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How to reduce absenteeism to zero

According to the Centre for disease control and prevention over 40% of US citizens reported mental health challenges in June 2020(1). Here in the UK evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days are related to mental health conditions, with improvements we could save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year. (2) (3)

When you consider how mental health and well being can impact on productivity, creativity and business it becomes essential for you and your team that you understand what you can do to help everyone to feel emotionally strong and confident in these tough times so your organisation can thrive no matter what.

Would it surprise you to know that my clients have reported the very opposite in the pandemic.

One company recently advised me that they experienced zero absenteeism in lock down – 3 months, 224 members of staff and not one sick day!

Another said they were really impressed how everyone “naturally adapted” and were working better together as a team despite not being able to see each other.

Another said they had hit all their targets.

And a few more have taken the time to let me know they were surprised to have their best quarter trading ever.

This is not by magic, or accident, or by being in the right industry for a pandemic, this is because through the coaching process with me, everyone that I work with has learnt how to honour who they are and how they want to work and develop feeling part of the end result that is aimed for.

Here is a quick guide on how to coach yourself or your team to achieve and protect your mental health.

1.            Create a mental health tool kit – this article will guide you how and if someone says yours will look the same as someone elses, they are wrong – there may be many elements that overlap but no one on this planet has lived your life and that is why it needs to be unique to you. One of the key things my clients learn is that one size doesn’t fit all. You are unique so your solutions are unique too. In 16 years of coaching I’ve seen the same problem many times, but never have I seen 2 clients create the same solutions and action plan.

2.            Structure may be a golden ticket to a healthy resilient mind, on the other hand it may be the rod that breaks your back. Ask yourself this “If I was to get a free pandemic safe holiday to my dream destination and I had to leave in 4 hours time, how would I feel?”

This question gives you a good idea on your natural style. My clients learn not to fight who they are. So if you answered this question with “Woo hoo, let’s go!” You probably don’t need a lot of structure in your life because you can adapt fast and find the positive in a situation. (The down side of this is you can be easily distracted and that can be bad for productivity, solutions and results.)

If on the other hand you found yourself hyperventilating and stressed out thinking “What about the cat, the dentist on Tuesday or the milk in the fridge” you are probably someone that likes structure, you like to know what is happening when and if it doesn’t the control freak in you (there is nothing wrong with being a control freak as long as you control it and it doesn’t control you) is getting seriously upset.

Don’t fight who you are. If you need structure create it. And as you will see with the next top tip, whatever is your natural style to getting work done make sure you tell people.

3. Communicate it. If you need it nice and quiet then tell the family if you are still working from home. If you are struggling then talk to someone. You are not a robot that can have a new bit of programming shoved in and instantly produce high quality work as usual. If you need help to adjust tell someone. I’ve had a lot of new clients in lock down who are really struggling with working form home. It hasn’t taken many sessions to help them to be more resilient, create a great work life balance and actually achieve more. They talked to their boss and their boss being the forward thinking find solutions type of person they are didn’t tell them to “toughen up” they helped them find their natural style and honour it.

It’s interesting that it doesn’t matter what your industry or profession, I can still coach you to achieve more. Coaching is helping the individual find the solutions to the issues they feel they face. Even if that is worded completely differently to what the company needs we always bring the two into alignment so the company, the team and the individual all perform better. Because ultimately it is about what is going on in each persons head that matters. So don’t assume people know what you are thinking. Ask for help, define the new way of working and communicate it.

Likewise if you are the leader of a team, just because you meet with everyone once a week don’t assume they are happy, performing to optimum levels or not suffering mentally. It is only in non judgemental confidential conversations people are really honest. I’ve seen so many clients in the last 6 months who have put on a great act, met targets and done okay, but after coaching everyone at work has seen a dramatic improvement in the individual and their results.

People have a habit of suppressing how they are feeling or what they are dealing with. How many times has someone said to you something after the event and you’ve said “Wow, I had no idea.” Trust me, it’s happening closer to home than you realise.

4. Please ditch the guilt. People think they are impressing me when they tell me they started at 6am and worked until 10pm and still managed to keep the house clean, teach the children algebra and bake a cake. You aren’t impressing anyone. Burn out happens to people that are living their live like everyone is judging them. Even if they are judging you that’s their issue, not yours.

Don’t aim for super human, aim for happy human.

If you enjoy baking and teaching your kids then great, but if you don’t no one is going to beat you up for putting a Disney film on a giving them a hug for a couple of hours. Its essential you meet deadlines but don’t try and do everything. You are allowed to say to your children/dog/partner “I’m sorry I need to work for 2 hours, we could do something at 2pm.

Guilt will eat you up, take brain space and stop you from being productive an happy. So ditch the matyr act and the guilt.

  4. Environment. When you go to work you dress in a certain way, have a route to work, a routine. Even if you don’t crave routine you still need to create the work mindset. What helps you get into a working mindset? This article especially top tip 13 will help you consider how to achieve the perfect environment. http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/corona-virus-and-working-from-home-how-to-stay-motivated-productive-and-achieve-more/ This is essential for the tough days so that even if you aren’t feeling it, your brain is getting signals to get into the working mindset – yes you can programme your brain, it just takes a bit longer than a robot and what works for one human won’t work for all, so you are clearly not a robot, so don’t try to act like one.

5.Boundaries. Leading on from guilt, its not a crime to get specific on what you need. I like it quiet when I work, so if I can’t have that I put the noise cancelling headphones in and the instrumental/classical music on. Sometimes just wearing them is a signal to my family to leave me alone. That’s not me being mean, that’s me putting myself on the importance list too. Not instead of them, as well as them. What boundaries do you need to put into place to protect your mind so you can perform well at work?

6. Be nice to you. Looking after everyone else and not you is also a fast track to an unhealthy mind. Take a break. Studies show we struggle to think and work productively in anything over an hour session. (Find out your optimum concentration time. Mine is approximately 25 minutes. So I know to do something, do something else and then return to the task in hand. So I will start this article, then answer an in depth email in depth, make a call and then return to the blog article. Everything is achieved but in a way that honours me. And it means I’ve time to play hide and seek with the dog and get some exercise too!

What would your perfect working day look like if you include you time? One client realised they were saving 10 hours a week from the weekly commute and using all of them for work! We split that 50 / 50 and they now have 5 hours a week to read, paint and bake cakes. Guess what? Productivity has gone up using less time!

7. Team time. How are you going to ensure the team is always on the same page? How are you going to ensure you are always on the same page as your customers and suppliers?

Don’t dismiss the importance of the water cooler moment. Those moments of free talk with no agenda are critical for many reasons. And many people are really missing the random conversations that lead to great ideas and innovation. One company I’m working with now take it in turns to meet up for a coffee and a walk once a week. In this way the team are more aware of how each other are feeling, what people are working on, struggling with or need advice on. How will you ensure you have productive team time? Not where you project what the company needs but understand each others needs? It is documented that when an individual feels part of the end goal they are 92% more likely to achieve for you even without a financial reward. If they don’t feel connected to the outcome that can drop to 0%! Which leads us on to…

9. Clear goals and focus. You may assume everyone knows what the organisational goals are and when and how they are to be achieved, but without input from all parties you risk not hitting the mark. A coaching day is a great way of hearing what everyone really thinks about your great idea, plan or goals for the future.

I’ve seen many a CEO or Bosses shocked face when they’ve been coached along with their team as they hear what people really think. One company had just invested in a new marketing campaign and brand worth over £10,000 but hadn’t engaged all departments, In our first coaching day one member of staff (who rarely spoke up) said “Where does it say care? We care right?” They were in the health and wellness industry and hadn’t mentioned the key elements of what they felt they stood for. That day led to a new mission statement, a new tagline and a far more powerful marketing strategy that the whole company helped create – imagine how powerful that is for their future goals and success?

The interesting thing is these companies often have training and meetings and brain storming sessions, trust me nothing is more unique than coaching with an external person to get to what is really stopping you, your team and your company from reaching new levels of success. It’s so powerful even I am blown away by the results. If you would like to know how coaching could help you and your team be more resilient, confident, capable, agile, creative and productive no matter what you face, get in touch. I love the phone ringing – 01206 381482 / 07989 935556

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm?s_cid=mm6932a1_w&utm_source=Newsletter_AH&utm_medium=Thrive

(2) ONS. (2014). Full Report: Sickness Absence on the Labour Market, February 2014. Retrieved from webarchive. nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_353899.pdf [Accessed 28/07/16].

(3) Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. (2009). Briefing 40: Removing Barriers. The facts about mental health and employment. Retrieved from ohrn.nhs.uk/resource/policy/TheFactsaboutMentalHealth.pdf

  • September 7, 2020

Corona virus and working from home – how to stay motivated, productive and achieve more!

For sole traders, freelancers and micro businesses working from home is no new thing, however we are likely to see a massive increase in the need to work from home and while it sounds heavenly to wear what you like, stroke the dog office dog essexand work the way you want to, it rarely works like that without putting a lot of strategies into place.

So, whether you manage a team (that you now need to lead remotely) work on your own or report to a boss how can you manage your time effectively, not get cabin fever and actually achieve more?

As a coach helping people with these issues is something that is naturally woven into the fibre of my time with my clients so let’s help you achieve more wherever you are working from.

Remember you can have the best business model, products & services, marketing strategy and company but without the practices around the human(s) within your organisation you are open to a lot of risk.

Let’s reduce that.

  1. Company ethos. If you are a company that has always operated an open-door policy then that needs to still apply – how will you ensure that happens? If you are company that believes that everyone’s ideas are valid and to be heard how are you going to ensure that still happens? A lot of the large teams I work with create communication laws so that everyone can be more productive – how can you adjust these to still support yourself, your team and your customers and suppliers? Even if you work alone knowing your preferred communication style will help create structure and increase productivity.
  2. Boundaries are essential in all of our lives. If you create communication laws they will includes boundaries (for instance one company banned anyone from sending emails on a Friday – this stopped the “moving a problem” mentality that made the return to work on a Monday stressful and unproductive, it also ensured people took responsibility and ownership and supported one another.) Ensure your boundaries are commguilt impacts on your ability to achieve your goals coaching helps thisunicated and honoured. When I asked business owners that work from home if they ever got asked this question it was 100% yes. The question was “Do you ever get someone phone you and say, ‘Oh are you working today’?” Annoying right? Communicate that I am working between these hours and only work-related conversations will be answered. (Remember you don’t have to answer the phone when it rings.) If you struggle with this check out some articles on this site around confidence. When you don’t put yourself on the importance list your business and own success suffers. We naturally want to help others and underlying fears stop us from telling people what we want and need.  So build confidence and you can communicate what you want and need and people will love you just as much (often more!)
  3. Company goals. It can be all too easy to gain a survival mentality when we are faced with massive adversity. And it can cause long term problems personally and professionally. Don’t dishonour your company’s goals at this critical time. You may need to turn some areas into back burners (this is a term I use with clients – it may be a great idea but it is not essential to the goal at this time so they park it for later. This usually ensures it naturally starts happening anyway because their minds are looking out for the opportunities and resources they will need.) Take the time to sit down and plan, structure your thoughts as a company, sharing and learning from your customers and suppliers too – they often have different insights that could support you.
  4. Panic! Don’t do it. You know those predictable horror movies where someone is screaming their head off and then within 3 scenes (after they’ve gone off to explore on their own – classic horror movie mistake!) they are very dead? Panicking doesn’t help. If anything you open yourself up to stress and stress causes illness! (And it damages your productivity, your ability to think creatively and your ability to concentrate.) The SAS are taught skills so they remain calm no matter what. That’s not just so they don’t look like they’ve just stepped out of a predictable horror movie, that’s because there is science behind our need to stay calm. Hysteria has caused enough disasters throughout human history. There is no denying how awful the Corona Virus is and for many it is their first experience of having no control and of things going wrong. Anyone that has received an awful diagnosis from a doctor will tell you they wish they had known how to handle it better. As tough as this is to accept, this is a chance to learn.
  5. Change is going to be needed. Don’t assume how you get to work in the office will be the same at home. Trying to mould the world to suit can make life very stressful so change needs an agile attitude to adaptability. Some people will naturally be able to adjust and others will look like they are fighting it. We don’t all learn or think in the same way and we don’t all deal with change in the same way. Create an open honest dialog that enables those that struggle to feel safe to explain their struggles. If you are someone that has worked for the company for 10 years are part of the management team and don’t have a clue about half the tech they are saying you’ve got to use. It’s not easy to say “Hey guys, I know you look to me to support and lead but right now I need some help.” What will you do to assist everyone to adapt effectively? How will you coach your team remotely to support them? Never underestimate how much change can be the issue within your work place. People hide all manner of fears and it looks like they are fighting the development you wish to introduce. They aren’t trying to annoy you and fight you. They need help to change.
  6. You know how when you get on holiday you love the lack of structure, coaching means you create structure and achieve morethe over eating, the sheer indulgence of doing what you want when you want? And how by the end of the holiday you are looking forward to an early night and a vegetable? The fact is a little structure is good for you. But getting the right structure is unique to you. Look for somewhere in your life where you naturally excel at achieving what you want to. Maybe you can book a holiday and fly to somewhere sunny in 24 hours and not forget a single thing. How did you manage that? What skills did you utilise? What were you choosing to think? When I coach clients we look to migrate mind set and skill set skills to enable them to achieve in areas that they struggle with. So get your structure right for you.
  7. Science of you. What works for one does not work for the other. One size doesn’t fit all and when I’m coaching people they will say what should I do? I don’t know. And that’s good. Because it has to be according to your values, your beliefs and your goals in life. When you tap into who you really are then you achieve more. This is very relevant when it comes to achieving more and being self disciplined when working from home. In Fight the fear in chapter one there’s a great tool to help you work out your top values.
  8. Targets – set them for yourself, for your team and for each other. It is all too easy to end up in a nice comfy bubble and that’s not good for you. You stop challenging yourself in how you work, what you think or how you act. You miss out on new trends, new ideas and even keeping up to date on laws and best practices. Setting targets and communicating means you naturally stay connected and that is very good for you mentally, emotionally, physically and professionally.
  9. Checking in and mentoring. Leading on from targets if you are someone that likes having a team to rely on how are you going to keep that ethos to your working life at home? With the Insiders my confidential mastermind group (It’s only £5 a month because I want to prove it’s about supporting professionals not making money) they know they can ask anything and find the support, ideas and resources they need. What will you put in place to get the mentoring you need? And how will you ensure you stick with it?
  10. Honesty with no judgement. One of the reasons my coaching is so powerful is because people are safe to say anything knowing there is no judgement. How will you create and communicate that to yourself and your team? Who will you turn to and ensure you are honest with? (And yes you can turn to me. Many do.) It will also make you more accountable and that is perfect for working from home when you can lose motivation and focus.
  11. I’m just going to….If you hear yourself say these words step away! I’m just going to is not just anything. manage your time to achieve more and be more productiveJust putting the dish washer on or just sorting the toy box is not good for many reasons. You cause procrastination, you change your mindset from work to home mode and it’s not easy to get it back. Did you know on average for every distraction “Just checking your email, collecting the post from the front door, replying to your mate on Facebook” you do it will take you 15 minutes to get back into the flow of working. So if you get distracted 3 times that project/task/report is going to take you an extra 45 minutes. You can see how quickly your working week can disappear! Be disciplined and if you know you can’t be disciplined on your own post to me on Facebook “Hey @Mandie Holgate I’m going to have that report finished by 2.14pm today.” Sharing publicly is usually enough to kick your own butt into productivity. And getting specific on the time focuses the mind!
  12. Fear and lack of confidence – if someone is not responding to your emails, calls, etc it doesn’t mean they are bingeing on a box set ignoring you, it could mean they are struggling and fear coming forward. A clean communication structure and plan for everyone will help break down this issue. Not everyone copes with fear in the same way. Some get consumed by it and don’t realise how badly the media and social media can feed fears. They may see you posting comments that suggest you are feeling nervous but confident with an “all is fine”, so they may feel you won’t understand how they are feeling. Remember no judgement on you or them. Look out for the warning signs in those you work with and ask them kindly “How are you coping with all this? If you ever need someone I’m there and I mean that. I’ve been giving people my home telephone number so that they know if they are having a tough day and feel isolated I’m here to have a chat and cheer them up. Look for the people that will motivate you. I even had someone message me saying “Mandie can you post a motivating video please?” I was happy to oblige.
  13. Even if you don’t realise it your work environment sets off a mindset at work that says “Right let’s do this….” When you work at home it can be hard to recreate this. You may not have the luxury of an office and have family members just popping in to ask a quick question. Years ago I would put a sign with my children’s favourite characters on saying “Mummy has to finish her work, remember if you disturb me now I will have to finish later and I’d rather be playing with you. Love you!” it made them smile and remember the chat we had only had 20 minutes ago (see below for more on this). So if your working environment from home is less than ideal, here are a few ideas for you.
    1. Sound cancelling headphones are genius.
    2. Aromatherapy like rosemary has been used for thousands of years to improve brain function. And if you are feeling stressed there’s an oil for that too. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198031/ I like this site for information on this but it dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans so I’d say there’s some evidence to suggest this can help!
    3. Different rooms of the house. Don’t restrict yourself to the kitchen table. If your dressing table has a nice view set up shop there.
    4. Lighting can change the mood, fast. Get the light right for optimum productivity. Be aware if the lighting is giving you a headache is distracting you or making you squint.
    5. I discovered that if I had something motivational to write like these articles or my work for Lifehack then Captain Jack’s Pirates of the Caribbean is awesome for giving you that sense that you can achieve anything. Likewise if I’m dealing with something that needs a more sombre tone wow does Schindlers list do it for me – sometimes too much. Play with music to work out what inspires and motivates you and what distracts and demotivates you.
    6. Photos – it’s amazing how a happy moment in your life can create an instant feel good boost. Disney land my happy place
    7. How’s your bottom? Seriously ensure you are sat well. Office chairs have been designed for long sitting, your dining chair – probably not. Get comfortable and don’t slouch.
    8. Walk away. It can be all too easy to get your head down and power through an 8 hour day with only refreshment breaks. Don’t do it. You can’t maintain it long term (Honestly you can’t, I’ve worked with plenty of CEO’s who’ve learnt the hard way!) a short break can give your brain the space it needs to achieve more and stay productive for longer. Studies have proven this time and time again.
    9. Research shows that we can be up to 4% smarter from being well hydrated. So when you set up your desk for the day ensure you’ve got your glass of water there. Even if you hate water when the coffee is all gone eventually you end up drinking it anyway!
    10. Move the phone out of arm shot. Phones are so distracting. If you lack discipline put yours out of reach. You can still hear it but it won’t stop you from being productive.
  14. You’ve just gained all that time you spent commuting. Don’t give all of that to achieving more at work. What fun do you never get around to? Have you always wanted to do a bit of Yoga in the mornings? Download an ap. I know some amazing personal trainers with their own dance training. Victoria Strudwick and Maxine Jones are just two that make me smile and get active. Always wanted to read a certain book or learn how to knit, https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/books/cook, sew, paint, craft, coach – now is the time to add some personal goals and fun too!
  15. That job you never get around to – work on the inside – inside you and inside your home. Instead of feeling trapped and getting cabin fever, imagine how great it will be to look around you and see all those niggly little jobs gone! That commute time saved could be used for those things too. Things like this may seem trivial but what you are actually doing on the inside is creating positive mindset. Positive mindset, leads to positive beliefs and perspectives. Positive beliefs and perspectives leads to positive actions and results. Trust me I’ve seen this in thousands of coaching clients!
  16. Make some money! You know that cupboard that everyone just throws things in fast and shuts just as fast for the next poor soul to end up having it pour out on them? This is the perfect time for a spring clean – good to keep Corona Virus away and you could find a ton of stuff you can sell. Okay maybe you can’t post to eBay, Facebook etc right now. But take the nice pictures, create an inventory and plan how much money you could make from letting the eaves on your house stop groaning under 20 years of unloved stuff!
  17. Get the family and your friends on board – don’t try and go this alone. You will need your loved ones to know your plans, whatever you take a way from this article ensure you communicate with with them too. You could actually help them be more productive and successful too. You are their role model, be a good one and remember if all else fails remind them that if you don’t get your work done we won’t have the money for holidays, cinema, clubs, trips, food, etc. my children used to love it when I set them up a work station next to me. With their home work, an apple a glass of water and a pad and pen for ideas (so they looked just like Mummy). It made them feel big and grown up and like they were helping Mummy, which of course they were. What would work for you and what issues are you likely to face? Tackle them now.
  18. And lastly – Warning signs – don’t start mindlessly spending online, drinking and eating. Be mindful of what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you want to start work at 7 am and have a two hour lunch break and fancy binging on a box set as long as your work is finished by the end of the day – own that. Really savour it and you won’t hate working from home, you may never want to go back because you are getting so much done and having fun!

I mean it when I say I’m here for you. These are unprecedented times so look for the people that aren’t looking to make money out of you but genuinely care about you. And you can add me to that list. xx

  • March 14, 2020

How to actually have a holiday – guilt free, phone off, not overloaded on your return!

This time of year our social media is awash with golden beaches, azure blue pools and half naked friends on holiday in locations around the world. While I adore sharing your moments and feeling your happiness I am a bit confused.

Why are you not actually on holiday? It’s a bit like business owners and employees who work in the business but don’t work on their business.

These holiday makers are in the holiday but they are not on the holiday.

  • I want to share why that’s not good for you, your happiness or your success.
  • Why you do it
  • And how to fix it.

Ready?

Let’s start by looking at why you are probably shouting at me in scorn right now saying “You don’t get it, it’s not that easy to disappear for 2 weeks….” I really get it, honestly I do. I hear this from new clients all the time. If you care about your career/business you want to do all you can to look after it don’t you?

You don’t step fully away from business when you are on holiday because;

  • You fear something could go wrong and you won’t be there to fix it.
  • You fear something great could land on your desk while you are away and you won’t get the job/opportunity/contract/promotion because you weren’t there to answer it.
  • You fear you could be missing out on something.
  • You fear the people that are in the office won’t do what you would have done and damage your or your business’s reputation.
  • You fear someone else will get an awesome opportunity that you wanted!
  • You fear someone will get the praise for your work.
  • You fear what people will say about you not answering your email/phone/messages for 2 weeks.
  • You hate the idea of coming back to 700+ emails and it’s easier just to answer them before you hit the pool/beach/bar/slopes. Isn’t it?

The list is long and I’m sure I’ve not covered all the excuses I hear as to why it’s good to keep your phone on this holiday, however would you like some evidence to shock you into considering truly walking away from the office, before we crack on how to achieve it and what kind of results you could get for your professional life with your phone turned off?

  • In a great book called The Decisive Moment, by Jonah Lehrer writes about 2 Israeli judges who were observed in their ratio of allowing parole for prisoners. If the judges missed their 2 allotted breaks that day the percentage that they would put forward for parole eventually dropped to 0%! This is known as Decision fatigue and I personally see it happening to teams all the time (before we work together). This is a syndrome coined by social psychologist Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, based on the Freudian hypothesis of ego depletion* And if you look into this for yourself, you will find that if decision fatigue isn’t handled well eventually you can’t even make basic decisions like what to have for dinner. (And if you don’t eat right that then also impacts on your ability to work well. Scary right? 
  • If you want more proof, Researchers at Yale discovered that stress reduces the volume of grey matter in the areas of the brain responsible for self-control. So experiencing stress actually makes it more difficult to deal with future stress because it diminishes your ability to take control of the situation, manage your stress and keep things from getting out of control. And guess what working without a break causes? You guessed it, stress!
  • Okay, so Kuoni may have an invested interest in this study, however it still makes for fascinating reading that your health and even your ability to sleep can be impacted on by a good rest, a real rest, not an “I’m by the pool working” rest. https://www.kuoni.co.uk/holiday-health-experiment#

Great Mandie you’re guilt tripping me here and while I know this stuff, that doesn’t mean its’ achievable, business never sleeps right?

I get that, I really do, so between us we have a good idea why you don’t turn off completely and we also know why it’s imperative you do. What about if I shared how I get to go on holiday (and my clients do too), turn the phone off, get the holiday automated message on and have a guilt free fabulous holiday AND grow their business and gain new opportunities?

Would that help?

As an example I’ve just had 9 days away from my business (I’ve already had a 4 day break in the winter and 17 days in Disneyland in April and I’ve got more holidays booked for later in the year too – I tell you this so you can see this is not a one off, this is a lifestyle and business model that is sustainable long term.) And on every occasion the phone is off. I really am out of the office. I’m only back to work for 5 hours and already I’m aware of these great things that have automatically happened for me;

  • Gained sales for events to the end of the year – I’m not even promoting these yet!
  • Gained a speaking engagement.
  • Been asked to assist with an event.
  • Gained sales in my CBD oil business and gained 2 new team members. (That’s my part time for fun business because it’s helped me.)
  • Gained 2 new enquiries to join The Business Womans Network coordinator team and 5 enquiries to attend events in the Autumn.
  • Gained an enquiry asking if I’d like to be an affiliate for a large organisation.
  • Been asked to supply previous printed articles for two large publications that would like to promote me and my books.
  • Gained 4 coaching enquiries – 1 has already turned into a client and I’m due to hear from the others over the next 7 days.

And I’ve not even finished opening all my email and social media messages yet!

How is that possible?

Here’s some ideas for you so you can enjoy that holiday 100% (guilt free.)

Plan months in advance. My retained coaching clients and BWN team already know when I’m on holiday to the end of the year and are already aware of my developing Summer 2020 plans. Whenever I see a client, a connection, lead or opportunity I finish by ensuring that they know when they will have whatever it is I’ve promised them and when I’m not able to assist further. (I also will include an emergency number, usually my husbands number, not mine, so that they know its for genuine emergencies only.) If you are doing your very best for people then this is adequate. See below for what that is.

Trust. I too used to check my phone on holiday. It takes only a few minutes to jump online and check there is nothing to be worrying about, right? However if you know anything about flow it takes us on average 15 minutes to get back into the flow of what we doing (Just as good to remember for at work too, so turn off your phone, turn off your laptop sounds so you can concentrate and get more done!) This means that when on holiday you are constantly being propelled back into work mode, work thoughts, and automatic pathways, Here’s some examples for you;

  • Got a member of staff that is always negative? Then guess what you think when you see their name on an email while you sip your cocktail? (And no, it’s not positive thoughts, emotions and mindsets!
  • Got a big contract coming up when you get back but left the office feeling confident, you’d got everything ready for your return? Guess what? You are having that gorgeous meal, looking at that gorgeous view with your gorgeous loved ones and suddenly you are running through your working week!

I completely understand how this feels, and the additional ideas below will help you create a better way. But for now trust is key. Trust you have done all you can for everyone you work with, trust that on your return you will do an awesome job as you always do. And remember that  great bosses, teams, customers and suppliers will respect you and trust that you will do your best for them – and they will say things like they do to me “Mandie we know how much you care about our success, go and enjoy your holiday and we look forward to working with you on your return. You deserve it”.  Working with the right people is good for business too – I only seem to attract driven passionate people who want to do their best for themselves and their teams and as such they care about me as their coach too – they pay on time, don’t get in touch late at night or at the weekend and really care that we have a win win relationship. If you find you are not convinced of this, ask yourself for what reason? That will help you create a plan of action to allay your fears and tackle theirs too.

Respect – If you want people to respect you and your life then you need to respect theirs too – don’t dump last minute jobs on people’s metaphorically desks. If you need something urgently then ask yourself “What is this persons preferred way of communicating?” Again this is also good for long term success too.

Fire fighting – Fire fighting is not a long term solution to professional success and if you are constantly doing this then leaders aren’t leading, staff aren’t self sufficient, and adequately trained, boundaries aren’t in place and a clear vision, mission, goals, plans, actions and expectations are not being created. Create these and everyone feels safer at work, every day. Getting rid of the fire fighter approach is not just good for stress free holidays it’s also good for sustainable business growth and happier, less stressed staff – and do you know what less stressed staff are great for? Creativity, productivity, better health, happier work environments and even higher profitability! A good reason to know your vision, mission, goals, plans, actions, expectations right?

Think of the children (and your trusted network!) If I am faced with a client that really can’t see a way to change from Mandie holgate work ethic business valuestheir current mode of thought and actions then I will quite often ask if they have children or people that they love working with (as we all do) and I will ask them this; “Would you want this for your son/daughter/colleague/boss/team?” This invariably gets a “of course not!” to which then they have to admit “OK so why is it good enough for you?” If you work 24/7 and you are never allowed a day off or a life away from work ever again, what does that say to those around you who you are a role model for? (And we are all role models for someone). I hear antiquated dangerous and not good for success comments like “You can only be successful if you work 24/.” Really? Guess how much harder success is going to be with that mindset? Is that really inspiring you and spurring you or killing off your passion? And think about how that may impact on those around you and their own beliefs, scary right?

Whether it’s fact or fiction that Archimedes came up with his great principle of buoyancy in the bath or not the fact is that he was a great thinker and didn’t just do his thinking at a desk. If you’ve ever found your mind wandering and then noticed and pulled yourself back to reality you will know how freeing it can feel. What were you thinking about? It doesn’t matter, because that down time enables your brain to keep working even when it feels like you aren’t! I remember a few years ago I was strolling along a beach in the South of France looking at shells and splashing in the waves and I suddenly had this thought “How can I help more people that don’t necessarily have the  budget?” And I just left it and jumped in the sea. Only for me to emerge from the sea, legging it across the too hot sand back to my lounger thinking “How great would it be to have a confidential 24/7 mastermind group – we could create a bank of ideas and support that was accessible every day!” And behold The Insiders was born! Was that magic? Of course it’s not! I’d given my brain the space and permission to work on anything it fancied! True holiday’s can do that for you too.

Start of the new year. For me my year doesn’t run from January to December, they run September to July. It all started years ago when I read about the English Rugby team who’d been performing horrifically until they worked with a life coach. The premise was that at half time, they’d come back out in a clean kit. Because it made them feel like the start of the game and that anything was possible. This and other ideas they put together with their coach enabled them to become great again. I come back from holidays refreshed and buzzing with ideas. So August (I hadn’t missed it out accidentally!) Is my planning month. I review the previous 11 months and assess what I want to achieve by the end of the true year end (31st of December) and that then is a mini goal stage to my big goal for July. Creating your own agenda ensures you stay motivated, focused and accountable to your goals. And August is a joyous month for me as I concentrate on my own growth, happiness and success. So ask yourself when do you create the time to work on your business/professional success?

When did the holiday message not become an acceptable “I’m sorry I’m out of the office” reply? When did it become a success requirement that you would be attached to your professional life 24/7? Seriously I’m intrigued. I was working with a team of 55 people and many lamented that email were a hell of their working life. It didn’t take long to discover that everyone had different beliefs on what should be answered as a priority, what could be ignored (reference only) and what was expected of everyone. Putting our thoughts together collectively they were able to create a far more powerful strategy to email and free up a lot of time in their working day. If you have a message that says I’m out of the office today in the event of an emergency, etc,etc then abide by it too. In this way you are helping to reduce the stress for those that you work with too. We can’t have a change in professional culture without the brave.

Automate your marketing. I’m one for real conversations but if you consider the evidence for why you need time out, you can see that sometimes you need to automate and schedule. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The same principles can be used for when you are mega busy. It’s not just your marketing you can automate. Create standardised letters that you personalise for things that you find yourself repeating, separate emails into separate folders so you prioritise. There’s a ton of apps to help you get organised, find the ones that work for you and your time management improves too!

Don’t fear asking for help. I can be guilty of this. We feel like we have to be super human don’t we? fight the fear mandie holgate coach and author businessDoing everything for everyone, well guess what? You don’t! And if you ask for help when you want to holiday guilt free others will help and then you know you are truly part of a team. All striving for the same goals. Get over your fear of asking for help (My book -Fight the fear looks at this) and you could find this a lot easier and life in general a little easier too.

From FOMO to JOMO – Fear Of Missing Out? Try Joy Of Missing Out! I love being connected to you and your lives and sharing in your special times, your tough days, trials and celebrations, however I also love not having a clue and then meeting up with you and hearing all about it. We are so used to knowing everything instantly we’ve forgotten the joy of  being completely absorbed in our own worlds. And if you are a highly sensitive person (I am, it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you handle it well. It can actually be a blessing in business and life) then being connected all the time can be really damaging. Just like the news always being delivered is bad and drags us down, so too do other people’s struggles that we can’t fix. You have complete permission to disconnect. I think that is why I adore my caravan so much. To get into nature, away from people and disconnect makes me feel amazing. Try some JOMO and see how it feels. At first it may feel alien, but trust me it will feel good in the long term!

And lastly I was in a conference call today and of the 10 people in the call, I’m the only one that said “ I won’t be about between these dates. I’m away” Everyone else said things along the lines of “I’m away but I will be answering my emails.” Not one person was giving themselves a true break. And one even said “Wow, you’re brave!” I replied, “No, I’m organised”. It’s no good just going on holiday and hoping it will all be good when you return. It’s all in the planning, communication, boundaries and goals that you guessed it I started planning last September! So if you are going away on Monday, you may find that you need to do an extra level of work this week to get even a third of this in place, but wow will it be worth it. And then you can plan how all of this factors in your future to make the holiday after this one stress free and guilt free too!

If you’ve never done this before start small. Get strict. If you say you are finishing work at 6 pm, then don’t look at your phone again. If you say you are away this weekend. Don’t look at your phone. When I’m major busy and buzzed up at my clients success I can be tempted to live on my phone. My go to actions are 1. Give my phone to my hubby and tell him that under no circumstance is he to give it back. 2. Let my phone go flat – good for the planet too – just think how many hours of energy we could save! 3. Remind my teenagers that 2 hours before bedtime you should not use your phone and that they are to remind me that if I expect them to do something, I need to be a role model and do it too! What go to actions do you need to get strict?

We care passionately about our customers, colleagues and those around us, however I’m often fascinated by the fact that rarely do people put themselves on the priority list too. Time to change? Because you’ve now got the evidence and the ideas to make it a reality.

If you have a hardworking passionate team I’d be honoured to group coach you to action these tools and many more especially tailored to you. Just get in touch to learn more.

  • July 22, 2019