But it is a fallacy to blame a lack of time or to think that you can work faster or smarter to keep on top. You can’t “manage” time – it will tick away regardless. What you can do is manage how you think about yourself, your job, your life.
Knowing what is important to you in your life.
Are you spending enough of your time on the right things? What gives you a sense of self-worth? It is usually when we can’t do the things that give us a sense of self-worth and make us feel good about ourselves, that we feel the pressure of having too much to do. Try this tool to review your priorities.
Learning to take control
Feeling at the mercy of other people’s demands undermines your self-confidence – you end up responding to their needs rather than your own. Shift your mindset so that you don’t automatically accept all invitations or requests for help. Learn to say “no”. Remember that when you say no, you are refusing the request, not rejecting the person. See page 220 of my book for more tips on this.
Human beings are not good at planning realistically. That’s why big projects over-run on cost and time. It’s true of our personal and work lives too – we think we can do more than is feasible in the time available. Jonathan Wolff hits a chord with me in this article when he writes “We forget that the day fills up with utterly predictable chores, even if not predicted. We forget that we get tired”. Allow space in your day for the things you haven’t factored in.
I am not knocking time management tools – I find several useful, especially personal Kanban and mind-mapping – but even the most perfect tool won’t alleviate the pressures you feel if you are not spending enough of your time on the things that make you feel good.]]>
What can we do to protect ourselves from the psychological harm of feeling too much concern about things over which we have almost no control?
Stephen Covey’s concentric circles of concern and influence can help – see my version above. Concentrate your energy on those things you can control or influence. Ok, you can’t solve the climate emergency, but you can recycle more, drive your car less, join wildlife campaigns and lobby your MP. Similarly, with Brexit, you can join in petitions and marches, and use your vote when you get the chance.
But we also need to do the small things in our own lives that will help to ameliorate this corrosive atmosphere and protect our young people from the psychological danger of excessive concern without influence.
Do what you can to look after your and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing: eat good food, take exercise, walk in the fresh air, get enough sleep, make time for friends, family and fun, have some news-free days, go to the cinema, read a book, take up a new hobby, go to a yoga class…….it’s all small stuff but it can take the edge off the big issues. For more coping strategies, try my SPICE questionnaire.]]>
A holiday can be an opportunity to REVIEW how your life is going and to RENEW your energy for making changes towards how you want it to be.
The Wheel of Life is a great tool for thinking about the different parts of your life and deciding on where you want to make changes.
Today I am going with friends to Jersey for the weekend. It will be an opportunity to spend time with them, have some fun together and explore an interesting place. I know it will make me feel good. My “Review and Renew” pledge is to build more of that into my day-to-day life!]]>
It seems that we can turn around a negative mindset to a positive mindset. One suggestion that I definitely won’t be following is to watch a horror movie before taking on a stressful challenge!
However, here are some Dos and Don’ts from the article that can help develop a positive stress mindset:
More tips in How to Get On with Anyone, Chapter 16 “Enhancing your Self-Confidence”.]]>
How often can we honestly say we behave in these ways, even with people in our own organisations, let alone people outside?
What can leaders (and others) do to create more trust at work?
Knowing about how different personality types respond to grief can help family members understand and empathise with each other at this difficult time.
Dr Lisa Prosser-Dodds has researched how different personality types respond to grief and has come up with a simple model of coping styles, based on the MBTI function pairs, which she describes in this TV interview .
Here is a summary of her “grief types” and how I have seen them played out in my own recent experience of bereavement.
ST – the Practical griever. The least emotionally outward with a focus on what needs to be done, and how to realistically get through this. My ST husband showed this response, with his focus on the practicalities of organising the funeral and dealing with the estate.
SF – the Guardian griever. They want to guard and uplift the memory of the deceased and they do real and tangible things to this end. My SF mother has a photo of husband alongside her, has hoarded treasured mementoes and likes to have his ashes with her.
NT – the Mastery griever. They want to get it right and may use resources such as books and self-help groups to help them deal with it. I can see this aspect in myself (INTP) – one of the things I did was to re-read the notes of Clare Ayers’ session at BAPT 2019 about understanding grief and loss.
NF – the Searching griever. They want to find meaning and they search for the meaning they can find in their loss.
With such different responses to bereavement and different paths to recovery, misunderstandings can occur, making it hard to support each other through grief. Being aware of these potential differences can help family members be kind to each other and support each other in their own unique ways.]]>
Looking for some guidance on “what’s normal” in reactions to bereavement, I turned to a summary of Clare Ayers’ session at the 2019 @BritPsychType conference, on “Understanding grief and loss”. Two points came across strongly:
Life after a bereavement is never the same again, so the goal is to build a new life while still valuing the grief you feel. The SPICE model, which looks after the whole person, can help you do this. Here are the actions that are helping my mother and me to manage our grief now:
Spiritual actions: my mother found great comfort in going to Church on their wedding anniversary recently. For me, getting outside into beautiful surroundings, helps me feel connected with the world beyond myself.
Physical actions: playing tennis, going for bike rides and generally getting out provides physical relief from my emotional turmoil. Walking down the road to the shops, taking a stroll around the garden, hanging out the washing – these can all help to bring balance.
Intellectual actions: ways to occupy and engage your mind can help – my mother has taken to doing crosswords, and she watches TV quizzes. I find solace in reading books and watching sport or nature programmes on TV.
Career actions: getting back to my normal work, and my coaching clients after a 4 week break, is helping me to recover, though I am aware of the danger that I bury my emotions by being too busy.
Emotional actions: my mother has photo of my father by her side and takes solace in the eloquent letter he wrote to her. Talking about my father and having the support of family and friends has been immensely important for both of us.
Clare Ayers’ session included dos and don’ts on how to show empathy for someone grieving, and in particular:
It’s a timely reminder that in grief, as in life, we are all different.]]>
Japanese management techniques like kaizen and kanban were all the rage years ago when I worked for Ford Motor Company and ICL. The concepts of continuous improvement and just in time delivery are still relevant to most businesses these days. These ideas work on a personal level too – continuous learning, growth mindset and now personal kanban can help us live happier lives. Personal kanban is a technique for managing your work in progress so that you get things done while not feeling stressed by having too much on your to do list.
There is a great summary of how it works here. I tried it out and it works for me. It really does take the pressure off that feeling of never getting enough things done. And because it’s a dynamic process of adding items to your work in progress as you finish others, it really feels like you are moving ahead.
But using it in isolation from other techniques can mean that the big projects never getting broken down into do-able chunks. So I combine it with mind-mapping. I have a mind map of all my projects (coaching clients, workshops, book promotion and writing, BAPT, house, garden, family and friends) and I review this weekly to identify what needs to be done on each of them. I then use this to feed specific actions into my to-do list for the week. This way, I can give attention and balance to all aspects of my life.]]>
The Mobiliser Dad
Mobilisers like to get things done. Their motto is “Let’s do it now!” They tend to be energetic and determined, straightforward and direct. Mobiliser dads like their children to get on with things (especially their homework!). Top tip: beware of seeming impatient, and don’t forget to make time to listen to your child.
The Navigator Dad
Navigators like to think ahead. Their motto is “What’s the plan?”. They tend to be focused and methodical, calm and intense. Navigator dads like their children to think first and plan ahead. Top tip: beware of seeming too serious – don’t forget to talk to your child and have fun!
The Energiser Dad
Energisers like to involve others. Their motto is “Let’s do it together!”. They tend to be expressive and engaging, persuasive and enthusiastic. Energiser dads like their children to get involved and be communicative. Top tip: beware of seeming too intrusive and don’t forget to give them space.
The Synthesiser Dad
Synthesisers like to weigh things up. Their motto is “What result do we need?”. They tend to be patient and approachable, unassuming and modest. Synthesiser dads like to give their children options and ‘be there’ for them. Top tip: beware of seeming too accommodating – don’t forget to tell them what you want.
Find out more about your own style – download a free chapter of my book here: https://essenwood.co.uk/book/how-to-get-on-with-anyone/]]>
But what about people with whom you fundamentally disagree, people who don’t share your beliefs? This is difficult, because beliefs are an important part of who we are; when others disagree with our beliefs, we feel a threat to our self-worth and identity. This triggers the flight or fight response, we react emotionally, and the situation escalates into conflict, making it even more difficult to find common ground. Once emotions kick in, people become more entrenched in their positions. We see this happening now on the argument over LGBT teaching in a Birmingham primary school and of course Brexit.
You can’t control other people’s emotional reactions, but you can control your own, and responding in a calm way will influence how they react. Take a pause, count to ten, breathe deeply, think about what you want to say. Use active assertiveness – say what you want clearly, use self-confident speech and body language. Appreciate that when people react emotionally, it’s a sign that their needs are not being met – ask open questions to clarify what they want. Find out what people are feeling rather than what they think.
Adopt a position of “radical open-mindedness” – be prepared to switch your perspective to theirs, to understand their beliefs and explore the consequences. There may be aspects on which you can agree and can build consensus. It takes courage and humility to consider another person’s point of view and to set aside a familiar way of thinking to give a fair and honest hearing to alternative position. Switch from the past or present to the future and use inclusive language – “how can we take this forward?”, “what shall we do next?”.
Challenge your own beliefs. Ask yourself what is your belief doing for you: how does it help you and how does it hinder you? How are you acting out this belief and is this helping you live your life in the way you want? Similarly, what is their belief doing for them? Is there another way of meeting the need that is driving their belief?
We live in an increasingly complex, crowded world of competing interests. There will always be situations where people have strongly held, opposing beliefs, especially on political, moral and religious matters. Where beliefs are irreconcilable, we must find ways to respect the difference and find compromises that work for all. Taking the emotional reaction out, recognising the need to work together to build consensus, rather than taking up opposing entrenched positions, is the only way forward.]]>