Posted in Bite size learning, Stress management, Time management, training

Eat that frog…

Eat that frog … and fight procrastination, the book by Brian Tracy, gives really practical steps as to break free from limiting patterns of behaviour:-

  • Be clear about what you want to achieve
    • How much money do you wish earn a month?
    • How much is guaranteed income?
    • Do you know how much money comes in and out?
    • What do you cost a day?
    • You must value your time and others will to…!
  • Remember why you are doing what you are doing
    • Photos of your family
    • What is the money for…?
    • Give the dream a number…!
  • Break it down
    • Bite size chunks – never eat a banana whole
    • The next action is – keep the momentum
  • Everything has a deadline – impose it
    • Give everything a date
    • Remember accountants have fines
    • Make the deadline public
  • Be serious
    • Work at the best time for you
    • Be in the zone – focus
    • Be serious about yourself and others will be as well
  • Plan in advance
    • What do you want to achieve each day?
    • Decide on a start and end date
  • Be tough
    • Book time with yourself
  • Just do it
    • Eat that frog – always best to swallow whole if eating a live frog
    • Remember to grade your tasks – A/B and C’s
    • C’s rarely get done – that is OK

Go on “Eat that Frog” today

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, 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, 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, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Stress management

The resilient Athlete…

One of my Clients sponsored Natalie Miller the Co Captain of the indoor netball team otherwise known as Nets.

The team went into the World Cup as reigning champions which is always a hard place to start as the expectation of a result is heavy on the teams shoulders.

We have closely followed the team’s progress and worked with them before they left on having a great mind set and adopting winning behaviour.

The team missed out on a medal, however the journey and the values they shared are winning in the minds of many.  I interviewed Natalie recently to get an insight as to how an athlete returns to life after a tournament with the memories of highs and lows.

Leading up to a tournament there is the training and the abstinence from partying and alcohol and the missing out on family events.  The discipline of being constantly in training is tough.

Natalie explained that when she returned it is hard to make that transition.  Mentally it is tough to understand what has just happened.  Knowing that it is over and you have worked for a year and half and been so focused.  The recovery is slow as the emotions run high.  The reality of a gear change takes a while to adjust to.

Freddie Flintoff’s podcast was something Natalie could relate to, he talks about how it feels to return home after tournament.  The harshest part is knowing that you will never play with that team again.  The combination of players is very hard to replicate.

Natalie explained that the team have not seen each other since the World Cup, however this feels natural as everyone needs space after such an experience.

The team experienced a tremendous high when they won against New Zealand and personally very special to Natalie as her parents witnessed the victory.  This match showcased the team, they all came together and there was total cohesion.

Another special moment was one team member was not going to play again and understandably was feeling sad, so as the Captain, Natalie asked “What would really make you happy?”.  At the time of asking the team were in an ice bath, and heroically Natalie offered to dive head first into the ice bath.  The reaction after the dive is something the team will never forget.

Everyone has a contribution and that is why being part of a team is so special.

The high of being part of a team to represent your country and being Captain cannot be minimised.  Natalie took advantage of going to South Africa by having a holiday afterwards with her parents who went out to support her.  This time was very precious being one of four to have exclusivity with her parents was a wonderful reward.

Natalie’s story continues…she has been promoted at the school she works at.  She is now the Head of Netball, Seaford College.  She brings her passion of the sport and shares that with the children.  She is playing for Sussex Thunder as the Captain and has her heart and eyes set on the Masters World Indoor Championships in 2020.

The sponsor invested in Natalie as they had shared values and the journey to the World Cup has only highlighted and exaggerated how relevant they are.

  • Resilience
  • Leadership
  • Passion
  • Teamplayer

Values are your anchor in life and you will always be a winner if you stay true to them.

Congratulations to all the Nets team and to Natalie for being a part of the World Cup and for sharing their story.

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, motivation, Stress management, Time management

Procrastinating…

Procrastinating something we are guilty of.

What actually is it?   In a nutshell it is self regulating failure.

We all have too many distractions so it is very easy to procrastinate.  We need more than just will power.  Some of the reasons we find it so easy to avoid tasks is that we can have a dip in our overall motivation.  We might be feeling anxious, or we simply hate the task in hand and will try every aversion tactic possible.

We can also affect a task by just how we talk about it “I have to or I need to…”  This is all reactive language and does not put you in a positive mindset.  If we used proactive language around the task we would feel more positive.  “I choose to or I would like to…”

Some top tips to prevent procrastination:-

  • Set up your environment with minimal distractions, just one screen on your desk
  • Ensure that your phone is on silent.
  • Set your own deadline, if the end point is too far away you might put it off
  • Ensure you are not overwhelmed by a task, break it into smaller chunks
  • List your tasks and actions – What gets written gets done…
  • Identify your best time in the day and ensure that is when you work on the tough stuff
  • Committ to a time limit with a break built in, and reward yourself so that you still feel motivated
  • Visualise how you will feel once you have completed the task

Please do get in touch for a 90 minute Time Management workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

The photo is courtesy of:-

@KrishantiPhoto_commercial

@KrishanthiPhoto

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

Being kind to yourself…

We are responsible for our actions and our decisions and ultimately how kind we decide to be to ourselves.

My day had a bumpy start, I was about to board a train when I remembered I had not put a pen in my bag.  I did a very bad Mum run to WH Smiths at the station and managed to make the train.  Felt quite smug that I had turned things around.

The desperate need for the pen was to make notes on a book on my kindle.  Sat back and retrieved the kindle to find it was out of charge.  Still not deterred used my iPhone to create the kindle app, but failed to remember my amazon password.  I wasted most of the journey with failed attempts and the ultimate lock out message.

When I arrived at Waterloo I decided to walk to my meeting as I needed to be kind to myself, after my rather unproductive train journey. The walk in the sunshine and along the South Bank in London was great for putting me in a lovely mood for my meeting.

When something goes wrong think of a way to be kind to yourself by doing something you will enjoy.

Of course you don’t have to be kind to yourself when something goes wrong, just make it a habit everyday.  Write down when you have been kind to yourself as focusing on ourselves does have restorative effect for the rest of life.

Please do get in touch if you are looking for a business coach bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Stress management

Write your happy thoughts down…

A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology claimed there was a significant reduction in stress and anxiety when people wrote about their positive emotions.

Previous studies have shown that writing about negative emotions is also good for your mental well being getting stuff “off your chest”.  However not much has been written about the positive emotions.

Writing about positive experiences for 20 minutes a day for 3 consecutive days improved people’s mood and led to fewer visits to the Doctor.  Even writing as little as 2 minutes a day was a positive experience and reduced stress levels.

For the study the 20 minutes of  writing covered areas where people had been moved by a good book, painting, a piece of music or just a good interaction.

There were 71 healthy participants, aged 19 to 77 and randomly allocated into two groups.  The first group was asked to write about the most wonderful experiences (as described above) of their life for 20 minutes for 3 consecutive days.  The other group just covered neutral topics, such as their plans for the rest of the day etc..

At the end of the study the groups answered questionnaires to measure their levels of anxiety and the group that had documented the positive emotions were in much better place than the neutral group.

Write your happy thoughts down to reduce your anxiety levels, get into a routine of reviewing the day ensuring you highlight the positive.

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