Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, mindfulness, motivation, Stress management

The “New” Normal…

The “new” normal for me is now normal and will be for a very long time. My challenge now is how to make it work for me.

Looking at how my home office, do I need to invest in some new equipment.

In order to help me work my “normal” I researched some statistics on how a group in the UK have been adapting.

The statistics are UK findings based on 1,016 respondents working full-time remotely.

• 59% of UK employees working different hours than they used to

This statistic came as no surprise as you are working around your home life and you have no commuting. The positive that can be taken from this figure is that you can work when it is your prime time, when you can work to your optimum and get the best out of yourself.

The negative to this figure, we are all available and at home so we have been contacted at odd times of the day. If you are going to continue to work from home, then set some boundaries as a team as to when to communicate and when not to communicate. Having consensus on some core hours will not single out any individuals and also won’t lead to competitive behaviour.

• 62% rely on workplace tech to stay connected

This might be an investment area for many. How good is your Broadband is it time to source a new provider. Is it worth investing in Zoom so that meetings can be longer than 40 minutes or as a team is it better to be with Microsoft Teams.

• 36% are having fewer meetings

Although this seems like a statistic we should be applauding we need to ensure that this is not a breakdown of communications. Ensure that all your team members feel as connected as possible. Although we are all suffering from several video conferencing meetings, check whether a simple phone call works. Going forward as your normal make sure your meetings are no longer than an hour and you have an agenda or purpose for all the ones you attend.

• 30% say they are starting their working day earlier

• 27% are working later in the evening

For me going forward I am more than happy to start the day earlier, as my brain and energy are so much better in the morning and I don’t have a commute currently or a school run. The second percentage I am only going to let happen occasionally with a specific deadline, it will not become a habit.

• 31% say they are working from a desk 

• 35% from a dining/kitchen table

• 20% from their sofa 

• 5% work from their bed

The environment and set up you work in, can have a direct correlation to how effective you are. Your office set up needs to work for you and also needs to inspire you. Simple top tips, put your desk in the window or sit somewhere with a view.

Most importantly have a good desk/table and chair. One Client I work with has had to visit a chiropractor due to bad posture, incurred from more sitting down in their career than ever before.

My action is to paint my office – freshen it up (will work wonders for me psychologically). I can’t get out to Clients so make my space work for me.

• 45% challenges from enforced remote working are self-discipline 

Set deadlines for yourself and book appointments for certain tasks. Committ to yourself and follow a realistic daily to-do list.

•23% “feeling like I can’t switch off” 

When it is your own business it is hard to walk away, mentally and physically. The only way with my “normal” is to book time off. Companies will be encouraging everyone to take holiday now. When you have your time off do something completely different to your day job.

I am signing off now to book my holiday and paint the office.

Please do get in touch to book a workshop – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

The “new” Normal – one hour over Zoom for £100

Posted in Bite size learning, Management, mindfulness, motivation, Stress management

Zoom fatigue, how to combat it…?

Zoom fatigue is a new saying in our new world of working. For the first time we are forced to focus more intently on each other. In a conference room we can whisper to a colleague, day dream and look out the window. On Zoom we are there on the screen absorbing information and looking out front. This constant gaze does not allow or accommodate peripheral vision.

We have all see the Zoomers who can’t do it, they fidget whilst on the call, their eyes are drifting to their phones or they are checking their emails. Everyone can see their straying eye contact and their lack of focus and can be as exhausting to watch as you demonstrate exemplary focus.

The secret is to relax and enjoy the conversation, make eye contact with the person speaking and forget you are on video. The more consciously you are aware of the video and focus on yourself the more you will lose the flow of the chat.

Make notes, this is not rude it shows you are engaged and genuinely interested in what the person is saying and it helps with your concentration levels. Paper and pen is better so that there is no clicking or other screen involved.

Everyone has had a play with the fun backgrounds, however this is extra visual stimuli. The plainer your background the more concentration you will get from your Zoomers.

Be comfortable with each other, make a consensus all screens/no screens so that everyone is in the same boat. We are in it together.

Social events on Zoom can be exhausting if they are a mass free for all. By having a facilitator or some fun exercises does give the call a little more structure. We all might be quizzed out, however they are more successful than a free for all.

Overall if you are totally Zoomed out, why not go back to using the phone for the odd piece of communication, it might be just as effective.

Top tips for Zooming

  • Don’t multi task
  • Put your phone out of sight
  • Turn off the tabs on your computer so the only screen visible is Zoom
  • Have a clear desk – your eyes will drift
  • Make all Zoom calls one hour maximum
  • Agree as a group to have screens on or off – consensus
  • Encourage simple backgrounds or all go for the same one
  • Decide whether the call needs Zoom
  • Ensure that socials have some form of structure
  • Make notes
  • Relax and enjoy
  • Make eye contact with person speaking
  • Forget about the video

Please do get in touch for workshops with your team or coaching for yourself bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Vulnerability is not a weakness…

Vulnerability fuels our daily lives, it is the one thing that can measure how courageous we are. In order to talk about vulnerability we have to have the conversation about “Shame”.

Dr Brene Brown the author of Daring Greatly says that Shame was the one that brought you to the party and goes hand in hand with vulnerability. Shame is the focus on ourselves which is not the same as Guilt which is a focus on our behaviour. The Gremlin or the voice inside all of us “You are not enough” is the Shame voice – The Gremlin. Shame grows at a rapid rate if you are silent, secretive or judgmental. The survival package for Shame is empathy, the less you talk about Shame the more you have it.

Examples of Shame:-

  • Shame is shouting at my children
  • Shame is being made redundant
  • Shame is being called out by my Manager in front of a Client

To get back to each other and be connected we have to embrace each others vulnerabilities and share them. If we put ourselves in a position of vulnerability we put ourselves into the arena of life and we are seen by others. We have to believe we are enough as it starts with ourselves first and then we start listening to others.

From Dr Brown’s research there emerged a theme that people who have a deep sense of worthiness or in her words our whole hearted embrace their vulnerability. They are not necessarily comfortable with it, however they see it as necessary.

There are three main themes that a whole hearted person has:-

  1. Courage – to be imperfect
  2. Compassion – kind to self first and then to others
  3. Connection – As a result of authenticity

In summary you have to be seen and love with all your heart, practice gratitude and joy and believe that you are enough.

Put yourself out there and Dare Greatly…

Please do attend the nuggets book club on Friday where will be reviewing Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Please send me an email bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Relationships

Start with Why…?

The title of Simon Sinek’s bestselling book first published in 2009.  It is coming up to its 10th Anniversary and Sinek is running a live book club every Friday for people to ask questions around the content.  As it is the 10th anniversary he is also going to update the book.

Start with why seems very real and pertinent when we are all in lock down.  We have time to answer a lot of Whys?

  • Why do we do the job we do?
  • Why did we do that long commute day after day?
  • Why is working from home such challenge?

The emphasis of the book is not what you do or how you do it but why you do it?

The why is within all of us we just need to find it.

At this time when we are worried about the stability of our mental health we need to look at how the brain works in conjunction with our Why?

What we do is a neocortex function, practical and easy to understand, you do what you do without much challenge or feeling.  How you do things and why you do them is connected to our limbic brain where all our emotional responses come from.

Think about your line manager do you believe what he or she believes? Do you work together because of what you do or is it because of why you do it.

Please take a look at the Why questions if you are working and if you are not working and you have been furloughed still take time to answer the questions:-

  • Why does your company exist?
  • Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
  • Why should anyone care?

Why is your purpose whether it be a company or an individual.  At the moment people our getting out of bed to home school or they might be providing a service for their company (do they know why it matters).

Please do join me this Friday for nuggets business book review club where we will be discussing “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Apr 24, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIrcOygpjsvGtNJgr81klMybc3VxM5CwqPL

There is no need to have read the book and as a refresher or those that our new to the concept have a look at his original TED talk https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Focus on what you can control…

We can easily overwhelm ourselves by thinking what we can solve.  There is currently so much to think about, we must break it down and work out what is within our control.

Stephen Covey in his book the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” uses the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence.  There are things we are concerned about and we need to work out whether we can influence them.  If we can do something eg. some form of influence it leaves your Circle of Concern.  It is like a mental in and out box.  What we have to be really careful of, is not letting things fester in a Circle of Concern that we cannot influence and thus making us feel mentally unstable.

My current examples:-

  • Currently I cannot see my Mum therefore I cannot spend everyday worrying about it, however I can see her every evening on House Party with my sisters. An example of a concern moved to influence.
  • I cannot come up with a vaccine for Covid 19 therefore I cannot let it sit in my Circle of Concern that needs to go outside my head into an area of No Concern.  I still care but if I can’t influence it will affect my mental well being.
  • My sons GCSE results are now outside mine or his influence so we have put them to one side in the areas of No Concern.

Amy Morin the author of “Insights from 13 things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” says if we focus on what we can offer others we will stop:-

  • feeling sorry for ourselves
  • resenting other peoples success
  • feeling like we are owed something

Mentally strong people shift their focus to people in need, they look for ways to help others.  If we are busy doing good things we will stop focusing on a victim like mentality.

Within our own households we can focus on how we can make the time as pleasant as possible for them.  We can also reach out to our friends and family remotely still giving support.  In work we can adapt our services, reduce fees and be readily available.

She suggests getting a piece of paper and drawing a line down the middle.  Writing all the things above the line that you can’t control and below the line all the things you can control.  After you have finished the list, rip off the top of the paper and throw it away.

Even when you have your list of the things you can control, she says you must remember that people are a factor that you cannot completely control, so remember the following points:-

  • Stop dwelling on the past, a situation with a particular person
  • Stop wasting energy on the things you cannot control within that relationship
  • Stop giving people your power  (don’t let their opinions steer your direction)
  • Stop trying to please everyone

Uncertainty can be managed by focusing on what you can control.  Grab that piece of paper today whether you do the line down the middle or Covey’s circles, focus on what you have influence and control over.

Take care and stay safe and well, please do contact me at bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Management, mindfulness, motivation

Sharing your office at home…

Running your own business and being based at home means we are ready for this phase of home working, but will it be the same?

At the moment I have a lovely office all to myself, I fear the invasion will begin with husband and children wanting to be in that space.  There will be no more lighting candles and having the radio on while I work.

My husband’s phone calls are so loud, the High Street will know the deal he is working on.  The 15 year old cannot work without food constantly being consumed.  The 17 year old is quite messy (she will hate me for saying that).  The clear desk policy will be hard to implement.

My ideas for making it work will be rota or finding new areas to work where we can all be happy with our own rituals.

Everyone in these crazy times has to be resourceful and as family we will work the desk and office space.

Top tips for working from home:-

  • Start the day by writing down what you want to achieve
  • Work out your best time for working
  • Clear the office of any distractions
  • Create the environment you want to work in – make it comfortable
  • Work in blocks – use the pommodoro technique
  • Reward yourself at the breaks with coffee…
  • Socialise with who is in the house at the same time – water cooler moments
  • Take a lunch hour – go outside (you would at the office)
  • Be disciplined about when you stop work (without a commute you might be inclined to work longer)
  • Keep work in a separate area to where you relax (no laptop on your lap while watching TV)

Please do get in touch if you would like any help or advice on home working bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Stress management

True or False facts about stress…

Pressure mounts in all of us and most of the time it can be manageable, it is monitoring the point that it is not safe for our mental health.  We need to be aware of our own signs and symptoms.  They can fall into four categories or can be accumulative, that you experience a mental sign that then leads to physical symptom.  The four areas are as follows with a couple of examples:-

  • Mental – losing the ability to make decisions, not thinking logically…
  • Emotional – angry about small things, overly sentimental…
  • Behavioural – fidgeting, biting nails…
  • Physical – backache, headache…

What do we know and believe about stress? – See the following statements below and decide whether they are true or false

  1. Women are more prone to stress – True/False
  2. Stress and anxiety are the same – True/False
  3. Causes of stress are the same for everyone – True/False
  4. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US – True/False
  5. Stress can have a purpose – True/False
  6. Medical Research suggests that up to 90% of illness and disease is stress related – True/False

The Answers:-

  1. True – Women are more prone to stress, they show more physical signs.  Men don’t escape stress although might not exhibit the signs as much as women.
  2. False – Stress and anxiety are not the same, stress is a reaction to a change in circumstances or environment and anxiety is a feeling of apprehension which can lead to stress
  3. False – Causes of stress can be very different, some individuals may thrive on the pressure of a deadline.
  4. True – Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US – they equate for 18% of adult population, approximately 40 million people.
  5. True – Stress does have a purpose – it releases our fight or flight mode, which as an adrenaline rush can improve our memory and as the brain is working harder can even create new brain cells.
  6. True – 90% of illness and disease is stress related, the most common GP visits are for the following:-
    1. Skin disorders, including cysts, acne and dermatitis.
      2. Joint disorders, including osteoarthritis.
      3. Back problems.
      4. Cholesterol problems.
      5. Upper respiratory conditions.
      6. Anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression.
      7. Chronic neurologic disorders.
      8. High blood pressure.
      9. Headaches and migraines.
      10. Diabetes.

For a workshop to understand how to manage pressure, please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Relationships, Stress management

Extra day…

Often on a Time Management workshop I will ask delegates what they would do with an extra hour.  The answer they most want to give is sleep, however once we have refused that as an option they become far more creative.

This year 2020 is a Leap Year so this Saturday 29th February we will get an extra day, therefore we have 366 days instead of 365 days, however will we make the most of this opportunity.

Very old fashioned concept was that this was the only day women could propose marriage, however as this can happen at anytime during the year, what can be unique about your extra day.

Values drive our behaviour so if we want it to really count think about what matters most in your world.  This may well start with the people that matter most in your life.  Don’t stop there, we could do what we always do with them or we could think what else do we value and what do we want to do with their time.

Identify core values and then think about what activity you can do on Saturday that connects with those.  Only select 3 from the list below, be realistic and think about who you want to be with (the list is limited so add your own ideas for core values):-

Achievement

Authenticity

Balance

Community

Change

Enthusiasm

Family

Happiness

Innovation

Kindness

Recognition

Wisdom

Examples of how values can lead to activities:-

  • Happiness – going back to somewhere that made you feel really happy
  • Wisdom – visiting something cultural and learning new facts
  • Change – meeting new people, going somewhere different

Have a great Saturday and let me know what you did with your extra day?

Please do get in touch for a workshop on any management or leadership topic bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, mindfulness, personal impact

Different types of unconscious bias…

Basic survival when you are young is about trusting familiar and not trusting unfamiliar.   A baby trusts that its mother will care for them and a stranger will make them cry as they do understand or trust what they will bring.  The brain sorts familiar and unfamiliar and then starts to create memories that get locked down into biases.

We rarely perceive things objectively as our unconscious bias will step in and fill any blanks.  We often think we can make a decision visually alone as we have enough knowledge from previous experiences to know that it is right.

We need to be conscious of our bias, otherwise we will limit our choices in life and we will limit potential in others.

The data we have on what’s familiar can be limiting and thus give us too many shortcuts as to what is good or bad.

There are different types of unconscious bias to be aware of:-

  • Like me
  • Confirmation
  • Anchor

The like me bias is when we have an affinity with another so therefore they will be OK in the role or job, because they are like me.

Confirmation bias is when you have heard something in your past that therefore confirms that bias.  An example “Left handed people are more creative…”

Anchor bias is when you make a decision based on the first information you see.  This can be very damaging in recruitment, candidates can be decided based on their salary as this might be the first information you see.

Being aware of bias and slowing down are all good ways to ensure that your unconscious bias does not lead you.

Try making one small change on a regular basis, ask another person to lead a meeting, seek advice from new people alter your preferences to which newspaper you read or to which programmes you watch.

When you next open your email, have fresh eyes on the subjects and the sender, do not let your unconscious bias lead which one you open first.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on unconscious bias bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Be kind to you…

When a Doctor diagnoses a condition, do you immediately change your habits.  We have to want to change and that is our own private relationship with kindness.

We have to be kind to ourselves and understand why we want to be.  When you are on a plane they always ask you to apply the oxygen mask to yourself first before helping others.  The priority is you.

It all begins with changing our habits and ensuring that they are natural and sustainable.    If you want to stop smoking, sudden abstinence is not kind however, going from 10 cigarettes to 3 is easier and kinder.

From a business perspective, you are overwhelmed by your emails, so you have a habit of processing them all at the same time.  Understand this methodology is not kind to yourself, prioritise them first.  Set a time limit on processing them.

In order to change your habits you have to understand your triggers.  When do you find the desire to break from the pattern.

Trigger for a smoker might be a night out.  Before you set out for the evening only take the cigarettes you intend to smoke, don’t let the trigger break the good work you have done already.

When you are busy the trigger  for your emails is the alert that you have new mail, simply turn it off and be kind to you.

The perception in the past has often been that being kind to yourself is indulgent however we cannot truly be kind to others unless we understand how to be kind to ourselves.    Kindness is unconditional and if you get in the habit of doing it, as with anything it will become natural.

Think about people you love and decide whether you would wish kindness on them and turn the tables and think how loved you are.

Be kind to you…

Please do get in touch for 1:1 coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk