Friday, April 12, 2019

A Visit to the Park Improves Emotional Well-Being

Emotional Well BeingSpring is in the air in most areas of the country, and we can’t help but be drawn outdoors to enjoy a break from the icy chill of Winter! We know from studies and experience that getting outside can be a refreshing break from “cabin fever” but now we know that it might be easier than you think to enjoy the benefits.

The University of Alabama Birmingham conducted a study at three urban parks in Alabama that regularly have visitors. The study participants reported that they felt better after spending as little as 20 minutes in the park – even if they weren’t being physically active. An excerpt from the University’s report says:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Is Your Stress Level Too High?

StressThe demands of life can at times be overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to avoid stress. Although brief periods of high stress are a normal part of life, many people endure unhealthy levels of prolonged stress leaving them vulnerable to mood swings, physical symptoms like headaches and stomach discomfort as well as serious disease.

If you have experienced a prolonged period of high stress you may have become habituated to it and therefore consider it normal and even tolerable. In order to avoid becoming accustomed to high levels of stress I recommend that you monitor your stress level on a regular basis. This self-assessment can be done in three steps:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Job Stress Can Interfere with Being a Father

FatherAccording to a Pennsylvania State University study, when you combine a highly demanding job together with marital problems the result is a father who is out of the loop related to his school-age child’s daily life. There is no question that both mothers and fathers can face extremely challenging circumstances as they balance work life and home life, but today we will focus on the fathers.

Many men are deeply work-oriented – instinctively trying to conquer the two-headed beast of achievement and competition. In a job market that creates higher demands on each employee many dads are working longer hours and even bringing more work home, making them less available to their wives and children. This creates a great deal of strain on marriages. I hear in counseling from women who feel their husbands are “missing in action” and not tending to their emotional needs and leaving them to shoulder all of the physical and emotional responsibility for the children, and it may affect their sons even more profoundly than their daughters.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

procrastinationThis is the third installment of a 3-part series on overcoming procrastination.  I admit to feeling the pressure of finishing on time, considering the topic!  So, here are the final three Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Get it done early 

You’ve probably heard, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”  We see this played out every April 15th as cars line up at the post office so taxpayers can get their returns posted by midnight and in jam-packed retailers on December 24th. If you put things off to the last minute, you not only increase the stress associated with the looming deadline, but you add the stress of knowing that there is no margin for error.  Think of how much more calmly you would be able to approach a project if you gave yourself an earlier “soft” deadline, worked consistently to meet it, and had confidence in one of two likely outcomes – either the satisfaction of being finished early or the comfort of knowing you have more time to work the bugs out. In Part 1 of this series we talked about training your brain, and reinforcing an earlier deadline for yourself can help you stay focused and on task, which prevents procrastination. 

Get others onboard 

One factor in breaking down your project into bite-sized pieces is to determine if any of those pieces should be done by someone else.  Consider who has the information or resources you need and ask for their help as soon as possible. Remember, other people struggle with the tendency to procrastinate, too, and they’ll need adequate time to provide you what you need.  Another factor in gaining cooperation from others involves those outside the sphere of your project. The real world includes people who need or

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 2

procrastinationIn my previous blog I shared some of the reasons we procrastinate and the first three strategies for overcoming it. Today we’ll work on the next four strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Procrastination – You Snooze, You Lose

Get realistic 

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time, of course!  When you have a big project, be realistic about how much you can accomplish each day or you risk becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.  Identify different elements of the project and list them separately.  For example, if your project is to arrange a meeting of your company’s national sales team, your break-out list might include elements such as Facility, Transportation, Agenda, Food, etc. and each of these can be broken into even smaller bites including tasks, calls, reservations, etc.  As you check these manageable chunks off your list, you’ll gain momentum and enthusiasm.  In order to avoid boredom, fatigue and disinterest, it is also important to schedule in breaks every 45 minutes or so.  Breaks are a great time to positively reinforce your effort by using that time to take a brisk walk, eat a snack, call a friend or catch up on your favorite sports team.

Get free from distractions 

Life is full of “shiny objects” that grab our attention. When your goal is to make significant progress on a task you must remove the things that can easily tempt your five senses.  Turn off your telephone ringtone and other notifications; close your door and even your blinds, if necessary.  Only open computer programs directly related to your project and leave the television off.  Since your brain can only process one language-based function at a time, even music with words or a radio station with an announcer talking will short-circuit your concentration.  This may sound extreme, but when

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Get it Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 1

Procrastination

Do you want to save time and lower stress? That’s exactly what you will do if you learn and consistently apply the strategies to overcoming procrastination outlined below.

Like most people, I have struggled with wasting time and creating self-induced stress by waiting until the last minute to get things done.  I can often remember telling myself, “This is the last time I’m going to put something off until the last minute,” only to do the same thing a short time later.

Sometimes when we’re stressed because of everything we have to do, it’s because we’re not actually doing it.  Procrastination often triggers worry and anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, frustration, poor eating habits and many other unpleasant outcomes.  Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, studied 374 undergraduate students and discovered that subjects who put off completing homework were more likely to eat poorly, sleep less and drink more compared to subjects who got their homework done early.  We know from years of scientific research that stress compromises the immune system.  Based on his research, Dr Pychyl concludes that “procrastination is a stressor,” which means it can literally make you sick.

Many of my coaching clients ask how they can overcome procrastination because they realize it not only creates unnecessary stress, but it is also a huge time waster and can cost money if you incur late fees, interest and penalties on your bills.  One client recently told me that he gets so stressed by putting things off that he has to look for ways to calm himself down.  His favorite coping strategy is surfing the internet and playing time-wasting games, both of which ultimately help to create even more stress.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

There are a number of contributing factors that influence

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What to Do for Stress Overload

Life is full of stress, and it’s not always bad. If we’re honest, most of us enjoy the adrenaline rush of meeting an unexpected challenge once in awhile, but none of us do well when the stress of heavy workloads, over commitment, family needs and uncontrollable circumstances never lets up.

StressThe reality is, your mental and physical health is at stake if you don’t make it a priority to engage in stress-relieving activities and habits that help you relax.

I have developed a list of 14 things you can do to start now. Today we will talk about the first 7, and then we will cover the other 7 strategies next time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Quaking in Your Cubicle: Dealing With a Difficult Boss

Surveys show a high correlation between job satisfaction and liking and respecting workplace superiors, yet few are awarded “Boss of the Year.”  So, unless you’re independently wealthy, chances are one day you’ll encounter a difficult boss.

Difficult Boss

Common complaints involve bosses with a negative or pessimistic attitude, those who offer limited direction, hover over employees, claim undeserved credit, speak critically of others, withhold recognition of success, correct in front of others, play favorites, speak when angry, exhibit moodiness, refuse to listen, pass the buck, make destructive comments, and fail to express gratitude.

Fortunately, there are constructive steps you can take to effectively address the problem.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Don’t Take Your Anger Home!

If you have had a terrible day at work and you are angry or grouchy, what does your family see and feel when you get home?  Do you walk in with a scowl on your face and a hot temper?  Or are you able to make the emotional transition from anger to calm?

frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at home

The reality is, there are days that push your buttons and test your patience.  I hope these days are few and far between for you, but in my work with both coaching and counseling clients, it seems that some people are frustrated almost all the time by their job or people in the workplace.  In other blogs and articles we have talked about some of the ways you can make your situation better at work, but even before the problems are resolved, it is important for you to take a cue from Las Vegas and say, “What happens at work, stays at work.”

It is critically important that you get your emotions under control before you walk in the door.  Don’t bring the negative emotions home with you.  Here are some ways to prepare for the transition from work to home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Overcoming the Fear of Change

Change is inevitable – everybody knows that.  Some of you reading this today don’t even know it used to be common for a person to start a job in their teens and work their way up the ladder, eventually retiring at age 65 from the same company!  Today, employment is much more fluid, and many people experience job change frequently, sometimes by moving on to better opportunities, but sometimes because their current job is changing due to new ownership, new strategies, new methods and new technology.

Change

Still, in spite of the new normal trends, most people struggle with change even if it’s positive. In today’s business environment, since nothing stays the same for very long, those who are unable to effectively “ride the waves” will likely find themselves drowning.  Here are ten tips to help you navigate in a changing world.

“To change is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable is to be alive.” Alexis DeVeaux