How to learn to love your job, again

love

Perhaps your job felt like love at first sight but slowly it turned into your heaviest burden. Maybe, you worked incredibly hard to get your role but, actually executing it is far less glamorous than you first thought. Whatever happened to change your rose tinted glasses perspective about work, it’s possible to revive your relationship. If you’re reading this now, you’ve already taken the first step.

Set goals with your supervisor 

Work can seem aimless if you don’t have things such as goals, that you are striving towards. Work with your supervisor to set reasonable but motivating goals. These goals will help to provide structure for your working week. Trying to achieve these goals can be a great challenge and really get you engaged in your role, again. Once you reach these goals they can also be excellent negotiation points for a promotion or an alternative role.

Make a list of things you want to improve 

Make a list of what aspects of your current job you’d like to improve. Take some time to be objective and clear your head. Write a list of everything you don’t love about your job. Be as specific as possible. Name, names if you have to. Then spend the same amount of time writing a list of how you can improve these negatives. More often than not there is always a solution, even if that solution means a change in your attitude so you can bear a certain annoyance. Having a game plan to deal with the things that disgruntle you at work, can make the world of difference to your coping mechanisms.

Figure out what you really love to do

Write a list about the parts of your job you really love to do. Drill down into the key activities that make you happy. Then, brainstorm a dream working day, involving all of the activities you particularly enjoy. Finally, look for the overlaps in your current role. Consider talking to your superior about making these enjoyable tasks a bigger part of your day-to-day work. If there are no overlaps, you can look into other opportunities, that provide what you need, to feel excited about your role.

Leverage your network

Make connections in your field by attending industry meet-ups, events, or conferences. This can, not only help to build a support system around you, but it can also open up more industry-wide doors for you. Meaning, that if you are really unhappy at work, you can start to prep yourself up for another role by either speaking to others with the jobs, you want, or by making connections with preferred organisations. If you are content where you are, you can benefit greatly by building relationships with others in your organisation. Connections open more doors, period.

Stay present

It’s impossible to love your job if you’re mindlessly browsing Facebook, Instagram, or Amazon all day. You are, in fact, making your working day even harder for yourself. It’s not satisfying to waste your time by procrastinating. When you do this, you ignore your problems and push yourself further into a negative rut about work. Try to stay present and concentrate on the task at hand. Actively work on your levels of engagement. Before long you’ll start to feel your brain pumping and this challenging feeling will motivate you to enjoy your role, once again.

Make a ‘Gratitude List’ for Your Job

Write down all the things you’re grateful for, in relation to your job. This can be the list of things it enables you to do, or who it has made you become. All your failures or speedbumps, simply make you a stronger, more experienced professional. Studies have shown that listing everything you’re grateful for can help you to feel more optimistic about your current circumstances.

The best survival tactics for an overwhelming workload

tired

We are all familiar with the work-life, battle.

It has it’s up’s and downs. The up’s are usually promotions, great work recognition’s and so on. The down’s are usually, let’s face it. More work. What I mean by that is when you have so much work, you cant enjoy your job, you simply feel too overwhelmed.

This blog is for the downs.

Here are the best survival tactics, for your overwhelming workload.

1. Try the before holiday rule

Think of how productive you are the day before your holiday. It’s like a Terminator sequel, and nothing is getting between you and those tasks on your list.  You only have one day to get through your giant to-do list and, to those not taking an early flight the following morning, it looks impossible. But you, always manage to get it done. Why? It’s because you apply your absolutely ruthless mentality, against the knowledge that you have only have the present day to complete your tasks and you have the perfect ingredients for prime motivation and productivity. So, the next time your workload is totally overwhelming, apply the before holiday rule and maximise your time.

2. Make yourself un-interruptable

This means, protect your time from your children, boss and even yourself. Before you think of an aimless scroll on social media or having a good old chin-wag with your best friend – remember that you have put in place the very important rule of being un-interruptable and you cannot break the honour of this rule. Set a time limit for your un-interruptable time and stick to it, like your life depends on it. Do your most burdonsome tasks, during this golden hour and feel the endorphins rush through your brain when it ends – as you relish in the satisfiaciton of ticking important tasks, off your to-do list.

3. Make a won’t do list for your busiest days

Whilst, at first glance, this seems counterintuitive. Why on earth would you waste your precious time writing a list of things you won’t do? Well, because it’s actually incredibly helpful. A won’t do list, is a list of things you won’t do because they hinder your productivity. This can be anything you perceive to be a bad procrastination habit, to asking your partner or colleague to support with a few personal/professional tasks, respectively. It keeps your day in check and helps you to get your work done.

4. Prepare the night before

You will be surprised, about how much time you waste, figuring out where to start with your overwhelming workload. If you prepare your day the night before, you can crack on straight away. You also will wake up significantly less stressed, if you know how you are going to attack a busy day. Preparation is key, for everything work-related.

5. Become a morning person

Did you know that the most successful add an extra hour to their day, by waking up earlier. Think about how much you could do in this extra hour when everyone else is busy, sleeping. If you’re not a morning person and feel frequently that you are faced with an overwhelming workload, it’s advisable to try to become a morning person. Set your alarm an hour earlier and see how much less stressed you feel. What harm will one week do? In fact, I suggest none at all, instead you will find huge productivity benefits.

For more on this topic read the helpful blog written by Francesca Rica , here.

How to stop negative thoughts, once and for all

happiness

Did you know that according to the National Science Foundation, the average person has around 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, 80% are negative.

All negative thoughts are not bad. Remember at one point, to our cavemen ancestors, they had a significant value. primitive humans would survive through their pre-dispositions to fear and threats. But now, if our negative thoughts are not nipped in the bud, this pre-disposition to view the world as “a glass half empty” can suck the enjoyment out of our everyday life. Being alert can help you to survive but most negative thoughts, in today’s world, are useless. They only create imaginary drama in your mind and it’s time to stop them.

Here is a simple three stage technique to help you stop your negative thoughts, once and for all.

Step 1

Take out a piece of paper or bring up the note pad on your phone or laptop.

Step 2

List every negative thought you have in that exact moment.

Once you’ve noted everything down, dig a little deeper. Really unpick where your negative thoughts are coming from. More often than not, they will be linked to past negative experiences you’ve failed to move on from, or from deep seeded insecurities. Issues that need to be drawn to your conscious surface, considered and then stopped in their tracks. Even if your negative thought is about someone else irritating you, it’s often a reflection of something inside of you, something you’re sensitive to and don’t like seeing in others. So dig deep.

Step 3

Make a separate list or another column and next to each negative thought, counteract it with at least one positive thought. This process will help your mind to re-frame the negative thoughts, in a more positive light. This re-framing is the ultimate goal. If you can get into the habit of reframing negative thoughts, naturally, then they won’t be an issue.

Shifting perspective sounds easy. But it’s not. It takes practice and dedication but, soon enough, you will start to view things in a more positive light, permanently.

Remember, your thoughts become words. Watch what narrative you give to your own life story. Do you want to live inside of a thriller or even a horror novel, constantly in anxiety or fear? Or would you rather a story, filled with happiness, challenge and triumph. You are the author of your own story, you are in control. Remember this, and take action. Or you run the risk of your negative thoughts, stealing your pen and writing your life story.

Try to do this exercise once a day and see how much it can help you.

How to improve your relationship with your boss

boss

Most people forget (whether employed or freelance) that it’s not just their boss who is managing them — they also have to manage their boss. This means building a healthy, two-way relationship in order to best accomplish shared goals.

If you manage this relationship well, you create the foundations for your future success. Remember as they are your boss, you do need them unless you are considering leaving your career. Likewise, you’ll be more engaged at work, produce better results, and develop your own skills faster if you feel you and your boss play on the same team.

So, here are six great ways to improve your relationship with your boss.

1. Manage Up 

Sometimes you have to manage “up” and not wait for direction from your boss. This means taking a proactive approach. At its simplest, your boss will think that if he/she doesn’t think of something you will. Also, it shows a level of dedication and interest from your side which is conducive to building trust.

2. Make Their Life Easier

Relationships are about two things:

1. Caring about the person.

2. Caring about the things the person cares about.

When someone feels you care, the relationship moves beyond the work and trust is built. Your job is to make your boss’s life easier. Don’t forget that. Their job is to make sure that you deliver results. When you are actively making their job easier, you’ve created a great relationship.

3. Understand Expectations

Asking your boss, “What’s the best way for me to support you?” with clear expectations of what that looks like can lead to a highly successful relationship. most relationships break down due to lack of communications about expectations. Your work should make your boss look better, if you provide sub-standard work, you’re directly offending your boss’s sense of pride. Their success is your success.

4. Establish Boundaries

When you work for a boss they are in effect one of your clients. They need to respect you and see you as a reliable and responsible person. You need them to be happy enough to want to keep retaining you, but you never want them to feel that they have full ownership. It’s critical to establish firm boundaries in regard to how you allow yourself to be treated, for example, midnight emails, or accessibility outside of work. If you respect yourself, they will respect you. In addition, socialising with your boss or really letting loose with them, breaks all boundaries. It’s advisable if you want a healthy, long-lasting relationship, to keep it professional.

5. Prove you are dependable

You are either making things easier or more difficult for your boss, as discussed. If you want to build and foster a healthy relationship with your boss, do your own job as best as you can, never let your standards slide. Once you have established trust, your boss will consider you for other jobs or projects and in turn, this will quickly advance your career.

6. Bring solutions, not problems

When you have a problem before bringing it to your bosses’ attention first think what the solution could be. Alternatively, if your boss approaches you with a problem, help them to find solutions. Take the onus off of them to solve it. Be a reliable resource and support for them.

How to maximise your breaks

breaks

We all work in a high-productivity, at all costs culture. It’s hard to justify taking a break. Some people even feel guilty, but the reality is we physically can’t work at 100% capacity, 100% of the time. We need breaks.

But did you know that breaks have an art? Here are seven science-backed studies that can help you maximise your downtime.

Take regular breaks every 25 minutes

Without concentration and focus, we have nothing. So, in order to protect your productivity cornerstones, researchers suggest taking breaks, every 25 minutes.

Why do increments of 25 minutes work? There’s a number of reasons:

  • By knowing you have a break coming up, you’re more likely to stay focused and think well, it’s only 25 minutes.
  • Working for any longer can cause procrastination.
  • Your body wasn’t designed to be sedentary, it will work against you if you sit down for too long.

Take in nature around you

Staying in an artificially lit, crowded office, all day might be a necessity for getting things done. But escaping from that space for just a few minutes a day can have huge benefits.

Studies show that just spending time in nature can help alleviate mental drain by relaxing and restoring the brain. Additionally, increased exposure to sunlight and fresh air helps increase productivity and can even improve your sleep. In one study, researchers found that workers with more exposure to natural light, during the day, slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. Imagine how good you would feel if you could fall asleep that little bit earlier?

If you can’t get outdoors during your break bring some plants into your office. This is the next best thing to being outside.

Exercise your eyes

Our eyes take the burden of our increasingly tech-heavy lives. Think about how many hours you spend, per day, on a digital device. Then acknowledge the fact that your eyes will feel strain in as little as two hours. It’s safe to say your eyes are facing strain almost every day.

Luckily, there’s a simple exercise that will help reduce your eye fatigue: 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes look away from your computer screen and focus on an item at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Simple, right?

Exercise your body

Exercise is one of the easiest ways to boost energy and increase your productivity. Researchers from the University of São Paulo discovered that just 10 minutes of exercise is enough to boost memory and attention performance throughout the day.

If you don’t want to change into workout clothes or work out at all, just going for a simple walk has been shown to refresh memories and increase creativity. In a report from the American Psychology Association, researchers discovered that walking increased 81% of participants’ creativity.

Let your mind wander

A report published in Science magazine found that simply letting our minds wander by daydreaming, without any purpose, has similar benefits to meditation. When we stop focusing on anything, our brain’s Default Mode Network takes over. This means we rest our overworked prefrontal cortex–which is where all the complex processes like problem-solving, memory, reason, and logic take place.

Not only that but taking some time to let your mind drift can help you come up with more innovative ideas and uncover mental blocks when you do look over your work again.

NYU psychology professor Scott Barry Kaufman found that daydreaming is a fantastic way for us to access our unconscious. It allows ideas that have been silently incubating in our subconscious to reach our conscious. Meaning, that while you think you’re doing nothing, you’re actually mining the depths of your mind for more creative solutions to the problems you’re facing. It’s a win-win.

If this hasn’t inspired you to take more breaks, read this helpful blog by Jory Mackay-Zapier for Fast Company, here.

 

Expert backed confidence hacks

confidence

A lack of confidence finishes more dreams than failure, ever could.

Confidence is not indicative of skill, it’s merely an enabler. You can be the most suitable candidate for a role, on paper, but without confidence, you can’t portray this as well as you’d like.

We all have our issues with confidence so, here are some expert supported ways to keep your confidence levels up when you next need a boost.

Refer to yourself in the third person

This might seem odd, but recent research has shown that if you refer to yourself, in the third person, during self-talk (for example your inner pep talk before a presentation) it can make a big difference to your confidence.

The trick here is to use he, she or your name to distance yourself from a terrifying situation. For example, instead of saying, “I am about to deliver a presentation” try saying,  “Angela is about to deliver a presentation.” In other words, see yourself as the observer.

According to the researchers, this type of self-distancing helps you see nerve-wracking moments as challenges, rather than threats. Resulting in you feeling an instant alleviation and confidence boost.

Overcome imposter syndrome

You have the job, the certificates, even the awards but you’re still worried about being called out, as a fraud.

You are not the only one. Many of us suffer from imposter syndrome. Interestingly, this is known as the syndrome of high achievers. Those who set the bar low simply do not care much about the quality of their work.

To overcome the inner imposter syndrome, remind yourself of your achievements. Write a list of your personal successes. Can all of that list just be a coincidence or luck? I think not, it’s time to recognise your value.

Work out

Your body needs exercise. We were not created to be sedentary. Even a simple stretch, power pose or walking, helps.

Practicing physical activity allows you to stay in touch with your body, raises your energy levels and releases more endorphins. You are happy after you work out, so it’s worth the hard work and pain. This process is quite reflective of how we reach our goals – working out makes you more target driven and tenacious when it comes to goal setting.

Before you go to an important meeting, interview, or any other stress-inducing situation, do a little workout, stretch or strike a simple power pose and make yourself feel more comfortable.

Visualise your success

Visualisation is a critical part of achieving any goal. It’s hard to be confident when you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Your future success just doesn’t seem real.

Close your eyes and start seeing your success as a reality. Picture how you’ll get there. Picture how you walk, stand and even dress. Try to engage all five senses in it. How does it feel and smell, what do you hear, who are the people around you, what do they wear? Every little detail matters. For better results, take a piece of paper and write everything down, or even draw it. Do what works for you but most importantly get visualising.

Meditate

Meditation helps you to become more self-aware. Get to know your low confidence triggers, find ways to be more at peace with yourself. After a good meditation, weak confidence seems like a distant dream based on tiredness and stress. When you really put your mind to it, you see confidence as a very small issue.

Meditation is a tool to inspect your daily thoughts and become more self-aware about your own thought process. It helps you to nip limiting self-talk in the bud, and encourages you to create a new, loving and compassionate self.

Get comfortable with failure

No one likes to fail, but failure is the best indicator of your progress. If you’re serious about getting confident, then you need to get comfortable with failure, as it will be your best teacher.

There is no easy way to do this, but according to Peter Guber, you can fail faster. Fix your mistake, as soon as you realise it and learn how to avoid it in the future.

 

 

 

How the most successful spend their weekends

weekends

The only thing we shouldn’t do with our weekends is work.

study from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and it drops off so much after 55 hours that there’s no point in working any more. What this means is that people who work as much as 70 hours (or more) per week actually get the same amount done as people who work 55 hours. Those extra hours are wasted.

So make sure work doesn’t encroach on your precious weekend and do these things instead;

How the most successful spend their weekends

1) They own their mornings

They value the time not being spent commuting to work and they use their weekend mornings to have “me-time”. Whether this is a slow breakfast, staying longer in bed, or reading their favourite book – they make sure their precious weekend mornings are used purposefully.

2) They plan mini adventures

They buy tickets to a concert or play or get reservations for an exciting new restaurant. They even decide to drive to the country and get lost in nature. The best thing is that they don’t care who is with them, they’ll do it alone if their friends are busy or with their grumpy children in tow – (they’ll love it when they get there). They do it to inject newness into their life, which significantly improves their life satisfaction. Studies show that anticipating something good to come is a significant part of what makes the activity pleasurable. Knowing that you have something interesting planned for the weekend will not only be fun come Saturday, but it will significantly improve your mood throughout the week.

3) They Pursue a Passion

Indulging in your passions is a great way to escape the stress of your day job and also opens your mind to new ways of thinking. You can’t expect to grow becoming a master of just one discipline. Learning new skills adds incredible value to your life. Whether it’s chasing entrepreneurial interests, learning an instrument, reading, writing or painting – anything that you are passionate about, can help stimulate different modes of thought that can reap huge rewards over the coming week.

4) They Disconnect

Disconnecting is one of the strategies on this list because if you can’t find a way to remove yourself from work electronically technically (no pun intended) you’ve never left.

Making yourself available to your work 24/7 exposes ruins your wellbeing. You can’t unwind if you are just an email or phone call away from work stress. If taking the entire weekend off handling work e-mails and calls isn’t realistic, try designating specific times on Saturday and Sunday for checking e-mails and responding to voicemails. However, you decide to disconnect – just make sure you do it.

5) Make sure your weekend isn’t just chores 

Chores can totally take over your weekends. When this happens, you lose the opportunity to relax and reflect and you go back to work unrested – this is a weekend, wasted. What’s worse is chores often feel like work so you’ve just created a 7-day work week. To stop this from happening, you need to schedule your chores like you would anything else during the week, and if you don’t complete them during the designated time, then you move on and finish them the following weekend.

For more fantastic tips on how the most successful spend their weekends, read this great article by Forbes, here.

Why your brain needs adversity

adversity

Do you ever find your mind wandering just as everything in your life seems perfect?

It’s almost as though your actual problems silence the ones fabricated by your mind.

Maybe you start to wonder which is worse – fear of future problems with their lack of boundaries or actual problems which you have some form of control over?

If you do feel like you’re always scanning your life ready to identify the next thing to worry about than you’re right.

And you’ll be pleased to know that you’re not alone, in fact, it happens to most of us and it’s down to a disposition in your brain meaning that it thrives from adversity.

Why your brain thrives from adversity.

The human mind is “antifragile“,  this means that it actually gets better with adversity.

Like an immune system that strengthens after repeated exposure to germs,  your brain needs stimulation in the form of a challenge in order to grow.

This is precisely why it’s instinctual to keep creating problems — even if there aren’t any real ones in front of us.

The more mental space you have – to imagine problems – for example, if you have a disposition towards rejecting any kind of real challenge or adversity in your life, the more your brain will compensate by creating a problem to overcome.

In effect, unless you are actually dealing with a problem in real life, you will be imprisoned by fears in your mind.

Shielding the mind from any adversity makes us more vulnerable to anxiety, panic, and chaos. We become mentally weaker and unable to reach our full potential.

How to add adversity into your life

Antifragile things need tension, resistance, adversity, and pain to break and transform. Learn to embrace all of life’s hurdles. We can only feed our antifragile brain by experiencing all life has to give us, taking the good and the bad. The worst thing, as explained above, is to fear future problems – it simply perpetuates your state of fear before you are unable to take any challenge through not only fear but a weakened mental state.

The key to adding adversity in your life is to be self-aware about the boundaries of your comfort zone. Do everything you can to step outside of them. The more you push your comfort zone the more your brain and mental agility will grow too.

Further, when you do start to worry about future problems, try to first ascertain whether it is a likely or real threat. If you do not believe it to be real or likely than change your mindset. Instead of thinking about problems that may not exist, be grateful. Think about how grateful you are for the things you do have. Try to break the habit of unnecessary worry.

How to nail consistency

consistency

Consistency is the foundation of success. Consistency in your professional life allows you to enjoy high client retention rates, booming business bottom lines, and a well-respected brand. In your personal life, consistency strengthens your self-perception and your self-confidence. You no longer feel threatened by new or daunting tasks. You simply look at your past consistent track record and feel assured that you can handle any task ahead of you. Consistency kills self-doubt and here are 5 proven ways to nail consistency.

1. Focus

Decide on exactly what it is you want and build a system and processes around it. Surround yourself with knowledge, people, tasks, routines, boundaries, and consequences that reflect your main point of focus. Point your life towards your goals and constantly think, what can I do, right now, to become closer to my goals?

2. Consistency in your thoughts

One of the most liberating things in life is having control over your thoughts. Being unshakable when things don’t go to plan naturally makes you consistent. Calm, balanced thoughts accelerate your journey towards your goals. The first step to controlling your thoughts (or not letting your thoughts control you!) is to be self-aware. What am I feeling right now? Is this a genuine concern or just stress? The world acclaimed practice of mindfulness is the best way to practice self-awareness.

3. Don’t doubt yourself until after you’ve accomplished your process goals

Self-doubt is the ultimate consistency destroyer. You must continue with your goal and only until after you have completed the required number of process goals (i.e. numbers of trials) can you start to think about self-doubt. Anything before this point is simply, giving up.

4. If you don’t feel like it do it anyway

If you are avoiding a task, so long as you’re sure on your goal, you should do the task anyway. You will not regret taking action towards your goal but you will regret inaction. A good test was adduced by Steve Jobs

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Just remember, so long as you are making moves towards your goal(s), you’re doing the right thing,

5. Consistency doesn’t mean the same

Consistency is about growth and not about repetition. You shouldn’t be aiming for the same result (certainly not worse) but something better every time. If you feel something isn’t working than you have to be flexible and change. Being consistent about your success means constantly analysing what works and what doesn’t. You should be prepared to rip up ideas and go back to the drawing board at any point. In the words of Albert Einstein “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a di erent result.”

For more information on how to master consistency read the helpful blog by Anthony Galli here

 

 

Words you should use and avoid in your presentations

presentation

There are several ways to succeed in a presentation and mostly it’s down to how you make your audience feel. Did you make an impact? and, Did you add value?  Sometimes you can prepare everything perfectly but really let yourself down with bad grammar and wording choice that detracts from the overall credibility of your work and even in some circumstances irritate your audience. Here are some tips from  The Elements of Style by Strunk and White which are still relevant to all presentations today.

1. Don’t use overly long words when you can use short and familiar ones

There is nothing worse than hearing a presentation from a person trying to sound overly clever by using long and complicated words. The point of your presentation is not about you, it’s about clearly conveying information to your audience in the most user-friendly way. Anything else detracts from the meaning of your content.

2. Avoid euphemisms

You’re not kidding anyone and your audience will not appreciate hearing about the “profit improvement plan” which was the cause of the job losses.

3. Use metaphors sparingly – they are better on paper

Metaphors can often get lost in translation and can take the audience away from the point of your content. It might sound clever in your head but it would not be fun to confuse the room and try to recover audience engagement, in the middle of your presentation.

4. Don’t invent new words

Whilst it may seem obvious to not make up words, many people don’t actually realize that the words they use are fake. For example, the overused “prioritize” is an invented word; made by converting a noun, “priority,” into a verb by adding “ize”—a practice that the legendary New York Times columnist William Safire called “verbification of nouns.” Be careful to not fall into this trap.

5. Avoid clichés

They are known to irritate audiences and they can make you seem too informal in your presentation. Try to avoid saying any of these to keep your audience on side.

For more information and tips on what words to avoid in your presentation, click here.

 

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