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work-life balance

I Work Here Because…

One Short, Simple Mental Exercise for Work-Changing Results

mo·tive  [moh-tiv] noun 1. something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.

Your motive is directly related to your motivation at work. Although this may seem like an obvious concept, if you take a step back and reflect on your motive, you begin to see how compounded and cluttered your motivation can become.

For instance, answer this one simple question: Why do you work where you work? Can you fill in this blank: “I work here because…”

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, first off, you’re not alone. Secondly, you might want to do some basic soul-searching.

According to researchers at Portland State University and the University of Michigan, reflecting on the meaning of your work (your motive) is one of the most effective ways to keep your energy up at work. Read more by clicking here.

Once you figure out the “why”, write it down, post it somewhere around your desk, in your car or anywhere you will be sure to see it periodically. When workdays get tough, as they often do, if you have no “why,” your enthusiasm will be shallow, your energy level will drop and your motivation will be…unmotivated.

Having a why speaks to “meaning” and “purpose.” Having meaning and purpose are highly motivating.

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Five Steps to Achieve Real Work-Life Balance

“The less that I differentiate between my “personal life” and my “work”, the less that I make the two compete with each other for my time and my energy, the less guilt I feel for spending too much time on one or the other, and the more “balanced”, well-adjusted, and happy I feel.”

I read this in an article today about finding true work-life balance, and I really love this perspective. I’m lucky. I love what I do. I love to exercise. I love my family. But it didn’t used to be that way. When I was young, I often struggled to do what I wanted. My work self was a stark difference from who I was at home. I loved to hang out with my friends and family and there were times that working was the last thing I wanted to do.

So when work took over my time, my life started to suck. I didn’t want to spend all day in an office working for someone else’s dream. I had a vision for helping people live their lives (including mine) better. I knew that the old way of doing life didn’t work, and I wanted to figure out how to encourage change.

So that’s what I did. I now work to make the lives of other people more energized, productive and positive. I knew I liked to write and talk to other people about their life, so that’s what I started doing. Pretty soon, my experience and research mixed with my passion, and I started to enjoy my whole day. Work was my life and I loved it.

Here is some advice for all of you pursuing that same reality, which I’m guessing, is all of us.

1. Pay Your Dues.
Sometimes you have to do things that don’t make you automatically happy. I had to go to school, do research and work for someone else before I could be my own boss. This took time, years even. And sometimes I hated it. Sometimes I was really hard. But in the end, it got me to the place I am today, and I wouldn’t take back that work because that work made this life possible.

2. Keep it simple.
You can’t achieve all your goals at once. You have to take things slowly or you’ll get overwhelmed and discouraged. You may have a whole host of things you need to accomplish before you can reach your goal, but all you have is today. All you can do is make this day better than yesterday. That means adding better habits slowly into your life, that means reading good books overtime, that means exercising a bit on a regular basis. Just do what you can with what you have today, and find the balance you’re searching for.

3. Be intentional with your community.
It doesn’t matter who you are, people need people to be successful and happy. Prioritize those people who love and support you. Spend time with inspiring people. Prune those relationships that are more toxic than helpful. Train your perspective to be one that provides a silver lining. Friends and family make your life good or bad depending upon who they are. Invest your time into a community of people who are good to themselves, to the world and to you.

4. Value your Health.
Do not. I repeat, do not run yourself into the ground. Take breaks on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Sleep. Eat well with thoughtfulness. Don’t consume too many things that you know are bad. Take walks. Spend time outside. You don’t have to be perfect, but keep in mind that if you don’t care of yourself, your life will never be what it should be.

5. Take risks.
Life is scary and change can be even more so, but the simple truth is that if you don’t take new opportunities and do things differently, then nothing will ever change. Pursue new experiences, take leaps of faith, make mistakes, rediscover a childlike perspective people, and most of all don’t assume that you have the answers.

 

The Importance of Work-Life Balance for Increased Workplace Productivity

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

Work-Life balance is one of the most discussed subjects of 2014. Some say it is impossible, and some say it’s vital to the success of a business. Regardless, the first step to achieving it, is to understand what it is and how it helps.

What Is It Work-life balance is basically the positive relationship between work and other equally important activities in life which include family leisure, etc. The relationship can’t be clearly defined and varies from person to person according to their life demands. It’s important to notice the word, “relationship,” meaning that this is not a contest or a scale we must balance.

It’s an interaction of ideas that satisfie the needs in your individual life. Work and Life are not separate spheres. They are integrated moments in life that happen throughout the day.  Also, the concept of work-life balance is not just associated with women or busy executives. It’s a process applicable to everyone to increase the level of employee workplace productivity and motivation.

Benefits to Employees and Employers When you increase a person’s satisfaction level, they will benefit mentally and physically, which will, in turn, cause the culture of your business of to improve. Some examples include:

  • The individual is better responsive and can easily work in their paid work as well applying themselves fully to other aspects of their life like family commitments.
  • The self-esteem increases as well a health and other related aspects of one’s character like loyalty
  • The employee gets full control of their working life and can adapt better to any changes
  • The balance makes everyone at home happy and everyone at work happy
  • Employee-Employer relations will most likely improve
  • Turnover rates decrease while productivity increases
  • Employees are more likely to take a job that offers less money if there work-life balance is increased
  • Less sick days

Work-life balance can increase the productivity in the workplace and improve the work environment in general. To bring this change to your business, contact Andy Core for more information. To learn more on Andy’s programs 

 

How to: Take Charge of Your Life.

keys-to-happiness_o_1511909When an article is discussing work-life balance, the subject is often directed to working mothers. However, Andy Core’s advice to change your life is for everyone who may be overwhelmed or discouraged with their day.

For instance, everyone has now finished up their holiday season, and soon we will all embark upon the most dreary months of the year. Because when the holidays have ended and the lights are packed up, we’re left with three months of winter and no opportunity to take a vacation. Many of us will hit a lull in our day to day lives that make us feel like we’re on autopilot. Maintaining an upbeat and motivated perspective may seem impossible.

1.) Reflect

However, studies show that if you feel yourself slipping back into bad patterns for whatever reason, be it depression, lack of motivation or just plain fatigue, the best way to get back on the wagon is to reflect back to a point in your life that made you feel happy. When were things going well? If you keep a journal on a regular basis, this might be an easy exercise. However, if you tend to live life by the moment, and don’t take time to reflect on a regular basis, this may take more time.

Either way, just remember the times that you felt the best about you. One great article I read yesterday suggested that we change things according to how we did things as a child. Check it out here. What were you doing differently that you fail to do now? Were you cooking meals with your family? Were you exercising? How much TV were you watching? How much sleep were you getting? Were you prioritizing your relationships? Were you excited about your job?

2.) Reformat

All these questions relate you the minipatterns you’ve designed. If you haven’t stuck to the most beneficial ones, then you most likely won’t be in a good mindset. Therefore, to stay energized at work during this next year, focus on the small, daily habits that you know you should do. Putting technology on the backburner could help significantly. Get your blood flowing with exercise to feel the excitement of health, oxygen and stress relief. Eat mindfully both at work and at home. Practice gratitude.

Picture this for a moment. A three-year old has your laptop in its grubby hands getting ready to bang on the screen, drop it or get the keys sticky with food. You’d freak out, right? You’d instantly take your laptop back, assess the damage and take control of the situation.

Sadly, it seems that we care about electronic devises more than ourselves.  Due to whatever reason, we often continue to let our life be out of sync for years at a time. We give the laptop to the toddler.

I’m not asking you to freak out about changing your life, but I am asking you to value your peace of mind, health and community at least as much as an electronic device. You have the power to assess the damage and create daily habits slowly in order to change your life.

The hardest part is getting started. The worst thing you can do is get overwhelmed by a huge list of things to do. Once you have the motivation of one small adjustment, a tailwind affect will occur and change will snowball with that momentum. One encouragement will serve as a catalyst for transformation. Just change one thing in your day, and if you keep it up, in time, you’ll have reached an amazing goal.

 

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.

 

 

 
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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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Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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