How To Be More Patient at Work (With Steps, Tips and Benefits)
Updated June 24, 2022
Patience is an important workplace skill that can reduce your stress, improve your relationships and help you make more mindful decisions. When you're patient at work, you may feel more at ease and be better able to support others. Learning about why patience is important and how you can increase your patience may help you feel more relaxed and improve your workplace performance. In this article, we discuss how to be more patient at work, explain the benefits of being more patient and provide tips for managing your stress and improving your patience in the workplace.
Benefits of being patient at work
Patience is important for helping you feel more relaxed and focused, and it can help you build stronger relationships with those in your workplace. Additionally, working toward a self-improvement goal like becoming more patient helps you develop skills such as goal-setting, commitment and resilience. Here are some benefits of being more patient in the workplace:
Reduces stress and creates a more positive outlook
Increases resilience and openness to learning new things
Improves relationships with others
Increases approachability and makes a better first impression
Develops better decision-making and analytical thinking abilities
Allows more focus on goals and flexibility with changing between tasks
How to be more patient at work
Here are some steps for how to be more patient in the workplace:
1. Identify feelings of impatience
The first step to becoming more patient is to be more aware of your feelings of impatience. When you're better able to identify and name your own feelings, it can improve your ability to respond to them effectively. To become more aware of your feelings, practice self-reflection throughout your day. Notice how external factors like deadlines, meetings, assignments and interactions with others affect your mood and physical stress responses. Paying attention to how stressors affect you physically and emotionally allows you to improve your ability to notice tension, practice stress management techniques and become more patient.
2. Develop good stress management strategies
When you notice your impatience, or as you learn to identify factors that contribute to feelings of impatience, start developing strategies that help you respond effectively to your feelings. For example, you may politely excuse yourself from a stressful situation and take time to collect your thoughts before returning. Another option is to practice breathing exercises to reduce feelings of tension in your body. You can also use more general stress management techniques to reduce your overall feelings of stress, which may improve your patience overall. Having a consistent exercise routine and enjoying hobbies outside the workplace may decrease stress.
3. Adjust your perspective
Being considerate of how your perspective affects your feelings may help you respond more effectively to feelings of impatience. For example, if stress about an upcoming deadline is causing you to lose patience, reminding yourself that the project is temporary may help you lower your stress. Additionally, practicing perspective-taking with others may help you feel more tolerant of other people's habits. When you take the time to understand the perspectives and motives of others, it may help you be more tolerant of their actions.
4. Be mindful
Mindfulness refers to your awareness of how external factors influence your mental wellbeing. When you pay attention to how things in your environment or upcoming events affect your feelings, you may be better able to tolerate those feelings and respond to them with intentionality. Practicing mindfulness throughout the day can help you build mindful habits that improve your stress management over time. As a skill, developing your mindfulness can take time to learn and incorporate into your daily life, but practicing it consistently can help you be more aware of your feelings.
5. Listen actively
Practicing active listening skills helps you focus on others when they speak. Instead of focusing on your own thoughts and emotional reactions to others, active listening helps you stay grounded in the messages others communicate. When practicing active listening, limit distractions and use vocal and nonverbal cues to show the speaker that you're listening. For example, nodding to affirm their words shows your engagement. You can also summarize their words to show your understanding and allow them to clarify miscommunications. Listening actively may help you gain deeper insight into the perspectives and motives of others, which can improve your tolerance.
6. Reflect on causes of impatience
In addition to becoming more aware of impatience when you feel it, also be reflective and identify patterns that may contribute to your feelings. Notice what external factors cause feelings of impatience most often and work to find patterns in your feelings. For example, you may find that attending meetings in the afternoon causes you to feel more impatient than attending meetings early in the workday. If you notice this pattern, you may try to schedule your meetings earlier in the day or practice more stress management techniques on days with afternoon meetings.
Tips for being more patient at work
Here are some additional tips to help you manage your stress at work so you can improve your patience:
Patience is a skill that you can improve through consistent practice. In addition to practicing patience in the workplace, try incorporating more activities into your daily life that require patience. For example, work on a puzzle each day, try reading a chapter of a challenging book every night before bed, incorporate meditation into your routine or cook at least one meal a week that requires significant time and focus. These activities may help you increase your tolerance, focus and ability to commit to challenging or tedious tasks.
Start a journal
Journaling can be a great way to reduce stress and practice self-reflection. Writing about your day before bed can help you process your feelings from the day so you can wake up feeling refreshed and motivated. Another option is to journal in the morning by setting small, achievable goals for the day. For example, you might set a goal to use active listening skills three times during your workday, and then write an entry about the process before you go to bed that night. This is a great way to become more structured in your approach to practicing patience.
Communicating well with others about your needs and preferences can help them accommodate you better, which may reduce your feelings of impatience and improve your relationships with others. When you clearly explain your needs, it allows others to respond effectively to them. For example, if someone at work consistently interrupts you when you speak, having a conversation with them about the habit and how it makes you feel may help them change the behavior. Be polite but direct when approaching them. Explain how the habit makes you feel and offer to work with them to find a solution.
Take regular breaks
Taking breaks throughout your day can help you reduce stress and return to work with a more productive mindset. If you notice yourself becoming impatient or overwhelmed, walking away from the situation for a few minutes or agreeing to return to the issue another time can help you manage your emotions. Incorporating regular breaks into your day can also help you reduce stress and stay motivated through challenges. For example, take a short walk or do some light stretching before returning to a challenging task, or spend a few minutes talking with a team member.
Sometimes, it may not be possible to control external factors that challenge your patience, so learning to accept situations can help you affirm your feelings while doing your best to work within them. For example, you may not have control over a deadline that's causing you stress, so accepting the situation and your feelings allows you to acknowledge your emotions. When you acknowledge how a situation makes you feel, it helps you use strategies to manage those feelings so you can work through obstacles.
Focus on goals
Adjusting your focus to emphasize your goals may help you overcome feelings of impatience or overwhelm. When you feel impatient, reminding yourself of what you're working to accomplish can help you stay motivated. Framing your perspective around your motivations and successes can help you adopt a more positive mindset, which may help you overcome impatience and continue to work toward your goals. Additionally, when you consider your long-term goals, it can help you put minor frustrations into perspective so you can focus on more important concerns.
Ask for help
If you're having trouble managing your patience at work, consider asking for help. You might ask your supervisor for tips on how to work better with other members of your team or if they can help you find new strategies for managing your stress. Also, consider observing other members of your team to see how they cope with stressful situations. Talk to coworkers who manage stress well and ask them for tips on how to improve your patience. Asking for help shows initiative and your dedication to personal growth. It can also help you develop meaningful relationships with those around you.
Celebrate small wins
It can take time to develop new habits like patience, so acknowledging your successes can help you stay motivated. Noticing when you successfully implement a new strategy allows you to encourage yourself to continue making progress toward your self-improvement goals. When you celebrate your victories, it can reinforce positive habits. Simply acknowledging your accomplishment, writing it down or sharing it with a supportive person in your life can help you feel proud of your progress and continue practicing your new skills.
Set realistic expectations for yourself
When working toward a self-improvement goal, it's important to set realistic expectations. It takes time to change habits and setting goals you can realistically achieve allows you to work toward developing better habits at a steady and sustainable pace. When you consistently work toward accomplishing small, measurable goals, it's easier to incorporate minor changes that contribute to your progress over time.
For example, instead of expecting yourself to change your feelings about a situation that regularly causes you impatience, set a goal to practice breathing exercises for five minutes each day. Expecting yourself to change your feelings about a situation may not be realistic, but challenging yourself to spend five minutes of your day doing breathing exercises may be achievable. By developing small, everyday habits that you can reasonably incorporate into your routine, you can make steady progress toward larger goals.
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