Displaying All Posts by Jen Smith

8 Ways to Forget About Work…and Have Fun!

Work Life Balance

Switching off from work is something many of us find difficult. We want the work-life balance but can find our minds are still consumed with thoughts of work when we are not there. Here are some tips to help you switch off:

1. Create a Ritual

Mark a line in the sand to signal the end of your work day. This is important whether you work from home or away. If you wear a uniform at work, you could change when you arrive home. Having a shower is another great way to wash the work day away. If you have an hour’s commute home you could decide that you will allow yourself time to ruminate over the day and upon arriving at home, you “switch” off. Find some way to delineate the work day from your leisure time.

2. Unplug

Unless it is part of your contract or job, get in the habit of unplugging from work when you are not there. You don’t have to be connected 24/7. Turn off your phone and laptop. We might think that being continuously available is what is expected of us, but often we are the ones who put these expectations on ourselves. If your boss or colleagues do expect you to be at the end of the phone or email outside work, set a new boundary around your home time. Explain what you are doing and how it will work and what you are willing to do, you don’t have to be inflexible. Be clear and assertive. Your actions could help change an unhealthy workplace habit.
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7 Ways to Kick Start Your Day

The way we start our day can strongly influence how the rest of the day goes. Whether we are concerned in making that first hour of the day the one that sets the tone or use the morning to create a great day throughout, we need to take the early part of the day to set up success for the rest of the day. Here are seven tried and tested ways that I use to kick start my day.
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Bring Love To Work

“Work is love made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran

Love and work are not topics we necessarily talk about together, but if we let it work can be a wonderful way to express ourselves…and show love to those around us!

Whether you are waiting tables or a brain surgeon, any job you do is about serving others and making their life better on some level. We have all had experiences where someone working in their job has lifted us up and made a difference to our day or brought us down and made our day worst.

A friend of mine told me a story once about a shop assistant he had observed in a large department store in London. It was the shop assistant’s job to answer customer queries all day long. At any one time, he would have queues of people waiting to ask questions and they were often ready to let off steam about something that had gone wrong! My friend saw that the assistant was consistently calm and happy, answering each customer in turn without getting flustered or overwhelmed. My friend managed to strike up a conversation with the shop assistant and asked him his secret. The shop assistant told him that meditation helped him to stay focussed and centred so that he could be present and serve each customer to the best of his ability.

This is an inspiring story that points to something important: we always have a choice about who we are going to be at work, regardless of our job. We have all met wonderful people cleaning floors and people who are not so wonderful who have amazing jobs. So whatever your job, how do you bring love to work?
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Proof Positive: 8 Ways to Create Positive Work Relationships

No man is an island. – John Donne

This quotation is certainly true when it comes to your working environment, especially in an office where you have many colleagues who you see every day. To get on in your chosen area of work and enjoy what you are doing, it is important to create positive relationships with those around you. Here are 8 proven methods that work in creating positive work relationships if you give them a solid effort:

1. Be Yourself

While it is important to be professional, it is also important to be yourself. It is difficult and ultimately unsatisfying to create positive relationships by pretending to be something you are not. Be natural and put your best foot forward. Many times I have seen people get further in the workplace because they are not afraid to show their true personality and what they are capable of.

2. Treat People Equally

Even managers are human! Putting someone on a pedestal makes it harder for you to approach them and be yourself. Be natural. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you think. Also be aware of how you treat your own employees. Be respectful but treat everyone as a peer and don’t think of yourself as ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ than others. It will help your self esteem and make interactions with you more fun and positive. Getting caught up in job titles and hierarchy takes the fun and human element out of work and makes it difficult to create honest and positive relationships.
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10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Coaching Sessions

Coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people to produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers or businesses.

The way in which your approach coaching sessions will make a difference to what you get out of them and how much you achieve. Here are some tips that will help you to get the most out of coaching sessions:

1. Choose Wisely

Choose coaching and your coach wisely. Coaching is not counselling or therapy and it is important to be clear about the distinctions. There are many resources on the internet that will help you learn more about coaching. A good coach will also suggest a referral to a more appropriate professional if your needs are beyond their scope.

Recommendations from friends and colleagues are a useful way to find a good coach. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. Get clear about who the coach is and how they work. Many coaches offer a free consultation and I recommend taking a free consultation up so that you can get any questions answered and ensure you are a good match to work together before you commit.

2. Get Clear

If you can, write a list of the areas you want to work on before you start your coaching sessions. If you are not sure about what you want to work on you can let your coach know when you initiate coaching and work on this together. The clearer you are, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.
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The 10 Pillars of an Awesome Team Event

Planning an awesome team event is a great way to create and enhance team spirit and boost morale.  An awesome team event is an opportunity for people to spend time together outside of the normal confines of work and get to know each other better. It is also an opportunity to unwind, strengthen relationships, which will have a positive effect on the team and their work when back in the workplace.

In order for a team event to stand out, you’ll need to take several things to make that happen — pillars, if you will. Here are the 10 pillars of an awesome team event

1. Plan

Decide on the goal of the event, how many people will be attending and what your budget restrictions are. You may want to ask for opinions about what event to hold, depending on the size of your company. What time of year will you hold the event? Knowing this will allow you to decide on suitable venues and activities. If the event includes getting muddy or sweaty, make sure you have places arranged for people to change or shower so that they feel comfortable later on (or when they travel home).

2. Include People

Put some thought into what kind of event you want to hold and how to include everyone as much as possible. For example, if the event includes lots of physical activity, is that going to exclude anyone? Make sure that you plan the event so that as many people can attend as possible (and don’t plan it just before an important deadline!). If you are arranging refreshments, ensure there are different choices of food and drink available. It is not always possible to include everyone, but showing that you have put some thought into accommodating as many people as possible will make a difference. You can show this in your choice of activity, when you hold the event and how you accommodate different people at the event.
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Why You Should Keep a Mileage Log

Mileage logs are used in business to keep a track of distances travelled for work purposes. If your job involves a lot of driving, or if you have a company car, you will usually be asked to keep a detailed mileage log. Most companies pay a certain amount per mile or kilometre to cover fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle. If you are self-employed you will be able to claim deductions against your tax payments. While it will take some time to set up and even more time to be consistent in using it, it is crucial to keep a mileage log.

Keeping Track of Your Travel

Keep track of any travelling you do for work. Examples include:

  • travelling to and from client offices for meetings;
  • delivering goods and services;
  • using your vehicle for voluntary work.

It is important to keep track of miles or kilometres travelled. If you are self employed, you will be able to get tax relief on your travel costs. With rising fuel prices it is particularly useful to know how much you are spending on travel. You can then make informed choices about how you travel and even make alternative arrangements. Travel is not always necessary and you may look into alternative ways to meet or communicate with clients or colleagues, such as Skype or conference calls.
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9 Healthy Habits for the Workplace

Whether you work for yourself or for an employer, looking after your health is vital. If you work without any consideration for your health, at some point things will catch up with you in one way or another. Your health is one of your most important assets. Here are 9 healthy habits that can help you stay on top of your well-being at work:

1. Exercise

Finding time for exercise is important for our health and is a great way to manage stress. Exercise is often further down on the to-do list compared to other tasks, but it is something that you need to find time for — particularly if you work at a sedentary job that has you sitting at a desk all day. If you don’t currently exercise, start small and build up. Go for a walk and start getting your body moving. Even taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a huge difference. You can find other ways to exercise as you get more comfortable with the new routine. Make it easy for yourself and find exercise that you enjoy.

2. Eat Well

Eating well is another important cornerstone of good health. Our work habits can make it hard to eat well but with some small changes, we can take control of what we eat and stay healthy. Plan your meals in advance each week and shop accordingly. Planning your meals will help you to eat well at home and have ingredients to prepare food for work. By making your own food you will be able to ensure you are eating healthy foods that enhance your health. Bring healthy snacks to work with you (like fruit and nuts) to stop the temptation of unhealthy stop gaps. Doing this is also very good for your bank balance.
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Dealing With a Difficult Co-Worker 101

Most jobs involve working with other people to some degree or another. I have met some wonderful people through my work. However, like most of us, there have been times where I have worked with people that I have found difficult. The difference with meeting difficult people at work than in other areas of life is that we don’t always get a choice about whether to spend time with that person. So how do we deal with co-workers we find difficult? Here are some of the things that I have found useful.

Set Boundaries

Be clear about how you deserve to be treated and how you want to treat others. Listen to your intuition and if you feel uncomfortable about something, try and address it. You train people how to treat you. Believe in yourself and show people that you know that you are someone worth treating with respect. Not everyone will have your best interests at heart, so look out for yourself and stand up for what you deserve.

If this is a difficult area for you, take one step at a time. Start saying what you really think, rather than trying to please everyone. Step by step, you can learn to set boundaries and be assertive.
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6 Ways to Rise Above Workplace Politics (and Emerge Unscathed)

Unless you have always worked by yourself, you are likely to have come across office politics in one form or another. When you think about it, it is just another way of describing human relationships. It’s not surprising that workplaces usually have some type of politics — especially when the nature of many jobs means you don’t get to choose who you work with. So how do you rise above workplace politics and yet still save face?

From observing my own and other people’s behaviour, I have noticed that it is possible to navigate workplace politics and come out smiling. It is not always easy, and it takes practice but there are mindsets and behaviours that make it easier to do.

1. Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated

Gossiping is the fuel for workplace politics. Gossiping means that things are not dealt with directly and can be very damaging. Whatever has been said is usually distorted as it is passed around, whether intentionally or not. Be direct and deal with things professionally. Try not to gossip — and if someone tells you something, don’t pass it on. You can let your co-workers know (verbally or by your actions) that you don’t want to engage in gossip. This can be hard initially but once people see that you mean what you say, they will respect you for it. At the end of the day, we all view life through our own unique and subjective lens; try and see the bigger picture. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be understanding to your co-workers, but there are always two sides to any story. I have seen people swallow up everything that is said to them and turn on other people as a result. Take a step back and try and be objective — it will help you to keep a professional distance and avoid being pulled into politics yourself.
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How to Be a Good Manager: 8 Quick Tips

How to Be a Good Manager: 8 Quick Tips

Being a manager in any industry can be a fulfilling job, but it can also be a difficult one. You will need to find the right balance of friendliness and authority. You will need to create a good team atmosphere whilst achieving the bigger goals. So how do you strike that balance?

1. Do Your Job

First and foremost do your own job. Managing people isn’t an excuse to let them do the work whilst you look on. Of course, sometimes your job may involve being more strategic but your staff will respect you for doing what needs to be done and being willing to pitch in like everyone else at times. Many of us have had managers who use their role as an excuse to do less or attend more meetings. Get the balance right and earn respect from your staff.

2. Acknowledge The Positive

See the positives in your staff and their work. Don’t be one of those bosses who only sees what’s missing rather than what’s been achieved. It is demoralizing for staff to have someone only see what they have done ‘wrong’. Positivity breeds positivity. Genuine and meaningful praise goes a long way. If this is difficult for you, get in the habit of noting down positive things you notice about how your staff work. Give feedback regularly and let them know that you see the good work they do.
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How to Achieve Great Work-Life Balance

There is a lot of talk these days about work-life balance. Now, more than ever, people are not satisfied with working long hours and sacrificing their home life for their work. At the same time, we want to find work that engages us and that we enjoy. So how do we find a balance?

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