Buzzin’ – Impatience in the Workplace

What I’m Reading: Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by William Cronon

What I’m Listening To: The Lumineers: Slow It Down

What I’m Watching: Booby Kennedy for President


Last weekend I watched the documentary series ‘Bobby Kennedy for President’ on Netflix. If you have not watched the four part series, I recommend you set aside the time to watch it. The number of similarities between the unrest in the United States during the second half of the 1960’s and today is both strikingly eerie and displeasing. However, we will leave the discussion concerning the culture similarities of the 1960’s and today for another Morning Buzz.

In today’s Buzz, I want to talk about a specific statement Bobby Kennedy made that resonated on a number of levels. In third episode, Bobby Kennedy summed up, for better or worse, my attitude towards life and work when he is recorded saying……

I think you have one time around. And I don’t know what’s going to be in existence in six months or a year. So I think that you’re here on Earth to make some kind of contribution of some kind. But I’m Impatient. I suppose I would hope everybody would be impatient.”

The opportunity to have a positive contribution on individuals’ lives is what drew me to local government. However, sometimes the positive change I envision doesn’t always happen as fast as I would like. I am often left wondering, how do I balance my eagerness to do good with my impatient personality?

Here are a few tips regarding how I deal with my own impatience that I hope can also help you:

    1. Slow It Down: Slow down when you find yourself growing impatient with a colleague, resident, or project. I embrace my impatience, it drives me day-to-day but I also recognize that if I am not careful it causes me to be mistake prone. I listen to music at work to help me relax and slow down. Or, maybe for you, it’s a walk, listening to a podcast, or talking to a coworker about Westworld. Whatever it is, find something that helps you slow down and relax throughout the day.
    2. Stop Your Fight Against Time: Your impatience may cause you to view every week as a war against time. Fighting time is a lost cause, take it from Rocky Balboa who said; “Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated”. Learn to embrace time with realistic expectations. Manage your expectations at the beginning of every week. Graduates of Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will recognize this as Habit 3: Put First Things First. Use the beginning of the week to schedule you work week. Write down what you need to accomplish in the week ahead. Writing down and scheduling your tasks helps realistically manage your own expectations (don’t forget to set aside time for your family and personal time for yourself). Managing your own expectations will go a long way towards easing the burdens you place on yourself to get things done.

3. Remember You’re Not Alone: Whether or not you will be in your current role in a year from now, remember the community you serve will remain. Maybe the project you are championing is not coming together as fast as you had planned. This should not cause you to forget that you are making a positive contribution to your community. Change at every level of government tests the will of the most patient employees. Likewise, it can break impatient individuals and cause employee burnout. Don’t give up! Remember, you chose to work in local government for the right reasons. For some organizations, the required change you are seeking may take two or three cycles of employees before it is completed.  Don’t forget there are others out there like you who are willing to help and pick up where you left off. Lean on your colleagues during a time of need.

4. Respect Others: When it comes to making positive changes, we hope that everybody would be impatient but that’s not always the case. Don’t interpret your coworkers’ lack of impatience as a lack of commitment. Respect their working habits. Find the patient individuals in your organization, ask questions and learn from them.

How do you deal with your own impatience in the workplace?  Let us know by using the hashtag #elglhacks.