Tag: Work

How To Relax Better After Work

Even though it’s 7pm and you’re at home sipping your favorite tea, your head is full of thoughts on unfinished projects, approaching deadlines and some annoying co-worker you had a chat with earlier today. It seems like today you’ve had a tough day and all you wanted for your personal time is to simply “turn off” your working mind and relax but… no, not happening. And I believe we all are familiar with this situation that we are still mentally working at home even though we wish this wasn’t happening.

Here’s some good news: you are not alone and it’s perfectly normal to be anxious about your job and keep mentally “working” out of your work space. Studies actually show that 7 out of 10 adults experience work-related anxiety that is felt regardless of time and environment.

Here are a few simple ways to let your mind and body enjoy some self-time to prepare for the next day.

1. Take A Walk

One way to include yourself in a relaxing environment is to seek it out in nature by taking a walk. If you happen to live around 2-6 kilometers away from your work then take a walk back home instead of driving or using public transportation. A cool breeze and a long walk with refresh your mind and will “prepare” it for the full relaxation at home. Take that time to digest your thoughts and turn your “work mode” off once you go through your doorstep.

2. Train The Muscle

Continuing your difficult and tiring day training might not sound like the best idea ever but it might actually be! Many people get anxious when they are not doing anything that gives them purpose. Physical exercise releases endorphins (also knowns as “happpiness hormones”) so you will feel happier and even more energetic. Only if you don’t overdo, of course.

3. Read

One good way to relax at home after work is shifting your focus from problem solving to rather something creative, such as reading or painting. By stimulating your imagination you will not have to physically transport anywhere, but you will be able to “live” and lose yourself in the story. Reading relaxes your mind and diverts your thoughts from stressful issues to something beautiful.

4. Seek Company

Company is underrated. Most people after a tiring day assume that they would like to spend some time alone, reflecting on their thoughts and actions. But there is nothing more relaxing than having a long, meaningful conversation with somebody you care about or playing with the kids. Nurture their company, give them a long hug and engage in a meaningful conversation. It will be easier to get rid of stressful thoughts if you concentrate on other people, their lives and stimulate yourself socially.

5. Treat Yourself With Food

If your day was filled with meetings and running around, you have probably not had quality time to just sit, relax and enjoy your meal (have you had any at all?). A hungry mind is an angry mind – so divert your thoughts into something pleasant and useful. You don’t have to be a master chef to create something mouthwatering – try a simple Chopped Salad or One-Bite Snacks. A good meal will replenish your calorie supply and some chopping action will help you “let it go”… :) You know what I mean.

6. Relax With Music

Hearing is one of the senses that have a strong direct effect on our mood. If you want to relax, dissociate yourself from noise and surround yourself with positive, uplifting sounds.

 

5 Ways To Beat Your Monday Blues

Oh No, It’s Monday… If you are one of those who rolls eyes and sighs deeply just by thinking of Mondays, you might have a case of the Monday Blues. Monday morning blues are a real problem, but you can take the sting out of Mondays and (at least) try to make your Mondays better. Here are a few simple things you can do to help start the week off right so Monday’s don’t have to be that one disastrous date you so passionately dislike.

Woman stretching in bed after wake up

1. Enjoy Your Weekend Fully

As cheesy as it may sound, enjoy your weekend fully, once it’s there. Relax to the whole 100% and turn off not only your email but your mind as well. Having an amazing, cheerful and positive weekend will let your mind and body relax, which is exactly something you need. Having an awesome weekend will help you “cope” with your Monday better as you’ll recall great events and emotions, which is something we all want.

2. Wake Up In The Mood

Make sure to start your week with an attitude of gratitude. Appreciate yourself and others, and make sure you focus on the things you enjoy. Waking up feeling happy (or setting the right mood purposefully) is more than 50% of success! If you’re having difficult time, make sure you listen to high-energy music to help you prepare. You can even dance a little and prep some “yay” moves  that will put a smile on your and your partners face before he leaves.

3. Eat Healthy Breakfast

Healthy and balanced meal is the best way to start your day. If you want to start your week off right, it’s important that you combine the healthy side with something that you enjoy eating. Let it be some tasty soy yoghurt with granola and your favorite caramel coffee or a slice of rye bread with some scrambled egg and a cup of tea. Research shows that kick-starting your day with balanced meal will improve your focus throughout the day.

4. Dress For Success

People say that a forced smile is better than no smile at all. If a forced smile is better, so is a forced mood! Even though you might wake up feeling anxious, put some energetic mood on while sipping your favorite coffee and choose something WOW to wear. Show and share your spirit, charisma and vibe – people will notice and will appreciate. Putting a flawless dress and those sexy shoes will straighten your back which will already show good body posture. This can help build your confidence around the office especially as you might get a few compliments from your co-workers and your boss.

5. Have Fun At Work

Let’s face it: most likely you are not the only one who dislikes Mondays. To brighten your day, you can do something fun, for example, bring some food for no reason (or rather, the “Monday reason”). Everybody likes food. Let it be a fruit basket, some doughnuts, cookies or pizza – it’ll create some cool funky mood.- for example, bring a few homemade cinnamon rolls that you made together with your partner during the weekend. If you don’t want to or cannot bring food, at least make sure you compliment somebody for their shoes/bag/smile. Make sure to break up the day with some positivity – if people notice that you’re smiling and are enjoying your Monday, the good vibe will “infect” others as well!

Arbejdsglæde: The Joy Of Working in Denmark

Arbejdsglæde is an interesting Danish word, meaning “the joy of working” or otherwise “happiness at work”. Unlike in many languages, it an often used word referring to the level of happiness a person feels regarding the job. That’s why you should not be surprised if your boss in Denmark asks whether you are happy – just like that out of nowhere – hoping to get an enthusiastic “yes”.

The word “arbejde” refers to “work” and “glæde” to “happiness”. So the word refers to happiness at work and your inner feelings about the job, not thoughts about it. Actually, “arbejdsglæde” is not that often used in other languages unlike it is in Denmark. The word exists basically mainly in Scandinavian countries. In Denmark colleagues may actually wish you job satisfaction if you are going to settle on your task for a while using a similar word combination – e.g. “god arbejdslyst” = “good luck”, whereas “lyst” refers to “pleasure”, so the direct translation would be “have a good working pleasure”.

It might not be a coincidence that “arbejdsglæde” exists only in Scandinavian languages: Scandinavians have trandition on focusing on work-related happiness. That is also the reason why they do not push their children to jump straightly into universities as soon as they are done with the school since it is believed that children have to find what they are passionate about – and it is believed that passion and drive always leads for the best result. That it leads to the better, fuller future where they know what they want to do and have a drive for it. In this case, it leads to happiness at work.

Job Satisfaction = Finding Your Passion

Studies show that there is a direct link between happiness and work; besides, companies with happy employees perform up to twice as much compared to the ones where workers are not satisfied. Happiness at work is not equal to your salary, bonuses, benefits or tasks. Job satisfaction is: job satisfaction deals about you “feeling good” at work due to external causes, such as free fruits at work, tasty coffee or nice office. But happiness at work comes from your own feelings and not comfort you have around you. I remember once having stumbled upon an American peer who described me his part-time job very negatively so that I just asked – “do you even like your job?”. “Of course not, he answered, that’s why I get paid”. However,  job satisfaction is actually a derivative coming from two things – the results - i.e. what makes you proud and relationships - whether you feel good about the people you work with.

job needed

Job satisfaction is not a complicated thing: it’s all about going to work and feeling good about it. It’s about contribution and positive difference that you create in your own and others’ lives. In Denmark, employers employ people who are passionate about the company and some certain tasks. Here, employers want to find perfect employees who would be ambassadors of a company instead of workers. Well, after all, we spend around 37 hours a week working – don’t we intend to change these hours into something pleasant rather than unpleasant? Job satisfaction is actually one of the three main sources of happines and the best cure for stress. Therefore, if your boss in Denmark asks whether you are happy – just like that, out of nowhere – you should think about changing the workplace if you cannot tell him an enthusiastic “yes” to the question he asked.

 

If you are interested in the topic, you might be interested in reading a book on Job Satisfaction: “Happy hour 9 to 5“.

Does Solitude Enhance Productivity?

Do you remember the time you came up with a perfect idea for your project while singing in a shower? Or while brushing your teeth before going to sleep? It might not be a coincidence, even though you thought so. It seems that productivity and creativity flourishes when we are relaxed, alone and focused on a mechanical task – that’s at least what scientists claim.

Genius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/angeloabary/

 

One For All – One For Himself

It is commonly believed that a group is the sum of constituent parts or greater in terms of productivity. A group by its definition consists of two or more individuals who are independent and can contribute with various actions towards reaching a common goal. Yet researchers have recently came to the conclusion that working alone might bring better benefits than working in a group.

According to Steiner’s Law of Productivity, group’s ‘actual productivity’ is its ‘potential productivity’ minus ‘faulty group processes’. Potential productivity refers to the team’s best possible performance if all members perform to their full potential, yet such “perfect” situation is nearly never achieved due to changing environments and moods. ”When an individual could see their partner actually performing the task, the partner’s performance interfered with their own performance, causing them to perform more slowly,”, explained Dr. Tim Welsh working in University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, who has just performed a new research on productivity. It could be a starting point of believing that we are better of working alone – rather than together.

when

Researcher claims that when an individual only saw others’ work results but not the action itself, the interference effect was no longer observed and performance as well as focus on the specific task improved. The psychology behind is that if we see someone performing a task alone and we are perfoming a similar, yet related task, we automatically imagine ourselves perfoming the task of a co-worker. This behavior is part of our mirror neuron system.

Mechanical Task + Unexpected Moment = Brilliant Idea

All of us could come up with the situation or two from our past when the best solutions to our problems came when we were alone, instead of being surrounded by people. The craziest yet the most productive places would probably be working table, shower and toilet (!) since one can be alone and focused on performing a mechanical task, which does not require thinking or specific thoughtful action. In such cases our brains are “unoccupied” and therefore “open” for new ideas, i.e. creative and innovative solutions to the problems we have.

Creativity is defined as an ability to come up with solutions and/or products which are original, useful and value adding, yet, according to Susan Cain, solitude is said to be out of fashion, since schools, companies and even our culture encourages group work instead of solitude, even though research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom. I have recently found a great article published in New York Times, written by her, Susan Cain, writer and lecturer, famous for her non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. There’s a grain of truth in Susan’s words; she claims that psychologists who study creativity know that it requires both solitude and collaboration and exceptional creativity (i.e. exceptional ability to come up with new ideas) involves a lot of hard work (i.e. thinking), and that often happens in solitude. And, to my surprise, the most creative people are introverted – they are not extroverted enough to exchange their ideas with others…

Co-Working Might Slow Us Down

According to the author, Susan Cain, solitude is a catalyst to innovation, and has long been associated with creativity and transccendence. She also quotes Picasso’s words, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible”. Her thoughts on solitude enhancing productivity can also be supported by findings of Dr. Tim Welsh, who claims that co-working might be demotivating and slowing down.

We live in a society that worships teamwork rather than solitude. We encourage groupwork, group goals rather than personal achievements and personal characteristics. We tend to put people in “boxes” and view them as part of the content, not the content itself. Solitude is usually perceived to be a bad thing, as our whole society is built in order to serve each other in one or another way. With so many options and opportunities available to us for distraction, we generally tend to forget the value and importance of soliture and making room for thought, which is essential to sort our thoughts and find the power to regulate our lives.

But What About Brainstorm?

… I can hear you ask. It can also be argued that the activity we most often call brainstorming – the ability to bounce off ideas in a group, receive feedback and feed off of each others creative genius is something that cannot be achieved in solitude. Both are most likely true, because both serve different purposes. Brainstorm is arguably unmatched when the objective is to produce new ideas or entirely new ways of thinking, however when it comes to getting your sleeves rolled up and hands dirty it is probably not the best to be surrounded in the same environment where creativity lives. Creativeness and productivity seem to not get along too well, so best separate them. From this we can maybe draw the complete productivity formula – iterate between moments of solitude and work in groups for the maximum effect.

Alone But Not Lonely

Solitude itself is a state of seclusion, i.e lack of contact with people due to (mainly) purposeful actions. Short-term solitude is often valued as it can sparkle creativity (i.e. personl feels free and therefore has a chance to come up with useful solutions), yet purposeful long-term solitude, where any human contact is intentionally neglected, usually brings negative experiences to an individual. As mentioned earlier, persons creativity can be sparked when given freedom and solitude. Solitude should not be confused to loneliness and/or social isolation, which are unpleasant emotional responses due to isolation and lack of human contact. Loneliness and social isolation are usually involuntary and related to unpleasant feelings while being alone, whereas solitude is based on particular individual needs and wishes and are associated with intentional and positive experiences (i.e. I want to be alone, therefore I will not contact and/or talk to anyone today).

One could observe and conclude that a number of highly creative people, such as Nikola Tesla, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein or Franz Kafka highly valued solitude, since solitude was the only state of mind where they could use 100% of their potential as no one would observe or distract them while in process of creation.

The science of creativity shows that creative people, who do not need distraction would always prefer solitude to those, who feel good being part of the group. People differ. And so do our preferences. So question for you – do you have a method of finding solutions to your problems, and do you generally find the solutions while in solitude or in a group?

Are You a Workaholic?

Being happy and satisfied about your career choice and your job is very laudatory. Yet everything, where the word “too” comes in, is not good at all. Neither for your health, nor personal life. Working too much is a huge issue, that can affect your life negatively. In Japanese language even a word, meant for such situation exists. Japanese would try to frighten a workaholic person with the word karōshi  - death from work, or simply, working until the instant, unexpected death in a young age.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/herval/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/herval/

Do your friends and relatives complain that the last time they saw you, was 2 years ago, when you accidentally bumped into them in the city center? When it comes to workaholism, specialists claim that there are 10 symptoms which you should be aware of. If you realize at least a couple of bullet points are about you: it could be the right time to plan your next holidays ASAP…

* You have no hobbies. If the only answer you give, when asked what are your hobbies, is “job”, that is not good at all. Remember, the time you are spending from 9am to 5pm is not your leisure. It’s a job. And even though your job can give you a great satisfaction, it is not a sufficient hobby for such an interesting and goal-reaching person like you.

* You skip lunch just to have some extra time to work on the tasks you want to accomplish. A lot of people think that the only way to to do that is to have more working hours, but try to be strategic: well-planned time pays off.

* You are the first who comes to your workplace and the last who leaves. You probably like to have a quiet half an hour before everyone comes, when the office is empty, but don’t make it a habit.

* You choose to postpone your holidays and you’ve been doing so for a while. Even though you know and realize that your productivity would increase after a week or two off, you still choose to work instead of relaxing and even make fun of your colleagues, who are posting their holiday pictures on various social media platforms.

* Not only that you refuse to have holidays, but you also wake up and go to an office while having a viscous snot under your nose and a sore throat. Remember: your health is more important than your job. Going to work while sick may not only bring you serious health issues, but may also infect your colleagues. Not cool at all…

* You are not satisfied with your results. Whereas your colleagues and your boss praise you, you are still left with the disappointed and believe you could have done better. That is why you work even more to achieve the results you think and expect to achieve.

* You are not sharing the tasks with your colleagues. You think that you will do everything on your own and therefore your boss will appreciate it. In a way that is true – the more you are able and willing to do, the better you become. But remember that being a team player means a lot…

* You have never said “no” to your boss and colleagues. If your boss wants to give you more tasks to accomplish, you gladly take all of them. If your new colleague does not understand something, you are rushing to help. Remember: you are not a superman or a superwoman. You might pretend to be one for a while and might actually succeed, but your human powers will win in any case.

* You feel tired. If you wake up and after 2 huge cups of coffee your bed and pillow still seems to be inviting you to cuddle, you might night to rest. People, who are not willing to rest, are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and have numerous digestion problems.

* You do not call yourself a workaholic and if someone does, you instantly get insulted. Try to evaluate your working situation and if you feel tired, talk to your boss about a day off, without your job, computer and a phone, simply with lots of sleep and a book. It may help.