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Right now the UK is gripped by the result of the referendum.

 

For some there is jubilation, while for others there is much gnashing of teeth & wailing. Whichever way you voted, we are all now in a period of uncertainty.

 

It’s at times like this that we need to reach for the ‘sod all’ box.

 

Allow me to explain…

 

There are some things in life you can control. This is about you. You can control what actions you take, what you say and, with awareness, what you think and how you react to events.

 

There are also some things you can influence. Casting your vote on Thursday 23rd June was a way of influencing the outcome of the referendum. You can also influence others and their behaviour through your own, but, as anyone with children will tell you, you can’t control anyone else, however much you might like to!

 

Sod-all Box

Finally there’s the ‘sod all’ box, which contains all those things you can’t do anything about.

Once you have cast your vote, and the result was announced, the referendum fell into the ‘sod all’ box. In fact, anything in the past, such as what you chose to eat for breakfast or whether you had a cookie or a banana at break time now fall into this box. The weather and the traffic are other, somethings frustrating, factors that generally fall into the ‘sod all’ box.

 

 

 

The concerns we all feel about the changes which lie ahead are very natural. While we can no longer influence the vote, we may be able to influence the brexit negotiations. However, for many of us the best use of our time and energy is to focus on what we can control and what is within our immediate sphere of influence.

Use your time and energy wisely

 

Complaining about something you can no longer do anything about isn’t a wise use of these finite resources.

Focus on the things you can control and influence and try to accept calmly the contents of the ‘sod all’ box to lessen the stress of change.

yerkes dodson stress and performance

Yerkes Dodson Law: How stress can affect performance positively

Today, 4th November 2015 is the 17th national stress awareness day. Much of what is available on the internet about stress is about how to avoid it. The assumption is that stress = bad. But is that really the case?

For some people of course an overload of stress is unhelpful. But the focus on stress always being bad is in itself bad. There is such a thing as good stress, called eustress. Have you ever heard that being talked about? The term eustress was first coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye and can be helpful in differentiating between different types of stress.

A certain amount of stress, eustress, is good for you. Eustress can be a great motivator, provide challenge and purpose, both at work and in our home lives. The difficult thing is defining how much is good for you. It is different for different people. The level of stress I may be able to endure could be significantly different from the level you can cope with. It is also situational; we have different coping abilities and mechanisms in different situations. For instance a shouty work colleague may upset someone far more on one day than on another depending on what is going on elsewhere in their lives. Or the computer failing to pick up emails may be a blessing on one day allowing you to get on with other tasks, but a high stressor on another day when you are expecting an important contract to come through electronically.

The strategies for coping with stress, whether eustress or distress, are also varied. Mindfulness, meditation, playing squash (or other sport), walking or talking are all useful strategies. And there are many more. But remember, some stress is good for you and can help you achieve your goals. As can be seen in the Yerkes–Dodson curve when dealing with a difficult task, there is an optimum performance level. How will you achieve yours?

What does Mindfulness have to do with the bottom line profit and the productivity of your staff (or yourself)?

How often do you spend time being in the moment, being conscious of your actions, taking control of your thoughts?  Or do you spend time responding to the ping of a new email, switching tasks readily and getting interrupted at work?

Research from Harvard in 2012 found that for the average person (if there is such a thing) the mind wanders 47% of the time.  What they also found was that a wandering mind equated with an unhappy person.  If you feel unhappy at work how productive are you versus the times when you feel happy?  Stands to reason doesn’t it, happier people = more productive people.  There’s a great TED talk by Matt Killingsworth on this topic, showing just how important it is to stay in the moment, something which practicing Mindfulness can help with.

What has also come to light is that practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress, increase happiness and boost productivity.  Here’s a link to a fuller article on the subject by www.mindful.org

Don’t just enjoy reading it, give it a go, you’ll be amazed at the results!

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness at Work
www.mindful.org

How important is mindfulness in business?

Having attended a Forward Ladies event sponsored by Barclays I came away inspired, enthused and reinvigorated.  It set me thinking about how often do we do that for ourselves?  Or do we just stay stressed individuals, trying to keep up with the rapid pace of life.  Practicing mindfulness is one way inspiration and relaxation can be achieved, with surprising results.

The two speakers, Deirdre Bounds founder of i-to-i and Sally Preston, Kiddylicious, both agreed in the Q&A session that when running a business taking time out for you (the business owner/founder) was very important.  Their advice?  Book a holiday!  So with the summer months approaching – I know the weather isn’t complying with the sentiment – where and when is your holiday going to be?

When I first started my business in September 2000 I remember people being really surprised that I had already booked a week’s holiday in late October.  It was the best thing I could have done as the pattern was then established.  Over the last 13 years I have taken more and more time out from the business, and the result?  A fall in turnover?  A loss of business?  No!  An increase in both my client base and my turnover.  So much for the addage “I can’t afford the time…”.  You can’t afford not to!  As the late Stephen Covey agreed with his 7th habit “Sharpen the Saw”.

Regular, smaller, timeouts are also extremely important.  I recently came across this post which identifies the benefit of taking time out while at work http://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-practice/a-new-way-to-work? together with the infographic on the mind at work.