Last week there was a New York Times article about confinement envy — I don’t even have to explain, right? As I read the first paragraph, I rolled my eyes sheepishly, remembering my own envy. While I was stuck in New York City, others were in suburbia and could barbecue (I imagined) or let their kids play with others in the yard, or had kids who were older and more self-sufficient. Or, they could shop and move about freely.
The last couple of weeks, on vacation in New England, I realized that being in the country doesn’t mean social distancing and mask wearing evaporates. I also learned that most schools weren’t as organized as my kids’ school. I can’t imagine what April-June would have looked like if I’d had to home school for real.
The comparison trap. What does it do to your productivity and happiness at work? And how do you just focus on you, your goals, and your own progress?
- Review what you’ve done based on the choices you’ve made. One client often grumbled that her colleagues had been promoted faster because they didn’t have kids. But when we looked at the work she’d done for her family, she realized she would not have made a different choice.
- Related to that, write down a few things you are grateful for each day. It’s a powerful tool for increasing satisfaction.
- Be happy for others. Science shows that letting others shine actually increases your happiness.
- Know your goals. Schedule your work so that you can make progress and focus on your progress, not others.
- Create your own Frankenwoman (or man). This is a composite of one friend who has enjoyed the most promotions at work, another who is a great parent, yet another who is great looking, in shape, super smart. If you really created that patchwork human, they would look ridiculous, right? Take a moment to have a laugh, then consider that what you admire in this creature are the things that matter to you. You may realize that you’re pretty close to where you want to be on many of them. For the others, you can decide what reasonable progress looks like.
When we compare, we step over so many wonderful things about who we are and what we bring to the table. Take time to remember those in you.
All my best,