What are you doing this weekend? Can you make it a stress-free one? Stress is such a negative in our everyday lives. It is on the increase and affects our health, emotional well-being and mental state. A hard-stop from stress can have many benefits.
It’s not only about stress at work. Stress exists in many aspects of our personal lives as well.
What will it take for you to have a stress-free weekend? If not this weekend which one?
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“Advanced technological tools are beginning to make it possible to measure and monitor employees as never before, with the promise of fundamentally changing how we work — along with raising concerns about privacy and the specter of unchecked surveillance in the workplace.” – New York Times, “Unblinking Eyes Track Employees”, June 21, 2014
A recent New York Times article informs us that employee surveillance is on the rise. Surveillance has many uses for employers: catching wrongdoing, gathering information, monitoring performance. Many have had to adjust to another type of surveillance as users of social media. What about workplace surveillance? It’s here and, most likely, is not going away. Will surveillance come to your work place? How will you deal with it?
Some things to consider are: whether you will accept being watched, how you will deal with your team/inform them of being watched, whether surveillance is inevitable and you are best to accept it, whether you have any non-negotiables or boundaries regarding workplace surveillance and whether this is an issue you want to be proactive on.
A new set of eyes could be watching you. Be ready.
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A peanut gallery is a place where people, whose criticisms are regarded as irrelevant or insignificant, sit on the sidelines. In vaudeville theatre, people in the peanut gallery threw peanuts on the stage to express displeasure with a performance. Complaints from the peanut gallery are often ignored.
We all want a voice at work. Is your voice being heard or are you sitting in the peanut gallery? Some organizations excel at disregarding their workers and seldom hear them, much less solicit their input. How do you feel and think about your current work situation? Is there room for improvement? Do you have needs that are not being met? Are your organization and team performing to full potential?
If you are not being heard, you can throw peanuts, but you may be ignored. You have a voice that matters and can give your organization valuable input. If you are not being heard or respected, change that. Find ways that work in your organization to speak up. Offer suggestions that will bring benefits and add value. Let your organization know what you need to function at your best. If you just can’t get them to pay attention, find an organization that will.
All of us have unique talents and high value to offer those we work with. Don’t allow yourself to be sidelined. Get out of the peanut gallery and lead.
photo: ermanno vanino, www.ermannovanino.com
Balance is essential to performance. Periodically checking your level of balance allows you to assess how well you are functioning. Here are some elements of a balance check:
• Are you tired? Have you been getting enough sleep?
• How is your stress level?
• Are your work hours manageable?
• Is your workload under control?
• How are you feeling physically?
• Are your emotions in a good place?
• Have you had fun in the last week?
Leonardo da Vinci said: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
Try doing a balance check once a month to keep a handle on your performance. The chances of overwhelm or low functioning will diminish and balance will be easier to maintain.
photo: Ermanno Vanino, www.ermannovanino.com
1. Start with a list covering a week’s time.
2. Check your calendar to see what time is already scheduled for that week.
3. Include only your priorities for the week. (You can keep a side list for future weeks.)
4. Make sure your priorities align with your organization’s expectations.
5. Be realistic about the time you have – include only tasks you have time for that week. Identify any tasks that are due and there may not be time for.
6. Include contingency time for unanticipated tasks that come up during the week. (For example, include tasks that will take 85% of the time you have that week, with 15% contingency time.)
7. Break the list down to days in the week. By doing this, you will organize what you will focus on each day.
8. Keep your To Do list visible (manually or using an app).
9. Check your To Do list twice a day to see how you are progressing.
10. Don’t stray from your To Do list, unless there is a compelling reason.
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Summer is upon us. Some look at the seasons in a symbolic way. Summer is a time to enjoy the blooming of the “seeds” you have planted in preceding months. It will not hurt to take a moment and look at what is “blooming” for you. What have you accomplished in the past year? How have you grown?
Acknowledge your accomplishments and growth. Many of us do too little of that. By acknowledging your self, you set a foundation for future accomplishments and growth. You’ve done it before and will do it again.
What “blooms” will you enjoy this summer?
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A key element of being valued as a manager is to value your self. Past posts in this series have focused on finding an organization that values your unique strengths and assessing to what degree your organization values you. Today, the focus is within.
Your self – confidence and belief in yourself will go far in encouraging others’ confidence in you. With self – confidence comes appreciation of your own abilities and what you have to offer to your team and organization. No one is perfect – self – confidence is not about that. Self – confidence can thrive, even while you accept failure and acknowledge there is room for improvement.
How confident are you? Do you look to others for approval? Do you judge yourself too harshly? Do you feel timid or unsure? Putting some focus on developing self – confidence and affirming your own value will go far in assuring your organization values you as a manager.
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As you work, work, work you may not think of breaks as powerful tools for productivity. Turn your thinking around on this one and you will see the benefits. Taking periodic breaks during your workday can rejuvenate you, sharpen your mind and relieve your fatigue.
The challenge lies in getting your self to stop for a break. Here are a few ways you can make it easier to stop for a break: set a time limit for continuous work – for example, you will work no more than 3 hours straight; identify some appealing ways to take a break – things you would look forward to doing and that are possible in your workday; set a timer on your phone or computer for when you want to take breaks.
Think of waves in the ocean and the power they harness, gathering speed by receding and then crashing to shore. There’s a rhythm you establish by interspersing breaks into your workday. You expend energy working, then you gather and build your energy during breaks. Doing this, you create a flow to your work and enhance your productivity.
Start seeing breaks as the powerful productivity tools they are. As you do, you will work, play and live better!
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Fun is defined as enjoyment, amusement or lighthearted pleasure. How often do you think of fun when you measure the level of balance in your life?
If fun has gone missing for you, putting it back in the balance will make a positive difference. What do you do for fun? If you have trouble answering this, time to find it again. Fun provides relief from the more serious aspects of life, boosts your creativity and makes life better all-around.
What will you do for fun this week?
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Self-awareness is a major advantage in managing. Every manager has a style, whether conscious of it, or not. What is your management style? Here are a few questions to get you started in answering this question.
• Do you give higher priority to people or results?
• How important is open communication to you?
• Is equality or authority more important to you?
• Would you say you are calm or high energy?
• How have others described your management style? Do you agree?
You don’t have to fit into pre-determined categories, or fit a mold, in order to know your management style. What’s important is that you that you manage consciously and effectively.
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