Category: Systems

5 Ways to Restore Your Physical Energy and Be More Effective

By , October 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Man chained with office table (workplace) 2“In reality, physical energy is the fundamental source of fuel, even if our work is almost completely sedentary. It not only lies at the heart of alertness and vitality but also affects our ability to manage our emotions, sustain concentration, think creativity, and even maintain our commitment to whatever mission we are on.”

~ Jim Loehr, Author

I was recently working with a coaching client (…we’ll call him John) who was tired and couldn’t understand why despite working longer hours, his performance wasn’t as good as it used to be. He was throwing more hours in to the job in hope that he could get everything done.

Believe it or not, John had actually become disconnected from his body!

Let me explain…

In his determination to get things done, John had become unconscious to the need to replenish or even manage his own energy levels. Especially his own physical energy reserves that were being depleted.

John described his life as numb. He was busy ALL the time. He was struggling to keep up with the heavy demands of his job and trying to get everything done.

Although he knew that exercising and sleeping well were important, he saw them as a luxury in his busy life: He just didn’t have the time. His diet wasn’t healthy either, as he had gotten into the habit of grabbing food on-the-go: convenient fast food – snacky, carb-loaded stuff. He’d put on weight in the last 18-months while working in his current role.

Here’s the thing…

Many of us lead relatively sedentary lives.

What we do is measured and evaluated with our minds, rather than our bodies (unless we are professional athletes!). Most jobs involve sitting at a desk and working at a computer or attending meetings. Performance is measured by hard work – sitting down and getting the job done!

The choices John had made were depleting his ability to concentrate, think creatively and manage his emotions. He was less tolerant of other people and would get anxious and frustrated when things weren’t going well.

He started to realize the impact these factors had on his performance at work. He had gotten stuck in a pattern of low motivation to change despite knowing the consequences of his choices.

The size of your energy reserves depends on the quality of:

  • The foods that you eat
  • The amount of sleep you get
  • The degree of intermittent recovery you allow yourself during the day
  • Your level of fitness

Here are some ways to top up your physical energy reserves:

1. Conscious eating – Take time to eat healthy food regularly. The impact of being hungry has an impact on your ability to function. Breakfast is critical! The frequency of how often you eat also has an impact on your capacity to stay fully focused and engaged to sustain high performance. Listen to your body… remove the junk food and add healthier options such as fruit instead of cookies and crisps!

2. Change your sleeping patterns – Create an evening routine. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. An evening routine might be turning the laptop off at 8pm, having a bath and reading before you go to sleep. Most of us need 7-8 hours sleep per night.

3. Drink more water – Most of us are de-hydrated! We don’t drink enough water throughout the day. Drinking water is one of the most undervalued sources of energy renewal. This is a key factor in improving your physical energy levels.

4. Regular moderate exercise – Despite knowing that taking some regular exercise is beneficial, most people do almost none! Twenty to thirty minutes a day of continuous exercise, a minimum of three times per week, can make a huge difference. Get outside and walk. Be prepared to stretch out of your comfort zone and feel a little discomfort. NOT having the time is an EXCUSE! Including this into your day can help release tension and help you to manage your emotions better.

5. Take regular breaks – To maintain full engagement we must take a break to recover every 90 minutes.  Step away from what you are doing, stretch and allow yourself to recover. Build some recovery rituals into your life. This includes down time on an evening and during the weekend.

Have ever noticed the difference physical activity makes to your emotional and mental state?

 

Do You Have Enough ENERGY to Get the Job Done?

By , October 23, 2013 5:40 pm

iStock_000022531364XLarge“Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.”

~ Jim Loehr, Author

We need energy to function and perform.

Our bodies require rest and recovery time in addition to the absence from work if you want to be healthy, happy and deliver high performance.

Balancing stress and recovering is essential in all aspects of our daily lives.

Most people in business (working in corporate or for themselves) have an imbalance of expending energy as opposed to recovering it. Over time, our energy reserves are depleted and this can lead to burnout.

It happened to me many years ago and I was fortunate enough to see this as a wake up call to change my lifestyle and approach to my working life. Others aren’t so lucky.

Most of us tend to unconsciously assume that we can indefinitely spend our mental and emotional energy without replenishing any at a physical or spiritual level. Our balance becomes skewed as we work longer hours, sacrificing our weekends and evenings.

Over time our performance is compromised, as we falsely believe that being successful means working harder, and this involves working long hours all the time. Some working cultures actively encourage this (I know this was true when I worked as an international consultant).

I’ve learned that spending and recovering energy has a natural flow to it, a bit like a tide ebbing and flowing. You’ve got to allow a natural rhythm in alignment with your body. Don’t just take my word for it – our breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure all have natural rhythms to them!

By starving your body of energy you are messing with the natural rhythms that effect your health, happiness and performance. No wonder you start to feel tired and exhausted!

Working at a crazy pace without breaks is actually addictive (you see it all the time in the work place). We are all copying each other heading towards overwhelm and burnout! If you don’t do what everyone else is doing, then you feel that you aren’t performing as well.

In our reluctance to stop and replenish, we turn to artificial stimulants to keep our bodies alert to meet the busy demands in our lives, such as caffeine and drugs. To help us relax, we use alcohol or sleeping pills to calm us down. These artificial stimulants become addictive over time as we rely on them to keep us going.

Are you drinking several cups of coffee during the day to stay on it? Are you then going home and drinking several glasses of wine at night to relax and chill? If so, you are messing with your rhythms and masking the depletion of your energy.

Here are some tips to increase your energy and avoid burnout even in the most demanding job:

Create circuit breakers in your routine – Our bodies are not designed to sit at a computer and stare at a screen answering emails all day, or sitting inactive in long meetings. Create breaks in your day – get up, move around, go for a 10-15 minute walk to shake off the atrophy. Drink plenty of water and go for a pee when you need one (seriously, I know people who forget to go all day!).

Schedule personal time with family and friends – Mark days or long weekends and holidays in advance in your calendar. These are not compromise-able! One of my clients takes a long weekend (3-days) every month to be fully present with her family. The more important we see our work and ourselves; the more we become unavailable to our friends and family. I coached a guy once who has lost all his friends because of his addiction to his job. He was very lonely.

Set some boundaries – Be realistic about what you can achieve and prioritize around your High Value Work (HVW). Minimize any distractions and stay focused on what’s important. Plan, prioritize and say NO to things that don’t serve you or your goals.

Stretch – don’t splatter –  yourself! – High performance requires us to step out of our comfort zone and create a new normal. To build new capacity mentally and emotionally you have to exceed your muscles’ current capacity  past it’s current limit for short periods of time followed by adequate recovery (just like building muscle tone at the gym). This is where you get growing pains and feel short-term discomfort as you are learning.

Take up a hobby – Yep… I’m serious! There’s almost a perception that taking time to rest and enjoy something that you like doing is a weakness because surely no one has time to do what your like doing, right?! Resting is seen as laziness! I enjoy walking and surrounding myself with nature is uplifting mentally, physically, emotionally…and spiritually. Make time for something that you enjoy each week, reading? Photography?

As a coach, I’ve witnessed remarkable changes in the energy and performance of people (including myself) because they consciously and regularly renew their energy. They are healthy, happy, high performers and are fully engaged in their lives.

Look after yourself… YOU are the only ONE you have!

Do you have enough energy to get the job done?!

 

Why are you constantly working long hours and feeling exhausted?

By , August 28, 2013 2:31 pm

Man chained with office table (workplace) 2“Remember this: Burnout is not a crisis of time, it is a crisis of spirit.”

James Autry – Author.

In my role as a coach I notice the working habits of my clients as they share their working world with me. There is no difference between the habits of a corporate employee or a business owner: the patterns are the same. Most people are working too hard and the balance between work and personal time is sometimes non-existent.

There’s too much to do, not enough hours in the day and you’re unfocused because you’re getting splattered and distracted too easily.

You know you need to prioritize, etc. Most of us know what we should be doing. The main issue is actually a deeper one and while time management principles might help it’s important to also address the cause.

Let me explain…

If you don’t have some balance in your personal time and your work, then I can guarantee that you won’t remain productive for very long. I’m sure you have proven this to yourself in the past (I have for sure!). Overwhelm or burnout is waiting around the corner. You’ll soon start to make mistakes and become exhausted.

I’ve noticed that a lack of balance causes burnout in a couple of ways:

1. Obsessed with work – Nothing else in your life matters. Everything revolves around this. Work becomes the priority and you find reasons to work and excuses for avoiding any other activity such as creating personal time or family time. You become addicted to work and you feed off this stimulus. Burnout is when your relationships fail and your health becomes a problem because you’re not paying attention to the basics.

2. Overwhelmed by work – Workloads become so much of a burden that you lose all sense of any meaning or value in your work. You become disillusioned both on a psychological and emotional level, that you feel trapped and stuck. “Is this all there is?” You feel pretty miserable and exhausted.

Most successful people are dedicated, hard working and conscientious and there are times where you have to burn the mid-night oil or work through the weekend to get something done. This is perfectly okay and normal. There is a significant difference, though, if this is happening all the time and it is relentless.

No one is productive for 7 hours a day. So you’ll be even less productive if you consistently work 12, 13 or 15 hours a day (Research has proven this)!

So if this is happening there is a problem that needs addressing.

Here are some questions to ask your self:

  • Why are you constantly working long hours and feeling exhausted?
  • Are you really being productive in all these hours you are working?

If the answer is…

NO - You may be working long hours and staying late at the office, but without any real focused activity. This is a self-related issue.

  • You may be using your work as an excuse to hide from other activities such as an unhappy (or no) personal life.
  • You might not know what to do with yourself when you are not working because you’ve gotten out of the habit of relaxing and enjoying hobbies, interests, family and friends.
  • You have become addicted to work.
  • You may be dis-organized and need to practice some self-management principles consistently.

Get some support to help you learn and consistently implement some self-management principles, get focused, set some boundaries and begin to create a personal life for yourself outside of work.

If the answer is…

YES - If you are being productive in all the hours you’re working, then this is telling you a different story because this is a job-related issue. Here are some things to consider:

  • You have too much to do!
  • The structure of the job itself needs to be reviewed because it’s impossible to achieve everything in regular hours.
  • You may have become a people pleaser saying yes to everyone else and no to you.
  • You’re trying to do everything!
  • You think that saying no to extra work is a weakness.
  • You are not realistic about what you can achieve.

You might need some support to help you learn how to delegate or outsource aspects of your role, get some hired help, set some boundaries and learn to be more assertive and say no. Review the role it’s not realistic.

I used to work in an organization where the managers defined dedicated hard workers as people who worked consistently long hours. This is a false delusion because you won’t accomplish more because you’re not able to be as productive. The quality suffers and you’ll make mistakes.

If you manage people, then role model balance to your team if you want them to be more productive and focused. You can’t expect them to do one thing, but you demonstrate another.

Check in on your working habits and do one thing today that helps you to create a healthier balance between your work and business life.

 

5 Reasons WHY You Can’t Get Things Done…(…And how to deal with them!)

By , March 13, 2013 3:36 pm

iStock_000012995878SmallThe No. 1 common challenge for many of my coaching clients is the problem of getting things done!

Most of us have been on numerous time management workshops and read books on the subject. We know what we should do, but we still can’t seem to apply the strategy consistently.

Having the tools, processes or strategy is one thing…Setting your thinking and programming your inner dialogue for success is another!

Here are the top five reasons for not getting things done that I’ve experienced when coaching and training my clients (Oh! And I’ve observed a few of them in myself too!):

Overcomplicating things – It’s easy to become overwhelmed and create a complex strategy for something that is relatively simple. If you have too much to remember: doing this, not doing that and worrying about the other, then you become anxious and worn out and nothing gets done. You’ll look for other distractions.

You keep a complex plan in your head – You add to the problem by trying to keep a complex plan in your head. Relying on your brain as a storage device to remember EVERYTHING doesn’t work! Have you ever thought you’d remember stuff, then when you’ve gone back to it later, you can’t remember the detail and have to start all over again?

“I’m just not very organized…” This label is an excuse to give you permission to stay stuck. The reality is that you are VERY organized at being UNORGANIZED: You are following entrenched old habits and patterns. They just take you to a negative outcome. You’re just organizing the wrong things! See the pattern here? You may feel out of control, perhaps your emotions have taken over.

Quality of your inner dialogue – If I say to you: ‘Don’t think of the colour blue…’ What do you do first? You think of blue before you decide not to think about it! So if you’re saying to yourself: ‘I mustn’t forget to…’ you are programming yourself to forget! This is known as a bad command in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) terms. If you repeat this to yourself, you are likely to forget! You are focusing on forgetting rather than remembering!

You are too busy to think about it – You are stuck in the ‘do-do’ of doing and don’t take time to think something through to decide how you might do it differently. You wallow in procrastination. Thinking seems too easy to do so you resist or you perceive that it’s not a valuable use of time.

Here are some potential solutions:

1. Clear out the mental clutter – You can over-plan and over-strategize. So step back and get rid of the clutter. You might have far too many steps in the process, or you’re going into too much detail.

  • Lighten the load by simplifying your process.
  • Place high value on simplicity!
  • Look for an easier route. You have to choose the right strategy for the situation.

2. Get out of your own way – Are you fighting with yourself, getting caught up in drama and creating feelings that are sabotaging your progress? Notice what is going on inside – write it down. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.

  • Become organized at being organized!
  • What needs to change?
  • What would being organized look like for you?
  • Lose the label and dump the excuse of being unorganized.

You can do this!

3. Change your language – Listen to your inner dialogue. Are you giving yourself bad commands? Remember if you’re saying to yourself: ‘Don’t forget to call Jenny.’ You are actually saying: ‘Forget to call Jenny.’ You are more likely to forget! Change the quality of your inner dialogue by turning it around to something like: ‘I will remember to phone Jenny today.’ Give yourself commands in a positive way.

4. Make time to think it through – Allow thinking time! Use visualization as a tool to set your mind for success. See yourself making the call to Jenny:

  • What are you saying?
  • When are you calling her?
  • Walk this through in your mind several times.
  • Then take action straight away to make it happen.
  • Make a post-it note and keep it in sight so this call is your mental radar today.

You are re-training your brain to get things done. Simple strategies work well. Think simple!

5. Attitude changes everything – To change your thinking you need to change your perspective towards the situation. The situation IS the situation, it doesn’t change – you are wherever you are right now. If you know that this is something you should do, then change your attitude towards it. This is what is holding you back.

  • What would it be like to be in control or on top of this situation?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you saying?
  • How are you acting?
  • How will you feel when you’ve completed it?
  • What difference will it make?

Having a coach can help take responsibility for getting things done.

Clear out the rubbish in your current strategies for getting things done, stop fighting yourself, listening to your negative inner dialogue, and getting lost in the mountain of steps in your process.

Simplicity is everything! Look for a more effortless path and don’t be so hard on yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

Success Needs a System – Here’s How to Create Yours!

By , February 20, 2013 5:01 pm

We all have ideas right?

Some of us have LOADS of them!

You may see yourself as an Ideas Person. Ideas just pop out of your mind all the time and it’s hard to keep track of them all. You feel like you might burst with excitement! But how many ideas actually leave your mind and make it into the real world?

Many of our ideas float around like untethered kites and never crystallize into anything tangible. The latest idea just becomes another distraction as you continue generating more and more of them. They stack up in a holding pattern waiting to come in to land. This stack can become exhausting and overwhelming because you don’t know where to start or what to do with them all.

I often coach creative clients who have loads of ideas. Every coaching session, they arrive with another one (yes… I’m guilty of this sometimes too – you ask my mentor!). And of course, this latest idea is the best one yet! …Until, the next idea comes along a few days later! Months can be wasted dreaming but nothing ever gets done. There’s no action, there’s just the next idea coming along…

 

IDEA          IDEA          IDEA          IDEA          IDEA          Another IDEA

 

If this sounds like you, then you need a formula to create some momentum…

Without a having a system it’s difficult to take an idea and make it happen (even the good ones).

I’ve learned that there are three elements to taking an idea an making it real:

Your idea needs to become grounded if you want to give it a chance of becoming reality.   Creating a system or process helps you to take your idea and plan HOW to create some momentum. You then need to take specific action to make it real.

Here are a few tips around each of these elements:

IDEA

I’ve sat in daylong leadership strategy meetings where loads of ideas are shared and everyone is very excited and enthusiastic. A year later the same ideas are still being talked about, because nothing happened in between.

We often see the IDEA as the sexy exciting bit because it’s fun being creative. There’s nothing quite like that adrenalin rush when you think you’re on to something new and great!

Get clear about your idea understand WHY you want to make it real.

Sometimes we stop at the idea stage because we’re frightened to take the next step and make it happen. If you don’t start then it can’t fail, because you didn’t have to try. Your idea needs your energy and belief if it’s going to germinate into reality. You have to take a few risks and step out of your comfort zone and do some things scared.

SYSTEM

For an Ideas Person, the SYSTEM bit is the painful process of planning and working out how it’s all going to happen.

For some of us planning, thinking it through and then creating a stepped process to make it work is the tedious bit… YAWN!

Why?

Because it involves sitting down and working it out a step at a time. THIS STAGE is hugely important because it’s the difference between your idea staying just a dream or becoming real…

Creating a system/process for implementing your idea will save you a lot of time and energy. Get some help from someone who can help you create a framework for what you need to do if this is not your GENIUS work!

Here are a few tips:

  • Create an Ideas Book if you’re always having loads of ideas. Write each one down in a paragraph as you think it.
  • Re-visit your book every one-two weeks to re-read each idea and cross out any that no longer feel like they are do-able or ‘have legs’.
  • Schedule time to take your idea and break it down into doable steps.
  • See your idea as the vision and the system as your tactical plan:
    • What tactics you will employ to make it happen?
    • What’s specifically involved in making this become real?
    • What individual steps need to be taken?
    • Who else needs to be involved?
    • When to you need to do it?
    • Where will it happen?

Work backwards on a timeline to identify some milestone dates and will help you to break down what needs to be done. Remember, big things are done in small chunks! Breaking it down will make it doable.

Creating a framework and then working through a process gives you clarity and direction. It helps you to feel more confident and in control.

ACTION

This is where the rubber hits the road. You have to actually show up and do the work! Just talking about it doesn’t make things happen – You have to DO it!

  • Schedule small pockets of time in your calendar and take one step at a time.
  • Commit to making it happen
  • If you decide to delegate or outsource part of the work then you’ll need to commit being responsible for leading them to do a great job. There is a difference between delegation and abdication!

Take conscious, deliberate action regularly and this will help you to create momentum towards your outcome. Building momentum will encourage you to keep taking action, as you move towards your goal. You’ll also start to feel a sense of completion.

Review your progress regularly, so you can tweak and modify your plan if necessary.

If you have an idea that you want to bring into the world, always create a system for it and plan ahead for its arrival!

Success needs a system – EVERY TIME!

 

How to Stop Yourself Going the Wrong Way…

By , February 13, 2013 11:46 pm

“The best thing about the past is that it’s over. When people don’t deal with the past as if it’s over, then they’re not free to go into the future.”

~ Richard Bandler – Make Your Life Great

Throughout our day we are constantly talking to ourselves – Yes, THAT voice in our head, the one who seems to be sat pulling all the levers in the control tower of you!

I’m constantly reminded about the awesome power of language and how it influences who we are, what we believe and how we show up in our lives.

One of the great masters, who I once had the honour of learning from, is Richard Bandler. I was reminded of his work this week as I was coaching a client who was struggling in her mind to move away from the past and towards a new future that she was defining for herself.

She’d decided on a direction of where she wanted to go, but the voice in her head kept subconsciously sabotaging her thinking and taking her on a road trip back to her past, rather than to the future where she wanted things to go. Also, the close family around her was saying: “You’ll never change, you’re set in your ways!”

When we set a goal and decide to make a change in our lives our conditioning and internal language is still set on the old default pattern that got us stuck in the first place. As our unconscious thoughts travel down the neural highway, we find ourselves suddenly back in that old place where we used to be and we’re stuck once again in the past:

“History is repeating itself…”

“Here we go again…”

“It must just be the way I am, I’ll never change…”

I love using the metaphor of our neural highway being like a busy motorway or freeway. You can almost see the blur of taillights flowing past you at great speed. It feels overwhelming and fast… Before you know it, you’re in the wrong lane and you’re turning down that old piece of road again:  All routes lead back to the past – your old behaviour and patterns of language and beliefs.

We get caught up in old thoughts and loops that no longer serve us.

As my client spoke, her words made me realize that she was going into a behavioural loop; she was becoming anxious and started to become self-deprecating. She became once again, the person in her past rather than the person she now wanted to be.

I asked her to STOP and BACK UP…

This broke the chain… These words opened her to a deeper level of thinking.

We explored her thinking and how it was making her feel. She was frustrated that she was still going down the old road and not catching herself in time. She then described where she wanted to be with passion and enthusiasm.

Then she got clear – She knew exactly what to do…

She decided that this was the last time she was going to take this route. So she mentally installed a ‘Wrong Way – Go Back’ sign on her neural highway slip road (on-ramp) before the entrance of the old highway she was unconsciously turning onto.

She is now watching her language and paying attention so when that old thinking comes along, she has a conscious system to STOP and BACK UP so she doesn’t go the wrong way. She’s now able to follow the new signage of where she wants to go:  Happiness ahead. Better relationships – next exit, new career coming – 800 yards!

I helped her create some strategies to back up and reframe the situation, and replace her negative language with positive using the power of her intention.

My client reconfigured her brain with some new language patterns that serve her future and not her past. This shifted her state of mind and made things different so she can keep an eye on where she wants to be. She’s moving forward once again.

The past is what we know and we use it as a compass point, a frame of reference for comparison, whereas the future is unknown. It’s uncertain and we’ve no tangible evidence to support that anything could actually be different or better out there. It’s risky and uncomfortable. But you have two great advocates:  faith and courage, if you choose to take them along on the journey with you.

Creating and following a new route takes time and sometimes a little extra support and direction. It’s hard to do it all on your own. The last thing you need is someone with a clipboard standing over you telling you “you’ll never change or it won’t last long – look what happened last time!”

Dwelling on the past keeps you stuck – You’re going the wrong way!

Some people spend years and loads of money in therapy trying to understand WHY the past happened. My philosophy is that learning and growing (and healing) is all about letting go and taking forward motion. Life is fluid and too short to keep using the past as your navigation tool for the future. Create something new; you’ll be surprised how refreshing and exciting the new feelings are that come your way. It sets you free to go into your future!

Sometimes you need a little coaching support to get you started and change the language in your head. This opens you up to a world of infinite possibility.

What do you want behind you and want do you want in front of you?

Watch your language! How is it serving you right now?

 

 

©2010 by Elaine Bailey International Ltd
(Registered Address: PO Box 250 88 Pavilion Way Meltham Holmfirth HD9 9BL; No: 7015168).
All rights reserved.
Website by WhizzLiz