Learn How You Can Take More Breaks and Make Them More Effective

By now, you may agree with the research about how taking breaks helps you to reduce stress and be more productive. However, you can still wind up reaching the end of your day and realizing that you forgot about the downtime.

Granted, it’s difficult to step away if you’re performing surgery or putting out house fires. However, most of us have some leeway to catch our breath at work and home.

Before you spend another day toiling nonstop, consider these suggestions. Find out how to take more breaks and make them more effective.

Taking More Breaks:

  1. Plan your schedule. Put breaks on your calendar instead of expecting them to happen spontaneously. Block out time for rest, just like you would do for a meeting.

  2. Experiment with timing. There are many theories about how long a break ought to be. Two popular strategies call for taking 5 minutes off every 25 minutes or 17 minutes off every hour. Test different options until you find what works best for you. Have you ever tried either of these or do do something else works better for you?
  3. Use technology. Various programs and devices can help you. Set an alarm on your watch or download an app for your phone.

  4. Create a trigger. You can also jog your memory offline. Tie a purple ribbon around your wrist or put a banana next to your laptop. Each time you look at them, you’ll remember to pause. My favorite is to set alarms in my phone and title them, for example: 12:00 p.m. “Switch from Social Media to Follow Up Calls.

  5. Contemplate your purpose. Strengthening your intentions increases the chances that you’ll follow through. Spend a few minutes before bed thinking about why you want to take more breaks.

  6. Keep at it. It takes time to form a new habit. With enough practice, you may automatically recognize when you need to take a break.

Making Breaks More Effective:

  1. Move around. Use your breaks to get some exercise. Stand up and stretch in between phone calls. Take a lunch time yoga class. Put on some music and dance when you’re doing your taxes at home.

  2. Go outside. Appreciating nature can energize and relax you. Go for a walk around the block. If you can’t leave the building, look out a window.
  3. Rest your eyes. Do exercises to relieve eye strain if you’ve been on your computer most of the day. Roll your eyes clockwise and counterclockwise. Rub your hands together until they’re warm and press them gently over your eyes.

  4. Take a nap. If you’re sleep deprived, you may need something more intense. Some companies like Google and Nike even offer sleep pods and nap rooms.

  5. Be social. Do a little networking during your downtime. Visit a coworker’s office for a chat or invite a new hire out for coffee.

  6. Eat light. Healthy snacks can help you refuel. Keep supplies like nuts and yogurt drinks in your desk and office refrigerator.

  7. Meditate briefly. Even a few minutes of meditation can have a profound impact on your mood and performance. Close your office door and gather your thoughts. Ask your employer to offer a mindfulness break in the conference room after lunch for anyone who wants to participate.

  8. Help others. Performing acts of kindness will make you more cheerful and motivated. Put your housework or expense reports aside for a few minutes. Call an elderly relative or buy donuts for the office.

  9. Think positive. Your breaktime activities can be anything that gives you a boost. Maybe you like watching and sharing funny cat videos. Maybe you like learning to speak Hungarian or playing the harmonica.

Take care of your health and accomplish more by taking regular breaks. You’ll feel happier and increase your concentration.

How Do You Know If You Need A Coach?

You will never know just how energized working with a Coach can make you, how sharp and productive you can be, and how much fun you can have in the process, until you have experienced it.

Think about it, has there ever been anything in your life you have made a sensible assessment of while standing on the outside, poking it with a stick?

It’s not possible to make a rational assessment of anything unless you engage with it, explore it, or try it on for size.

Even so, if you haven’t ever worked with a Coach, you may have some important questions about the process.

Here are some of the more common questions:

  • How do I know Coaching will work for me? You don’t. No two coaches are the same, no two clients are the same, and no two issues that can be resolved with Coaching expertise will be the same.

    • Even if your 10 best friends rave about Coaching, you will never know for sure if it will work for you until you try it.

  • Can I afford a Coach? In order to answer this question, it’s important to look at the difference a Coach can make in your life or your business.

    • For example, if your Coach was instrumental in boosting your income by $1000, $2000, or $3000 a month, would cost be an issue?  What if your Coach was able to help you add $10,000 a month to your income?

    • This example is not a rarity in Coaching. It happens every day all over the world. It happens to people in all walks of life, in all kinds of different circumstances. It can happen to you too, but you have to make a decision and take action to make it happen.

  • How can I find the right Coach for me? Exactly the same way you found the right house, the right car, and even the right spouse! You went looking! Nobody knocked on your door with the perfect car, house or wife, did they? Nobody is going to come knocking with the perfect Coach either.

    • To get started, determine your criteria for a Coach. Use your contacts to find some referrals, or message me now and lets chat about your desires.

    • You’ll know the right Coach by how you feel about them AFTER you’ve had some interaction with them, not before.

  • Will a Coach be able to help me? To help you answer this question, find a Coach and talk with them. Find out what the Coach is like, ask them how they like to work, find out if they are familiar with people in your kind of circumstances, and ask them what they could do to help you.

    • Maybe the first Coach you talk to would be ideal for you. Maybe it’s Coach number 5.

    • One thing you can be absolutely sure of, is that there are Coaches who can help you and there are Coaches who have dealt with similar circumstances to yours many times. You just need to find them!

The Bottom Line

Those who hire Coaches are strong-minded characters. They’re going places and getting things done. They might not always know exactly where they are going or exactly what it is they plan to do, but they have a sense of purpose and a commitment to themselves that can be amplified considerably by working with a Coach.

That is why they hire a Coach, to get more out of themselves than they ever thought possible by working on their own.

Ask anyone who has had a great Coach for any length of time if they could have done it on their own, without the help of a personal Coach, and watch their face light up as they tell you it was the very best decision they ever made. Do your research and you can find one like this too!

See How The 1% Rule Can Change Your Life And Your Results

Can a measly 1% improvement make a difference? It might not make a difference in a day, but regular 1% improvements can change your life!

Sometimes we set goals so big that were too intimidated to even take the first step. Our brains don’t like the idea of big changes, which is why change can be so uncomfortable. However, a simple 1% change is insignificant enough to slip by our defense mechanisms.

We even have confidence in our ability to improve anything by just 1%.

For our purposes, we’re going to define the 1% rule as making a 1% improvement in every aspect of your life each day.

See how you can embrace the power of small, incremental changes:

  1. Small improvements are believable, attainable, and sustainable. Big changes and improvements can be hard to fathom. However, it’s not hard to convince ourselves that we can be 1% better today than we were yesterday.
  2. Small improvements lead to big changes. A child learning to walk is a perfect example. Consider how long it takes a child to learn how to go from being able to crawl to being able to run. Each of these processes is a series of tiny daily improvements.
  3. Look for areas in which you can make a 1% improvement. Look at your own life for areas where you could make small improvements each day. Consider your health, career, finances, and relationships.
    • Could you be 1% better at your job today than you were yesterday? What would you do better?
  4. Track your progress. Note the daily changes you make in your behavior and any results you experience. Tracking your progress will prove to you that this process is effective. Seeing progress will also encourage you to continue.
  5. Just being 1% better can lead to winning as much as 100% of the rewards. 1% improvements don’t just lead to great gains. Sometimes being just 1% better than your competition is all the difference you need.
    • When five companies make a sales pitch to a potential client, the best pitch gets all of the work. A one percent advantage can lead to 100% of the benefits. Never underestimate the power of 1%.
  6. Progress is motivation. Studies have shown that nothing is consistently more motivating than progress. Even losing 1 pound can be a great boost to one’s moral. Most of us are intimidated by big goals, but we love to see any form of progress. Progress alone can keep us enthusiastic.
  7. Ask yourself, “If I improved every area of my life by 1% each day, what would the result be in a year?” How much would your life change? How much better would you be at your job? What changes would you see in your earnings and your savings? How much stronger would your relationships be?
    • Over time, a 1% daily improvement will completely renovate your life. Imagine each part of your life being 365% better. That figure even ignores the power of compounding.
  8. Avoid dismissing the power of making small changes in your life. It can be challenging to believe that making such a small change can provide benefits. However, the math is simple to understand. Over the course of a year, those small improvements lead to huge changes in the results you experience.

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Business

With smartphones at our fingertips, boundaries around business are more blurred than ever. Applications like Slack and Gmail make us radically accessible, conference calls can happen at any time of the day, and laptops make it easier than ever to work on the weekends.

It’s no surprise, then, how stress begins piling up. Things happen at work that leave us feeling frustrated and burnt out.

We find ourselves balancing clients who cancel at the last minute, working extended hours, and juggling others’ expectations that we are always available.

If you feel resentful, guilty, or angry about things that happen at work, chances are you have overcommitted yourself.

The key to overcoming that resentment and achieving work-life balance is learning to set healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are lines we set about our expectations, availability, and energy. Because boundaries protect our energy and focus, they allow us to be more productive in the workplace.

And they do not have to be hard, aggressive rules. Boundaries simply prevent us from overcommitting and make our lives easier.

We might think that setting boundaries pushes others away from us. However, setting boundaries can actually help us have better relationships with others in the workplace.

Use these tips to set boundaries in business:

  1. Explore what you need. Identify where you feel guilt, resentment, or anger around work.
    • Maybe you feel anger towards a client who cancels on you at the last minute.
    • You might feel guilty because you’re not spending enough quality time with your children or partner.
    • Figure out what makes you feel resentment or guilt. Then figure out what you need instead.
  2. Create structure around what feels right for you. After you understand what you need, create a structure to help you achieve your desired outcome.
    • Set formal policies around cancellation.
    • Set office hours based on when you would like to be available.
    • Whether you work from home or in an office, set up a structure (like closing the door or working with headphones on) where you can work undisturbed.
  1. Start small by setting boundaries in low-risk situations. If you have gone your entire life living up to everyone else’s expectations and demands, setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable. Start by choosing an easy area, like hours you will check emails, to set a boundary.
  2. Be consistent with your boundaries. Be as firm as possible with your new boundaries.
    • If you only want to take calls on certain days, stick to booking calls on those days.
    • Do you have days of the week you want to be free from work?
    • You get to decide where you allow exceptions.
    • If you schedule a vacation for yourself, stick to it.
  1. Delegate. What responsibility can you pass onto others? Delegating can help you free up time or address those areas around work where you feel resentful.
  2. Learn to say no. You might have trouble saying “no” to things because you feel obliged to impress clients or appear dependable. Be in tune with how a “yes” might lead to resentment. Here are a few ways to say “no”:
    • “Thank you, but this doesn’t work with my schedule. Here’s my availability later this week.”
    • “I can’t commit to this right now, but let’s circle back to this in a few weeks.”
    • “That sounds like a great idea, but I don’t have the availability for this project. I recommend asking (colleague) about his/her availability!”

Setting boundaries will look different for everyone. You might find that as you evolve into a different season of life or your business, your needs change. As your needs change, the boundaries you have around business will change too.

Overall, setting boundaries in your business can help reenergize you and the relationship you have with your business.

Clarify What You Want in Life With a Personal Development Plan

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a written plan for everything you want to accomplish in life? A Personal Development Plan is just that—it’s a blueprint for your life based on what’s important to you.

A well-written Personal Development Plan typically reflects your keen sense of personal awareness in terms of what you want to do with your life in areas such as education, relationships, and career.

Having a Personal Development Plan demonstrates you’re conscious of your own wants, needs, and values and that you’ve thought about how you hope your life will progress.

An important aspect of a Personal Development Plan is formulating goals for the future that you plan to achieve.

To get an idea of a Personal Development Plan, think about how your boss evaluates you at work. Your early evaluations of your work progress by your supervisor often include goal-setting, tasks, projects, and skills your supervisor hopes you’ll develop over the next year.

A Personal Development Plan is similar—it’s just developed by you for you and encompasses all aspects of your life—education, relationships, career, and any other areas you’d like to include. 

Time Frames for Your Personal Development Plan with Examples

When you’re first designing a Personal Development Plan, it’s easier if you focus on the next year. Establish goals you want to accomplish over the following 12 months in each of the areas of your life you hope to achieve personal growth.

Take a look at this short example of some points that might be included in a one-year Personal Development Plan:

  1. Relationship goals. Get to know and establish two good friends in the city. Work on accepting more dates when I’m asked.
  2. Education goals. Contact local colleges to take a look at the art courses and training programs they offer. Sign up for and complete the Dale Carnegie course.
  3. Career goals. Talk with supervisor about the special project I want to start this year. Achieve at least three of the four goals my supervisor set for me (by year’s end). Request meeting with supervisor to discuss the job milestones I must achieve to receive a promotion.

Keep in mind that the more specific you are when writing your plans, the more focused your actions can be in working toward accomplishing your goals.

Next, ponder your five-year Personal Development Plan. What’s nice about the five-year plan is that you can accomplish some pretty awesome and life-changing goals in that period of time.

Examine these examples of goals for a five-year Personal Development Plan:

  1. Relationship goals. Make efforts to develop a serious relationship by talking with my partner. Discuss my wants for the future. Read one book a year about how to have a healthy love relationship.
  2. Education goals. Check with three online college programs to find the one most compatible with my financial and time requirements. Then, complete my last two years of college so I can earn my bachelors’ degree.
  3. Career goals. Apply for up to three entry-level positions in accounting after completing my bachelors’ degree in accounting. Focus on finding work at a large corporation so more advancement opportunities will be available.
  4. Miscellaneous personal goals. Research three to five major cities where corporations I’d like to work are located. Narrow cities to two and visit each one to check out the city’s layout and neighborhoods. Determine which area to first apply for work.

Perhaps it’s time to get your life together by designing a Personal Development Plan. In your plan, include elements related to relationships, education, and career and the goals you wish to strive for in each area.

Discover the incredible personal growth you can achieve all your life through developing a Personal Development Plan.

Position Yourself as a Leader in 20 Minutes or Less

Positioning yourself as a leader will make your work more meaningful and advance your career. You can gain influence based on your title, or on knowledge and skills you already possess.

While it could take years to climb the ladder up into senior management, tapping into your personal strengths is something you can start doing right now. Learn how to use your current assets to build up your clout in the workplace.

Using Your Knowledge to Position Yourself as a Leader

  1. Read daily. Pick up books about business advice or any topic that interests you. The more you read, the better prepared you’ll be to contribute to any discussion. You’ll sound like a leader whether you’re engaging in small talk or critiquing a new logo.
  2. Sign up for training. Take advantage of programs your employer offers. Brush up on your high school Spanish or become proficient with a new software package.
  3. Browse during breaks. Those brief intervals you spend on hold or pausing between meetings can be put to good use. Break out your phone and search for industry news. You’ll stand out if you’re the first one to notice a major lawsuit or merger.
  4. Take a course. Many adults juggle full time jobs while going back to school. Schedule an appointment at your local university to see what you need to complete your degree.
  5. Consult an expert. Contact others in your network who would be willing to share their wisdom. Interview a colleague who has published a new book and promote her work on your personal blog. You’ll both benefit from increased information and publicity.
  6. Shadow a star employee. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a high performer may be pleased to show you the ropes. Let them know that you admire their style. Offer to assist them with specific tasks so you can learn from their example.

Using Your Skills to Position Yourself as a Leader

  1. Take responsibility. Prove that you can be trusted to live up to your obligations. Develop a reputation for completing assignments and meeting deadlines.
  2. Document your accomplishments. Make it a habit to write down your ideas and achievements. Looking over your victories will boost your confidence. Even the missteps will suggest adjustments you can make to do better next time.
  3. Express enthusiasm. Attitude is an important part of leadership. Speak kindly to your coworkers and care about their welfare. Find gratification in your work and how it serves the community.
  4. Take initiative. Be willing to go the extra mile. Volunteer for tasks that fall outside of your job description even if they’re less than glamorous. Pitch in when the sales team needs a hand entering quarterly data.
  5. Share feedback. Thank people for commenting on your performance and recommending steps you can take to further your professional growth. Offer constructive and tactful criticism that enables others to do the same.
  6. Give generously. Above all, let your colleagues know that they can count on you when they need your time and expertise. Strive to be a valuable team member. Keep an eye out for anyone who’s struggling so you can create mutually beneficial relationships.

Transform yourself into the kind of leader other employees will want to follow. Your knowledge and skills are valuable resources that can help you to develop your talents and inspire others.

Which one do you think you need to work on first: your knowledge or skills?

Why Would You Want to Hire a Coach?

Coaching, in its modern format, has been around since the late 1990’s. People still think of it as something new, but in reality, Coaching has been around for millennia.  There has never been a period in mankind’s history where Coaches did not exist.

Sure, it might have looked a little different, but Coaching is as old as the hills. Modern day Coaching may be more refined and a lot more commercially viable, but the principles remain the same.

What Does a Coach Do?

Coaches have the skills and knowledge to advise, support, and encourage their client.

They help them to:

  • Make sound decisions 
  • Take effective actions 
  • Resolve their challenges in the most efficient way possible 
  • Learn from the process, so they can repeat it whenever they want

A coach also has the ability to remain detached from the issues at hand.

Consider the wise words of Albert Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

Time Is Money

In the modern era, in life and business, time is money. There’s an ever-increasing amount of cooperation and collaboration going on both in businesses and in peoples’ private lives. We need to figure things out almost on the fly these days while dealing with different time zones and cultures.

Everyone has their own unique issues to handle alongside everything else that needs to be accommodated, and then there’s the technology we all use to connect with everybody and everything.

Life is definitely more complex today and it certainly seems to be speeding up every time you turn around. It doesn’t take long before we begin to have thoughts of overwhelm and burnout on our minds.

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “How long can I justify spending time and money on this issue trying to figure it out for myself, knowing what Albert Einstein said about problem solving?”

If having a Coach could save you time and money, it would be ridiculous NOT to hire one, wouldn’t it?

Throughout history, every King has had an Advisor (Coach) in every culture. Every military leader has had a Strategist (Coach), every World Class Athlete has had a trainer (Coach), and every Entertainer has had a Manager (Coach).

Who Hires a Coach?

The only conclusion we can draw from the history of Coaching is that the people who hire a Coach fall into two camps:

  • People who are at the top of their game and want to stay there, or
  • People who aspire to be at the top of their game and want to get there as fast as they can

Many people will say that they want to change themselves, their life, their job, or their circumstances, but in real terms, they are fearful of change. They delay, procrastinate, and make excuses. They lack self-confidence and the drive to follow through. It’s human nature. It’s what ordinary people always do.

People who hire a Coach are not ordinary people.

They are inspired and have vision. They embrace change and are prepared to get fully engaged in making positive changes in their life. Plus, they don’t want it to take forever!

They have a sense of urgency, and they want someone they can lean on, confide in, use as a sounding board, and rely on to help them make the inevitable tough decisions that they can see on the horizon.

People hiring their first Coach are often racked with pessimism. They think, “What if I waste my money?”

Consider that, before you hire a coach, you’re already wasting time, which is the same as money, and you lack the resources to resolve the issues at hand. It would cost you less to hire a Coach and find out first-hand and NOW how unbelievably useful a Coach can be.

People who are hiring their second or subsequent Coach have no pessimism.  What they are looking for is the perfect fit for them and the circumstances they find themselves in.

Within reason, money is not the issue and they never think about the possibility of wasting it. Their main concern is finding the RIGHT Coach and then hoping that the Coach they choose has a spot left open where they can be accommodated, and can they start today?

Is Hiring a Coach Right For You?

Maybe. Maybe not.

  • Are you at a point where NOT taking action is costing you time and money?
  • Do you feel stuck in your struggles?
  • Could you use encouragement and sage advice in moving forward?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, perhaps a coach can get you moving in the right direction to help you create the life you desire – and sooner rather than later.

Why It’s Important to Start Before You’re Ready

How long have you been waiting to begin pursuing your goal or dream? Most people are stuck in a perpetual mode of waiting. Everyone is waiting for the exact perfect moment to finally pull the trigger and get started. This is a huge mistake. The perfect time is right now.

Time is more important than timing. Avoid wasting time instead of focusing on the getting the timing just right.

Consider these ideas to begin acting on your plans today:

  1. You’ll never be ready. We love to stall. It’s in our nature. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll still be waiting on your deathbed.
    • Do you know what the first step is? That’s all you need to know. Just do it and you’ll figure out the rest along the way. It’s like walking up the stairs. You only need to see one step at a time to make it to the top.
  1. The perfect time will never happen. Again, you’ll be waiting until your funeral. There will never be a good time to get started. There will always be a viable excuse. All of the variables will never be in perfect alignment. The most perfect time you’re going to get is right now.
  2. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can be successful. The advantages of getting started now are numerous. Perhaps the most relevant is the fact that you can achieve your goals sooner. The sooner you begin any journey, the sooner you reach your destination.
  3. Your natural tendency is to wait too long. We always wait too long. When is the last time you did something too soon? Everyone else is waiting. Be the person that doesn’t wait. Fortune favors the bold, so be bold.
  4. Your natural tendency is to value information too much. We want to know everything there is to know before we take the first step. Unfortunately, we can’t know everything. Life sometimes unfolds in unpredictable ways. You know more than enough to get started. Just do it.
  5. The most successful people make decisions quickly and stick with them. The least successful people are terrible at making up their minds. They’re eternally conflicted for a variety of reasons, primarily fear. Give yourself a time limit to make a decision and then run with it.
    • A decent decision, made quickly, that you stick with, is better than a great decision, a year from now, that you can’t maintain.
    • Practice making decisions quickly and moving forward with them. This is a great habit to develop.
  1. The sooner you take action, the more you’ll learn. Action leads to results. You learn something each time you get a result. You’re not producing any results while you’re sitting around waiting for the perfect moment to act.

  2. Action leads to inspiration. Most people falsely believe that they’ll take action when they feel inspired. But the opposite is true. Action leads to inspiration. Inspiration leads to even more action.

Why are you waiting? The most honest answer is fear. If you never get started, there’s still hope, since you can’t know for sure that your plans won’t work. If you never begin, you can’t fail.

However, the opposite is true, too. If you never get started, there’s no real hope of anything better. If you never begin, you’re guaranteed to fail.

Take a deep breath and get started today. You’ll never be 100% ready or comfortable, so you may as well begin right now. Now is the moment to change your life.

What is one thing you can do today, that will get you started toward your goal?

4 Steps to Increase Your Leadership Skills

When most of us hear the word leadership, we usually think of political officials, CEOs, military commanders, or even athletes. While it’s true that you need good leadership skills to excel at these occupations, leadership is a valuable skill that everyone from any vocation or background can use for their benefit and the benefit of others.

Effective leadership doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Luckily, there are several methods that you can use to build and refine your leadership skills.

Discover the leader in you! Try these techniques to boost your leadership skills:

  1. Strive for excellence. Part of being a successful leader is your ability to set the bar for others. You can be a good role model by constantly seeking ways to improve yourself and aspire to excellence.
    • A hallmark of leadership is excellence. Work on honing your existing skills and developing new ones.
  2. Focus on your vision and set goals. Consider what you want to accomplish in different areas of your life. Set goals that will help you to achieve your vision.
    • Set goals where you are able to periodically measure your performance and progress.
    • Break up larger goals into smaller ones so that you can celebrate your successes and maintain your motivation. 
    • Learn to identify and use all of your resources in the pursuit of your goals. When making plans to reach your goal, always work with the resources you have in your current circumstances, rather than developing plans based on resources and circumstances that you wish were reality.
    • Be willing to refine your plans and ultimate goals based on your progress as well as your dreams.
  3. Develop your people skills. Leaders are known for their ability to inspire others to work towards a common goal. To be successful at inspiring others to work with you, it’s important to develop your people skills and emotional intelligence.
    • Learn how to listen. Doing so helps to establish a connection and build camaraderie and trust, so others are more likely to follow your lead and help you.
    • Help others to be their best. Part of being a good leader is motivating others towards positive change.
    • Seek input from others when discussing goals and plans to reach your objectives. Give others a stake in the results by seeking their opinion. They’ll be more motivated to help you.
  4. Be passionate and maintain a positive attitude. Most of us take cues from others in social situations, so you can teach others to have a positive attitude and to be passionate in their efforts by doing so yourself.
    • Maintaining an upbeat attitude and giving your best effort help to energize the entire team so everyone is able to accomplish more, regardless of the circumstances.

Taking the time to develop your leadership skills can radically increase the amount of success that you experience in all areas of your life. These tips can help you to hone your leadership skills so that you can achieve your goals and enjoy a more satisfying life.

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