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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.

 

Tips to Get the Best Sleep

Lack of sleep can affect you negatively

Lack of sleep can affect you negatively

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

In order to function properly, your body and mind needs adequate daily rest. You need to make sure that you get enough sleep by establishing decent sleep routines. 

It is not always easy to get enough sleep because our work, social and family lives place such a demand on our time. You must remember that if you do not get enough sleep, your mental and physical health with suffer and that will have repercussions for all areas of your life. Talk to a leadership speaker about how to achieve balance in your life.

Sleep is an important biological function that allows your body and mind to rest and refresh and prepare for the challenges that you may face in the new day. If you get caught in a bad sleep cycle, all aspects of your life will eventually begin to deteriorate.

Some helpful tips:

  • Turn off the bright lights in your home an hour before bed.
  • Stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
  • Have a routine set in place that tells your brain it’s time for sleep. Washing your face, stretching, or writing a journal entry may be things to incorporate.
  • Make sure that there are no lights in your room.
  • Turn on some white noise. I sleep with a box fan and it automatically tells my mind that its time to sleep.

You should try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep a night. It is impossible to get a perfect night’s sleep every night but you should try to get decent sleep as often as possible. If you are getting enough sleep you will have plenty of physical energy and your mind will always be sharp; that can only benefit you in your home and work life. A leadership speaker can help you reach the peace of mind that is a necessity for decent sleep.

To learn more on Andy’s programs.  

 

 

Change Your Habits. Change Your Life.

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

Forming a good habit often seems like an impossible task. Lack of time, energy, resources or encouragement may often cause you to lack the needed energy to get started.

Here are five tips to create a new habit.

1. Start Small

Too many people fail to create long-lasting change because they try to do everything at once. You can’t run a marathon in a day, and you most likely won’t want to run an hour a day starting off. Start small. Set a reasonable goal of 20 minutes three times a week.

2. Plan

It’s always easy to find reasons not to go through with your intentions when it’s go time. Plan ahead so that you don’t have an excuse. Bring your workout closes with you and go directly after work. Buy healthy food with the intention of packing a lunch the night before. Don’t go out drinking if you’re trying to quit smoking.

3. Support

Making a change all on your own is hard. To ease the challenge, try instead to have a person with whom you can share your progress. Be honest and have them check on your progress. Also, try to surround yourself with positive people. If your support system is negative, there is a good chance you will be too.

4. Stay focused.

It’s easy to get distracted or discouraged when you don’t see signifcant results right away. So keep something near you to remind you of the benefits that fulfilling your goal will be. Make some inspiration art or simply change your phones wall paper as a reminder.

5. Forgive

When you mess up, and you most likely will, don’t despair. It’s normal to be human, and it’s human to keep trying. When you mess up, forgive, forget and forge on. Eventually, you’ll get somewhere.

To learn more on Andy’s programs

 

Increase Productivity in the Workplace with Workplace Wellness Programs

Providing fitness facilities on site can increase productivity in the workplace.

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

What are these Programs For?

Workplace wellness programs are put in place to encourage a healthy lifestyle in and outside the workplace and improve health outcomes. These programs may involve a variety of activities including both educational and physical activities. For example, introducing medical screenings, health fairs, health coaching, fitness programs, onsite fitness facilities, healthy vending machines, “walk and talk” meetings; the list is endless and could encompass anything that makes a positive change to the health status of those in the workplace.

What are the Benefits?

Investing in the health of employees is cost effective; preventative health practices such as raising awareness and regular screenings mean fewer illnesses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report found that by using workplace wellness programs, healthcare costs decreased, as did short-term sick leave, resulting in a significant increase in productivity in the workplace. Such programs don’t just increase productivity due to fewer days lost to illness, but also act to increase employee satisfaction and motivation in the workplace, leading to higher productivity.

The main thing that the success of workplace wellness programs demonstrates is that a healthy and satisfying lifestyle is not the result or reward of success, but instead a factor that enables people to achieve. An investment in the health of the workforce is a true investment in the workplace itself.

For more information about Andy’s work-life balance programs Contact Us Now!

 

 

Three Ways to Maintain Productivity in the Workplace

Sometimes a comfortable office chair is all we need to keep up productivity in the workplace.

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

Everybody has moments during work where it is difficult to focus and it’s hard to maintain productivity in the workplace. You’re sitting there at your desk, spreadsheet on the computer and you start to glance out of the window. Next thing you know, you’ve been sitting doing nothing for an hour, with a deadline looming. Your stress levels rise and what should have been a very straightforward task now looks like a mountain to climb. Remain focused and productive at work in these three ways.

Choose a Good Chair

It sounds silly, but a good chair is the first step to keeping yourself productive in the workplace. If we are uncomfortable at work, we begin to shift and squirm; we no longer focus on the work, but are thinking of ways to get more comfortable. This is a waste of time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; try out a number of chairs to see what best suits you, you won’t regret it!

Keep Your Work Station Tidy

Staying productive is partly about getting into the right frame of mind when you are working. You have to think efficiently if you want to work efficiently. If you clutter your desk, it puts you in a state of mind that is disorganized. Tidy your workstation and you will find it far easier to concentrate on your work during the day.

Take a Walk

Everybody needs a break every so often. Taking a little walk at lunchtime will enable you to get out of the office, stretch your legs and get a bit of fresh air. You can clear your mind and allow it to recover after a hard morning of work: setting yourself up for a highly productive afternoon.

It’s the little things that count; do what you can to maximize your productivity in the workplace.

For more information about Andy’s work-life balance programs Contact Us Now!

 

 

 
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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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