Enjoy Your Vacation (Really Enjoy It!)

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The first day of vacation is here! You’ve already prepared your colleagues and boss with how to fulfill your role while you’re gone, but have you taken the time to prepare yourself for days of fun, relaxation, and adventure?

You’ve developed a routine of staying on top of tasks in the office, but we want you to hone your skills related to personal time.

This guide, in short, will show you how to decompress without all the stress of worrying about work while on vacation.

Timing is everything

Peak season is commonplace in most organizations, so you’ll want to make certain your vacation coincides with the offseason, if possible, to maximize your efforts to unwind. By selecting vacation time outside of when you’ll be in high demand, you are better able to make plans around known information rather than a hazarded guess.

If you’re unsure when the busiest times of the year occur, speak with your boss or forecasting department, whose job includes maintaining appropriate staffing at all times, for guidance. Planning your vacation during a lull will ensure the likelihood that you’ll remain undisturbed with work and fully engrossed in enjoying yourself.

Unplugging from Technology

In today’s world, leaving your cell phone at home induces anxiety of the worst kind. Doh! How will you respond to emails, voicemails, and text messages if you don’t have your trusty device? Easy. You don’t. You’ve become so accustomed to always being “plugged in” that you are no longer in-tune with the most important contact – yourself.

It’s perfectly fine if you elect to bring your cellphone, laptop, or tablet on vacation, but be sure to utilize the “Do Not Disturb” feature when you really do not want to be disturbed. Pinging email notifications can put a real damper on a deep tissue massage. Disabling this feature will allow you to “loosen up” and enjoy the moment while remaining undisturbed.

If completely unplugging makes you uncomfortable, carve out a certain time of the day to devote no more than one hour to checking emails and responding to any urgent requests.

Putting yourself first

These days are devoted to no one else but you, so act like it! In order to be your best self at work, you’ll need to take the time to do all of the things you didn’t have time to do because of daily career demands.

When was the last time you were able to read a book, see the sights, or have meaningful conversations with loved ones? If this question takes you longer than a few seconds to answer, you need to make it a priority to do at least one of these things while on vacation.

You’ll also want to take this “make-time-for-me” mantra with you during your return to work. Pace yourself by using your first day back to catch up on emails and reacquainting yourself with your role. Block some time on your calendar to catch up so your coworkers will know that you’d prefer not to be disturbed while you’re getting back to business.

Now that you’re all rested up and refreshed, you’re able to seize the days ahead at the office!

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Developing You

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If you could have more of one thing in life, what would it be?

…………

Did you answer with time or money? If so, you are right up there with about 85% of Americans.

We are all. so. busy.

And now, we are suggesting that you take more time out of your day to develop you. If you haven’t been with us the last few weeks we’d encourage to check out our past two posts on why to spend the time and where to start.

This week, we’ve got the VERY exciting chance to talk about WHEN to actually do this.

Some days it can be so hard to find the time to make a pit stop in the bathroom, let alone take a class or work with a Coach!

But, if you just continue to do what you have been, chances are you won’t continue to grow in the ways you hope to. (I know… this post is getting all serious!)

The best way to find the time to develop you is to set aside the time and don’t let anything get in the way.

I can almost feel the eye rolls happening and hear the “But….”

Maybe you need to schedule yourself to “leave” work an hour early once a month but instead of going home, stop by the library to work on your class.

Or maybe instead of hanging out in the break room for lunch, go down by the park and read.

LITTLE tweaks can make a really big difference.

Whatever it is you’ve chosen to do, it is time to make the choice that you continuing to grow is just as important as you getting your job done.

So.

Take out your calendar and choose a time- block it off.

Then, go talk to whoever you need to help keep you accountable to that (maybe it’s your team so that they know they really can’t bother you during that time or your boss or your spouse or trusted friend).

But, tell someone what you are committing to.

We are excited for you to continue to grow and we’d love to hear about what you’ve committed to!

Staying Engaged in your Work

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In wrapping up our tips for working from home we’ve got our team member, Audra Brown, on how to stay engaged while working at home. Take it away, Audra!

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 11.08.19 AMThere are days when I can honestly say I miss my life in a cubicle, when getting my job done required little more than the subtle motivations of the workplace: my boss sitting in the glass office across from me, my co-workers entrenched on similar projects, and the constant team meetings, lunch, and water cooler breaks.

Working from home with two small children means that getting my “office” work done with excellence is a whole lot more exciting to accomplish! My role as a work-from-home mom requires me to operate in an environment of constant demands and a timetable that is variable at best.

Although organization (what’s that again?) and time management (wait, you can manage time?!) are key pieces to meeting my deadlines and ensuring I am focused and engaged, I have also found that motivating myself properly is a significant piece in achieving success in an otherwise, as I like to call it, hostile work environment.

It has been said that the best jobs are the ones you love and happen to get paid for. Who doesn’t want to have the best job? I try to make mine just that by finding ways to love what I do, even if that connection isn’t naturally there in the beginning.

Here are some ways I try to engage myself with my work:

  1. Find the areas of each project/task that play to my strengths. How can I exercise my strengths to not only do a good job but possibly take it to the next level?
  2. Define why I care about the outcome and/or the people that will be on the receiving end of it
  3. Discover pieces of my work in which I can incorporate slices of fun, interest, color, or insight
  4. Figure out if I can grow myself as a person through this task and come out more skilled or learned on the other end
  5. Reinforce my vision of the end goal and how I want to feel at the end of it. Recognize what it is going to take to get me there

Lastly, I would add that remembering that I control this project and my attitude towards it (and not the other way around) always takes a bit of the pressure off, allowing me the freedom to truly enjoy my work and take it where it needs to go no matter what hour of the day, night, or weekend I’m working on it!

Pace Yourself

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Working from home can come with many challenges—it’s part of the territory! However, there are just as many benefits, and as the world continues to convert to a predominantly digital space, working from home is a new challenge that many people are facing every year.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 11.52.43 AMOur Team member, Jeff, has some helpful tips:

I used to work from home 1-2 days a week until recently, when I converted to working from home full-time! It has certainly come with it’s challenges, but the benefits outweigh these ten-fold. Here are a couple of ideas and strategies that I’ve used to help this process go smoothly.

Thought #1: Use your Time Smartly

Is there a particular time of the day where your creative juices are really flowing? Maybe there are certain times of the day that you find yourself more self-motivated than other times. Find that time, exploit it to your benefit, and plan your day’s work around those times. Is it in the morning? Do the draining tasks then! Save the motivating work, the work that gives you energy, for the time of day that you’re struggling to stay on-task.

For myself, I’m WAY more motivated in the morning. So this is the time that I save for time-consuming tasks that don’t inspire me, they don’t give me energy, but they simply have to be done. Once the clock hits 2:00PM, my morning coffee is wearing off, and my eyes start to wander to the book on my table, or my mind towards the many pleasure of the Netflix app. This is when I do the tasks that inspire me, that give me energy, and feed my brain and soul. I have meetings in the afternoon, and am re-inspired by these tasks and these people to finish the day strong.

Thought #2 – Pace Yourself

Throughout each day I always remind myself this: pace yourself. Know that every day will not be the productive, butt-kicking day that you want it to be. You’re not a task-churning robot, and that’s okay!

Be okay with failing at productivity some days. Don’t beat yourself up. Push through it, and know that tomorrow can be better! Some days I’m extremely motivated; and other days I’m not. Some days, I get 10 hours worth of work done in 5 hours. Other days I get 2 hours worth of work done in 7 hours. And often, these results are no different when working in a traditional office environment.

Thought #3 – Don’t Do it Alone

Lastly, if I’m really struggling to finish a report that has to be done that day, but my Motivation Meter is reading 0, I’ll video-conference a co-worker (or friend!) and ask them if I can “sit” with them while I finish this up. Just being able to have some banter back and forth can help “humanize” the work and get me through that home-stretch.

So let’s recap:

  1. Use Time Smartly – Do the right tasks at the right time of day
  2. Pace Yourself – Don’t expect perfection, it’s okay to fail some days
  3. Don’t Do it Alone – Develop a work from home group of friends, and support each other through motivation and virtual relationships

Thanks so much for listening, and I hope that these ideas help you on your adventure in the growing group of people who work from home!

Take a Break- Relationships Matter

Take a Break- relationally

We spend so. much. time. at. work.

Sometimes it feels like there is no time for anything else… especially friendships.

When you are going from work to trainings and then you have that new project added on your plate (that you kinda, really want to take on) and your friends are experiencing the same thing – sometimes making time for each other feels near impossible.

Tim Leberchet, from Harvard Business Review, brought some intriguing insights into the Age of Loneliness we seem to be in. Tim had some great suggestions about how to make some more connections at work.

But building relationships outside of work is important too. Even if we don’t feel like we have the time, we need those non-work related friends!

This weekScreen Shot 2015-10-21 at 5.39.42 AM, we have Spencer Haney with us on what he loves to do [with friends] and how he makes the time!


What is that thing that you love to do?
I love watching and attending sporting events. You can’t beat a good baseball game on a nice summer day!

Why do you love to do that? Sports have always been a passion of mine. It’s more of my place to “get away” and turn off my brain to recharge. It’s also a great way to connect with other people, so it fulfills that need that I have to be social.

In the midst of a busy schedule, how do you find time to do it? Isn’t that why they invented DVR? And yes, yes I do pay a premium to record, watch later, and fast forward through commercials.

What is one tip you’d make to someone who wanted to create a little more space to do something they enjoy? Be intentional about it. Schedule time in your day or calendar to do what it is that you love and don’t be afraid to turn off your phone or leave it somewhere. This way you won’t be bothered by emails, texts, or calls. You can come back at least twice as refreshed and ready to go!

So, this week, make a choice to take a break and engage in your relationship with someone you value!