Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Are you tired of being available 24/7?

Is it time to turn off your work emails, log out of Facebook and allow yourself some peace and quiet?

A recent article titled, The busier you are, the more you need quiet time, prompted me to think about the impact of instant communication on our everyday lives and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quiet time to think, relax and rejuvenate. 

Instant communication dominates our lives, allowing us to be in continuous communication with others.  We are bombarded with communication through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, email, WhatsApp and text messaging.  Tablets and mobile phones have become an important part of our day as we cling on to them in anticipation, waiting for them to buzz, beep or ring.

According to research carried out last year, the average person swipes, taps and pinches their display about 2,617 times a day and spends about 2.42 hours a day touching the smartphone display.  Furthermore, 87% will check their phone at least once between midnight and 5am.

The acceptance of instant communication being available 24/7 has weakened the boundaries of time defining when it is acceptable and not acceptable to contact someone and this has resulted in the incompatible overlap of work and play.  If your boss emails you at 10pm, does he or she expect a response that evening?  Is it right to answer a work email whilst giving the kids tea?  Should we be checking Facebook whilst at a friend’s house?  Is it right to be responding to personal messages whilst at work?  The boundaries are becoming blurred making it harder to understand when it is acceptable to switch off without undermining our friendships or work ethic.

This bombardment of instant communication makes us feel overloaded, tired and stressed.  We are starting to see people becoming disillusioned with the continuous flow of Facebook communication or increasingly stressed by the constant access to work email.  The return of the iconic Nokia 3310 has even caused excitement as we reminisce about the days of being unable to check emails and Facebook on our phones (although, I have recently read that these may have 4G!). 

Is it now time to switch off?

Have a think about how you can temporarily switch off from the instant communication in your life and restore the boundaries of your work-life balance.  Can you turn off your work emails at appropriate times of the day?  Can you limit yourself to checking Facebook once a day?  Can you allocate a day, or part of a day, each week for quiet relaxation?  Perhaps you can go for a long gadget-free walk, read a book or listen to some music. Just think how refreshed, fulfilled and happier you will feel when you allow yourself some peace and quiet each week.    

Ensure you take time out of our busy world to give yourself time to think and relax.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Four ways to feel happier at work

We have all felt unhappy at work at some stage in our career and can recognise the impact this can have on our life.  Work misery can dominate home life, friendships and health making your work-life balance all about work and little about play.

If you feel unhappy at work, you have a choice.  You can keep doing what you are doing, making work misery the norm and something you ‘just have to put up with’, inevitably leading to high stress levels and further misery.   Alternatively, you can focus on making positive changes at work, giving yourself the chance to be happier. 

To help you make some changes at work, I have set out four focus areas:

1.      Support - Are you getting the right support at work?  Ask for help when necessary from colleagues and managers.

2.      Expectation - ensure you are clear about what is expected of you.

3.      Working hours – are you working long hours?  Think about your work pattern and spend time focusing on your productivity.  Are you taking too long on some pieces of work?  Do you set aside specific time for admin tasks?  Do you sit at your desk stuck on a piece of work instead of asking for help?  If necessary, speak to your manager about your workload.

4.     Challenge – Are you challenged enough? If not, perhaps talk to your manager about obtaining more work.  Can you be given a different project to work on?

Through making small changes, bigger changes will start to fall into place making you feel happy at work once again. 

Remember - if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting the same result.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

How to get a new job now – The three Ps!

How to plan your job search strategy and make use of all the resources available to you to enable you to get the best job for you.

Is it becoming impossible to get a new job?
The job market is tough – we know this because we read and talk about it all the time.  People are struggling to find new jobs and are becoming impatient and fed up.  However, getting a new job is not impossible.  You may simply need to expand your job search strategy to get the job you want. 

Your Job Search Strategy
We can often be in such a hurry to jump ship that we forget about our job search strategy and all the resources available to help us.  We end up limiting our opportunities meaning our job search will take longer and our chances of finding the right job will be harder.
Take the time now to focus on your job strategy using The Three Ps.
Planning: It is important to plan your job search, ensuring you use all the resources available to you.  Be organised and maintain a record of everything. 
Positivity: Go for it!  Don’t get disheartened when you receive rejections.  It will probably mean that job is not right for you and there is a better one around the corner.   If you focus on the negatives, you will only see the negatives. Having a positive focus is the best way to achieve positive results.
Patience:  Don’t expect a new job to come to you. Finding a new job can be time consuming.  Giving your job search the time it deserves will enable you to move forward efficiently. 

Planning, positivity and patience will help you get the best job for you.
Please read my new Job search strategy factsheet, ’10 Effective Job Search Strategies’ for further help on the resources you can use to expand and enhance your job search.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

How to cope if you are put at risk of redundancy

It can be a worrying time being put at risk of redundancy.  You may feel frightened, out of control and unsure about your next steps.  It can be very stressful time and so it is important that you look after yourself emotionally, be positive and take as much ownership of the situation as you can.  

To help you move forward, here are a few steps you can take: 

1.       Know your rights. Ensure you understand the consultation process. Seek advice on the process, your rights and your entitlements.

2.       Identify your strategy. What will be your approach? Do you want to stay or does redundancy appeal?  

3.       Take ownership.  Put together an action plan for your next steps.

4.       Build your self-awareness. Be clear about what you want from future roles.  What are your strengths? What do you enjoy? What work environments suit you?

5.       Consider your career options.  This may be a great opportunity for you to enhance your skills or change career.

6.       Start job hunting.  Use all job search resources available such as LinkedIn, networking and recruitment agencies.

Be positive.  Be proactive.  Be prepared.

You can’t control being put at risk of redundancy but you can control your response. 

For further information please read my fact sheet, '10 tips on what to do if you are made redundant’.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Stop waiting, take action!

‘The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.'
Barack Obama
What a great quote to start the new year!  It truly sums up the message I would like to share with you in this month’s blog.

Stop waiting, take action

Waiting for good things to happen can be a soul-destroying experience, making you feel hopeless as you revisit past mistakes and wonder why good things always appear out of reach.

Living like this can be exhausting.  Dwelling on past mistakes and waiting and waiting….and waiting….

Can I persuade you to free yourself from all this waiting? 
Can you let go of past mistakes and associated feelings of failure? 
Can you believe that good things are in reach and you can do something about it? 
As Barack Obama says, the best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.  Find the courage to try new opportunities.  If something doesn’t work out, try something different.  Remember, there is no failure, only feedback. 
Through believing in yourself and acting on your ideas, you can make 2017 an exciting year for you and your career.
Stop waiting, take action and have a very happy new year!