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Thriving in a High Demand Work-Life

con•sci•en•tious: A person wishing to do what is right, esp. to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.

Thrive at work

After my first interview, I already knew that the attendees of the Michigan Townships Association convention would turn out to be a pretty conscientious bunch.

And like so many who serve, and who also have very demanding schedules, township officials can easily fall victim to the More With Less Paradox, in which the positive attributes of drive and responsibility, combined with a demanding schedule, trigger people to live in a way that sabotages their ability to reach their goals.

Does this sound like a day you might have?

•    The morning alarm blares. Snooze button. Snooze button. Snooze button.

Two important facts and a lesson: One, nothing sabotages a day faster than starting it off with a little procrastination. Two, there is no form of real, actual torture that will break your mind and body faster than multiple sleep interruptions.  The lesson? The snooze button is secretly plotting to destroy you.

•    With a grunt of frustration and physical aches, you get up, “Ugh, I’ve got so much to do . . .”

Snoozing yourself into being behind schedule creates a rushing energy, which in turn leads you to think first of stimulation (“Coffee, I need coffee!”) instead of connecting with why you are working so hard.  The speed and busyness of your day can fuel a lack of focus and a sense of disconnection with what is important. You may end up thinking of yourself as  “struggling” rather than as “thriving.”

•    “Breakfast? I’ll just grab some caffeine and get something to eat on my way to or at work.”

Caffeine can be very effective for productivity and health, but too much caffeine, on an empty stomach, creates the perfect biochemical storm for a monumental 3:00 p.m. crash.

•    You land at work, and it goes well . . . until around 9:30 a.m., when the first energy lull hits. Time for a little cubicle trick-or-treating or a break-room doughnut.

The first three hours of work are the most productive time in your entire day. You will never be in a better state to be productive, patient, persuasive . . . or any other P word that means you get a lot accomplished. This routine sabotages your peak work time, resulting in more work tomorrow, or even worse, work to take home.

•    Lunch. Open the menu and the debate begins. Heart-healthy option or a burger?  Living inside the More With Less Paradox, it is too easy to think, “You know, it has been a stressful day. I deserve that cheeseburger.”

BOOM, the post-lunch lull hits you head on.

This day continues, but its tone has been set. Your available energy reserves are low, but the need to keep going causes you to switch to an emergency stress-based fuel—cortisol. This might keep you going, but at a high cost. Cortisol is not a clean energy. It builds up and increases crankiness, reduces our ability to innovate, and increases our chances of dying from the top four killers of men and women.

You make it to the end of the work day, but often with lingering guilt at how long your to-do list still is. Unfortunately, that frustration bleeds into your downtime, and you find yourself thinking, “Why am I so cranky? Why can’t I be more organized? Why do I have so little patience? Why am I so wiped out?”

•    In a flash, it’s time for bed. “I’m exhausted, but why is it so hard to get to sleep or stay asleep?”

As soon as sleep starts to deepen . . . the alarm blares into action and it is time to start another day.

As an expert in stress, motivation and wellbeing, I’ve been researching adults in high demand jobs for 23 years. I’ve seen the More With Less Paradox sabotage good people from Penang to Port Lawrence.  Each time I immerse myself into a new field, such as township management, I find two categories:

Strivers – Those who work hard and often meet their goals at work, but who also struggle with high levels of stress and fluctuating levels of motivation.

Thrivers – Those who work hard, consistently meet their goals at work, and thrive professionally and personally.

Have you ever wondered, “Why do some hard working adults thrive, while others struggle?” I am obsessed with that question and, as a result, I’ve found a Core Truth.  Thrivers are rarely smarter than strivers, and they don’t care more about their work.  They just think and live better. The bottom line is that thrivers are better at:

• Mentally approaching their work, especially under pressure

• Keeping their energy up

• Having a clear understanding of why they are working so hard

• Designing the flow of their day

This article and my presentations at MTA on January 29th, 2014 will help you to build a day that fuels the Core Four elements of thriving in a high demand world.

As an example of the Core Four in action, consider a 2011 research study from the University of Michigan and Portland State University on what actually energizes us at work.

First, think about what you do when you are running out of energy at work.  Most people take a break of some kind, grab more caffeine, go for a walk, get a snack, switch tasks, etc.  But what works?  What fuels us best? Could you be accidentally tripping yourself while thinking that you are moving full steam ahead?

If you are like the majority of the 214 knowledge workers who were surveyed, you would:

1.   Check email.

2.   Switch to another task.

3.   Make a to-do list.

4.   Offer help to someone at work.

5.   Talk to a coworker/supervisor.

Of these most common breaks, which ones were shown to increase energy and vitality?  None.

What breaks were positively related to vitality? What steps can you take to help yourself thrive more at work?  What ideas can you pass on to your teams that will energize them at work?  Here are six evidence-based ideas that fuel the Core Four:

a.   More Goal-Setting, Less Reorganizing:  Setting a new goal and chasing it down, even if it is a small goal, will energize you more than reorganizing your to-do list.

b.   More Learning, Less Worry: Under stress, people thrive more by focusing on learning something new, not by worrying about failing, about what they might miss, or even by winning.

c.   More Feedback, Less Venting: Everyone needs to vent, but don’t do it at work. Venting in the workplace is one of the few double jeopardy work breaks, meaning that it is connected to both low vitality and high fatigue. Having high energy at work comes from seeking and giving quality feedback.

d.   Help More, Offer Less:  Human beings are at their best when they help others, give to others and show concern for others. Those who struggle with fatigue will, with open hearts, offer help to others.  Those who rated high in vitality more often actually do something to help others.

e.   More Meaning, Less Distraction: Reflecting on what gives you joy and meaning at work will energize you even more than taking a break.

To thrive in today’s busy world, change your day so that it includes more of these elements, and the Core Four will fuel your leadership for the greater good of your communities.

I look forward to meeting you January 29th, 2014!

If you would like to download Andy’s complete infographic on the Suprising Truth About What Energizes Us At Work, go here:  www.andycore.com/more-energy-at-work

 2013 MTA Conference Keynoter Andy Core is the author of the upcoming book, Change Your Day, Not Your Life.  He is an award-winning thought leader on increasing employee engagement, productivity, and wellness motivation; his talent lies in helping hard-working, conscientious adults thrive at work and in their personal lives.  www.andycore.com 800.605.8480

He is ofte

Increasing productivity through better work-life balance

n hired as a Keynote speaker, fitness speaker, wellness speaker, work-life balance speaker, stress management speaker, and as a work-life balance and peak performance expert for Sales, Leadership, Customer Service and Worksite Wellness Conferences and Events.

 

There is Power in Your Attitude

Positive thinking can only benefit you

Positive thinking can only benefit you

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

Every person is equipped with the power to bring change. If you believe something will happen, be it positive or negative, it will happen. This power is known as intention. It’s a choice and we all control that choice with our attitude.

It all boils down to how you think. Scientists have proven that our minds get into a habit of producing thoughts with a certain mindset. If you usually see life through a negative lens, the chemical produced will be familiar to your brain. The same is true with positve thought.

This perspective will create a chain reaction that starts with the emotions we store and generate on a daily basis.If we learn to nurture the good feelings and discard the negative, then our energy will attract positive energy from others. A smile does wonders to create a better day, a better reaction, and a better life.

Being positive can only lead to good things in your life. Don’t accept defeat and never let negativity stand in your way. Don’t even let it effect your thoughts. Obviously this can be difficult at times. But if you are able to welcome the challenges that face you and take pride in what you have achieved, it will motivate you and energize you to continue this flow of good energy.

Only you can decide what your attitude will be. If you make the daily choice to have a positive attitude your positivity will rub off onto others and begin to change the world. Literally, your attitude and belief can change the world.

To learn more on Andy’s programs

 

 

 

 

Take Advantage of Your Strengths

Learn what your strengths are

Learn what your strengths are

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

We all have our own innate strengths. Some strength you may only discover in times of crisis. Other strengths you discover as you progress through life and pay attention to your skills.

You never know what you can achieve through your strengths and how you may actually help other people unless you apply them. The key is to stay focused on your goals and ignore the negativity of others. This is, of course, assuming you have goals. Not to be negative, but many people struggle to do what is required of them on a daily basis, much less dream bigger. Many may be overwhelmed with negativity and not even believe they can get better. If this is the case, read this.

Once you’ve changed your perspective and decided your goals (potentially the most important step), you can move onto applying your strengths and passions on a daily basis.

As a professional speaker, I work to motivate my audience through positive advice as well as the encouragement that anyone can improve their life. I didn’t start out this way. I was once a student wondering what to do with me life. It wasn’t until later that I realized what I loved to do- help others help themselves.

You will get much more satisfaction out of your work if you’re able to do something you are good at and actually enjoy doing. I know this might seem far fetched, but if you support your skills with a positive perspective, the right job will come to you.  At the same time, remember that everything takes work. Very few of us will just be that good at something without training. You may have an innate skill within you, but you still have to train it. This takes intention, consistency and passion. The right job isn’t going to fall in your lap, you have to develop your skills on a regular basis and put yourself into the world with the belief that something good will work.

As you develop your skills, you will grow confident and motivated at work.  and soon you will feel good in other areas of your life too. The secret to work life balance is simple once you get to this step because if you’ve successfully integrated your passions and strengths with your work, your life will be ideal. More on the logistics of this later.

 

 

To learn more on Andy’s programs. 

 

Set Yourself Goals to Achieve

Set high standards for your goals

Set high standards for your goals

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

Success is different for every person. We each have different expectations for how our life should end up, and we each have different skills that will help us get there.

However, regardless of our differences, we should all follow similar steps in life to bring us success.

1.)    Realize your passions.

For some, this might be the hardest part. Passion can be an elusive emotion when pitted against stress, insecurity or life restraints. Therefore, it’s extremely important to take the time to pay attention. If your life consists solely of what is required of you, then you most likely aren’t taking the proper amount of time and effort to learn who you are and what you want.

Knowing yourself is the first step, and like all relationships, it takes time and intention. For myself, journaling, meditation or conversations with friends helps me to decide what I’m passionate about. For you, it could be totally different. Try taking a drive by yourself, hiking or gardening. Quiet periods may give you the insight you need to find your passion.

2.)    Decide how you want to live those passions out.

This is also tough due to the sheer number of choices you have. For instance, if you’ve decided that you care about the environment, there are any number of career options to pursue. You could be a lobbyist, a nonprofit fundraiser or educator.

Here’s a secret though, you won’t know what you really like until you try it. After some research, decide how you’d like to live out your passion. Depending on what you’ve chosen, you may want to pursue an education. This could be as simple as reading a book or as complicated as getting a master’s degree.

3.)    Set small goals.

It’s not enough to say, I want to be a marine biologist! You must figure out the route that you should take to get there. You might get lucky and start on the ground floor of a company and work your way up the ladder, or you may have to go to school. This could take more research, but once you have some vision for your passion, you can do the fun part- Get started! Set goals and put yourself out there every day.

There is nothing wrong with setting the bar high for your goals as long as you are prepared to work hard and have the patience to reach them. If you break your main goal into smaller goals you will have the encouragement of experiencing success with every small goal you reach on the way to your main goal. As a motivational keynote speaker, this is my favorite part- helping you to form guidelines for reaching your goals effectively.

4.)    Believe it will happen.

This is probably the most important step, and it’s remarkably the one thing you have control over. If you’re passionate about something, you can no longer doubt your ability to get there. You MUST believe that it will happen. Write your goal down, verbalize it with someone who’s close to you, and look forward to the realization of your version of success.

Belief fuels your motivation and gives you the energy to keep going on the goals you’ve set. If you truly have faith in yourself, then you’ll automatically pursue what you need to pursue and your energy will connect to others who can help you get there.

These steps won’t create an instantaneous change, but they will set you on the path to live a passionate, dynamic life. You never know where you’ll end up but with the right intention, you’ll be pleased with the results.

To learn more on Andy’s programs. 

 

 

 

Want Motivation? Do this.

Someone busier than you is exercising right now.

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

Motivation, work-life balance, productivity and stress management all have a common denominator. Exercise.

Researchers at Harvard Business Review found that integrating your work and your life will be easier if exercise is a consistent factor in your life. The better you feel about your work-life balance, the more motivated and productive you will be, which will therefore decrease your stress levels.

It’s a simple answer to your complicated life. Prioritize exercise on a regular basis. Don’t schlef it off and avoid it because you feel overwhelmed or lazy, do it because you feel that way. This one daily habit will change your entire life for the better.

And I’m not asking you to do Crossfit everyday or train for a marathon. Simply choose an exercise you enjoy like yoga or walking, join an intramural team or find a podcast to lead you. The solution is simple. The change is up to you.

 

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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