Ideas for Improving Your Work-Life in 60 Seconds

Created: Thursday, July 16, 2020, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am



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By Sid Madge, author of ‘Meee in a Work Minute’

There is little doubt that change is upon us in 2020. But before we all rush to get back to a pre-Covid normal maybe it’s time to redesign something better for ourselves, our businesses, and our planet.

As Arthur Ashe, Tennis champion and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient wisely said:

Most people resist change, even when it promises to be for the better. But change will come, and if you acknowledge this simple but indisputable fact of life, and understand that you must adjust to all change, then you will have a head start.

Ideas for Improving Your Work-Life
Image: Pickit

We’ve proved we can adapt

Our embrace of technology, home working, and digital solutions has demonstrated that we can adapt – and do so quickly when we need to. Lockdown has done more to open our minds to alternative ways of working than any initiative in the last decade! This realization alone has the potential to provide greater freedom, flexibility, and better work/life balance for business owners and their staff.

Forget ‘new normal’, we need ‘new balance’. A move away from the often dysfunctional, high stress, win/lose mentality that leaves everyone depleted. A famous quote from Intel’s Andy Gove is highly relevant:

Bad companies are destroyed by crisis, good companies survive them, and great companies are improved.

Often those improvements are made possible in just a moment.

We all have good days and bad days at work, but when we allow the bad times to pollute our thinking, distort how we feel, and gather momentum we can easily make things worse. This is not self-help positive thinking – this is biology.

Bad days lead to negative thought patterns, which increase the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in our system, which creates a negative feedback loop. This means that when things go wrong and we feel bad, we create more cortisol, which makes us feel worse, which creates more cortisol, which makes us feel even worse.

DHEA is the performance hormone and it does the opposite, in a positive feedback loop. If we feel good, our body creates more DHEA, which makes us feel better which creates even more and so on. Every day is a fresh day. Every moment is a fresh moment and we need to use those moments to deliberately interrupt the negative and re-set our system to minimize cortisol and maximize DHEA.

This is the reason I wrote the Meee in a Minute book series. They offer minute sized interventions, life hacks, suggestions, insights, science, stories, short exercises, or thought experiments and quotes that can help us to reboot after a tough day and improve our work-life – in just a minute.

Let me share some ideas on improving your working-life that you can quickly put into practice.

Confidence On-Demand

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy discovered something very interesting about confidence. It can be manufactured when we need it! By engaging in a ‘high-power’ pose for just two minutes we can increase our confidence hormone by 20 percent and reduce our stress hormone by 25 percent.

Next time you need a quick hit of confidence, maybe before an important meeting or negotiation, nip to the bathroom and do a ‘high-power’ pose for a couple of minutes. The easiest one to remember is the superman/wonder-woman pose. Stand up straight, shoulders back with your legs hip-distance apart, hands on your hips. Look forward with your chin tilted upward and breathe deeply as though you have just arrived to save the world. Also, at another time (not just before your meeting!) take a minute to Google what the low power poses look like so you can avoid them.

Post-Traumatic Growth

The Holmes Rahe Stress Scale suggests that the more stressful life events we experience the more susceptible we are to physical illness, disease and depression. While logical, the theory doesn’t always hold true. A field of study, called post-traumatic growth or adversarial growth, has shown that great suffering or trauma can actually lead to huge positive change. For example, after the Madrid bombings of 2004 psychologists found that many of those affected experienced positive psychological growth. A diagnosis of cancer and subsequent recovery can also trigger positive growth. Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”. Covid will make us stronger.

Take a minute to think of the positives that could come from 2020. It might not be fun at the moment, but when you can find the silver linings you can reset faster and move into growth and productivity.

Just Be Nice (JBN)

This might sound really obvious but often, especially in business we are expected to be ‘efficient’ or ‘professional’ and yet that doesn’t always incorporate ‘nice’. Why not? We are all experiencing Covid fall-out and the worst is probably yet to come. We can help and support each other to get through.

Being likable is a verified influencer, especially for marketing. We will always do more and go out of our way to help someone we like or has been nice to us. It makes business sense and it’s also a more enjoyable way to go through life. Take a minute to think about your day – could you have been nicer to anyone? Tomorrow, just be nice to everyone you come in contact with, even if you don’t feel they deserve it. Not only will it brighten their day, but it will make you feel better too.

Thinking

If what you are doing now isn’t working – do the opposite and see if that works. Often, we just double-down on the same strategy and simply flog it harder. But if it’s not working, doing it harder just makes it more wrong. Take a minute to think about something in your life that is not working. What could you do instead? Think of the exact opposite?  If you are struggling to get the best out of your team and you are not supporting them, try the opposite.

Dial Down the Overwhelm

We can easily feel overloaded by too many decisions. But if we stop to consider those decisions and when they need to be made it may be possible to delay some without much impact. This will give you some thinking space.

Also, be honest with yourself about the work you do. Stress and overwhelm is rarely just about the amount of work we do. It’s usually exacerbated by the type of work we do and whether we enjoy it or are challenged by it or not.

Take a few minutes to really consider your current role. Do you enjoy it? Does the role inspire you or challenge you? Would you enjoy it more if you could include more flexible working? If so, make it happen. Or, is it time for a change? Life is too short – make the move.

Most of us currently finding that both home and work life is a challenge. Give yourself a break. Learn some new strategies, recalibrate your thinking when you need it.  If we all do this, we’ll come back stronger and better than ever.


Sid Madge
      
Sid Madge is the founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education, and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.

To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.

Sid Madge is also author of the Meee in Minute series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

TEDx https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR3Cyjs62c8


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