A LITTLE EVERY DAY – RELIEF – MAKE IT A HABIT!

ist1_5630066_yachtWe all have stress – there isn’t one person alive who doesn’t have something which stresses them.  Some have more stressors than others in their lives and life, being a cycle, at times, we have more stress than we want or need.  Nevertheless, we know we need to deal with it yet, we shy away from the very things which will help us – se tell ourselves we don’t have time!

Relief from stress saves you time – doesn’t seem like it because, de-stressors, too, take some of your time.  And that’s precisely why people won’t take the time to relieve themselves of stress through simple techniques – they don’t feel they have the time!

Yet, in the long run, the effects of stress will cost you – they’ll cost you in so many ways – time, health, family, work, etc. – and, at the extreme, burn out. 

What is the real reason people won’t take the time to de-stress? 

Because they don’t think they are worth it – everything else is more important – getting the job done, getting the report in, getting the kids to practice, over-extending themselves in their volunteer work – everything and everyone else is more important than caring for themselves.  That’s why people don’t take time for themselves every day to de-stress – even on days off from work.

Next time you feel the stress – you know the symptoms – do the very simplest thing of all – sit quietly on your own some place where you can be alone – the bathroom stall is always very private – take a few deep breaths, think of a beautiful place you like eg Hawaii, French Riviera, and think good thoughts too –  5 or 10 minutes – that’s all – anywhere, any time – this is possible – you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go again.  Your body and mind will thank you!  Make it a habit – every day!

COMPUTER – USE OUTLOOK TO KEEP YOU ON SCHEDULE

Many people overlook their computer as a good time management tool – it’s one of the best – and can save you countless hours especially if you couple it with a PDA. 

First, let’s say you have Outlook as your email tool.  In Outlook, there’s a calendar.  In this calendar, you can drag and drop emails into the calendar icon and immediately a window will open with the email inserted into the body of the form.  You set the date and time for the event, a name you want for the event, the amount of notice you need before the event – can be the day before – or 15 minutes – whatever you need.  Save and Close.  The computer will remind you of the appointment.  If you are not at your computer, make sure to have your PDA with you at all times and make sure you sync your PDA and computer every morning and every night.  You can have all your appointments in there.

How wonderful is that!  It’s absolutely terrific!  What a time saver.

Remember to add in recurring events too.  For instance, say you have a yoga class every Tuesday at 5 pm.  Set an appointment.  Click on Calendar icon.  New at the top left on your screen.  You’ll see “Recurrence” on the top toolbar.  You can set the day and time.  Finish identifying the event.  Save and close.  Until you stop it, the computer will remind you to go to your Yoga class every Tuesday at 5 pm.  Perfect!  The perfect nag!  No excuses for not going!

TIME IS RHYTHM

SHEET MUSICTime is rhythm.  Rhythm is setting a beat.  A beat is the result of motion.  Fast or slow – it doesn’t matter but it has to fit.  So it is with managing your time, managing your life.  There must be a fit with all things in your life so that it establishes a beat for you, you get into a rhythm for your life and your time creates a symphony of steps which fulfills your talent, your very soul.

Huh?  You’re likely thinking – this is odd to say the least.  Think about it.

Your workplace  has a rhythm to it – a pace.  The phones come on at 8:30 am and everyone is at their stations having begun the day whatever that means to them.  There are breaks and watercooler talks.  There’s work that needs to get done in a specific amount of time.  And everyone’s work depends on someone else’s to complete the picture – the product – the service – interdependency.  Then, everything done inside must match what is requested from the outside.  There’s a rhythm.  You either enjoy that rhythm or you don’t.

Within all of this you have your own rhythm at work as well as before and after work.  If your time rhythm is off, you’ll suffer.  If it’s on, you’ll see your world as great. 

The question is:  how do I know if I’m “in the groove” or not?  Easy – how’s your world working? 

If you hate to go to work every single day, there’s a disconnect.  Quit and go do something that you can’t wait to do.  For instance, if you are an outdoors person and you’re stuck at a desk every day, you won’t be happy – you just can’t be – it doesn’t fit your personality.  Find jobs where you can mainly work outside – maintenance, forest ranger, park ranger, building construction, diver, roadwork, gardener, landscaper, and the list goes on and on – you get the idea.  Don’t wait until you hate your work so much that either you quit at the worse possible moment or you get kicked out.

On the personal plane, you can’t seem to connect with a friend any more.  Whenever you get together, you feel anxious or bored.  You’ve changed, your friend has changed, you’ve both changed – whatever the reason, your friendship needs changing or letting go.  Talk it over with your friend – likely the feeling is mutual but a sense of history and loyalty has prevented either one of you bringing up the subject.  You could agree to let go of the relationship or keep a part of the relationship that you like.    

Just as in music, when you hit a “sour note”, something has changed in your life and you need to pay attention.  Time changes everything.  Be aware.  Take action.  And get your life’s rhythm back!  You’ll see that when you’re in step with your own rhythm, time management will be a lot easier.

BURN OUT . . . CAN YOU RECOGNIZE IT?

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You sit looking at the pile.  Stare into space.  Your body hurts from the stress.  Your mind goes from frantic to dead quiet. 

You know you have to get the report done for tomorrow and you haven’t even started.  Worse yet, you don’t want to start.  You don’t want to do anything except sit and stare blankly at the wall. 

And that’s burn outno energy or willingness to go on with anything knowing full well what the consequences will be – somehow you don’t care and yet you are very worried.  Your whole life has become an incessant world of push and pull – you want to but you don’t; you know what to do but you don’t have the energy; you know the consequences and you don’t care; you don’t care but you worry. 

The drag is the worst part – you seem to be dragging yourself around everywhere you go in everything you do in everything you say – it’s all heavy, really heavy like you’re pulling a monster truck every inch of the way!

Physically you’ll feel exhausted and you often get tension headaches or severe lower back pain for no apparent reason – you never had them before but now they become a regular occurrence.  Sometimes, the lower back pain is so intense, you can’t even walk!

You have small accidents quite regularly – stubbing your toe, dropping things, and absent-minded run ins with chairs, walls, etc.

You check your work over and over again – yet there are still small mistakes like spelling or reversed numbers.  You’re horrified by the small mistakes instead of taking them as they are – small!

 Spiritually you feel empty, totally disconnected from everyone and everything.  You just wish everyone would leave you alone.  People just seem to add to the feeling of being burdoned and you don’t reach out for help either.  Everything is meaningless to you – everyone another stress.

Emotionally you sense you don’t have time to get anything accomplished.  You really want to distance yourself from everyone so you can get something done.  You don’t visit with friends any more.  You stop going to the gym.  You stay at work longer and longer and longer and less and less done.  Soon you feel like a martyr and soon a loser because you see everyone around you going home on time and yet there you sit.  You sit trying to accomplish the smallest tasks that seems to take forever.

Your calendar is filled with missed deadlines and you wonder why – you got everything done before, why not now?  Appealing to you are the escape mechanisms like alcohol, spending, drugs or even sex.  However, at some point in the burn out process, you couldn’t be bothered with these things either.  In fact, you know you have to get your act together but you don’t want to.

Every happy moment experienced by others is one that makes you feel even worse.  If someone gets engaged or has a baby or a birthday or gets married, it’s hard for you to be happy – you just can’t be happy no matter what.  Before, you would have joined in the congratulatory offerings and been genuinely pleased for the person.

You watch the clock too.  You were likely a person who was never a clock watcher but now you are – you can’t wait until 5 o’clock comes around so everyone leaves and you’re alone.

Alone becomes more and more appealing because you somehow think you’ll get something done.  But you’ll find that an hour has passed and nothing has been accomplished – you go into a blank world in your mind – you can’t move.

Clutter – one sure sign of burn out is clutter.  The clutter increases or your appearance deteriorates because of your perception that you don’t have enough time to get everything done.  You’re likely not sleeping much either so that doesn’t help – you look like it!

Work – you look at your work and it’s odd.  Some of the things you say or how you phrase things is so out to lunch that you can’t even recognize it as work you have produced sometimes.  You’ll have moments of brilliance mixed totally off the wall content.  Sometimes you’ll say things just don’t make any sense and you know it.  Everyone around you knows there is something wrong but most of them can’t identify it – you’re acting strange and that’s all they know.

You don’t have breaks – you don’t eat lunch unless someone drags you out and brings you something to eat –

Depression – is very close at hand – a deep, deep depression – you can feel that too.  The disconnect with everyone and everything and the perception there is not time for anything or anyone is a sign it has crept in.  The lack of caring and being hyper at the same time is a clue.

So what do you do about it? 

The first step is to go to your doctor and get some help.  Your doctor will likely tell you the road back to your normal self will be slow but there is no doubt you’ll recover.  Your doctor will likely give you a letter recommending a medical leave from work.  Take it.  Don’t even hesitate.  Take it.  It’s the best beginning to recovery you can get and get some counseling from a professional who specializes in recovery from burnout.  Even if you can’t get stress leave, take vacation time or a leave of absence.  You need to get away from work for a little while.

Exercise – start an exercise program immediately and exercise as much as you can every single day – weights, cardio, yoga – and go outside as much as you can every single day – surround yourself with nature –

Eat good food – preferably organic – your body has taken quite a beating through this process and it needs nourishment.  Take vitamins too – every day.  It’s critical that you get some good vitamins and take them.

Journal – talk to yourself in a journal about what you feel, don’t feel, etc.  Anything.  Every day sometimes several times a day.  It’s important to get it out.

Read good books both fictional and non-fictional.  Non-fictional – read about learning to handle stress better and start adopting some techniques which suit you.  Fictional will bring your mind into a world of fantasy where you can get lost for a little while.

Massages – start getting some massages.  They help release the tension and the toxins that build up in your body.  It doesn’t have to be expensive – you can go to a nearby school where they teach massage.  In some cases, your health insurance will pay for it.

Talk to your family.  Let them know what’s happening and what you need from them.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of letting them know you’d love their support but you’ll likely be spending a lot of time by yourself in the next while.

Understand what stresses you the most and what you can do to help you control your stress.  That’s very important so you never get to this point again.

Time – learn to schedule appropriatelyAt first, don’t put time limits on activities.  For instance, say you want to exercise every day at 10 am – don’t put a limit on it – just leave it wide open so you have no pressure to finish.  Soon, you’ll get a rhythm going and you’ll be able to access how long you like to exercise for. 

Get into the habit of slowly introducing regular times to do things such as having lunch – you probably skipped breakfast, lunch and dinner in your most acute burn out stage.  So set times and make the experience pleasant each time – food you like – not too much – create a ritual such as placing your knife, fork and napkin on a placemat before starting to prepare your meal and sit with music to have your meals.  Keep regular hours to eat each meal.  Make it a very pleasant event which you cherish. 

Organize your space a little at a time.  For 15 minutes, 1/2 hour or an hour a day, declutter your world.  It’s very therapeutic.

And only you can know what else you’ll have to do – every life is different – every person is differentbut the key is to give yourself the time to heal.  That’s your first most important step whether it takes a week, three weeks or several months – you need the timedon’t kid yourself either – you know you’ve burned out – you know it deeply.  But there is a tendency to deny it and keep on no matter what – it’s the worst thing to do.  Take time to get better and get some better time and life management skills so you never experience burn out again.  Yes, I’m talking from experience – been there, done that – and yes, I got over it successfully.  If you want some coaching, I’m available and my fees are low because I simply don’t want to add more stress to your life with huge fees that you cannot afford at this point.  Contact me through my blog here:  www.wizetime.com.  You’ll see I have a contact form.

Now – do one thing – only one thing – go get better!

DESTRUCTIVENESS OF FEAR IN GROUPS

An attack is launched!  Fear breaks out!     

In the workplace – at a meeting of volunteers – in a group of some sort –  after millions of years of existence, we still don’t seem to know how to deal with them.  That one person – the bully – who has been allowed all their lives to bully!

In the workplace, these bullies destroy productivity because everyone is on guard all the time about everything that is said and done.  No one knows when the bully will target any particular individual and “nail that person” with something in order to agrandise the bully’s own ego.  Bullies claw and scratch people’s eyes out, figuratively.  Quite often these bullies become the boss because of their talent for turning on the charm to get what they want.  But look out – they’ll turn on you the minute they don’t need you any more!

The incidious  set up is this:  it is made to look like  a problem between two people – the bully and their target.  The bully seems credible in the accusations citing ‘authorities” to back up the arguments against the other person if necessary.   But, since no one else at that particular moment is the target, no one else gets involved and the boss often doesn’t intervene as the boss should. 

If you have had experience with them, you know the signs.  They pick on minor mistakes and they focus, usually, on one or two people at a time – usually one – after all, it must look like a feud between two people.  Why?  Because these bullies are usually cowards and will back down if they are confronted by a group of people.  Nobody ever said these bullies were stupid – they know the strategy.  The bully knows that if you get everyone angry with you the game is lost. 

Everyone fears them – that’s the way they set it up because one after another, they get rid of their target.  People get the message.  These bullies usually surround themselves with people just like themselves so often they run as a “pack” both internally and externally. 

It doesn’t take much to provoke bullies – just standing up for what you believe in will be enough to set them off!   The bully watches every single action and analyzes every single word intently and, when a mistake happens, they pounce with great force – they know how to twist the rules to their “side of the story”.  They sound so convincing too – they get people fired at worse, and at best, there are a lot of miserable people.

In organizations, especially volunteer organizations, they get themselves ingrained into the fabric as the “authority” of the organization.  And, again, they bring destruction to these groups too.  Again, no one stands up to them for a completely different set of reasons.

Bullies care about nothing.  They care about no one.  They are totally void of empathy, compassion and consideration for others.  They are always all consumed with what they want and getting it.  If you’re the person standing in their way or standing up against them, you’ll be targeted to be removed one way or another.

The time bullies waste – their own and everyone else’s – is gigantic! 

Once in a while, some person in a group is smart enough to spot the bullies early in the game.  They’ve seen it before or been the victim of such an attack.  They don’t fear.  They know how the game is played.  And this person knows what to do and quickly too – there is no time to waste to get rid of these bulllies!   If they are the boss, the bully is fired.  If not, then the person turns the table on the bully or uses their influence with the group to get rid of the bully.   The bully is ousted!  And everyone cheers!   

The terror is not over, however.  The bully moves on to other groups to orchestrate the reign of terror all over again – because it’s about ego – it’s not about anything else – they know few will stand up to them.   

If people learned, as a group, to stand up to these bullies early before the trail of destruction happens, we would all save a tremendous amount of time and stress!

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