Friday, August 09, 2013

Juice for your Brain, Easy Ways To Stay Productive!!

If you want to get healthy and get lots of vitamins and minerals easily then start juicing!!!

I discovered juicing about six months ago and am convinced it has helped to bring my blood pressure back down to normal, make my skin look healthier, eyes brighter and give me bags more energy. It's a quick and easy way to get the nutrients you need when trying to juggle a busy lifestyle.

Here are some of my favourites to get you going with every day fruit and veg.

Get Creative with Green

There used to be a connection to green juice and tasting like grass (gross).......That couldn't be further from the truth green juice can taste amazing and is the most healthiest for you. Here is a really yummy one:

Apples x 3
Handful of spinach 
Cucumber x1
Handful of grapes. (adapt to your taste with all of these as everyone's different)

This is really good for loading up on antioxidants, lowering blood pressure and it's full of fibre. Plus the hydration and Vitamin B from the cucumber can give you a natural pick me up. This is a real morning drink as starts the day well and gets your brain functioning and focused. It is high in natural sugar however better than having caffeine and sugary pastries.

A Yummy & Healthy Mocktail
So we all love a refreshing alcoholic drink in the summer. If you fancy a healthier option I have discovered this one which a few of my friends tested out and the feedback was a thumbs up, so give it  a go at your next BBQ.

Cucumber x1
Lemon x1
Apple x 3
A kick of ginger (start with a 10 pence piece size and then build if you need more)

This has a real zingy fresh taste and to bring some extra fizz into the mix fill up the jug with some tonic water, it adds a G&T spin without the booze. You will love this and it's really healthy, hydrating and detoxifying.....Plus no hangover. As a really easy alternative just juice a couple of apples and add tonic for a refreshing drink.

So these are a couple of my favourites for taste and health and if you like these I'll share some more through this month and add a section to my blog about juicing to keep you healthy, productive and happy in our hectic lives. 

If your new to juicing here are a couple of recommendations for quality juicers at different budgets from a recent article. I would say it is worth investing in one that is good quality so that it lasts you for a lot of years.

Happy Juicing :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

How Many Emails Do You Get By 10am? Stop Your Emails Ruling You!

I work with and coach a lot of busy and successful people and one thing they always ask for support on is trying to get everything done when the tasks feel never ending.

One manager very recently was telling me that by 10am in the morning they would already have about 30-40 new emails in their inbox and that's not counting the other couple of hundred they hadn't been able to get onto yet, they just can't seem to get on top of it.......Does this sound familiar to you? This is something that we can all relate to in some way and I think that part of the problem with emails sometimes is that it's too easy for us to access now it creates the 'always on duty' mentality.

We now spend over 41% of our day locked to our emails either trying to manage them, find emails or reply to them which in turn has a massive impact on how productive we are and also how motivated or stressed we feel. 

Let me ask you a question how often do you check your emails in a day?..........Once, three times or a lot more? We don't need a survey to tell us that email is invading all aspects of our lives but just to add a bit of weight behind this subject nearly *70% of us in the UK are constantly checking emails in and out of work.........Ask yourself why you do this; Is it expected of you from your boss? Is it just a habit or is it because the volume of them makes you feel you can't get everything done? To start to look at ways of working more productively we need to get to the route of the problem first.............
I know what your thinking; that it's not possible to work differently and that you've tried it all before? The answer is that you can and by making small steps you can notice a huge different in your productivity it comes down to wanting to make the change.

I think we would all agree that ways of reducing stress and making us more productive is not something any of us would ignore, so don't ignore these tips:

There are some mindset changes required to implement the right system that will wean you off your email addiction and encourage you to develop an addiction to decisiveness and productivity instead. Happy Days :)

  • Your inbox is not your to do list, I repeat it is not your to do list. We tend to try to keep emails in our inbox because we don't want to lose them or we want it as a reference point. The irony of this is what normally happens is we either lose them or spend hours trying to find them again...Correct? With everything then living in your inbox how do you know what you can ignore and what you need to do, this can become a big confused mess.......Believe me I know first hand I once had 2,700 emails in my inbox! Find a system that works for you that stops things living in your inbox.  'How to be a Productivity Ninja' by Graham Allcott has some great email tips. Paperback version – BUY HERE
  • Don't let your email distract you with lots of potentially exciting stuff. Checking it too often can mean your always in your inbox, turn off all sounds and graphics so that you go into your email when your ready rather than being pulled in every 5 minutes. Have discipline with this, the company won't crumble because your not checking your emails for an hour.
  • Make a subtle change which will change the way you look at your inbox. Don't just check your email and leave them there make a decision about where they need to go to create a bit of memontum. They will only come out of your inbox if you decide the logical next step. Without this it will sit in your inbox with all the others you're not sure what to do with. Time to break the habit
  • Make a bit of time to follow up, double check and clean up. Measure how effective your system is working each week. Why not make your first review to be about your current system how is that working for you on a scale of 1-10? 

'Think Productive' offer an in house workshop called 'Getting your Inbox to Zero' This involves at desk coaching so you can see and feel the results in 3 hours. They will help you to make those changes and reduce the stress of inbox hell!! Get in touch if you want to book up or have any questions

*Stats Source - Xobni, Harris Interactive

8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday

Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive at work. It’s time to set down your gallon-sized container of coffee, toss out your three-page to-do list, and put an end to those ridiculously long emails you’ve been sending.

Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.

A recent interview with project management and productivity genius Tony Wong uncovered his secret to a more productive workday. He provided some excellent insight into what he and other like-minded productive individuals do during their work week.

Harness your productivity by taking note of these eight things:

1. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.
2. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.
3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.
4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.
5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.
6. Pick up the phone. The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don't be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC'd, do everyone a favor by BCCing them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.
7. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.
8. Don’t confuse productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How Seriously Do You Take Your Wellbeing?

I think we can all agree that our lifestyles are so much busier than ever before and our overall 'Wellbeing' is so important to how we feel about ourselves but also how we perform in our jobs.

Do you ever get that niggling little voice in the back of your mind reminding you to do something like 'Your working too hard', 'You haven't gone to the gym in ages' or 'You need to spend more time with the family'.........And what do we tend to do more often than not.........yes your spot on we push it to the back of our minds and try to forget it. This is our subconscious mind trying to warn us that the balance isn't right.  I personally am unbelievably passionate about this subject of peoples wellbeing especially at work. I learnt the hard way at the end of last year and burnt myself out which resulted in me needing to take some time out and re evaluate my priorities. This is where I realised the balance in my world was completely off and the only way that I was going to feel content was to regain control of things.......A valuable lesson I will never forget and also never let happen again.

So what do we do about this very real challenge we all face? Our busy lifestyles aren't going away any time soon, so it would be useful to be able to understand how to tap into the key things that really matter to our overall 'Well Being'. Also to understand some little changes that we can make to get the balance right......Sometimes by heightening your awareness can be the most powerful step in getting this right for you.....And remember everyone is completely different in what is important

So first of all what are the key elements to our well being?

Career Wellbeing 
Do you like what you do each day? This sounds like the most basic question however it is the most important question to ask ourselves. Only 20% of people can give a positive 'yes' in response. we spend the majority of our time doing something we consider as a career or job. When you first meet someone they normally will ask you "What do you do? "If your answer is something you find very fulfilling you are likely to be thriving in your Career Wellbeing.

Social Wellbeing
When you look at some of your most cherished memories or memorable events it normally involves other people that shared these with you. However we often underestimate how the impact of our closest relationships and social connections. When you see a friend or colleague who is happy this can often impact on lifting your mood. Or if you have a frustrating interaction then this in tern can impact on your mood and spread around to others in your contact. Did you know that every 3 hours of good social time reduces the chances of having a bad day to 10%........try to gain at least 3 hours of social time a day.

Financial Wellbeing
Do you need money to be happier? Many books and articles assert that money is not that important. They normally mention that people who won the lottery were not much happier several years is there anything in it? Studies show that it's not necessarily the amount of money that we earn that heightens wellbeing but the 'how' we spend it that does. For example buying experiences like going out for dinner or going on holiday increases your wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. Experiences last while material purchases fade.......Spending your money on meaningful experiences means that you get to look forward to the event, enjoy the experiences itself and hopefully have long lasting memories to think back on.

Physical Wellbeing
There are hundreds of moments every week when we make these seemingly small but eventually important decisions, I'm not saying for one second to give up everything that's bad for you and live like a saint, however when we make a positive choice e.g ordering a salad for lunch, it can improve our mood for the rest of the day and in the long term for your health. When we do make a negative choice like ordering a burger and chips, it can decrease our energy for the rest of the day and over the years raise our cholesterol levels. Research shows that a single meal that is high in the bad fats (saturated) reduced our arteries ability to carry enough blood to our bodies and brains.....This has been referred to as the "high fat hangover" which can also slow us down and impair our thinking. Throughout the day we make small choices whether we decide to go to the gym before work or not, to snack on that pain au chocolat for breakfast. We make decisions every day about how we live our lives without a thought of what the long term effects may be.........It's good to take a look at things that are within your power to enhance your physical wellbeing.

Community Wellbeing
This can be seen as pretty unimportant to most people, but let me show you where this can really come into play....Is it important for example that you feel safe in your neighbourhood? Would it surprise you that 1 in 3 people don't feel safe in walking home where they live? One level up from your security is the feeling of contentment about where you live i.e. village, town, busy area, quiet area, open space. These things can all help you to have a thriving community wellbeing. The other side of the community wellbeing is exactly that; the feeling of a good network, group that connects you to the wider community. It is more common now that people will keep themselves quite isolated which therefore means that your community wellbeing will never grow that much. I experienced this personally a few weeks ago when I was talking to one of my neighbours and she expressed how the community used to be a lot more social and that she really missed that side of things, so we are now organising a group BBQ in a couple of weeks as it really struck a cord with me (fingers crossed the weather holds out).

This is just a snap shot of the 5 Wellbeing Elements that may have resinated with some of you to explore further........Here are some ways to do that:

How do I know where I am happy and where the balance might be wrong?

The first thing I would ask you to do is be honest with yourself as deep down you know the answer to this question. The reality is that over 3/4 of the population put work before family and physical health these days which is pure madness and if your in that cycle then I would advise you to stop that now!

If you do need a bit of help to get a deeper understanding of where you are on the scale, I can recommend to you a great tool that I used to clarify things for me which is a great book by Tom Rath called 'Well Being The Five Essential Elements' as it's a very honest and easy read that is focused on you understanding what is important to you to be happy.

If you would prefer some more practical advice on this or is something that you would like to find out more about then contact me on 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Rules of Life.......Are you a Rules Player?

I was working with an HR Director recently who is a great reader of books around finding your own happiness in work and in life......Here is one that I have recently finished which was not only a great read but a much needed reminder of some of the basics of what is important.......I thought I would share with you for those that like a valuable reminder and an engaging read.........I'll share some more recommendations later this week.

'The Rules of Life by Richard Templar ' Some people seem to find life so easy. they glide effortlessly onwards and upwards, always saying and doing the right things, whatever the situation. Everybody likes them - they are great to spend time with, and to live and work with. They are happy (mostly), content and know how to roll with life's punches. They have time for everybody, and always seem to know what's important - and how to deal with what's not.

Is there something they know or do that we don't? Is it something we can all learn? the answer is a resounding yes. They know the Rules of Life.......

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is Emotional Intelligence (EI) just as important as IQ in the Workplace?

So just what is emotional intelligence? With the risk of oversimplifying,
emotional intelligence is the dimension of intelligence responsible for our
ability to manage ourselves and our relationships with others. Included
are skills that drive our internal world as well as our response to the
external world. There are five components of emotional intelligence.
They include: a well-honed timing for emotional expression and
emotional control; empathy for others; social expertise that allows us to
develop strong working relationships; personal influence that helps us
advance our purpose with others; and an integrity that aligns us with our
life's purpose.

Each day in the workplace, an employee's emotional intelligence is put to
the test. Most often, how an employee reacts to situations will build
goodwill and co-operation with customers and colleagues or will further
drive wedges into tenuous relationships. When an employee can master
appropriate internal emotional reactions to situations and also master his
external response, the employee is working with a high level of emotional
intelligence. Too often, feelings of self-doubt, frustration or anger will
take over and control a person's outward expression in a particular
situation. How many times have you heard a person say, "I just couldn't
help it, I was just so frustrated I had to react the way I did?"

As an employer, it's important that you recognize that those reactions can
also paralyze the work that gets done. Underlying tensions and emotions
make their way to every meeting and every encounter in the workplace.
Yes, I know, you have probably been taught that emotion doesn't belong
in the workplace. But the reality is that it's inescapable. Emotion is
present in the workplace - everyday, everywhere. Therefore, as you have
improved your business by way of applying intellectual resources, now is
the time to recognize that you can also make dramatic improvements that
will help you reach your business goals by improving the emotional
intelligence of your workforce. Unlike IQ, which tends to remain fixed
throughout a person's lifetime, emotional intelligence can be improved over time.

If you want to get an understanding of where you are on the scale of EI and
heighten your awareness then this survey is a good starting point: