying, and keep your response short.
For example, lets say you want to leave work on time and a co-worker goes on a rant about you always leaving on time. You may feel like you need to defend your actions but you don't have time for that. You want to leave the office, right? So your response could be, "Yes, I'm leaving on time today. I can understand your frustration because our project is due end of week."
Do you see how this could take the wind out of their sails? Make them calm down a bit because they feel understood. Keep listening for the truth during these conversations, reply back and then show empathy.
Act Like a Broken Record
A broken record player used to replay a certain part of a record over and over and over again until someone came and lifted up the arm.
It was quite frustrating to deal with but it was a tell-tale sign that the record player had something wrong with it.
When someone is wrong with the situation you are to act like a broken record. By doing so you show the other person you disagree with them but don't give them any other information. If they want the broken record response to stop they'll give you want you want.
Say your co-worker asks you to join a new project that you don't think you have the time for. The relentlessly ask you to participate but you want time to think about it. Your initial response could be, "I can see your passion for this project. I'll think about it and get back to you end of week." Then your broken record response will be, "I'll think about it and get back to you." Use this phrase after every request and eventually they'll get the hint and leave you to think about it.
Use I Statements
How does it make you feel when someone says, "You have not done the work!"? You are immediately defensive, right? This is aggressive behavior and it won't get you far. Instead you can assertively speak from your point of view using I statements.
Instead of pointing figures you take ownership of your thoughts and emotions by sharing how you feel or think about the problem. For example, you could say, "I feel like I've done the brunt of the work because I've done a, b, and c. I'd like it if you finished up d and e and then we can work on the conclusion together."
Doesn't that feel so much better? The other person is hopefully empathetic to your request, sees you asking for agreement and to work together. They will be more willing to work together than if you point blame and start an argument.
Positively Take Negative Criticism
People will give you criticism whether it's constructive or not. The good news is there's a way to assertively accept unwelcome criticism but not apologize or defend yourself. You can address it in once simple sentence.
Let's use your child in this example because yes you can practice your assertiveness techniques on them. Your eight-year-old says, "Mom, you always boss me around and make me clean my room. I hate that!." How you can positively take this criticism is, "Yes, I do tell you what to do." Then, leave it at that. You do not need to explain how or why you parent the way you do to your eight-year-old.
Control Your Nonverbal Response
There's a chance when using any of the mentioned assertiveness techniques that your words may say one thing but your body language and tone of voice say another. It's important to watch what your body movement or stance is saying to the other person. The best advice is to stand tall, give direct eye contact, and leave your arms by your side or resting on something.
While speaking avoid raising your voice. Keep your tone normal and even. Most importantly, remember to breath! It may be very easy to feel anger building up while dealing with confrontation.
By taking a few breath it puts space between you and the situation and allows you to think quicker.
By using these assertiveness techniques you will feel better about your and boost your self-esteem. Others will respect you more and your relationship with them will improve. Plus you'll reach your goals quicker because you'll feel in control of your actions.
The next time you need to make a choice to sway toward work or life use one of these assertiveness techniques. You'll find you'll have more control over you choices and will be able to keep your priorities in check.