Archive

Archive for the ‘Work / Life Balance’ Category

Before I die I want to…

Saturday, September 15, 2012 3 comments
 
 
Place your “Before I die I want to…” in the comments.
 
Bookmark and Share

I’m gonna count to NOW!

Thursday, March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

(Photo: jbelluch)

Has there ever been a time where you should count to 10 and relax for a bit? Well, I’m gonna count to NOW!

Are there ever times in your life when you should take a moment, count to ten and relax? Instead, you find yourself so infuriated you can only count to NOW! Let’s face it sometimes all we need is a little lesson in patience. Perhaps we should take a couple minutes right now to explore patience, before you blow your top.

“Serenity now!” -Frank Costanza (Seinfeld)

What is Patience?
Patience is the act of remaining calm and collected during times of stress, challenges or difficult circumstances.

Determining the Cause
What caused this turmoil, why are you so upset? Take some time to reflect and become conscious of the reasons you are so irritated.

  • Generate an awareness of what brought you to this level of impatience.
  • Are there any triggers prompting your irritation?
  • Be conscious of reoccurring patterns causing your patience to be tested.

Counteracting Your Impatience
When you feel the tension of intolerance building here are some things you can do:

  • Determine what got you to this point.
  • Visualize what the appropriate action should be instead of loosing your patience.
  • Exercise or perform a physical activity to exert energy and release the tension.
  • Take slow deep breaths.
  • Listen to some relaxing music to calm yourself.
  • View calming photos which bring you fortitude (i.e. sunset, water, landscapes, etc.)
  • Do nothing; take a moment clear your mind, relax and meditate.
  • Remove yourself from the emotion of the moment; if possible take an hour and come back calm and relaxed.
  • Enjoy the moment and smile clandestinely knowing you will get through this.

Stop Your Frustration BEFORE it Happens
What preemptive measures can you take to dissipate the emotion and ensure they don’t reoccur moving forward?

“Good things come to those who wait.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Slow down there is no need for immediate gratification, in fact most successes are achieved over time.
  • If the situation is beyond your control; then why worry about it? There is no sense getting worked up about conditions you cannot influence, just take proper steps to prepare for the results.
  • Expect the unexpected; quite frequently events will not go as anticipated the first time around.
  • It is appropriate to have high ambitions, but stop holding yourself and the world around you to unreachable standards.
  • Get organized everything runs smoother when you are prepared.

What to do in the Future
Take it each day as it comes with a vision for the future. To succeed you need to prepare a well thought out plan with a clear vision.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius

  • Research and exude positive convictions sharing your optimism with others. Doing so will generate confidence among the group.
  • Remember what is important to you by having clearly defined objectives.
  • Convey gratitude for the gifts you have in your life and career; be it your family, friends, employment, customers, etc.
  • Act in a mature manner. Outrage is not the way to impress others.
  • Understand and accept; what is the worst thing that could happen? Most times if you center in on the worst case scenario, it is not as bad as you first made it out to be.

Patience is an important factor to a well-balanced and harmonious life. As you progress through your life and excel in your career there will be times of great stress. Take the time to be patient and make calm rational decisions rather than quick disorganized reactions.

What are some tips you have for patience?

Bookmark and Share

Facebook as a Workplace Tool?

Thursday, February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

(Photo: Robert S. Donovan)

Can Facebook really be used as a serious workplace tool? The answer may surprise you…
With so many virtual teams scattered and far flung around the globe we need to find a way to cultivate the team bonding experience achieved in an office. In today’s mobile workforce the sense of presence is limited which in turn decreases the opportunity for team bonding, communication and trust. Sure we all have email, phones and other means of communication; but what opportunity do we have to really get to know each other? What can be done to stifle the disconnect and bring people closer together? The answer is…Facebook.

Why Facebook?
What’s lacking in the virtual workforce is the personal bonding which typically occurs when colleagues work side-by-side day after day. Relationships develop; people learn about one another, hear about family life and gain perspective of each others personal interests. A bond is a close personal relationship that forms between people working toward shared goals using collaborative efforts. So how do you duplicate this in a virtual team environment?

How Do I Get Started?
Start by creating a Facebook group for your team. If you company is large make sure you pare it down to only include the members of your team directly. Be sure to incorporate your team identity and include basic information to the group such as:

  • Links to company site and other team sites.
  • Newsletter.
  • Upcoming events including: Webinars, conferences and other programs where someone from your team will be present.
  • Update your group or fan page on a regular basis with helpful information.
  • Answer FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions).

What Should Each Team Member Post?
Now you have your group set up and you are ready for your team to join the group and start posting. If any of your team members are new to Facebook here are some guidelines to assist them in determining the content they should share:

  • Individual bio’s
  • Background
  • Education
  • Work history
  • Areas of expertise
  • Certifications
  • Training
  • Work Goals
  • Family happenings
  • Personal Interests
  • Pictures
  • Personal Goals
  • _
    At first they may be apprehensive about contributing personal information to the group, let’s face it many people are a little uneasy about tipping their cards. Make clear to them you would not expect them to share any information they would not otherwise discuss if they were in an office setting. Explain to them you are working to create a more personal, humanizing dimension to people who are otherwise perceived as distant and unconnected. It is also significant to note to your virtual team there are many security settings on Facebook allowing them to pare down the information they choose to share with the group.

    What Should Each Team Member Avoid?
    How do you know what is appropriate? Of course it is imperative for people to know the boundaries of acceptable material. Set specific guidelines and add to them as needed, to start…

    • All information should be non-proprietary.
    • Be respectful of the company, brand, and reputation.
    • Avoid rumors and gossip.
    • Steer clear of stories or photos which may seem provocative or make others in the group uncomfortable.
    • Set guidelines for the amount of time spent online.

    Why Incorporate Facebook at All?

    “We think it could be valuable when used in an appropriate way.” – Haydn Long, spokesperson for Flight Centre

    Employers are embracing Facebook and believe it can help build a sense of community amongst employees and help foster bonds with clients. A spokesperson for Facebook stated, “Facebook is an incredibly efficient way for people with real-world connections to share information and communicate, including among people who work together.” Among other things Facebook is a good way to…

    • Increase trust: Colleagues get to know one another, then like each other and when they like each other they trust each other.
    • Immerse a new employee into the group by getting to know the interests of their counterparts.
    • Have long term employees gain further insight to their colleagues.
    • Allow for a connection and create a sense of presence you would otherwise find in an office environment.
    • Stay up-to-date as people’s interests change.

    Let’s face it remote employees are spread far and wide across the globe today and if you are looking to bolster loyalty to the company and generate a team atmosphere it is crucial you embrace the technologies available to your workforce. Rather than forbidding these tools as many employers do find ways to utilize them as functional workplace mechanisms.

    Can Facebook really be used as a serious workplace tool; what are your thoughts?

    Bookmark and Share

    The Simple Yellow Banana: How to simplify your life.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1 comment

    (Photo: Jason Gulledge)

    Did you ever notice how great the banana is? How it fits so nicely into your hand; how just by looking at it you can tell if it is ready to eat? Did you ever realize it has a built in pull tab for easy opening, the peel separates and falls back so gracefully and it’s even curved toward your face for easy consumption? Yes, it doesn’t get much better than the simple yellow banana.

    For all the effectiveness the banana has to offer in its tight yellow package there is not much about it you can offer as a complaint; in fact the packaging is even biodegradable. So my question to you is how can you make your life simpler? What can you do to make everything you in your life as effective as the banana has? The answer is easy; it is execution that’s the hard part.

    Going on an Information Diet:

    “You don’t need to know everything; you just need to know where to go to get it.”

    • Watch a little less television.
    • Skip the morning paper occasionally.
    • Cut down on some of your internet time.

    Think about it; do you really remember everything you read, watched or listened to at the end of the day? And of the things you do remember how important are they to your life? Does it really affect your life when a celebrity cheats on his wife? Unless you are his agent or he is endorsing your product, I’m guessing not. So why spend time cluttering your mind with information that is going to be yesterday’s news – tomorrow?

    Instead spend some time with your family and friends or take some time for yourself to relax.

    Apply the 80/20 rule:
    Pareto’s Law says 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This or similar ratios apply to most things in life.

    • 80% of your life’s complication is caused by 20% of….
    • 70% of your stress is created by 30% of….
    • 90% of your happiness comes from 10% of….

    Think about what you can eliminate to remove the complicated stressful parts of your life and apply the extra time toward those things which make you happy and add simplicity to your existence.

    Be in Control:

    “You can’t control everything that happens in the world but you can control your response to it.”

    Be in control of yourself. If someone is trying to argue with you; the only person who can allow you to get upset about what they are saying, is you! If you are feeling stress about an upcoming event, this may happen or that might go wrong; guess what? Those things are out of your control! What are you accomplishing by worrying about them? Have a contingency plan and move on.

    All too often we get worked-up about things in life we have no control over, take time to assess the situation, determine if there is anything you can do to affect the outcome and if the answer is no, then let it go. Take control of your life and put your efforts toward the things you can contribute to and make your life simpler.

    Once you start to let it all go, you will feel the stress dissipating and your mind focusing on what is truly important Let your own built-in effectiveness take over; the banana did it, why can’t you?

    What are you going to do right now, to make your life simpler?

    Bookmark and Share

    What I’ve learned from playing with LEGO®

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2 comments

    (Photo: Legospective, originally uploaded by Guillermо.)

    There I was, a young child, sitting in the middle of the floor in my parent’s living room with my box of LEGO® bricks, each in their own compartment sorted by color. My options were endless; with LEGO® I could be anyone, go anywhere and do anything. Now thirty odd years later in my own living room I relive those memories, sitting on the floor with my sons, toiling with them as they build their own LEGO® dreams.

    As indirect as it may seem, I learned much from playing with my LEGO® building bricks. Many of those same lessons my sons will learn too.

    1. Organization

    “Organize your life around your dreams – and watch them come true.”

    To this day, I am particularly organized; including lists, calendars, general tidiness and yes – color coding! Did it all start there so many years ago placing each color LEGO® into it’s own pile making sure none of the blue were mixed in with the red? Who knows, but I do know every day when it was time to clean up, each piece went back into its own color coded compartment ensuring the next time I brought them out, no sorting would be needed.

    2. Following Instructions

    I don’t remember them when I was a kid, but in today’s LEGO® sets there are step-by-step instructions of how to put together each item in the set. The coolest creations are made easy following along with page after page of pictures stepping you through the construction. Maybe it stifles the creativity a bit, but what it does is teach you how you can accomplish your tasks by following along with the directions. Not bad lessons to learn as you are starting out in life.

    “Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” – Frank Tyger

    3. Creativity

    “Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” – William Plomer

    Once you get past the instructions and let your creativity flow, the options are infinite. With the LEGO® bricks in hand you can build whatever you want; there are no limits. When you build a straight up tower of bricks, it can be a rocket ship or a tall building or a sword, your imagination is your own limitation. Let your mind be your guide as you steer toward your life’s destiny.

    4. Patience

    “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

    Building with LEGO® bricks is a slow progression. It can be a grueling process, but it is a lesson in the value of patience. And patience is a virtue teaching you self control and restraint.

    5. Attention to Detail

    “In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention.” – Lou Holtz

    Piece by piece you labor to advance your work of genius; each part needing to be in the right spot in order to achieve your desired outcome. I watch as my son studies in detail the pictures on the box, carefully calculating the placement and adjacencies needed in order to build his next LEGO® project. I recall similar analysis myself at a young age and to this day you can find me sitting down with a pad of paper and pencil to layout the design of my next project.

    6. Adapt to the Situation

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. – George Bernard Shaw

    One day you can build an airplane and the next day, with those same LEGO® bricks, you can build a skyscraper. If you find yourself a few LEGO® pieces short for your intended project you can modify your results by using another color, a different piece or scaling down your design. The possibilities are never ending. In life everything will not happen as we intended, we need to be able to revise our plans when necessary and go with the flow.

    7. Any Mistake Can Be Fixed

    “Ok, I can fix this” – My son upon breaking one of his LEGO® creations.

    My son enters my office to showcase his latest LEGO® construction. As he extends his arms to present me with his creation as it breaks into two. There were no tears, no grumblings of anger, none of the negativity you might expect when something you worked so hard to build falls apart. On the contrary the first words out of his mouth were, “Ok, I can fix this.” We can all learn a lesson from this type of can do attitude, knowing no matter how awful circumstances may seem our problems can be repaired with a little ingenuity.

    8. Problem Solving

    “Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.” – MacGyver

    One of the greatest characteristics I developed playing with LEGO® is the ability to know I could use my mind to remedy any situation. No challenge was too great; I would always be able to determine a method for success. It may not have been my original intended approach, but I knew there was always a path to my final destination.

    9. You Can Build the Impossible Dream

    “Without dreams, there is no reality!” – Luis B. Couto

    Dreams are the means to a desired end. With LEGO® bricks you can capture those ideas, you can construct your vision no matter how large an obstacle it may seem. The same applies to your life; never accept that something cannot be accomplished – despite the barriers to can realize your dreams.

    10. Never Give Up

    “Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

    Sure there are times when you want to throw your hands up in defeat, I did it myself and I see it from my sons as they construct a LEGO® projects, but the answer is to never give up. Determination is a key factor in life; if you endure the journey keeping the vision alive you will see some of the greatest accomplishments achieved you never thought would happen.

    11. Teamwork

    “The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side” – Margaret Carty

    We can all use a little help now and again, my sons will periodically come up to us for assistance with their LEGO® creations needing my wife or me to snap a piece or two together. Sometimes we can all use a little guidance to get us through a tough spot and it is good to know you have others to rely on. There is no need to go through a difficult situation alone; the insights from others can often be inspiring as they allow us to see circumstances from perspectives outside of our own architecture.

    12. Celebrate your Achievements

    “The virtue of achievement is victory over oneself. Those who know this can never know defeat.” – A.J. Cronin

    Finally, you have worked so hard to carry out your objective don’t let your labors go unnoticed. Boast your accomplishments with humility and place your LEGO® creation up on the shelf for all to see. The same policy is relevant in later life; use tact, but be proud of your accomplishments.

    Those are just a few of the lessons I learned from play with LEGO®; I’m sure there are many more. Who knew back in 1934, when a carpenter turned, wooden toy maker, Ole Kirk Christiansen, took the first two letters of the Danish words LEG GODT, meaning “play well,” and put them together; the concept later developed by LEGO® would expand into a global staple of childhood toys shaping the minds, visions and futures of children into adulthood.

    “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” W. Clement Stone

    What other life lessons have you carried into adulthood based on your childhood experiences?

    Bookmark and Share

    Get More Done in Less Time

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 1 comment

    (Photo: margolove)

    How are you possibly going to get everything done today? The answer is simpler than you might think. Focus.

    We have all been there, it may be an mounting pile of work, a project needing completion, or a customer presentation you have not even started to put together. You may be thinking you are up against an impossible mission, but don’t give up – just stay focused.

    Getting Started

    Take time to clear your head and relax so you can start with a clean slate and concentrate. Many people find by allowing yourself a calm before the storm, it allows you to enter into your project with a clear head focused on the your desired out come. For me it could be reading a book and having a cup of coffee; others may go for a walk, hit the gym or read the morning paper. Do whatever works for you, but by allowing your mind to calm you are preparing it for what lies ahead.

    Get in the zone

    As you prepare to take on your day be sure:

    • The location is free of disruptions.
    • You have everything you need.
    • You are prepared.

    I will grab something to drink, go into my office, close the doors, tune to my favorite internet radio station, sit at my desk, clear away any distracting clutter and organize for the day. Do what works for you.

    Sometimes all it takes is a change of location to really focus, there are times I have packed up my laptop and found a far corner of the local library for some distraction free concentration. Some people enjoy having music on in the background, others do not. I find music gets me in the zone and allows me to zero in on my task. Whether it be music, a change of location or something else determine what works for you and make it happen.

    Planning

    Task List: It’s best to keep a task list of some sort be it electronic, a note pad, or just a scrap of paper you write your “to do’s” on.

    Prioritize and Schedule: Prioritize your task list  by sorting them into urgent, important and non-urgent tasks. If you have trouble prioritizing, use the 80/20 rule (aka Pareto’s law) to determine what the important tasks are.

    Staying on Track: Now you have prioritized your day and determined the first item on your list, break it into small pieces. As you do this it will make a large task seem less daunting and as you accomplish each piece you will build momentum as you move throughout the day.

    “Your daily schedule helps to focus the mind, holds it steadily to one thing at a time and in the right order. Following a logical sequence tends to eliminate confusion.”

    Keep a stringent schedule for your day. As mentioned, I take time in the morning for relaxation so I can come in the day focused. I move right into my projects and phone calls, check and respond email before lunch, come back, work on other projects and phone calls, check email an hour before the day is over, review my next day, prioritize, clear my desk of clutter and I am ready to start the next day with a clean slate.

    Not everyone is the same, so when you find a method that works for you, stick with it. Soon you will see you will be getting more done in less time by using focused planning and execution.

    More Tips:

    • Only check email twice per day. This is not easy to do, but is productive.
    • Let your calls go to voicemail knowing you can get back the callers when you decide to break or complete your task.
    • Don’t multitask. Multitasking has been proven time and again to be the cause for lack of focus. When you multitask, you never do anything well.
    • Inundated with random thoughts? Keep a notebook, task list, or sticky note pad near by. As I am working I have stack of index cards I use. If something pops into my head I write it down knowing the thought is saved there on the index card for later and I don’t mentally have to keep coming back to it.
    • Schedule time for future tasks. As new tasks present themselves, put them through Pareto’s Law, prioritize them, and schedule them for the future.
    • Rest, eat appropriately and exercise. It has been found these habits are contribute greatly to your level of concentration.
    Bookmark and Share

    “No, no way, uh-uh, forget it!”

    Thursday, January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

    (Photo: massdistraction)

    We are pulled in many different directions in life, be it a project at work, a bake sale for school, a volunteer opportunity, you name it. So how do you find time to participate in everything and still find time for yourself and for your family? The answer….you don’t! It is time to just say, “NO!”

    It Hurts to Say No

    It is not so easy to say, “no.” The word “no” carries with it:

    • Guilt associated with not being able to help.
    • A struggle against peer pressure and others impression of you.
    • Feelings of failure not being able to do all the things you may want.

    Let’s face it, You can’t do it all!

    Why say, “no?”

    We all have goals in life and hopefully you are focused on what you really want. If so, the answer should be an easy one, however saying, “no” is the difficult part. Remember every time you say, “yes” you are taking time from your schedule and essentially saying, “no” to something else in your life. So don’t feel bad saying, “no,” it allows you to have time to concentrate on what is really important to you and…

    • Keeps you from burnout.
    • Lowers your stress level.
    • Allows you more time for other things.

    When should I say yes?

    Before you can even think about getting good at saying “no,” get clear on what to say, “yes” to in life. If your yes is more time with your family it will mean turning down obligations keeping you away from home. If it’s yes to better health, you’ll need to say, “no” to late nights at work that keep you from the gym. “The firmer your foundation and connection to your yes,” says William Ury, Ph.D., author of The Power of a Positive No, “the less difficult it will be to say no.”

    Are there some times you should say, “Yes?” Of course, but before you do, ask yourself:

    How to say, “no.”

    You have come to the decision to say, “No,” because is does not fit what you are looking for in life; so how do you do it?

    1. Show sincerity. – People appreciate a genuine response.
    2. Be direct and don’t elaborate. – No one wants to hear excuses.
    3. Be convincing and exude confidence by being firm. – If your answer is no, say, “no,” and mean it.

    “Avoid burdening the other person with unnecessary or elaborate excuses. You run the risk of the other person trying to fix the situation. Plus, the more drawn-out the excuse, the less authentic it sounds — and, in the end, it’s really no one else’s business.”

    Here are some examples of  ways to say, “no” and why they work:

    • “Thank you, I already have something going on at that time.” – Tell them you already have plans for that time.
    • “Thank you for the offer, but I am committed to another project.” – Let’s them know you appreciate the offer, but you are committed to something else (ie. Church, charity, school, family, etc,)
    • “I’d really love to, but it just does not fit my schedule.” – Shows interest, but let’s the other party know the timing does not work for you.
    • “Not at this time.” – Leaves the door open for them to ask you at another time.
    • “I don’t want to take on what I can’t fully commit to doing well.” – This is a yes to higher standards.
    • Say “no” by saying “yes.” – Lessens the feeling of conflict.

    Don’t be ashamed or feel guilty about saying, “no.” Take pride in knowing you are remaining committed to your values and are doing what is important to you and your family. You’ll be stronger for it. Even better, you’ll be a more focused contributor to the people and things that matter to you most.

    What are some other ways to say no?
    Do you think you should ever say, “no?”

    Article Title Source: Parents Just Don’t Understand DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

    Bookmark and Share