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How to maintain professional control in the midst of chaos

No matter what drama or unrest may be at play in your law office, you can use these strategies for maintaining professional control.

It’s no secret that the law office environment can be challenging. In fact, research suggests that a moderate amount of stress can actually enhance your work performance. But, there is a huge difference between everyday stress and utter chaos. Consistent stress can have disastrous results for your health, your career, and your overall sense of well-being. 

Here are some strategies to note for maintaining professional control when chaos strikes.

Avoid drama at all costs

Chaos and drama often present a real “chicken or the egg” scenario. It can be hard to tell whether the chaotic environment preceded the drama or whether the drama caused the chaos. Either way, your best strategy is to stay out of it.

Mary Camuto, a leadership and organization development consultant, recognizes that drama can be a seductive distraction from work. Nonetheless, she suggests that if you notice office drama beginning to impact your job negatively, you make the conscious decision to stop participating in it. While this may not put an end to the overall drama or the chaos, it may provide you with much-needed peace of mind. Moreover, your supervisors are sure to notice that you’ve maintained your professionalism by staying out of the fray.

Know your triggers and overcome them

A big part of exercising control in the midst of chaos is self-awareness. We all have certain things that trigger our own chaotic behavior. For some, it might be excessive negativity from bosses. For others, it could be raised voices or long work hours. The point here is that everyone is different. Knowing what makes you feel anxious or out of control can enable you to create strategies for avoiding chaos when your triggers arise.

For example, many people find great stress relief from meditation. This simple practice can greatly improve your mood and organize a chaotic mind. Spending time with friends is another great strategy for stress relief. Indeed, there are a variety of stress-relieving methods you can practice right from your desk. Of course, it’s up to you to decide what works best for you, but it all starts with a heavy dose of self-awareness.

Be an efficient leader

If your firm’s leaders are chaotic, your work environment will be chaotic. The good news is, even lower-level employees can help bring about change.

Sure, you may not be the managing partner. Nonetheless, you can still be a leader when it comes to fostering a positive work environment. Focusing on productivity, efficient communication, good planning, and office organization can slowly infiltrate the chaos. 

If you are a leader of a chaotic firm, on the other hand, you should probably take a long look in the mirror. For example, are your moods negatively impacting workers? Does your stress result in yelling, put-downs, or slammed doors? If so, there’s a good chance you’re the root cause of the chaos. TEst this out by changing your approach to control your effect in the office for one week and see if it makes a difference.

Exercise your way out of the chaos

In some instances, office chaos can be so severe that it is impossible to avoid. However, even in those situations, there are things you can do outside the office to keep your negative work environment from creating chaos in your whole life. 

One of the greatest antidotes for chaos is exercise. Regular exercise not only combats stress but can also raise endorphins, change your mood, improve your health, and help you get better sleep. Imagine the reduction in stress if everyone in your office started exercising? If it’s appropriate for your workplace, why not circulate a list of exercises people can do in the office? If that catches on, maybe you can organize a walking club or talk your supervisors into paying for an office softball team. Whatever you do, a little exercise is sure to go a long way toward eradicating chaos from the workplace.

Making stress reduction something that everyone is involved in as a team will change the way everyone interacts with one another as well as the environment for clients. Overall, the changes to your stress management plan in the office will benefit everyone in the firm.

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