Be Mindful

Be Mindful

Mindfulness.

It’s a term that has started to become more and more popular. But what is it?

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, mindfulness is:

“The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

Who has time for that?!

As our days are packed, back-to-back, and often feeling like we are running behind schedule, it can feel like if we didn’t automatically breathe – we’d forget to do it!

And yet, staying present and not letting the stress and busyness of life carry us away can be really beneficial.

Need some easy places to start?

  • The next time you find yourself getting frustrated in a meeting (or at home), take some deep breaths … in through your nose, into your belly, and with a long exhale – out through your mouth
  • Or, the next meal you eat, pause to smell your food. Think about the flavors you are tasting. What do they remind you of?
  • Pause between your actions. So, the next time you are running to your meeting – stop to notice your surroundings before you walk in. Or, the next time your phone rings – listen to the sounds and breath before you answer

Sound a little different? Totally!

Try it out this week and see if it makes a difference in your temperament or the stress you may be feeling.

And let us know what works or doesn’t work for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year can be so interesting. Our time is filled with stuffing ourselves full of delicious foods and navigating our way through stores to try to “find the best deals”.

Often times, as we are spending more time with those in our personal lives, those who we work with see a bit of a different picture.

We are trying to get out a little early… and it can be so easy to:

  • Snap at our peer about not being able to get to the project until next week
  • Tell our direct report that we can help them later or that they are “innovative and can figure it out”

Sound a little familiar?

As we are entering into the home stretch of 2016, let’s challenge each other to stay present in each moment.

You totally want (and need) to leave early, and if you are feeling flustered or pressured, take a big- deep breath, and choose to be present in the moment.

Re-center yourself and *think* about what you are going to say before letting the words come out.

Choosing to do this may help you to keep those relationships supported while also communicating what you need to in the moment.

Setting Priorities when Things are Crazy

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We’ve all had those moments… you know, those moments when you are happily sitting at your desk knocking things out and then your phone rings and you hear:

“Heyyyy, so we’ve got a new project that we’ve got to get done by tomorrow” YIKES!

Instantly it’s all hands on deck and your to-do list is totally thrown out the window.

BUT – there are still things on that list that you need to get done! You can feel your heart rate start to heighten and your palms get sweaty – now what?!

How do you deal with the fires?

Step 1: Calm it down!

You know you’re not at your best when you are stressed. Nothing productive gets done well when you are in that space.

Do what you need to do to get back to a place of thinking in your logical brain verses thinking from your stress. How do you actually DO that?

  • Take a couple of long (6-8 second) deep breaths
  • Get out of the office for a minute, go walk across the street to grab a cup of tea or coffee
  • Plan for a quick run during your lunch break

Step 2: Take a step back

Make a list of all of the items that HAVE to get done today or tomorrow. Look to see if there is anything that you can push out another day or two, or delegate to someone on your team (need tips on how to delegate effectively? Check out here, here, and here).

Communicate with those around you of what came up: tell you boss that you’ve been handed this last-minute task and you’re prioritizing it, let your team know that you’ve been handed a huge project and that you’ll probably be a little more on edge today. Being transparent with those around you will serve you all well!

Step 3: Set Realistic Expectations

You know you can’t do everything, so start thinking through your to-do’s in buckets.

Bucket 1 – Quick knock-outs: Is there an item or two that you can complete in the next 20 or 30 minutes? Do those quickly – spend no longer than 30 minutes on each. Feeling better as things start to be checked off your to-do list? Great. Move to bucket 2.

Bucket 2 – the biggies: Buckle down and knock out the most important/time sensitive item. Is someone waiting for a piece from you to be able to work on theirs? Tackle that now.

Bucket 3 – Finish it up! Circle back to those important items that take a little longer.

Try these out and let us know your best practices in dealing with fires!

Smile

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How about this week?!

A bit overwhelmed? Concerned over the seemingly-etched furrow lines dotting your brow?

Do us a favor and SMILE.

Yup – take a quick second and smile at yourself in the mirror / computer monitor / selfie view of your phone.

Big tooth grin – complete!

Feeling Better? Us too. Studies have shown that taking a few moments to smile (or chuckle – which some of us also did while looking at ourselves in our selfie-cam) will decrease your stress levels. Less stress (and even just a TEENSY bit of less stress) means, better interactions, happier direct reports, and lots of health benefits.

Don’t believe us? Check it out here, or here, or here!

Next time you’re feeling stressed – force a smile. It’ll help!

Manage it – and your stress

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Stress has become an inevitable part of being a Middle Manager. How do you manage both your workload AND your stress?

In the Forbes article, 12 Ways to Eliminate Stress in the Workplace, the PhD Business Psychologist and author of  Success Under Stress Sharon Melnick shares a few methods to work through, and succeed through, stress. By owning the aspects of the situation you can control (and not focusing on the 50% you can’t), trying some yoga-ish breathing techniques, and looking at (and more purposely dealing with) the daily interruptions of urgent emails or texts, you can stay steadily focused and less stressed throughout the day.

Have you tried some of these, or similar techniques, to manage your workplace stress? Which work for you?