Obtaining a better work/life balance

January 30th, 2015

Obtaining a better work/life balanceIn the fast-paced office life, companies sometimes overlook a positive work/life balance for their employees. But they do this at their own peril.

You might love your job or you might hate it, in either case you shouldn’t be over-dedicating your time to work. You need to spend time relaxing and pursuing other interests and hobbies that help you switch off once in a while.

In some cases over-dedication to work can cause increased amounts of stress, weight gain and resentment towards your job or employers.

So in the daily rush of office life, try these three tips to start reaping the benefits of having a positive work/life balance.

Take time for yourself, both inside and outside of work

Do the things you enjoy to relax, be it reading, exercise, video games… anything to take your mind off the job. Taking a five-minute break inside work to talk about the latest film you saw or book you’re reading can give you that bit of motivation you need to push on for the rest of the day.

Don’t focus on the parts of your job you don’t enjoy

If you gain extra responsibilities that you don’t particularly enjoy, try not to only focus on them. Think about the other parts of your job that made you happy in the first place – these small ad hoc responsibilities need to be done, so just do them! The quicker you do them, the more time you have to do other things both inside and outside of work.

Keeping your company happy

A positive work/life balance needs to permeate throughout all levels of the company to truly be beneficial. So if you believe you company could benefit from extra facilities such as a staff room or simply an extra sofa to unwind at lunch times, suggest it! These small things can help boost productivity for both you and your colleagues and help maintain a positive work/life balance.

If you would like more advice on how you can maintain a positive work/life balance, a life coach may be able to help. To find a life coach in your area, please use our advanced search tool.

Read and comment on the original Inc. article.

Eight ways to overcome procrastination

January 29th, 2015

Eight ways to overcome procrastinationProcrastination isn’t only linked with laziness – it can be caused by fear of failure and anxiety. So here’s eight ways you can overcome procrastination.

To stop the stressful feeling of not getting things done, try these solutions to get you back on track.

1. Understand how it affects you

How does procrastination affect your life? Try to think about the habits that often cause it.

This insight can prevent you from feeling inadequate and can help you understand the causes of your procrastination.

2. Plan your time

Create estimates of how long it will take you to complete a task and then compare your accuracy across multiple days.

This can become the start of an effective platform for working. It can also improve the quality of work and relieve stress.

3. Change your perspective

Find something about your task that you enjoy and focus on that. Look beyond the monotony and identify personal goals.

Identifying these personal goals can improve engagement. Also, reassessing a task can make it seem less intimidating.

4. Work in a productive environment

Choose who you work with and where, wisely. Try to avoid places that have distractions which promote procrastination.

This removes a number of obstacles that can hamper getting tasks completed.

5. Be realistic

Set reasonable targets so you can measure your success. But try to be patient, as success won’t happen overnight.

Beware: unrealistic goals can feed procrastination, so bear that it mind when trying to achieve difficult tasks.

6. Swiss-cheese tasks

Dedicate small chunks of time to a big task. You can then try to achieve as much as possible in those small spaces of time without feeling any pressure.

7. Counter obstacles

Create a list of possible obstacles that might crop up when you’re completing a task. You can then plan countermeasures to effectively overcome the procrastination.

8. Give yourself rewards for progress

Create a reward system to celebrate certain goals. You could also arrange small punishments if you miss them.

This provides you with the incentive and drive to complete your tasks.

If you are struggling to overcome procrastination, a life coach may be able to help. To find a life coach in your area, please use our advanced search tool.

Read and comment on the original Entrepreneur article.

How to change your year for the better (part two)

January 23rd, 2015

How to change your year for the better (part two)Here are some more bite size, positive changes that you can implement in your life right now.

If massive New Year’s resolutions aren’t your thing, try implementing smaller changes to transform your year for the better.

1. Venture outside

Venturing outside is linked to increased concentration and a positive mood. If the weather’s nice, ask your colleague to have a meeting outside or take a five-minute break to go for a walk. Whatever time you lose by going outside, you will make back with motivation and focus for the rest of the day.

2. Set an alarm for bedtime

It might sounds silly, but setting an alarm for 30 minutes before bedtime will let you know that you need to wind down. Try turning the television off and read a book, this can greatly improve your night’s sleep.

3. Send one positive email

You must send dozens of emails within a working day, so why not dedicate one email to thank someone who has helped you? Try a message of appreciation, congratulations or ask someone if they need any help. The replies to these emails might even make you look forward to checking your emails the next day!

4. Hold yourself accountable

Keep tabs on yourself throughout the week to make sure you’re carrying out these small steps towards positive change. Try emailing a friend to let them know what you’ve done and let them judge how well you’ve progressed! This can give you that extra bit of motivation you need to complete these tasks throughout the week. Just don’t lie in the email; they’re your friends. They will know.

If you would like to read part one of this article, you can find it here.

If you are struggling to find the motivation to change your life for the better, you might want to find out how a life coach can help.

Read and comment on the original Fast Company article.

NHS mentors help jobless find work

January 22nd, 2015

NHS mentors help jobless find workThe NHS scheme aims to target the young and jobless to make them aware what careers are available in the health sector.

Most jobless young people who want to work for the NHS think it’s out of their reach. Just like 21-year-old Helen Clayton did: “I hadn’t tried applying to the NHS before, because I thought there were receptionists, doctors and nurses and that’s it. But now I’ve seen just how many different people work here and how many different opportunities there are.”

Ms Clayton is at Ipswich hospital, spending two weeks in their cancer information centre. It’s part of a project that gives 60 young people not in employment, education or training (Neet) great experience working in the NHS, and with an online mentor.

The online mentoring scheme, run by the National Skills Academy for Health (NSAH) and the social mobility charity Brightside, aims to make young people aware what opportunities are available in the health sector.

The director of the NSAH, Candace Miller says that there are many jobs within the NHS that young people do not know about.

“Hopefully, this scheme will inspire young people to train for and work in healthcare – be that as a phlebotomist, a finance assistant or the chef in the hospital canteen,” she says.

Gloucester, Bradford and Guy’s and St Thomas’ foundation trusts and the NHS Property Services are also proactively taking part in the scheme. Young people are recruited from their local Jobcentre Plus to gain this placement of two weeks’ unpaid work.

The Jobcentre covers travel expenses and candidates have access to an online mentor for 10 weeks. These mentors are usually from the same hospital the person is completing the work experience at, and are also usually from the field the candidates want to progress in to.

Find out more about the NHS Online Mentoring Project.

If you would like to discover how a life coach could help you as a mentor, please visit our informative fact-sheet.

Read and comment on the original Guardian article.

How to change your year for the better!

January 16th, 2015

How to change your year for the better!Perhaps it’s time to ditch the massive New Year’s resolutions and start off with bite size changes that will change your year for the better!

There’s nothing wrong with aiming to make huge life changes, but for the most of us New Year’s resolutions start in January and end in February. So why not try smaller, attainable changes that can affect your life in a positive way.

1. Don’t skip breakfast

Studies suggest that people who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to lose weight quicker than others who avoid it altogether. Try eating fruit without morning tea or coffee to fight the urge for a mid-morning muffin.

2. Pace yourself

The idea of going to the gym is great, but if you join in January and then go on to quit in February, it’s not really useful. Try to incorporate more steps into your daily life. Whether you’re cleaning your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil, try to add 100 steps into these daily processes to get more active. Over a year these will add up!

3. Tomorrow’s to-do list

You will typically be at your most productive in the morning. But if you get to work unsure of where to start, you can waste valuable time just deciding what to do. So before your leave, create tomorrow’s to-do list to make the most out of your mornings.

4. Plan for the weekend on Wednesday evening

Anticipation leads to happiness. So this Wednesday evening try to make some exciting plans for the weekend. Message your friend to see if they’re free, order tickets to a concert or book a dinner reservation. The anticipation will get you through the rest of the week!

5. Enjoy your commute

There are many podcasts out there that you could listen to on the drive to work, or if you travel by train you could download catch-up TV onto a tablet to make the journey more interesting. This can change the low moment in your day to something you look forward to.

Keep an eye out for the next part of this article coming soon!

If you think you would benefit from support and motivation to achieve this year’s goals, a life coach may be able to help. To find a life coach in your area, please use our advanced search tool.

Read and comment on the original Fast Company article.

How to achieve big goals in three simple steps

January 15th, 2015

Three steps to achieve big goalsThinking big is great, but it’s a tough journey where actions speak louder than words.

You might be asking yourself, “Is it worth thinking big?” The answer is yes, but you need to start now if you want to achieve the big results. Here are three steps you can take to unlock the secret to thinking big.

Believe you can do it

You must be able to envisage yourself achieving these massive goals. It can be difficult to visualise yourself at the finish line in your current position in life, but remember all goals take time to achieve – with the biggest goals taking the longest.

If you can see any personal roadblocks that might inhibit you from reaching these goals, you need to try to overcome them. By removing these roadblocks, you are taking the first steps to achieving whatever you want in life.

Think even bigger

If the steps to achieve your goal don’t make you uncomfortable, you probably aren’t dreaming big enough.

Would you be happy if this was the only thing you could be remembered by? If not, you might want to think bigger.

Take this thought process further. What would you like to add to it? How would you go about achieving these extra things?

Take action

You thoughts must be followed by actions. If they aren’t, you will most likely think up excuses about why you can postpone them. This can lead your thoughts to end up on the ‘I’ll do it at some point” list.

Try to direct your steps towards your goals, otherwise you might just realise that you end up further away from your intended goal than when you started.

If you would like to learn more about how a life coach can help with motivation, please visit out motivation page.

Read and comment on the original Lifehack article.

Kat’s Happiness Project – December

January 9th, 2015

Kat's Happiness Project - DecemberThe year is over, but is Life Coach Directory blogger Kat any happier?

Hello, and happy New Year! I for one cannot quite believe that 2014, the year of my happiness project, is now over – how quickly did that go? I do however love the fact that I now have an archive of blogs to look through and remember each month of the year.

For December I only had one goal – let’s see how I managed.

1. Look after yourself

My goal was all about self-care. The latter half of the year had been less than kind to me, so I wanted to give myself permission to truly relax and recuperate before the New Year. And I’m pleased to say I really did. Over Christmas I spent time with my friends and family, ate lots of lovely food and had more than enough duvet days. When it was time to return to work I felt refreshed and ready to take on the New Year with gusto.

So, am I happier?

This is a tricky question – I wasn’t particularly ‘unhappy’ before I started this project, so I was never expecting to feel hugely different. I do think I’ve learnt what makes me truly happy and therefore have the power to make myself happier in the long run.

If anything, I feel a whole lot calmer. I had moments of high stress throughout the year and the learning curve came when I had to overcome that, and figuring out how to do that was probably the most valuable lesson from this experience.

The takeaway

What I’ve taken away from my year-long project is that the small things really do make a difference. Change in circumstances can lift or lower your mood no question, but if you can remember the small things that make you happy you’ll always end up smiling.

The key goals from this project that I’ll be carrying through to 2015 are:

  • Have a voice at work.
  • Go to the cinema/a gig/dinner alone.
  • Do good deeds.
  • Take more photographs.
  • Spend money on experiences.
  • Be spontaneous.
  • Spend more time with friends (in real life).
  • Maintain a fitness regime.

I feel like 2014 was a year of learning, what makes me happy, how can I cope with stress etc. So for me, 2015 will be about putting all this into practice, and I honestly can’t wait.

If you want to start your own happiness project, I recommend heading over to Gretchen Rubin’s blog, it was this (and her book) that inspired me and there are some great tips for starting your own project.

Read all of Kat’s Happiness Project blogs.

Ensure the success of your New Year’s resolutions

January 8th, 2015

Ensure the success of your New Year's resolutions The New Year is a time for self-reflection and improvement, but sticking to our resolutions isn’t always as easy as we first think.

We see the New Year as a time to let go of poor habits and introduce new, positive ones. We want to create a better version of ourselves, and we do this by setting New Year’s resolutions. But it’s very easy to slip back into old routines and quickly forget the early year motivation we had for self-improvement.

The typical resolutions this year will most likely include losing weight, improving our fitness and avoiding chocolate – these might seem obtainable, but they aren’t if you go about them in the wrong way. Gym memberships are a prime example of this – gyms are extremely busy in January, but as soon as February rolls round, memberships take a nose dive.

If you don’t like the gym, don’t join! There are other ways of getting fit that will suit you better. Try going out for a morning run or joining a fitness class with a friend for that extra bit of motivation.

Follow these tips to make sure you start your New Year’s resolution with enthusiasm, rather than treating it like a burden.

The right frame of mind

A resolution is a solution to a problem. Remember that when you think about stopping to give you more focus.

Plan

Take baby steps. A plan with small obtainable goals is much more useful than visualising the finish line without having a map to get there.

Celebrate milestones

If your goal is to eat less chocolate, celebrate when you don’t eat it for a couple of days to a week. If you give in one day, don’t just give up. Another milestone is just around the corner.

A resolution is for the long-term

Be realistic with your goals. Eating healthier might be easier to reach with a few ‘cheat days’. But getting fit enough to run a marathon will take more time than you think.

Jump the hurdles

You will encounter hurdles that will need strong resolve to overcome. Remember to stick with your goals and to not give into temptation.

Support is welcome

People that encourage you on ‘bad days’ can be worth their weight in gold. If you have a friend that exercises with you in the morning, you will find it much harder to sleep in and skip it because you don’t want to disappoint them.

Remember: resolutions can start at any time of the year. If you want to start something when the weather improves – do it. Just try not to forget about it!

If you would like advice and guidance on how to best fulfil your resolutions, a life coach may be able to help. To find a life coach in your area, try using our advanced search tool.

Read and comment on the original Mind Body Green article.

The answers to a productive argument

January 2nd, 2015

The answers to a productive argumentDo you find it hard to connect with someone after you have had an argument? You can diffuse these types of situations in five steps.

Applying mindfulness to tense situations can help bring all parties back down to earth. It can transform how we approach work and our relationships in a positive manner.

These tools can help you confront conflict mindfully by preventing the addition of more negative energy. Try this five-step process the next time an argument breaks out with someone close to you.

Hug it out

Spend one minute breathing alongside the person you have argued with. This can ground you both and helps release negative energy. Hugging is a great way to do this, or you can sit with your hands and knees touching.

Be honest with yourself

You will need to understand your own assumptions and fears. This is because they might slip into discussion and could affect how you perceive certain actions and conversations from others. If you are feeling angry and defensive, you might take things the wrong way, but if you show your cards to the other person, it has a better chance of ending well.

Get to the point

Ask for what you want based on what you need. For example, you could say “Please can you call me when you are running late,” and then follow it up with the important question, “Is that something you are willing to do?”

Summarise the discussion

Summarise the discussion with the other party and make sure they share your understanding. This will hopefully prevent the same argument from happening in the future.

Reconnect

Reconnect they way you started. Try to hug or make light of the argument that you have just diffused. This can do wonders for rebuilding relationships.

If you are arguing a lot in your relationship and want to find out how a life coach can help, visit our informative fact sheet.

Read and comment on the original Mind Body Green article.

Kat’s Happiness Project – November

December 23rd, 2014

Kat's Happiness Project - NovemberAs we edge closer to Christmas, Life Coach Directory blogger Kat reflects on the penultimate month of the year.

Hello1we are now in the midst of the busy festive season and I almost let it go by without telling you how I got on in November and what my plans are for December! So without further ado, let’s see how I got on last month…

Research an adult learning course to start next year

I did browse the Internet to search for photography courses in my area (a hobby I have which I would like to learn more about), however I struggled to find exactly what I was looking for. Most of the courses near me are long-term and require a significant financial investment. I will definitely pick this back up in the New Year as I am determined to find the right course for me.

Go to the cinema alone

I must admit I was slightly apprehensive about this, but I am so glad I did it. I had a day off on a Friday and took myself to the cinema alone. It was unsurprisingly quiet in the cinema and I spotted a couple of other people arriving alone. Once the movie started I completely forgot I was on my own and got engrossed in the story. The only time I felt at all self-conscious was when the lights came up and I remembered I was the only person sat in my row, but this passed very quickly. I found the experience oddly empowering and will certainly be doing it again.

Say yes to every social invitation (where possible)

I had quite a few social invitations in November and am happy to report that I said yes to all of them except one – and I only turned that one down because I was unwell. There were occasions where in all honesty I did not feel like socialising, but once I was there I was glad I had made the effort. With Christmas coming up, this is a goal I aim to keep.

Have a voice at work and at play

This was a goal I needed to work on this month; my confidence had taken a knock the previous month so I needed to build myself back up. I made a conscious effort to have more belief in myself and my abilities and feel as if I am slowly but surely returning to my usual form both at work and at home.

Goals for December

In the Happiness Project book December is dedicated to ‘boot camp perfect’ i.e. pursuing all goals together. As much as I would love to follow suit, I think that is a little ambitious for my situation. Instead I want to dedicate December to self-care. The latter half of this year has been a little stressful, and my body and mind are in need of a little TLC. Therefore my goal for December is quite simply:

  • Look after yourself.

I’ll get back to you in January to let you know how the final month was and how I feel the year was overall.

How is your December going? Give us a tweet and let us know.

Catch up on previous Happiness Project blogs.