– just about – I can do just about anything. ALMOST EXACTLY

– just as well – It was just as well I didn’t see that other pile of folders. FORTUNATE

– just in case – We need to do the call around just in case no one knows. BACK UP

– just a minute – Let’s wait just a minute to see what happens. PAUSE

– just now – I’m swamped with work just now. MOMENT/TIME

– just on – It happened just on five when I planned to leave. TIME/NUMBERS

– just so – He expects everything to be just so. CAREFUL/AGREEMENT

It’s a versatile word and there’s another use of the word which needs a little more attention, especially on it’s impact:

– just – I’m just the <insert role> – LIMITING


I hear many people use the word just before they tell me their role. To use just in this context serves two purposes:

  1. As protection – I’m just an Admin Officer … [so don’t add anything else to my role or responsibilities…]

Using this just makes sense (it might not be advisable but it does make sense), given the type of role and expectation that happens with Office Professionals – this role is the go get, get done, get on with it role. Others see this role as the pivotal point in the business: the one person to go to for guidance on how to get work progressed, events sorted, meetings arranged, and so on, and so on. Creating a little barrier with just helps balance this demand out to so degree. Or does it really?

  1. As a limiting belief – I’m just a web designer … [that’s all I am, I’m nothing special, I’m not a leader, I’m not like _____.]

When comparison and the imposter syndrome strike just can keep you small, it can trigger procrastination, it can hold you down.

Be mindful of how you use just. When just keeps you down, diminishes your personal power, it will impact on your productivity.

Just Do it


“Just do it” came from an acknowledgement that images of a college athletics field and athletes presented an exclusionary effect – only athletes, fit people can wear Nike. 

Does this statement encourage you to move or does it leave you asking, “how”? or “do what?” While it’s aim is to be encouraging and inclusive does it actually have that affect on you and, as such, your productivity (including your approach to health and wellbeing)?

Word choice is important and can be challenging, it takes effort to catch yourself and the words you choose.

Try I am rather than I’m just

AJ was sharing her frustration with how much ‘attitude’ she received when she asked her team members to re-do their written work. “I’m torn between simply doing the changes or sending the work back with my comments so they learn.”

When we explored this further, we discovered three key issues that needed attention:

1. Face to face communication about the value of the work (the why) needed more attention.

2. The intent of sending back the work with comments was two-fold and that needed to be explained to the team: stop assuming everyone know’s why the work is returned. The learning is in the debrief, so debriefing needs more attention.

3. Stop using just at the beginning of email replies, ie, stop opening emails with “Just a few changes needed…”; especially when there are significant changes and re-work to be done. Just in this instance would imply a small amount of work and that is inaccurate in most of AJ’s cases. Using just when there are multiple changes needed is contradictory and a trigger for the attitude.

Words are powerful! Choose them wisely.

I’d love to know your thoughts…