Written by Amy Beecham
The planets have some of us at their mercy once more. Here’s how to stay on track at work amid the shift.
If you’ve felt up in the air, off-kilter or downright exhausted for the past few weeks, you’ve probably put it down to one thing: Mercury in retrograde.
In case you’ve missed the casual groanings and hundreds of memes spawned by the event, the planet has gone back into retrograde for the third time this year, bringing disorder in its wake.
So if you’ve found yourself wondering why things feel so *off* recently, Mercury went into retrograde on 9 September, and will continue until 1 October. Among other disruptions, the planet’s perceived change of direction is notorious for wreaking havoc with our day-to-day communication and technology, potentially spelling trouble for our working lives.
“Mercury retrograde can make everything seem a little ‘off’ and wreak havoc on our lives – work included,” explains Charlotte Davies, careers expert at LinkedIn.
“While some people don’t believe in astrology, others find that movements like Mercury retrograde can really impact their day-to-day life. Even if it’s not something that’s usually on your radar, being aware of what’s going on and putting things in place to alleviate any potential mishaps at work, and the stress that comes with it, can make a big difference.”
As Davies suggests, communication is always crucial in the workplace, so taking a little extra time to make sure you’re communicating clearly and effectively with colleagues is never a bad thing. Let’s face it: nobody wants to fall victim to a reply-all email fail, so how can you ride out the rest of the Mercury tidal wave with minimal disruption?
How to work while Mercury is in retrograde
“You may not be the only one feeling the effects of Mercury retrograde, so it’s more important than ever that we take the time each day to contact colleagues and talk about how we’re feeling,” suggests Davies.
“Whether it’s WiFi troubles, frustrations with hybrid working or the endless emails you have to get through, casual check-ins can really help with how you’re feeling and how you deal with work related stress over the next few weeks. If you find communication gets harder during this time, make sure you’re keeping your colleagues in the loop to try and take extra time to be more mindful and check in regularly.”
Set a realistic to-do list
In order to give ourselves the buffer needed in case of a Mercury organisational or communication mishap, Davies advises to make sure to set a realistic to-do list.
“Taking the time to adjust our list of actions can make us much more productive and motivated. Add (flexible) time slots for completing each task which will help to manage expectations of yourself and your colleagues, and also give you more time to fix anything that doesn’t quite go to plan the first time round,” she adds.
Try something new
With Mercury retrograde being a time of reflection and slightly chaotic, erratic energy, Davies highlights that it can actually be a really good opportunity to bite the bullet and try something new, using this energy to create positive changes.
“Whether that’s starting a new course or simply re-looking at your working space, why not try mixing it up?” she says.
Set work boundaries
“As things may feel more chaotic than usual during this period, it’s important to set work boundaries to achieve a better work-life balance. We’ve seen lots of examples on LinkedIn of people sharing what they do to achieve this, ranging from blocking out time on their calendars for scheduled breaks or virtual coffees, or making sure to remove yourself from your desk on your lunch hour,” she shares.
“While there’s lots of chaotic energy around, it’s really important to be strict with yourself and set aside the time to re-energise and relax during the working day and beyond.”
LinkedIn Learning has nearly 17,000 courses in total across business, creative and technical categories and adds around 60 new courses every week. There are over 600 hours of free learning courses available on a range of helpful topics, such as Time Management Tips;and Building A Better To Do List.
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