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happy family

What do your Family and Friends mean to you?

1000 877 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

LifeFamily

This is the fifth in a series of articles to help you focus on a different aspect of your life and to inspire and motivate you to make a change in one or more areas.

What do your Family and Friends mean to you?

• How often do you see close family?
• Do you have a circle of good friends?
• How often do you spend time with them?
• Do you have a good relationship with your children?

This week is about focusing on the important people in your lives.

When you’re putting in the hours at work, it’s too easy to ignore or take for granted those closest to you and those that know you best. You snatch a couple of hours in the evening and maybe you manage a bit of time at the weekend. Are you zoning out or trying to relax with a bit of TV, eating meals while you work or check social media or emails? Are you still thinking about work as you read the children a bedtime story, catching up on work when they’re in bed or getting home so late you miss their evening routine?

Maybe friends have moved away and you don’t see members of your family as often. You keep meaning to call and arrange to meet up but ‘you’re too busy this week’, you’ve got a report due next month, you’re busy for the next two weekends … Next week becomes next month and then next year and before you know it years have passed and you’ve lost touch.

You’ll have friends you don’t see often but when you reconnect it’s as if you’ve never been apart.

While social media can help you to stay connected with friends and family you don’t get a chance to see as often, it can also make you more isolated. Even families living together retreat to separate locations to chat to their ‘online’ friends but forget to have real conversations with the people right there in front of them.

Friends come and go during the course of our lives. You may have friends you’ve known since childhood. Friends you’ve met at different stages of your life and then move on to new and different friends.

Action:

What difference could you make to your Family & Friends this week?

• Who in your family haven’t you spoken to in a while?
• Phone a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to for a while.
• Write a letter or send an email to a friend or family.

Spend time this week with the important people in your life. Not just time you would normally spend together but plan something different.

Re-evaluate your relationships with your friends. Do you have friends who always seem to want something from you? Do some of your friends drag you down more than they lift you up.

Only have people around you who respect and support you, who you enjoy being with and make the time and effort to see or talk to them regularly.

Enjoy the time spent with your family and friends this week.

breaks

The Importance of Taking Regular Breaks

1024 680 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

family-at-airport-with-luggage

Make time to take a complete break from work. You owe it to yourself, your health and mental wellbeing.

You work hard during the week and probably spend the weekend rushing around completing all those jobs that need doing. You go back to work on a Monday just as tired and stressed as you were on the Friday.

When you work for yourself you may feel you can’t afford to take the time away and that the office will fall apart without out you. When you work for someone else you may only get four weeks paid holiday a year and you need to work around your colleagues and family commitments too.

While most people are happy to book up their main holiday over the Summer – two weeks away with the family or friends, you should also plan in shorter breaks. A long weekend or a week every few months.

Would you rather have three or four holidays a year? They don’t have to be three or four ‘long’ holidays. A break away from your normal routine can do you as much good as a week away.

There are enough Bank Holidays throughout the year to give you the opportunity of a shorter working week to get away. It doesn’t have to be a foreign trip to an exotic location or need to involve a lot of expense. There are plenty of unexplored places on your doorstep or only a short drive away. Rather than spend your weekend catching up, trips to the DIY store or garden centre, become a tourist in your own town.

A change of scenery and doing something different (even if that means a spot of guilt-free nothing – relaxing, reading, enjoying a great view) can be just the break you need from the day-to-day busyness and stress of work.

One holiday a year is never enough. You arrive, take a few days to unwind and are just starting to relax when it’s time to come back again.

Do you often find you are ill when you go on holiday? If you’ve been under stress and you’re working too hard this is a good indicator. Once you start to relax on holiday, your body which has been dealing with the stress or suppressing any thoughts of being ill, decides it’s had enough. Not helped by coughs, colds and bugs passed by other travellers.

Taking regular breaks and giving yourself time to relax is important to your mental and physical wellbeing and will help to reduce your stress.

If you’d like to know how you can organise your life better still be able to take three or holidays a year, email or call me and let me help you improve your work/life balance.

 

emails

Emails Do’s and Don’ts

1024 649 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

emails

We all know how much time email eats into the working day.  It can take up to 40% of your time and it’s often one of the most frequently discussed challenges people face.

While it’s difficult to entirely avoid email, here are few ideas to create a more professional and efficient email process that can be applied to both small and large businesses.

Is email the best and most appropriate means of communication? Sometimes it’s quicker and more effective to just pick up the phone.

Only send your email to the person who needs to read it.  Don’t clog up someone’s inbox if it’s not relevant for them.

Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions.  This will avoid additional emails being sent back and forth.

Do use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation.  This should apply to any form of communication.  Spell check your emails before you hit send.

Do make it personal – address them by name, ”Dear Sir/Madam” is too formal for an email.

Don’t attach unnecessary files.  Large files can clog up an email system – especially when they get sent to multiple addressees.  Think about using Google Drive or Dropbox for sharing larger files or zip them up first.

Don’t write in CAPITALS – this is seen as shouting in the online world.

Don’t automatically attach previous conversations if they’re no longer relevant.

Do change the subject if the discussion has changed.

Don’t leave out the message thread – especially if it relates to what you’re discussing.

Do read through your email before you hit send – we all mistype and skip words occasionally.  Set it to one side and come back to it later, you’re more likely to spot any obvious mistakes.

Don’t overuse Reply to All – does everyone really need to see your reply.

Don’t automatically request delivery and read receipts – these have their uses but may also be switched off by the recipient, so you won’t get them anyway.

Do avoid excessive use of the high priority option, URGENT and IMPORTANT (unless it is!)

Don’t use email for confidential or sensitive information.

Do avoid email ping-pong – pick up the phone instead.

 

Look out for more info and tips for a more effective and organised Inbox.

 

back to work

Getting Back On Track After A Holiday Break Part 2

1024 682 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

work after holiday

Often when we’re away on holiday or taking a break, we come back with good intentions to work fewer hours, be more productive, take more time off, not get so stressed, exercise more … etc. While it’s all too easy to get sucked back in to the routine of work, try and maintain that relaxed feeling.

• Keep work in perspective. Know what you need to get done. Focus on what’s important and plan what you need to get done each day.

• Avoid distractions and interruptions which waste time and mean you’re working less effectively and for longer.

• Make sure you take breaks during the day – not always easy but important. Even after a short 5-10 minute break you’ll feel refreshed and you’ll be more productive.

• If you’ve had a tendency to work later and later, put a limit on your working hours. Reduce them to a more sensible level.

• Decide to finish early at least one or two evenings a week.

• Make sure you plan time for yourself, your family and friends and book it in your diary.

work after holiday

Start as you mean to go on.

If you decided to make changes to your working routine while you were away, list out the changes you’d like to make, plan ahead, stay focused and stay motivated.

Think about the benefit to you, your career or your personal life and set aside time to review your progress regularly to keep you on track and prevent you from slipping back into your old ways.

Start planning your next holiday now. It doesn’t have to be a long one, even the occasional long weekend can give you the regular breaks you need and keep you focused and motivated.

effective-leadership

Effective Leaders Always Understand the Perspective of their Audience

1024 770 iPerform

effective leaders

Recent research published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal demonstrates that leaders who fail to understand the perspective of their audience are more likely to fail in their efforts to deal with problems and difficult situations.

Adam Galinsky, the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business Management at Columbia Business School, who conducted the study, discovered that Military Leaders, CEOs and Politicians who were better at seeing another person’s point of view, generally had better results with employee engagement and in resolving issues.

Galinsky, in fact, made three additional significant discoveries in his research into effective leadership. Firstly, although taking another’s perspective is important, it doesn’t make any difference if a person isn’t willing to act on this information. Those who are better at seeing other’s people’s points of view are better at “navigating” through problems and difficult situations, but they often lack the drive to be assertive and make the change which they know is necessary for problems to be resolved.

Secondly, the more power you have, the less likely you are able to take into account the perspective of your audience. Leaders have to be mindful that even though their own views have pushed them towards reaching their goals, this may inevitably lead you to sticking to your own viewpoint way too often, reducing the likelihood of you considering another person’s perspective.

Leader

Thirdly, those who have power but are also aware of the need to shift away from their own viewpoint, are more likely to be successful effective leaders.

1) They are able to promote an atmosphere where opinions are encouraged. This increase in information sharing leads to better decisions being made, especially when more complex issues are involved.

2) They are able to handle difficult situations better by being able to take into account different points of view. This leads to a greater amount of balance and fairness which means problems are resolved far more effectively.

 

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