Category Archives: Work-life integration

Setting goals: accounting for your actions

Accountability is a key element of goal planning.

Email or call a family member, friend or “accountability buddy” to let him know that you have set a goal for yourself. Include the days and times you’ll devote to task. For example, that you will be working on it on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Only dedicate two hours to a task. It’s ample time to start or complete what you need to do. Ask them to check in with you about your progress.

Pick a start day to begin your goal. Mark it on your calendar or online tool.

Begin plotting your action steps on your calendar for your goal work days.

If using old school paper, use pencil in case you need to change an entry.

Be sure your action step matches your allotted amount of work time. If not, break the action step into smaller parts.

Plot as many action steps as possible on your calendar.

Revise and update as needed.

Ask your accountability buddy or one or two friends if you can email them after you complete your work on your allotted days. This will help keep you accountable.

Let Joe the Life Coach be your accountability buddy. Call 202.328.7414, Skype to sandpdc or tweet @aprayerdc.

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Setting goals: first things first

Goals can be daunting. Setting a goal plan even more challenging the more complex the goal.

What actions can you take to get you started and move the register to begin starting on path to accomplish larger goals?

Begin with a relatively easy goal you have in mind.

On a separate sheet of paper or online tool, write down every possible action you can think of to help you achieve this goal.

Include any tasks you can give yourself, any obstacles you can identify to your actions and tasks and the resources you would need and person that could help you around obstacles or help you with tasks.

Ultimately, you are responsible for completion and accountable to yourself.

As you begin working on your goal, more action items may emerge. Incorporate them to your original list.

Ask a friend or accountability buddy to help you think about your list and brainstorm action steps.

Decide how many hours per day and many days per week you want to allot to working on your goal. A good rule of thumb is two hours per task!

Implement and revise if needed.

Note that if you change your mind about starting toward your goal more than three times, you’ll need to reevaluate how important that goal was – no matter how small – and how committed you were.

Start small. Reach your goal. Learn and build your self confidence along the way.

Call Joe the Life Coach for more help at 202.328.7414 or Skype at sandpdc.

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Mindfulness and focusing

Do you do just enough thinking and end up making little real progress?

Are some parts of the day, week, month or year better for certain types of work than others?

Writing on his blog Study Hacks, Georgetown Professor Cal Newport sees the benefits of deep concentration as a technique to allocate time, focus and become more productive and efficient.

First, reduce the “overhead” you spend remembering where you left off and getting your mind ready to concentrate each time you only spend a few hours focusing on a problem.

When you focus on a specific deep work goal for 10 to 15 hours – two days immersed in deep work – you might produce more results than two months of scheduling just an hour a day.

Second, since your body works in cycles, match your rhythms. Consider your planning during a certain time and then another for actually executing.

This deep concentration probably yields better results than trying to mix everything together.

And multi-tasking? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Focus!

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Anxiety and you

Have you felt anxious at some point in your life?

Frequent worrier?

Have illness, being fired, feeling discriminated, unemployment, job searching, new job, moving to a new city— made you feel stressed and overloaded?

Have you had full blown panic attacks – chest pain, palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath and dizziness?

Is your anxiety becoming part of a cycle of doubt, worry, fear, inaction, paralysis, depression?

“You need some anxiety in your life and it’s there for a reason. It’s what motivates us to work and keeps us out of trouble,” says Dr. Tom Rebori, medical director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Center at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Illinois.

If anxiety is interfering with your daily life – disrupting sleep or concentration – it could mean that you have an anxiety disorder. New treatments and research offer good news: anxiety disorders are highly treatable.

Here are the four main anxiety disorders, plus tips and techniques to cope with them and learn to deal with them.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

In the last six months, have you spent half of the days worrying?

Excessive worrying — which interferes with daily life — also causes physical symptoms like low energy, sleep disturbances, muscle tension, sweating, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Here are two ways of coping.

Keep a worry log so you see patterns and learn to replace negative thinking with another thought until you gradually change your inner dialogue.

Set up “worry periods.” Dr. Dave Carbonell at Anxiety Treatment Center in New York tells patients to set up two 10-minute worry periods every day where they can isolate themselves. By giving their full attention to the worry, it becomes boring because there’s not that much content to it.

Panic Disorder

Scared of losing control, that you’re dying or fearful that you’re going crazy?

Panic attacks occur in certain settings—a crowded mall, elevators. You can associate a situation with that reaction and start avoiding certain situations. Just because you’ve had a panic attack doesn’t mean you have panic disorder, though, unless you’ve had at least two unexpected panic attacks, followed by at least one month of concern about experiencing another attack.

Getting to understand what’s happening is key to treating the disorder: facing (not avoiding certain situations), accepting (not fighting the panic attack, but welcoming it), floating (relaxing through the anxiety without resistance, like floating through water) and letting time pass (knowing that the attack will pass).

Phobia

Social phobias involve an intense fear of situations – usually social or performance-related settings – for fear of having a panic attack.

Specific phobias involve an excessive fear of an object or situation that causes anxious symptoms similar to a panic attack.

Social phobias are treated the same as panic disorders. For specific phobias, the common treatment is gradual exposure.

The first step is to talk about the fear to begin to understand that you won’t die or go crazy when in contact with object or situation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Whereas GAD patients worry about the future, PTSD involves worrying about something that happened.

PTSD is a condition where sufferers have been through some kind of traumatic experience. The symptoms are a heightened degree of arousal, nightmares or recurring thoughts, feelings of detachment, sleep problems, high startle response or jumpiness, flashbacks and depression.

Treatment is learning how to live in the present through relaxation.

Anxiety disorder symptoms can come and go. Yet it makes common sense to ease stress, eat healthier and exercise – lifetime habits that will help in the long run.

Set aside time every day for relaxing – use aPrayer, meditate, go for a mindful walk, enjoy a hot or naked yoga session, listen to music, soak in a hot bath – anything where you’re just being you.

For more information:

Edmund J. Bourne, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, New Harbinger Publications: 2000.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America
http://www.adaa.org

National Institute of Mental Health
http://www.nimh.nih.gov

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408133020.htm

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Act today and look toward tomorrow

Tolerance may be a good thing. Complacency may deter you from your goals.

Tolerating something – an aggressive coworker, a runny toilet or a squeaky wheel – continually drains your energy, like filing a cup upon which someone has made little holes.

Does continuous tolerance or complacency keep you from being yourself and evolving quickly as a human being?

How often do you distinguish between your activities that are incomplete, unresolved and require resolution or those that are unfinished, still needing work and require action?

In your life, how many things are unresolved or infinished?

Here are two simple exercises to help you break those negative reinforcing loops of tolerance and complacency.

List five unresolved issues or situations (large or small) that are draining your energy. Circle one that you can complete today.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

List five things (small or large) you’re putting up with or tolerating. Circle the one that you can eliminate TODAY.

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2.
3.
4.
5.

What’s the one big change that would make the most difference in your life?

What’s the first step you will take in the direction of that change?

When will you do this?

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What’s your cultural IQ?

What’s your cultural IQ?

Today, for the first time in history, we can communicate in real time with people in the most remote areas of the globe.

Do you kiss, bow or shake hands?

How do you and your culture differ from those of others?

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Transformation and self-empowerment.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly is an adage about the transformation that you can achieve through your own power as a man.

What is the new story you are telling yourself?

Which are your life’s accomplishments, results, challenges faced and successes for which you are a proud man?

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