A Little Stress can make you More Productive

Most of the times we are told about stress and its downfalls. By now we know the kind of risks and diseases that a chronically stressed lifestyle can lead to, thanks to the tons of coverage about how stress is bad. But what if stress could be used in a good way? What if we told you that there’s a good kind of stress too. Read on.

Psychology calls it the ‘eustress’. Eustress is the kind of a positive stress one feels and something that can propel us to do a job well. How does the good kind of stress help us?

Gives the Push:

The good kind of stress can push us out of procrastination. Often, we do really good work around deadlines because the push of the stress makes us come up with really good workable ideas. We may wonder why we do our best work when there’s an outside pressure and the reason is that the outside pressure works as the ‘good stress’ that makes us get up and do the work needed. Say for example, a little nervousness, just a little, can lead to a good meeting as the nervousness will ensure we try our best, instead of taking it lightly and not giving our best. 

Being stress-free all the time can lead to stagnation:

While we are encouraged to live in a stress-free state and chronic stress should definitely be avoided, living on the other spectrum of absolutely no stress is not only unrealistic but also not very feasible. Some ‘tension’ is a good thing. Feeling a sense of lack, or feeling a sense that there is more to be achieved is a good thing. It ensures we don’t remain stagnant and continue to find ways to move forward. Or think of it this way: things that are just lying around, not looked after, not stressed after gather up dust. That little stress is needed to brush up the dust.

The little inkling of stress that we are not living up to certain expectations, whether our own or someone else’s ensures we assess our situation and options. If the little stress compels us to invest in a side business, or that little tension that we may fall behind lets us undertake upskilling tasks, then that little stress, the little tension is a good thing, isn’t it?

Being stressed means that we care:

And caring about something is a great quality to have. Again, only if we care about something, whether it is our finances, our career, our family or our personal growth, will we be stressed out about it, and we will take steps to make things better. Or else, it leads to, as we mentioned before, stagnation. The opposite of care is apathy, and apathy not only leads to insensitivity towards our fellow human beings but also a sense of pessimism. ‘Why bother about things, they have always been like this’ isn’t an attitude that can lead to progress, industriousness and the urge to make things better in our own way.

Being stressed is a sign that we care, and instead of running away from the stress, or sweeping it under the carpet all the time, it might lead to something good. Whether it’s a push to come up with great ideas, or the push to change one’s life for the better, one step at a time.

Don’t give up just yet!

If you grew up in a world that didn’t have computers and much modern technology all the time, you probably found many different ways to pass time. One of those would be solving a Rubik’s cube. Solving a Rubik’s Cube can be frustrating, before it gets rewarding. It can test your patience before it can give you a reason to rejoice.

A similar thing can happen beyond a simple game of Rubik’s cube. Things can get worse before they get better. We are often very close to giving up on something and then suddenly, just as we loosen the grip, it all falls into place. Before giving up on anything, it might do us good to keep this in mind: we might be very close to a breakthrough without realising it, even though nothing seems to be working in our favour in that moment.

In addition to the situations when we have been persistently trying hard at something for some time, things can also feel like they are going worse before they get better in scenarios such as changes in operations, management, strategies, and anything new that is implemented. We might feel like the change is not working so far, and hence it must be time to give up on the change and call it a failure.

What can we do to ensure we don’t give up too early?

Be okay with the discomfort of the process: Many of us give up on projects and things when we encounter the discomfort or perception of failure. We might see no results as we pitch in to that client day after day, or we see no results as we continue on a new project, and that absence of an external cue of success can be uncomfortable. The lesson here is to remember that process takes time. We might not realise it, but that client might get impressed by our persistence, and finally agree to our request. Or it takes one tiny breakthrough, built upon the foundations of our earlier hard work on a project, to turn things around. The key is to embrace the discomfort that comes with the process of doing something and not seeing immediate results.

Embrace the journey: It is often an overwhelming focus on the end result that makes us impatient and oversensitive to setbacks. Solving a Rubik’s cube might not be as frustrating if we actually focus on solving it, instead of thinking what a great achievement it would be if we solved it. Embracing the chaos that comes with starting anything new will make us more prepared to deal with the chaos, instead of focusing on negative thinking patterns such as ‘I should never have started this/we should never have decided to introduce this xyz strategy’. Taking it one step at a time, learning from each step, and being curious where our next step takes us and teaches us would be a better mindset to have than being in a rush to get to the end of the task.

Whether ongoing or new tasks or ideas, things might get worse before they get better, because it is after all a process. Processes are rarely smooth, and processes are often rollercoasters with their thrills, drops and highs, disappointments, lessons and tiny achievements before we can end up on the finish line, and look back at the wonderful journey we have had. Don’t give up just yet!

Is passion the only right reason that should drive you to work?

We all must have heard, and used phrases such as:
‘I love what I do.’
‘I love my job.’
‘My work is like worship to me.’
‘I am passionate about this field.’
Or maybe we are looking for something that enables us to use these phrases.
In any case, being passionate about one’s job, loving what one does is considered the ideal to reach.
It is the ultimate catchphrase for freshers, and a constant source of aspiration for any professional. Is
it though? And is it okay if being passionate about one’s job isn’t the primary source of motivation?

A study by Harvard Business Review found that some employees may feel alienated by colleagues
whose primary motivation is their passion for their jobs. Plus, the research also found that the
people passionate about their jobs may actually develop a judgmental and unhelpful attitude
towards those who they imagine do not have passion as their primary motivation.

Imagine a scenario: Mr. B and Mr. A are both passionate about their jobs. While having a little
chitchat with Mr. C, the former duo discovered that Mr. C is primarily working because he needs the
stability of a 9 to 5 corporate job, after having worked freelance for many years. Mr. B and Mr. A feel
like they cannot take Mr. C seriously, because they think passion should be the primary driving force
for doing one’s job, and nothing else. They eventually become cold, lose respect for Mr. C and do not
extend much help to him, because they don’t think he values the job as much as they do. They think
Mr. C is working for the ‘wrong reasons.’ Who seems to be in the wrong here, actually?

In psychological terms, the research shows that ‘intrinsic’ motivation is seen as the ideal and the
morally right thing to have, and anyone working for a perceived ‘external reward’ such as financial
stability is considered to be in a not so morally superior place. That they are working for the ‘wrong
Now that sounds judgmental, doesn’t it?
The bottom line here for managers and employees in this is a simple, obvious and yet a poignant
truth: some people may have motivations that are more external and less intrinsic.
 Some people might be working at a job because it offers them financial stability.
 Some people might be working at a job because they have some family obligations to fulfil
and this is the best possible course of action for them.
 Some people might be working at a job because they want the flexibility and free time the
job offers.
 Some people might be working at a job because they are still exploring what genuinely
drives them and they are still learning about themselves.

And so on. In other words, some people might be working at a job because that is the best
alternative for them at the moment. And they are just fine with it, even thriving in it. And it may
or may not be the job that they are passionate about.
It is okay to be working at a job when your primary motivation isn’t passion for the job. Of course, a
certain skill-level, interest and competence are necessary, and there’s no denying that passion and
drive can increase those aspects manifold. But so can the other external motivations in their own

Now some might ask- wouldn’t it help an organisation better if everyone was passionate about their
work, rather than only some employees doing the work in a more driven manner?
Firstly, one can be great at their job, and still not have passion as their driving force. That doesn’t
mean that passion is entirely absent. The primary motivation could be say, financial stability and
the structure that job offers, which can still enable one to give their best.
Secondly, diversity in thought, motivations, perspectives and values is necessary. Employees with
varying driving forces, with variety in life experiences and calling make an organisation complete.
Such a diversity is needed for the organisation to run smoothly, as different times, different projects,
different situations call for these different and diverse ways to handle them.

It is this diversity where everyone learns from each other, and complements each other. When
employees are accepted for who they are, without being judgmental about their choices, it is then
that they can truly develop a healthy level of motivation for their job.

What is Job Crafting?

Job crafting helps one find little ways to make their job more interesting.

Job crafting is the latest buzzword doing the rounds all over our social media and LinkedIn feeds.

The thing with buzzwords and jargon is that often what they ask of us is unrealistic. At best, they are at times irrelevant and just add to the noise around us.

What exactly is job crafting and is it something that is realistic, doable and achievable without sounding outrageous and demanding by a normal employee?

Let us quickly look into it. Job crafting involves seeing the job description as a work in progress, and finding ways to make it more aligned with one’s goals, strengths and values. It is a bottom-up approach.

However, that does not mean employees should be reshaping the jobs such that they don’t have to do what they don’t like. It is not about throwing responsibilities away or Quiet Quitting. As suggested in our earlier article about Quiet Thriving, job crafting is a lot about shifting perspectives. Job crafting is about finding ways to do more of what makes your job more enjoyable.

In our earlier article about Quiet Thriving, we mentioned how a shift in perspective can help us see our jobs in a new light. That too is a kind of job crafting, at the cognitive level. Finding a new sense of purpose in our jobs is also a kind of job crafting. Let us take a look at a few aspects about job crafting in a little more detail.

Task crafting:

There are some tasks which we genuinely find interesting and motivating. Finding the tasks you enjoy and crafting your role to do more of those is what task crafting is all about. This could involve talking to your manager, and asking them to assign you more responsibilities that you enjoy. It can also be about finding new challenges and avenues to learn, and hence can also involve asking your manager to assign you a different than usual role in group projects.

This little tweaking can go a long way in helping one see their work in a new light, helping to break the monotony and finding healthy ways to channelise the need to be challenged and combat the boredom that may have set in over time. For example, you may come to realise that you love interacting with new people. Communicating that with your manager might mean that you get more responsibilities that involve interacting with new people, such as mentoring new recruits, meeting delegates from other companies and so on. This is all about gaining a fresh sense of enthusiasm about your job.

Speaking of a fresh sense of enthusiasm, social support at workplace can go a long way in enabling us to keep our motivation levels in check. Read on.

Relationship crafting:

People, aka, colleagues are an important part of most jobs. Relationship crafting is about consciously trying to better your relations with your colleagues. While many of us do enjoy simply coming to work and doing our job, without needing to interact with people much, some basic cordial rapport building is important.

Relationship crafting, that is, trying to build some rapport with the colleagues enables one to find some social support when the work itself might get challenging. A good rapport with colleagues ensures some community and network building at work. It also can get us going through good and bad times. While your job description may or may not really mention the need to work interdepartmentally, establishing a good rapport with people from the other departments would add an ease of functioning, access to more perspectives and even more learning opportunities

Amidst the ever-evolving job market, and the demands it brings, job crafting enables employees to ensure their job remains relevant, purposeful, and up to date, with never-ending learning. What’s more, it enables employers to have motivated employees.

Quiet-Quitting vs Quiet Thriving

What if we decided to make a minor tweak in our thinking that enables us to see more value in our present job, rather than doing the bare minimum? That is Quiet Thriving. Read on.

All through the years surrounding the pandemic, we have heard the buzzword ‘quiet quitting’. Quiet quitting refers to employees doing the bare minimum- engaging in the bare minimum way with their job, doing the bare minimum that is needed out of them.

It all happened as during the pandemic many people realized that life is too short to stress over a job that they do not like. Life is too short to stress over frustrations in the professional sphere, the office politics, colleagues they don’t gel well with and bosses who don’t hear them out. And so, people just did the bare minimum and focused more on their life outside work.

But soon many people also started to realize that although life is too short to do a job you do not like, it is also not a very good practice to do the bare minimum when the job pays your bills and lets you live a life of comfort. After all, boredom comes when there’s the space and comfort to be bored.

Enter Quiet Thriving. It is essentially understanding that the job may not be perfect, but still finding ways to engage with it in the best way you can.

Before we go into our definition, a word: If one looks up online, there will be tons of articles mentioning some Quiet Thriving strategies. One of them is setting up boundaries. For example, not checking work emails after an agreed upon time, or being clear with how much work you can handle before you approach a burnout. Another strategy also includes finding a few colleagues you can become friends with. One more strategy is taking little breaks, or setting realistic intentions about accomplishing just a few things on your to-do list and so on. But let us face it, we all must have tried one thing or the other at some point, and it can still not be enough to find a way to thrive at your job, to find it more likeable and less tedious. Quiet Thriving is actually a lot more about changing your perspective as these articles rightly mention.

 It is actually about doing small tweaks in your thinking, more than attempting to control the factors outside. 

Quiet Thriving in simple words is a shifting of perspective. It is a reframing. It is asking yourself questions like:

  • ‘Do I really dislike my job so much that I am closing my mind to everything?’
  • ‘What is that one thing about my job that I genuinely like?’
  • ‘This is my job, and it is necessary that I see some value in it. What can I do to add more meaning to it?’

And so on.

What are some strategies that can help one get that shift in perspective and actually start to Quietly Thrive?

  • The number one strategy is in the above explanation itself- shift your perspective! As cliché as this sounds, looking at the positives of the job can help you find more meaning and motivation to do the job. Sure, there are negatives (they are everywhere!), but what are the positives? It could be something as simple as recognizing that this job gives you a sense of structure. Or it could be something as complex as connecting it to wider purpose. Miss P didn’t like working for an online shopping portal company because she thought they were acting as middle-men between vendors and customers. A shift in perspective helped her understand the wider purpose- they weren’t just acting as middle-men, they were making life easier for the vendors who might not always know whom to approach to sell their products online, giving them more sources of income and more reach. Her company was making lives better.
  • Another strategy, similar to shifting your perspective is called ‘job crafting’. There will be certain responsibilities you might enjoy more than other responsibilities. You can seek out more of those responsibilities by asking your manager or the team leader, and find a way to ‘craft’ your job a certain way, such that you end up doing more of what you like. It will be a work in progress, but it can offer a high sense of thriving and fulfillment nevertheless.

Once we get the ball rolling, it can actually a become a fun activity to finding ways to Quietly Thrive at work. It can become a fun activity to shift your perspective and understand that the job you dislike might actually not be that bad. Quiet Thriving could be that one positive missing ingredient in your perspective.