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Eat Smart

Two Ways to Work Less While Working More

Convincing yourself – and your boss – that some “no” work is good work

How many of you have found yourself:

  • Chasing rabbit trails on the Internet?
  • Checking emails in order to avoid doing other work?
  • Attending unnecessary meetings?

This is a sure sign that you need a break. But, don’t mislead yourself in thinking these types of activities are actually breaks. They’re not! These are known as “junk hours.”

Junk hours are a little like junk food. While they provide short-term pleasure, they contribute to long-term imbalance and exhaustion. You need to replace junk hours with regeneration. Here’s how:

First, realize everyone needs to take breaks and shift gears. You need to identify when you’re going through the motions of work, versus when real work is being done. Sometimes taking a break at the right time enables you to jettison your afternoon junk hours.

 

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Second, work through lunch less often. One of my clients shifted his lunch hours to time with friends or going to the gym, instead of trying to squeeze in more work around bites of a burger. In both instances, these scheduled breaks increased my client’s energy level and sense of well-being. He felt less of a need to take low-value breaks in the afternoon and began to experience more productivity.

And, yes, he began getting out of the office earlier, too.

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How to: Fight Food Cravings without Going Crazy

How Much Exercise is Your Food Worth?

How Much Exercise is Your Food Worth?

Andy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Well Being and Peak Human Performance.

Junk food: It’s full of sugar, calories, and very little nutrition.  It’s also delicious.

Now envision the average workday. It’s morning time, and you walk into the break room to see… doughnuts. Yes, you were good this morning and ate breakfast already, but that chocolate doughnut looks amazing. So you take one, thinking, “I’ll work it off later.”  Two hours later, your coworkers are eating mexican and invite you to come along, so you go eat chips and salsa and lots of cheesy goodness. Stomach full, you lug your body back to work where someone just made cookies. Yum. They smell so good, so you just take one. Eventually you go home and have dinner, and if you’re smart, you’ll have a salad and take your dog for a walk.

You weren’t planning on having any of those extra calories, but junk food temptation is a beast. However, if you don’t change these indulgent habits quickly, you’re going to have to buy a new wardrobe to fit into.

As a wellness speaker, I have a lot of people ask me the best way to handle this situation. Here’s my advice.

Remember the 90/10 rule.

If 90% of your diet is healthy and the other 10% is junk, and you stick to this 90% of the time, you’re doing alright. Just make sure you don’t OD on junk food so that your work performance is still good.

Keep in mind the calories. 

Start connecting cravings to how much exercise you’d have to do to get rid of that doughnut. Check out this helpful infographic on the right. Do you have time to swim for 130 minutes and do crunches for 88 minutes? Didn’t think so.

Reduce cravings. 

If you’re having intense cravings for a candy bar or bag of chips, giving into it with a small portion can take the edge off and divert your attention to more important matters. Nobody’s perfect and can stick to one habit all the time, so having just a little junk food here and there is a realistic way to live.

Take every moment at a time and remember that cravings typically only last for three minutes. So, like all temptations, if you notice they’re cropping up, set yourself apart for them. Go drink some water or unsweet tea. Pop in a piece of gum to take you mind off it. Soon those cookies and doughnuts might not seem so important. 

Reward Yourself.

You should be looking at feeling good being the reward for eating well, but saving a bag of gummy bears for the end of the week can also be used as a reward for keeping up a good job throughout the week.

If you practice moderation, a little bit of junk food on special occasions can be more beneficial to your overall health and wellness than trying to withstand completely.

To learn more on Andy’s programs,

 

 

Creating a Daily Vacation

mister-rogersIt’s January, and the holidays are officially over. For many, the next months will be dedicated to work without the hope of a vacation and may be the hardest part of the year to enjoy. To stay motivated, some may focus on when the next getaway is, but it’s more beneficial to develop a daily habit of renewal.

In the article, “Recovery, Work Engagement, and Proactive Behavior: A New Look at the Interface Between Nonwork and Work,” the study found that if you practice recovery rituals on a daily basis, your work engagement and productivity levels will increase. Therefore to maintain positive motivation both at work and home, we must create a mini vacation on a daily basis. Forming this habit is a simple exercise that requires three easy steps.

1.)    Evaluate

Recovery will be different for each person, but the first step is to recognize your current pattern when you leave work. Do you have a coming home ritual that allows you to unplug? Do you mentally leave work, or do you instead stay connected to technology and the stress of your job? Do you exercise or plop on the couch with your dinner and remote in hand? Can you talk to those who matter in your life,  or are you distracted and irritable?

2.)    Envision

After you’ve contemplated what your day looks like now, decide what needs to change. One important step is to “bookend” your day. Some call this the Mr. Rogers method because as we all remember, every time he entered his doorway, he put on his cardigan and slippers. Take this a step further, and instead of putting on your old man apparel, put on tennis shoes and go exercise. Yoga is also a great way to engage in recovery because it melds fitness with centering yourself in the present moment while it purges out your stress through breathing. Think of exercise as a stress filtering tool rather than a chore, and remember that it doesn’t have to be intense, it just has to be consistent.

3.)    Engage

After you’ve relieved your stress, then you can enjoy those around you who make your life what it is. Whether it’s your spouse, your child, your dog or your journal, truly participate. I often am greeted by daughters inviting me to dance when I enter the house. This ritual releases me from work and allows me to appreciate my family, my home and my life.

Also, eat your evening meal with intention. I know that every night can’t be a gourmet experience, but you can do better than fast food from a chain restaurant or your microwave every night. The experience of cooking is good for community building, health and happiness, and try sitting at the table rather than your couch. Doing so will support communication much more deeply, and connecting to your food will help you eat the proper amount and be satisfied.

Practicing the habit of gratitude will also increase your motivation. This is because being thankful for the bright spots in your day make it worthwhile. If you take time to reflect and appreciate, your gratitude will reframe your mindset into a positive outlook. Also, rather than worrying about work or dreading going in the next day, contemplate what you actually enjoy about your job. Choose something that you’re thankful for and say it audibly. Attitude is by far the most important factor in maintaining happiness.

In short, figure out what habits make you feel mentally at ease and positive. If you get home and do things that make you feel grateful for the life you’re living, you’ll more motivated and energized on a daily basis. These mini vacations are necessary to recharge your perspective and prepare you for work the next day.

So again, recognize your current status, decide what small habits you can change in your day to develop a pattern of recovery, and practice those changes. Doing so will change your mindset and give you a better sense of balance in both work and life.

 

 

 

Breaking the Habits That Hold You Back

Andy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Wellbeing, and Peak Human Performance.

Our daily lives are filled with habits, some good and some bad. Fortunately, bad habits can be broken and be replaced with good habits that work for your benefit instead of to your detriment.

The best way to break a bad habit, or form a good one, is to change your mindset. The secret to changing your habits is to making the active decision to change an believing that it will work.

Each habit takes the daily choice to believe that you will keep succeeding as well as the stubborn quality to withstand temptation. If you have a doubt that you will fail, you need to work to defeating that thought. Believe that you can do what you’ve set out to do, truly believing it, means that you are half way there.

Want to run a marathon? Believe that you can. Want to stop smoking? Believe that you can. Want to write a book? Believe that you can.

After you’ve determined your success, make the next move towards this goal, and take the first step to making it happen. Want to run a marathon? Walk more today then you did yesterday. Want to stop smoking? Don’t buy any cigarettes. Want to write a book? Decide on a topic and write the first page.

Making a habit of lounging in front of the TV every night will negatively affect your physical health. You should try going to the gym after work and once you make a habit of it, it will be easy. When your physical health improves, your mental health will also benefit.

If you have a habit of letting your stress from your work life overflow into your home life, your home life will begin to suffer. You need to find ways to de-stress after work and enjoy your home life. Workplace wellness programs can help you in this area.

If you have any bad dependency habits such as smoking, it may be very difficult to break the habit. With the right help you can eventually break the habit and enjoy a life that is dependency free. For more tips on breaking and forming habits, read this.

To learn more on Andy’s programs

 

Adapt to Change or Die… Well, Sort Of

Be prepared to adapt to change

Be prepared to adapt to change

Andy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Wellbeing, and Peak Human Performance.

The theory of evolution is pretty clear. Adapt or die. Dinosaurs and the dodo are dead because they didn’t change fast enough. Live can be harsh. But it’s also pretty simple. If we don’t adjust then we too are going to fail.

I’m not necessarily saying your going to die, but I am saying that unless we observe, reflect and react in the correct way, we aren’t going to live our ideal life.

Say you have a problem with some aspect of yourself. You see a habit, behavior or belief and you know it’s negatively affecting your life. Could simply be the lack of something- you need to be more productive, more wellness oriented or simply have a better work-life balance. Many people struggle with all three.

To change this negative quality you must willing to adapt. After observing the aspect you know is bad, reflect on the best way to bring change. This is usually a lot more straightforward then we want to make it. You’re unproductive? Why? What gets in your way? Is it flappy bird? Is it lack of nutrition, sleep or exercise? Now how do you fix it? Some advice? Turn off your phone when you get home. Every time you eat, do so with thoughtfulness. The moment you get home, keep your tv off, and take your dog for a walk; forming a habit of exercise. Do these changes every day, and if and when you mess up, keep going.

Change really is that simple.

But the real secret? You must want it. You have to want it more than you want to be lazy or distracted or negative, you must be ready to adapt to change. If the way you have always done things is no longer working you must be ready to try new ways. It never pays to remain set in your ways. If you are unwilling to make any changes in your life, you will only be hurting yourself in the long run. Anyone is able to change once they set their mind to it so you should be prepared to change when necessary.

You may not always like the way the world changes but you have to learn to work with it. You have to be flexible. You will be fighting a losing battle if you continue to resist change. It is better to accept change, and embrace it as an opportunity to enhance your personal development.

To learn more on Andy’s programs .

 

 
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Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
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About Andy Core
Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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