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Overload & Overwhelm

PAUSE – 19.11 – Bringing Who You Are To What You Do

November 6, 2019

Reflection: About a year ago, I joined a local artists group. We meet weekly to make art. We challenge and support each other. And, we show together annually.

Over the years, I’ve been a part of many groups at work and in the community. Rarely have I seen a group as cooperative and supportive as this one.

When a task arises, there’s no sitting on hands, avoiding eye contact, hoping someone else will take it on. There is an eagerness to volunteer – to step forward to make things happen.

Yes, there is a high degree of commitment to each other and the purpose of the group. But, underpinning all there’s a desire and willingness to bring who we are and contribute what we can in the service of the whole.

We vary in our interests and skills. Within the group we have: social media whizzes, creative photographers, skilled organizers, those with financial savvy, talented foodies, fine writers, imaginative thinkers, thoughtful listeners, and jokesters who brighten the mood and lighten the load.

Everybody is not expected to do everything. People step forward in areas in which they are skilled and have an interest; they pass on others. And, somehow it all works out.

 

Action: How well are the teams and groups in your world functioning? (more…)

PAUSE – 19.05 – Banish Cranky to The Hills

May 1, 2019

Reflection: It wasn’t an unusual week, but I do remember it well. By the time Friday rolled around, I was good and cranky.

It hadn’t even been an especially demanding week. Just an event or three here – a project or four there – an errand or five elsewhere – and so it went. Not unlike a host of other weeks.

But I was tired and out of sorts all the same. Snappy – short tempered – restless! I recognize the signs more easily at this stage in my life.

The situation called for measures – not even drastic ones. I knew I needed time for me.

And so, I cleared the decks for Saturday. No commitments. No errands. No leaving the house to tend to anything for anyone.

What DID I do? I indulged in a series of simple, small and seemingly insignificant treats:  (more…)

PAUSE – 18.10 – T Times Three Can Serve You Well

October 3, 2018

Reflection: I mentioned this study a few years ago; and I’m going to share it again, because I believe it’s so significant.

The Energy Project stated in Harvard Business Review that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report: 28% better focus, 30% greater health and well being, and a 40% increase in thinking creatively.

I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that any practice that improves focus, creativity, health and wellbeing is good for us all. Yet there continue to be challenges in giving our selves permission to step away from the load. Those ubiquitous forces of guilt and fear prompt us to keep our noses to the grindstone – where we repeatedly crash and burn or live in a continuous state of blur and endure.

Even for those who are convinced of the value of pausing, it’s easy to get swept up in the work of the day and to forget that we had intended to take time for renewal.

 

Action: So, in support of those good intentions, here are three ways to move those intentions to action more often. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.08 – FOMO or JOMO? Flip It!

August 1, 2018

Reflection: Many of the things that we might consider problematic about our selves or our lives also have an upside. Indecisive? Well the upside could be that you are also flexible and open to possibilities.  Obsessed by details? The upside could be that you are organized and accurate. To claim the upside, we simply need to flip our point of view.

The same thing is true with one of the most common stressors of today’s modern life: FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. FOMO can keep us tethered to social media, with fears fanned by postings on Facebook or Instagram. We see an endless procession of cool experiences and special events. We see deals on this and deals on that. And all of a sudden we find ourselves feeling ‘less than’ or shortchanged – like we’re missing out on the latest and greatest.

My FOMO hook is travel. I see others enjoying vacations and adventures in exciting places around the world. And despite the fact that we do a LOT of traveling ourselves, and that I’m happy for the good times of others, it’s easy for me to work up a case of adventure envy. We should go there! We should try that! How did we spend all that time in Paris and not see this?

Well, it’s possible to flip FOMO as well. Turn it into JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out – the relief that comes when you’re not comparing your life to the lives of others. You’re not feeling compelled to be anywhere else. You are simply present to the joy of life as it is today. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.05 – Building Resilience: Down But Not Out

May 2, 2018

Reflection: There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t stumbled somewhere along life’s path, been disappointed by something that did or didn’t happen, been let down by others they thought they could count on, or been blindsided by bad news.

Here, in Saskatchewan in April, it seems like the entire province was impacted by news of the death of sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in a horrendous bus accident that no one saw coming. And, later in the month, the horrendous news of a van-pedestrian mow-down on the streets of Toronto

In the days following these incidents, there is a heaviness to the air and a weight to our conversations. There is sadness and anger, and also the chilling realization that these things could happen to any one of us, on any given day, in any location.

So, how do we get through the tough times that follow such occurrences, and find ways to come back from experiences that literally take your breath away?

 

Action: Here are a handful of ideas for cultivating resilience. Keep these in your back pocket for the next tough time that comes your way. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.04 – Shift Your Gears To Match The Flow

April 4, 2018

Reflection: It would be a fine thing indeed if the flow of our work was more evenly paced – with a perfect match between demands and time/energy available. Sadly, in today’s world, the size of the load tends to be much greater than the resources at hand – often with no end or relief in sight.

Still, in some worlds there are periods of high and low demand. For instance, in the face of looming tax deadlines, accountants know that February and March will be Crazy Time. The rest of the year, perhaps not so much!

When I facilitated a recent Boosting Energy program, one of the participants asked for some ideas to handle an uneven workflow that seesaws between too heavy and too light. If that is sometimes an issue in your world, too, here are a few suggestions for shifting gears. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.02 – Take Care Of You & Be Better For Others

February 7, 2018

Reflection: We’re three weeks into a kitchen renovation, so our home is a tad chaotic these days.

A veritable parade of tradespeople has been rolling through the house: demolition folks, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, carpenters, installers and those keeping track of what others are doing and how it’s going.

It’s been a lively, dusty, noisy experience. Happily, the reno is moving right along – even a bit ahead of schedule.

The fact that my office is in our home makes it doubly challenging for me. At the height of the hubbub, I took client phone calls hunkered deep in the closet of the master bedroom with two sets of doors between me and the noise.

Normally, my practice is to start my days with a walk along the river, a bit of yoga, an inspirational reading, or writing in my journal. Since the reno began, I’ve given that up so that I can be showered, dressed, and ready to answer the door when the first worker of the day comes knocking at 8 am.

I’ve recently noticed that I’m feeling a bit impatient, short tempered, even prone to feeling sorry for myself. That’s not my normal state. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.01 – How Do You And Your Calendar Get Along?

January 10, 2018

Reflection: My relationship with calendars has changed over time; and it’s more than just a shift from paper to digital. Maybe the way YOU relate to your calendar is changing, too.

In my childhood, the calendar was my parents’ domain. In those days, businesses gifted customers with calendars in December, in hopes that theirs would be the one that hung in your kitchen all year round. Mom and Dad recorded meetings and special events, but the calendar also served as a record of life on the farm with notes about temperatures, rainfall, start and end dates for seeding, haying, and harvest.

As a teenager – in high school and then university – my own calendar was all about class schedules and exams, extracurricular activities, and part time work.

When I became a working parent, our family calendar served as control central keeping us on track and alerting us to potential conflicts between our travel schedules and children’s’ activities.

In the early days of my business, I looked at the calendar as an indicator of success. If it was filled with workshops and speaking engagements, that signaled more money in the bank. Too much white space left me anxious and triggered a flurry of promotion, marketing, and program development. (more…)

PAUSE – 17. 17 – Choose Good To Feel Better

December 6, 2017

Reflection:  The daylight hours are dwindling here in western Canada. The sky is dark when we roll out of bed, and it’s dark again before dinnertime.

Early winter has descended – with a combination of snowy, slippery, icy streets and sidewalks as the temperature bounces around on either side of the freezing point.

For the other three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall – I’m highly motivated to roll out of bed and step right into my sneakers for my morning walk along the river. This time of year – not so much!

And, so, I struggle to get my exercise – that 30 minutes of fresh air and movement that renews my body and restores my soul. Somehow, it’s not the same to be taking that walk mid-day when the path is fully lit and I can see where I’m going. And, it’s not the same to be heading out at the end of the afternoon, when I’m already weary after a day’s work and what I most want to do is put my feet up by the fire and sip a glass of wine.

What I have learned, though, is that just because it’s not the same, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done – or that it won’t be good. Each time I work an outdoor ramble into my mid or late day schedule I come back glad I went – mind clearer and body stronger.

 

Action: When it comes to doing those things that are good for us, especially when it’s not easy, it helps to keep the outcome in mind. (more…)

PAUSE – 17.15 – Another Way To Look At Things

November 8, 2017

Reflection: My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to get away this fall for a European travel adventure. On our return, I found myself feeling a little behind and a wee bit stressed. Adrenalin pumping – cortisol rising. I was thinking about all the business related tasks that were put on hold. I was worried about projects not begun; and so, obviously, not advanced.

Maybe this happens to you, too. You compare yourself or your situation to the performance of others or to your own high expectations. You find yourself fretting about falling behind and getting ahead. “I should be there by now, and instead I’m here!”

At times like this, I’ve learned to call on my wiser, smarter self for advice. You’ve got one of those mentors, too. Your voice of reason and perspective – the part of you that takes a long view on life and refuses to get bent out of shape unnecessarily.

Here’s what mine had to say to me. (more…)