Give a more imaginative reply than ‘I’m busy’

If you were asked how your day has been, there’s a good chance that you’d include the word “busy” somewhere in your answer.

And, just perhaps, rightfully so!

When we’re not working, we’re doing something for the kids, commuting, working, shopping, running errands, cleaning, cooking, making beds, buying new washing machines, booking in root canal, vacuuming,  writing blogs – and the list goes on and ON.

What little downtime we have is packed with distractions.

We’re busier than ever before!

But worse than all of that …

… ‘busy’ has become  some kind of badge of honour.

And NOT a good one.

We feel weirdly good about being busy.

Kory Kogon, author of The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity thinks people have become too proud of being busy.

She challenges us to think about how we continue to glorify being busy and the toll that this takes on our lives. In an interview with Inc., she asks us to disconnect being busy from being productive, as way to shift the dialogue.

Instead of defaulting to “I’m busy” for an easy answer, talk about your recent wins and projects that you’re working on. Everyone’s busy – we’d rather hear about how you’re managing your priorities – not how your priorities are managing you.

So, ultimately I am sorry for having a bit of a rant but I have encountered two terminally and infuriatingly ‘busy’ people today.

One a very close friend who got on my very last nerve today after many months of ducking out of meetings and many emails implying her life is more important than mine.

And one quite stressful colleague who, whilst quite annoying at least once a day, was understandably snappy and short.

Which one is better?

Frankly I could do without either!

And, most importantly, I aspire to be neither!

We’re all busy, we all have too much to do, we are all going grey a little too quickly in a world that refuses to slow down … even just a little bit.

But there is no reason to bore and irritate and tyrannise everyone with it.

And, just in case you are wondering … is the featured pic at for this blog a yawn because we’re all tired with the pace of life or a yawn of complete boredom at people using ‘busy’ as some kind of status symbol to batter the rest of us around the head with on a daily basis?

Frankly I think there is a little of both in there. But the most tedious of the two, the most wearing in my working and personal life … definitely the latter!

If someone asks how you are?

Be positive, be energetic, find something from the sunnier side to say.

Believe me, nobody wants to hear “I’m too busy”!

It will not only be more engaging for them to hear, it will be more positive for you to say.

Rant over 🙂

Thank you for listening! J x

Image result for busy quotes

 

Volunteering for Growth – Two Birds, One Stone

I have long loved volunteering – long been committed to supporting, enabling and celebrating volunteering in all its diversity.

I have done a lot over the years but there has been so much going on in life for the last few years that I am not currently volunteering in any capacity. And I’ve just realised in the last few days that – I miss it!

My new job is great, my little company is motoring along quite nicely (VERY excited to have a new client this week for whom I will be doing a brand refresh and from scratch website build!) and aside from some pretty hefty political turmoil in the world I have no reason to be in the slightest bit dissatisfied.

Yet it has felt that something is missing and my recent realisation was that it was having something bigger than myself and my little life. So …

I usually find volunteering opportunities through http://www.Do-It.org (A great website BTW where you can search a HUGE range of opportunities but location) but in looking over the last few weeks have struggled to find anything that fits.

That’s not to say there aren’t a huge amount of opportunities out there but I need something that fits around work and OurOtherOffice and opportunities with that kind of flexibility seem few and far between.

And then inspiration struck, why not combine my two passions? So today I am putting some meat on the bones of my plan to offer my time and services through ‘Our Other Office’ free of charge to local charities.

And whilst doing the necessary research for writing and building a new web page for this offering and constructing a MailChimp campaign to see if anyone will be interested in taking it up I have gathered the makings of a blog on why volunteering is such a wonderful, life enhancing and personally/ professionally gratifying thing to do.

Herewith my top 5 reasons why you should be thinking about it too …

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  1. It’s Good For Your Health

Many studies have found that when we stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than ourselves we not only have the capacity to help them but reap our own benefits.

Your stress levels start to decrease, your immune system is strengthened and your overall sense of life satisfaction increases.

This is because helping someone else interrupts inward focus and stress building patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, positive emotions and high confidence levels. It is all a matter of keeping things in perspective really.

Peer support doesn’t just work one way,” says Dr Casiday. “Even if you’re in a mentoring role, simply talking to someone else who is struggling with the same issue can support you as well. It’s not just an act of charity. In a lot of cases, the volunteer is helped as much as the patient.

2. Develop Your Soft Skills

Emotional Intelligence is a big buzz word at the moment, employers in particular love a candidate with a range of soft skills but they can also enhance all the other areas of your life.

emotional intelligence
noun

the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically

Volunteering without a doubt gives you plenty of opportunity to develop the soft skills that are essential to anyone wanting to be a well rounded and high functioning individual in every sphere of their life.

When volunteering you can be faced with problems on a daily basis, you have to deal with a mix of personalities and all this whilst adjusting to life outside of your comfort zone. This kind of character building and varied experience is immeasurable in helping you to improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills.

3. A Real-World Experience

Another amazing motivator for volunteering is the insightful, real-world experiences that volunteers gain in the field. Get ready to gain a hands-on experience, to get stuck in.

Often in the real world of work it can be difficult to escape the confines of your job description and if you are the kind of person who likes to get creative and be on a constant learning curve this can be quite confining.

Being just that kind of person I have always seen volunteering as an opportunity to flex the muscles that I don’t really get to flex in my day to day role as an Executive Assistant kind of the same reason for starting up Our Other Office really but with a hefty amount of altruism thrown in) There is nothing unusual about having a job that doesn’t tick all of your boxes, there is something wrong with not doing anything to seek out ways to tick those boxes yourself.

Pick your passion and then you get to live your dream in real life!

4. Career Boosting

Did you know volunteering is an excellent way to boost your career prospects? So just what makes employers love volunteers so much?

It helps you create a positive impression in any interview!

Broadly it will make you appear more innovative, creative and gives you a range of useful skills. Not only that but there will be an immediate impression created that if you are a volunteer you are a greater team player, inevitably an all round nicer person for having done something for nothing in a world where this is increasingly rare.

It’s not just us that believe this, recruiters do too!

In a competitive job market, prospective employers want to see what makes you different from all the other candidates, and volunteering is a great way of standing out from the crowd. By demonstrating that you take part in meaningful activities in your spare time, you will show an employer that you are a well-rounded person with some interesting life experience.

Kate Edwards, Volunteer Services Manager, The Abbeyfield Society

5. Making A Real Difference

Volunteering, in whatever form, gives you the chance to vote every day about the kind of community and world you want to live in.

If you, like me, think that that is something that is particularly important in a country, a continent, a world and, ultimately, a species that seems to be pulling itself apart discussing how much we should give and to whom.

It gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and to do something for the greater good.

There is a lot of antipathy and hatred in the world at the moment and whilst there is very little we can do as individuals to combat that there is much we can all do on a more individual and local scale.

Without people who are willing to sacrifice their time and skills to meaningful causes, a lot more people and animals would be worse off.

This is one of my favourite quotes of all time

JFK Try.png

Not sure where to start in your volunteering journey?

Your reason for volunteering should begin where your passions lie, be led from a place of talent and intention.

That way all the hard work to come will be worth it. You will naturally be more committed to the cause and as a result, your impact will be that much bigger!

And if you want to get some ideas on the kind of thing you can do you should definitely visit http://www.do-it.org. Enjoy 🙂

 

Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

As a small business owner I am fascinated with the idea of setting long term goals – for both myself and my business.

And Big, Hairy, Audacious ones are just, quite simply, the best kind!

It’s Sunday morning and I am having a pretty great weekend so far … right now I am watching ‘Walt Before Mickey‘ and it has inspired me to think about going for what everyone else would tell you is impossible, a pipe dream.

They are audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.
Think about investing money – how much would you earn if you opted for risk free investing. The likely answer is that you wouldn’t earn any interest at all!
The same effect occurs in your body. If you never strain your muscles to push beyond their current capabilities, you won’t just stay at the same level of strength and not grow stronger. In weight training failure is your goal for each session. Hitting the point of failure is ultimately what helps you grow stronger.

Setting a goal and failing to achieve it doesn’t have to be regarded as some terrible thing to be avoided at all costs.

Feelings of disappointment can either drown you or shape you. Sometimes, it may just be a new beginning – Walt before Mickey

Goals are vital for everyone, but especially on a Small Business and Entrepreneurial level!

The USP and main driving element of a BHAG is willingness to completely change your mind set and commit to doing something differently from the way you have been doing it.

If you can envision the big picture and are ready to take a bold and life-changing step, then it’s time to develop a BHAG.

If You Can Dream It You Can Do It

The first step is taking the time to think through what it is that you want. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Where do you want your business to be in 10 years?

Let go of constraints, think only of what would be your ideal and let your imagination take charge.

If it isn’t very ambitious and seemingly unattainable it isn’t a BHAG.

Conceptualize a goal that will change your business and/or your life.

Next … How Do You Get There?

So, lets assume for a minute that all you have imagined in the first step is eminently possible.

Quiet that inner voice for a moment!

It is likely that if your dream is audacious enough it might seem a bit on the scary side.

You can break it down into smaller, measurable chunks, or mini-goals. Take it one step at a time!

Commit

Just like you do with any goal, you will need to commit and start forward progress immediately.

If you are thinking long term, at least 10 years, it might seem like you have lots of time.

But if your goal is big enough, scary enough and audacious enough you had best get started, your dream awaits you

 

 

Small Seeds #7 – 21 Days Positive

So I’ve recently decided to take  a break from the negativity of the world … this obviously includes the TV News, Newspapers, Trending Twitter Feeds, Current Affairs shows, Question Time to name just the obvious ones.

That also includes a few friends but don’t tell them I said so 😉

Because, frankly, the lens through which we are asked to view humanity at the moment presents just the most unrelentingly miserable view.

I had started to notice that it was seeping into my bones!

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely.

Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you.

Your brain loves efficiency and doesn’t like to work any harder than it has to. When you repeat a behaviour, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information.

This makes it much easier to repeat that behaviour in the future—so easy, in fact, that you might not even realize you’re doing it.

If you are not careful complaining becomes your default behaviour, which changes how people perceive you.

So I have been doing a bit of wandering around the internet this evening in search of positivity and inspiration and I found an absolute gem.

I can’t believe I have never heard of Will Bowen before but being a bit of a positivity junkie, however much I might be having a little wobble at the moment, I am very happy that I have now.

He has a challenge for us!

To go 21 days without complaining.

Every time you complain, you must reframe the complaint into an opportunity (within 1-2 minutes). Will Bowan advises wearing a bracelet on your wrist, and with each complaint, you must switch the bracelet to other hand and restart the clock.

An invaluable benefit of the challenge is the building a mechanism that transforms every complaint into a positive.

In other words: complaint triggers solution.

Now I don’t think I am too bad at that but in all honestly I think perhaps I will be surprised by how much I complain without thinking about it.

Apparently, if you can go 21 days on the same wrist you’ll not only be more likable to others, but you’ll become a better leader too.

Sounds good to me.

So starting tomorrow morning I am on a mission.

21 days to rewire my brain?

It seems like such a small price to pay!

But I don’t think I will be going back to Question Time any time soon 😉

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” Ziggy 

Time For Some Rose Tinted Biz Inspiration

It’s Sunday and as well as having submitted my Tax Return (Phew, frog successfully eaten!) I have had quite a fab weekend fairly major spring cleaning – I am feeling thoroughly pleased with myself. The 9 year olds room took, quite literally, HOURS 😉

Anyway, now for a little bit of writing but I am not feeling too serious so thought I would enjoy myself with a slightly irreverent look at some Entrepreneurial inspiration.

Well, we all need a little bit of a pick me up every now and then! 

And, what better way to bounce into a new week?

It’s My Life

One that I think every small business person will appreciate. Because everyone always has an opinion, a way they could do it ‘better’ than you. But that’s not your path, your business, your way. Only a fool dismisses genuine advice without due consideration but if you have made a decision have the courage of your convictions.

mylife

Marketing is really just flirting

A lot of people seem to get quite worried about marketing their business but the principles are quite simple … you are just telling people about your business, your passion. Remember those dating days? Get up, dress up, put your best foot forward and flirt! And make sure you enjoy it, it is meant to be fun!

marketing

I Need To Be Successful Because …

Think about your motivation and use it to drive you. Perhaps it is the freedom from 9-5pm, from the tyranny of wearing ties/ heels, from being made to feel like a square peg in a round hole. Perhaps it is the money, there is no shame in saying so! The reason is immaterial really as it varies for absolutely everyone … just hold onto it and remember your ‘why’ in the inevitable low moments.

expensivethings

You Don’t Have To Explain

One of the things I love about Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses are that they are all different. Everyone has their own take of how to fix the problem in the world that they have chosen to tackle, you don’t need to explain you just need to really understand it yourself.

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Strive For Progress

Perfection is not attainable so stop flogging yourself with it. There is always something that can be improved, tweaked, refined. Strive for progress rather than perfection, a little everyday, and you will get where you want to be.

progress

Be Brave, This Is Your Legacy

People often pour scorn on those that they don’t understand – ignore them. Listen to the voices in your head and act on your dreams, they won’t be realised without your action!

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4am Know All My Secrets

If you are anything like me you will know why this one is in here. Don’t listen to anything your brain tells you in the middle of the night, it’s bound to be drivel that will dissipate the minute your sip your first coffee in the morning. Remember in the darkest moments that this too shall pass!

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Finally … Enjoy Yourself

It isn’t always easy dancing to the beat of your own drum but it is worth it, persevere and make sure you enjoy the journey.

rightplace

2017 – A Year For Taking A Breath 

It’s the time for year when everyone’s thoughts turn to resolutions, and generally mine too. 

I have a restless spirit – my brain is always roaming for the next thing to do, the next skill to learn, the next horizon to conquer. 

In many ways this has served me well but it can also be exhausting when you feel constantly restless. 

But something odd happened to me this week … 

I was roaming Pinterest as I have a tendency to do when looking for inspiration (if you haven’t tried it I would highly recommend it) and bolstering the content of my rather fabulous ‘Word Porn‘ board and I suddenly had a brain wave! Yes. They do happen on occasion 😉

Why not just pick a word as my focus for the year? 

Everyone is always so focussed on change – next year I have to be better, I have to be different, my life has to be bigger and more impressive!

And I think that can sometimes be great, but often times quite self defeating. I mean, it just kind of assumes that everything you did in the last 12 months and everything you were for the last 365 days was not quite good enough. 

I worked blooming hard this year – I learned a huge amount professionally and, I think, grew a lot in my job and as a person. And whilst that is all brilliant I think it cost me a lot in terms of reserves too. 

The upshot is that I don’t want to spend all of 2017 thinking about where I should be, what I should have or what I should be doing. 

Been there, done that! 

I want to focus on enjoying where I am, counting my many blessings in all that I have and consolidating what I am actually doing now. 

So no resolutions for me, just a single word – Meraki 
It’s a Greek word, which is probably just perfect for a Classics geek, and it means to leave a bit of yourself in everything you do. 

It means to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention.

And that is going to be my ‘resolution’ for 2017 – not to change or improve or want something better but to consolidate all that I have. 

To enjoy my new job, to pour time and love into my relationship and children, to appreciate what I have, to pour some time/ passion into my little company, to spend more time reading/ writing/ playing and most importantly to relax. 

I can set more goals and resume my eternal restlessness for 2018, this year is for pouring my soul into what I already have 😘

Happy start to 2017 all! 

Don’t Worry, It Might Never Happen

I have been worrying incessantly this week, I won’t bore you with what – they never come to pass after all, or at least I keep telling myself they don’t – but it is safe to say that whether valid or not I am driving myself completely crazy.

So I thought I would do something useful … write it out with a blog whilst enjoying the charming peace of Bake Off on the telly. Cake week, who could worry their way through the delights of Mary Berry and Roulades?

I am very familiar with the spectre of worry, I have to admit to being a little bit prone to overthinking things. I’ve always been so terribly jealous of those people who can turn their brains off at will, it isn’t a skill for me. And I am sure there are lots of people out there who feel the same way.

SO what to do?

Well I am quite a big fan of The Chimp Paradox – if you are a worrier you should definitely check it out too –  and one of the ways to deal with a rampaging chimp in your head is to distract it! As the cakes weren’t completely working, I am resorting to WordPress, the internet and Pinterest.

Always Remember, Many Of Your Worries Are Unfounded!

Lo and behold, it turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning.

I love The Huffington Post, I seem to spend quite a lot of time reading it and this article was as good a use of my time as any. The research backed stats to persuade you that you are likely stressing yourself out for absolutely nothing, and a couple of ways to put a stop to your brains rampage.

Ask Yourself – What is the worst that could happen?

Have you ever read Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers? If you haven’t and worrying is something you are prone to I would highly recommend it.

I have a very well worn copy that has been on my bookshelf for many years, just opening the book to any of the yellowing pages has a soothing effect now. It is something I pick up before an interview or meeting a client, if I am worrying about work or money or kids … the situation doesn’t really matter. It’s about recognising what is causing the worry and tackling it head on.

Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness! This is the one truth that some people have difficulty understanding. When you push through the fear, you will feel such a sense of relief as your feeling of helplessness subsides. You will wonder why you did not take action sooner. You will become more and more aware that you can truly handle anything that life hands you.

Now I have to apologise in advance for this, but this is one of my favourite memes … just avert your eyes if you are sensitive to bad language … but this helps me immensely.

If they don’t offer you the job it means there is something better around the corner, if the client thinks you are too expensive they don’t deserve your talents, I never had a money worry that I was still worrying about in a few months and kids will always find a way to give you grey hair.

What’s the worst that could happen? Chuck it in the f**k it bucket and move on!

People Don’t Think About You As Much As You Think They Do

And with googling this point I have just solved my own worry, just like that – and with another one of my favourite sources for blogging wisdom too. LifeHack.Org

I’m a people pleaser, and as anyone who recognises that trait in themselves will understand, this causes me a HUGE amount of worry and stress. Whether it be a boss, a partner, a colleague or even a child it can be quite an insidious and unconscious tendency.

The key is in recognising it!

There are advantages to having someone’s high regard but if it doesn’t come naturally, by just being you, you are also paying a high price for their esteem. There will be a tendency to shuffle issues under the carpet and tolerate things that don’t work for you.

Not everyone will ‘get’ you and that is entirely ok. There is an awful lot of awesome in being a little bit weird, all the best people are you know – it is what being a real individual is all about.

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 And finally …

It is important to keep in mind that worry really is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but gets you absolutely no where.

If all else fails, write a quick blog to distract yourself – after all, tomorrow is a brand new day. Grab it with both hands!

Remember her? She is still there....inside you....waiting.....let's go get her (your inner child)......: