Avoid Stress, the major disease for Workers at every level

26 febbraio 2016 § Lascia un commento

Often, when i read about reducing stress, work-life balance and all the article and indication about how we can solve this problem are infinitely, but how many person are able to follow this indication?

Frankly speaking i try only when i feel tired, or i’ve some disease, but as i wrote some days ago, we need to push us to maintain this rules in very moment; a good personal life = great performance in work

Thanks to HBR, and have a nice reading

6 Ways Successful People Tackle Stress

IMAGE: Getty Images

If there’s a mental skill to develop over the course of a lifetime, it’s knowing how to deal with stress. Many of us aren’t naturally very good at it, so we tend to buckle under stress, instead of managing it. And since stress is a fairly certain part of life, it’s helpful to be able to cope with it on multiple levels.

For those of us who are not so good at it naturally, here are some strategies that have been shown to help people cope with psychological stress. Making a point of doing as many of these as you can is a good idea. But like any habit, it will take some practice before they become reflexive.

1. Remember life isn’t all about work

“Balance” is a hackneyed phrase, but there’s definitely something to it. People who have blinders on for their work will probably do well professionally – but their lives may be pretty bleak socially or psychologically. And this can reduce your coping reserves.

“If you aim for harmony,” says psychologist Deborah Serani, “your aim is to integrate – or fit – all that matters to you in meaningful ways. So it’s not an either-or way of living, it’s a ‘let’s get the pieces to fit’ way of living.”

So make time to enjoy life: Hobbies, entertainments, volunteering, and, of course, spend time with the people who you’re working so hard for in the first place – your family. All of this is ultimately what makes life fun to live in the first place, with the added benefit of being a huge stress relief. So when stressors pop up, you’re more able to deal with them.

2. Make time to be social, even when you don’t want to be

Even if you don’t feel like being social, get yourself out once a week: Being around people will help your stress level, since we’re fundamentally social creatures and need those ties to keep us sane. Humans don’t function well in isolation, and when stress hits, isolation is even more counterproductive.

“Just about the first thing to go when we are busy or under stress is spending time with good friends,” says psychologist Heidi Reeder. “And yet even a quick hour with a friend, going for a walk or having lunch, can do a great deal for our mental and physical health. It’s like a little vacation that you don’t have to pack or plan for. Successful people know that time with friends is an important investment, particularly during times of stress.”

3. Find a practice to focus your mind

Our minds can be our worst enemies when stress hits, or at any given time, for that matter. So a practice to rein in the “monkey mind” – like meditation or yoga – is smart. Companies like Google, Huffington Post, Target, Aetna, Apple, and Nike all encourage their employees to take time to meditate and/or offer classes. In fact, Google even has its “Jolly Good Fellow” position, filled until recently by Chade-Meng Tan, who taught employees mindfulness-based emotional intelligence, as well as serving as their general guru of well being.

These practices bring us out of the past and future, which we spend most of our time ruminating about, and into the present. Choose a simple meditation to start: Focus on your breath, and when your mind wanders, just note it, and return your focus to your breath, as many times as it takes.

4. Feed your senses 

A good way both to de-stress and to stave off stress is to revel in your five senses (within reason, of course). Indulge your inner foodie, drink rich coffee, listen to music that moves you, watch the sunset, feel the grass under your feet, or wrestle with your kid in the snow.

It’s another way of living in the present – but instead of focusing your mind on the present, you’re focusing on amazing sensory experiences of being human.

“Successful and happy people feed their senses,” says Serani, “and as such, they enable more relaxation and ease into their lives. This is sometimes called ‘Subjective Well Being.’ Happy people tend to appreciate the simple or positive moments from ‘flow of life experiences.'”

5. Express gratitude

When things go downhill, finding the things that you are grateful for goes a long way in bringing you down to planet earth. Writing down things you’re grateful for has been shown to be helpful for reducing stress and boosting well being. Even going over in your head, or with your spouse, the things you’re grateful for can put things in perspective, and make stressors seem more manageable.

6. Remember that your worse case scenario may not come true

Finally, keep in mind that your mind creates some dizzyingly imaginative outcomes for problems. Most of these don’t come true, of course, but our minds always feel obliged to work out the worst-case scenarios. So when you find yourself in these times, realize what you’re doing – and remember all the times when you’ve created a catastrophe in your head where there really was none.

Email Obsession…go other and live better

24 febbraio 2016 § Lascia un commento

After the reading of this HBR article, something in your like could be change…

About the list of work-balance, i personally answer YES to every single sentences, and this is message to change something in life, because only if your mind are free you can be more productive

Fixing Our Unhealthy Obsession with Work Email

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HBR STAFF

Our dysfunctional relationship with work email has become so normal, I’m not sure most of us can even see it anymore.

Typical is this quote from the recent article, “How Successful People Spend Their Weekends”:

“I never go into the office on weekends,” Spencer says, “but I do check e-mail at night. [Emphasis added.] My weekends are an important time to unplug from the day-to-day and get a chance to think more deeply about my company and my industry. Weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”

I don’t think he’s getting the “break” he thinks he’s getting. It’s incongruent to say, “My weekends are an important time to unplug,” while admitting he’s still checking email at least twice on the weekends.

And not even vacations are sacrosanct. Here’s another common piece of advicefrom a different article:

“Put away your devices while you’re on vacation. Designate a couple of consistent times per day, so your team knows when you will be checking in.”

So, in short, put away your devices while you’re on vacation, until you take them out again multiple times a day so that you can work, and apparently vacation activities will need to be scheduled around work check-ins!

Am I Working Too Much?

Work-life balance is different for everyone. But here are some ways to know when your balance is off:

  • If you never take vacation, or if you work when you’re on vacation.
  • If you’re never away from email for more than six or eight hours at a time.
  • If you are generally available to anyone regardless of the day or time.
  • If you never shut off your phone, or put it in “Do Not Disturb” mode.
  • If you have no hobbies, or if you can’t remember the last time you engaged in your hobby.
  • If you usually feel exhausted for no particular reason.
  • If you’re always intending to exercise, but you never seem to be able to work it into your schedule.
  • If you go to work when you’re sick.
  • If you have very few close relationships beyond your immediate family.
  • If your partner or child is often annoyed by your relationship with your device.

Make no mistake: comments like these show how entrenched always-on work cultures have become. Researchers now call it “telepressure,” and define it as, “an urge to quickly respond to emails, texts and voicemails – regardless of whatever else is happening or whether one is even ‘at work.’” And such always-on cultures actually sabotage productivity. The research has shown that more downtime correlates to more benefits. Overworked, stressed-out, fearful employees will not be a good source of creative ideas. In this summary of studies for Innovation Management, a Swedish consultancy company, Gaia Grant, author of Who Killed Creativity…and How Can We Get it Back?, writes, “Creative thinking requires a relaxed state, the ability to think through options at a slow pace and the openness to explore different alternatives without fear.” And according to Jen Spencer, founder of The Creative Executive, “play” is an important component in creativity, and if all people do is work, they’re crowding out “play times” that are important to generating innovative ideas. “When we balance work with play, it’s like cross-training our minds and our soul. Play is about enjoyment, relaxation, and recreation, which gives our minds the ability to replenish the resources we need to be strategic, make new connections, and innovate.” Put another way, telepressure and innovation cannot coexist.

The way for both leaders and employees to manage this issue is to recognize this, and also realize that we – each of us — have the final say in what is acceptable.

What Leaders Can Do

If you’re a leader in your organization, your actions influence the culture. If you choose to refrain from sending late-night emails, your employees won’t feel pressured to check their devices. Some messages from the recently released Hillary Clinton emails provide a clear example of how leadership sets the pace of work:

Your staying home tomorrow will make lots of parents at higher levels feel ok about staying home with their kids. I may be one of them!  Staffer to Hillary Clinton

I had gathered that you were thinking possibly of taking off on Dec 21. I would urge you to — for your own sake. The pace is absolutely killing and you deserve it. But it will also mean that a lot of folks who would like to take some time off with their family before Xmas (e.g. moms like me who are necessary to make Xmas happen) would feel much freer to do so. –Staffer to Hillary Clinton Aide Huma Abedin

In addition to keeping their own behaviors in check, another way for leaders to correct this problem is to have a frank discussion about what’s expected of employees. If this discussion leads to the conclusion that constant availability is required to meet the goals of the organization, that’s a corporate issue that needs to be addressed. This may be an acceptable short-term situation, but it’s not sustainable long term.

If the discussion leads to the conclusion that it’s up to employees to set their own boundaries and impose their own limits, then leadership must ensure that the employees have the skills and the tools to do this successfully. Effectively managing all the details of life and work is not a skill taught in schools, and as technology and communication channels proliferate, it’s getting harder and harder. Traditional time management training doesn’t work, so staff development plans need to take these needs into account.

What Employees Can Do

You don’t need to be a leader in your organization to have influence over your downtime. The fact is, your industry shouldn’t dictate your work hours—your goals should. Not everyone aspires to be President of the United States, or even president of the company.

Now, if that type of career path is the one you choose, it’s important to take an honest look at the sacrifices that might be required, and ensure that your personal goals don’t conflict with your professional goals. It may help to realize how you define success: If you work incessantly and meet your professional goals, but you’ve done so at the expense of your personal life, your family, or your mental or physical health…is that the kind of “success” you aspire to?

It may be true that you can’t get to be a Hillary Clinton without working around the clock. But it’s not true that you have to sacrifice your personal life, your health, and your sanity to be successful at a technology consulting company, or a chip manufacturer, or a fashion retailer, or most other industries, despite the pace the job may seem to require.

There are successful entrepreneurs who prove that balance is still possible while growing a business, and others who have proven that while around-the-clock work hours seems necessary in some industries, even there it’s actually only the illusion of working around the clock that’s important.

Question your assumptions about being always available. Naturally, it’s human nature to operate based on assumptions­—sometimes assumptions we don’t even realize we’re holding. For example, if everyone at your organization seems to be keeping long hours, you might find yourself doing the same, based on the vague belief that if everyone is doing it, you must “have to.” But there is certainly no hard evidence to support the idea that those who are the most available or work the longest hours are the most successful. Has anyone ever been fired for not responding to emails at 2am? And even in an environment where that may be possible, you still have a choice.

Most leaders know the work is demanding, but depend on employees to be able to impose their own balance. My CEO clients tell me that they expect their employees to understand that regardless of how many hours they work, there will always be more work to do, and the employee is the only one who can set his or her own boundaries.

To be more productive and efficient is to make the best use of the resources available to you. In your quest toward productivity, for yourself or your company, don’t neglect the most important resources, which are neither time nor money, but body and mind. When your work precludes physical and emotional well-being, your pursuit of productivity will be destined to fail. And if conventional wisdom now says that constant work is necessary for professional success, I can’t think of a more important time to buck convention.

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