As a coach I’ve seen a lot of trends in people’s needs over the years. As you can imagine thanks to the pandemic it’s been increasingly around supporting teams and businesses around agility, performance and productivity but fast on their heels are overwhelm, overloaded and overworked – or as I call it The 3 O’s. Burn out is no laughing matter costing business billions every year.
Mental health costs UK employers up to £45bn a year and this figure has risen 16% since 2016, costing an extra £6bn a year. This is made up of absence costs of around £7bn, presenteeism costs ranging from about £27bn to £29bn and turnover costs of around £9bn.Accountancy Daily
I share lots of strategies to overcome these issues and my clients see results fast, but if you are in the midst of a very tough time and are ready to scream, kick the cat (please don’t kick your cat) drink the wine, eat the chocolate, swear and quit your job for a new life on a desert island here’s my strategy to help you stack up the support you need.
The acronym should help you remember it;
To do this you need to start noticing what is going on.
There is a wealth of evidence that suggest powering on through is not the answer. No matter how looming your deadline, step away. If you can’t face stepping away physically step away emotionally. Look away from your computer screen/desk. But please stop right now!
Ideally take three. Nice deep ones. And then notice what you feel? Pain in your neck? Achy shoulders?
I often think that people experience pain in their body that matches up to their words. It may sound bonkers but sometimes when I’m with a client I can feel their pain (even if they’ve not said anything – it can feel like chains around my chest – which then release when we work out what they need to do. It can feel like a clenched jaw – when I told a client I felt like they were clenching their jaw, I added “Can I ask do you feel like you’ve not said something you want to say to someone and it’s going over and over in your head?” They said “Yes, how did you know!” it was a huge eureka moment.). Have you noticed how people say “It was gutting” they usually have stomach issues too!
Look to notice (not do anything about) how your body feels, what emotions are running through your mind, what thoughts are whizzing around? This is a form of mediation. As I tell my clients you don’t need to sit cross legged on the mountains of Nepal saying “Om” to benefit from mindfulness and mediation. These tools enable your brain to get a moments peace to process everything that has been going on – it’s why stepping away even for 5 minutes is so good for you.
I also tell clients that the first thing teams like the SAS do before a big operation is….stop and breathe. Not go over the equipment for the 20th time, or scope the scene, but stop and breathe – they use the box method. 8,8,8,8 – hold your breath for 8 seconds, release your breathe for 8 seconds, then hold your breath for another 8 seconds and lastly inhale for 8 seconds (when you start you may not be able to do 8 seconds) and there’s a lot of science to explain why the box breathing method works.
This means that you assess the situation. Is it as bad as you think it is?
This is called catastrophising, where you blow things out of proportion. It’s one of the reasons I can help people to perform better, reduce their stress, overwhelm, and improve their productivity in just 2 hours because we start by adjusting their perception. So, assess in 3 ways (1 is not going to be for everyone).
1. Asses if this is the worst thing you’ve ever been through?
2. Then assess if this is a perceived tragic, disastrous, appalling, epic failure – or are your emotions and feelings giving you different ideas to what the facts are telling you? For instance, I had a client who felt like they were failing on a massive level.
They weren’t. They were doing amazingly well and growing an amazing company and team around them, what they were doing was assuming they would make a mistake and let someone down and thus fail – imagining something that hadn’t even happened!
3. (This is the one that’s not for everyone.) Asses who have it worse than you in the world? Think of the people who are suffering from some devastating weather related incident, facing war or persecution. Is what you experiencing worse than this?
What these three things do is enable you to move the scale of how bad the situation is. If you’ve read my books, you will know I talk about the What if game – where you imagine what if it was disastrous, what if it was amazing and what if it was beyond words bonkers. Adjust your perception before you move on to the next step.
Our bodies come with a lot of cool kit but alas many don’t read the manual so miss out on using it. The chemicals in your brain don’t just spurt off whenever they fancy, they also can be turned on like a tap.
Need some happiness? Eat some cheese, tick something off your to do list, give someone a helping hand. They all help your body release dopamine. (1)
Feeling stressed and depressed? Get out in the sunshine, dark and dreary day? Reach for the complex carbs like greens or a banana or ask someone to give you a massage to help boost your serotonin levels. (2)
Need to get the endorphins going? (Not to be confused with dolphins – terrible joke, but I’ve been known to do that joke in front of large audiences – shall I apologise now?) Sex works a treat, but then so does laughter or aromatherapy oils – some of these are obviously far more appropriate for the workplace than others!
Not sleeping enough or feeling anxious? Give your oxytocin levels a boost by stroking your pet (not sure it would work with your goldfish, sorry) or practice some self-love. Although be cautious with this one, while increasing oxycontin can be good for you it can also lead to a feeling of them and us as latest research suggests it amplifies relationships. So, if you have people that aren’t seen as “in your crowd” it can make that worse. Other evidence suggests it could actually damage relationships. (3)
Kind – as in be kind to yourself – do not wait for someone else to be kind to you or to notice your distress. True happiness has been proven to be an inside job so rely on you. What could you do to be kind to yourself?
Kudos – often in times of high stress people become very hard on themselves and don’t acknowledge their awesomeness. If you’ve attended one of my training days or read my books (or taking my confidence course) you will know I encourage all humans to write a “Why I’m awesome” list. This is a 2-page handwritten (very important – there’s science in my reasoning!) A4 document on why you are awesome. Some will find that easy and some will post to my mastermind group how much they hate me. That’s okay, I will help you find and appreciate your awesomeness. It’s so essential for a lot of success, performance, confidence, productivity, communication and happiness issues.
And lastly knowledge – do you have the knowledge you need to stop this extreme stress moment? Do you need to lean on someone? You know you can lean on me, right? I’m not joking. I have people from all around the world message me every week and I do my best to reply to every single one sharing advice, kindness and support. Who will give you the knowledge you need? Is it a factual thing you need or just a reminder of your awesomeness?
This will take a few attempts to make it stick fast as a positive new response to high stress moments. Stick with it so that you can stack up the things that will support you when you are feeling overwhelmed and overloaded. Your brain is incredibly clever and will happily go down a new path with a little practice. I can get myself into a calm state and feel like I’m on the beach in the South of France in about half a second I’ve been doing this for so long. So stick with it!
And lastly if you need something to work even faster, try the half smile. Right now let your jaw drop slightly. Feel it slackening. Now turn just the very corners of your mouth up. How does that make you feel?
As always let me know how you get on, feel free to share and tag me, get in touch any time and if you want support to work on this post to my mastermind group where I will be happy to motivate, inspire and empower you. Learn more here.
Let me know how you get on.
There has never been more pressures on you and your team. Since March I’ve seen these issues increasing in teams and I’ve enabled them to create solutions to be adaptable, resilient, creative, less stressed and more productive.
Here I will share advice, coaching strategies and further reading for you and your team to enable you to thrive in these working from home, challenging times.
Use this article to look at the what you, your team and organisation stand for. You need to accept and utilise the power of the science of each individual so you can then help them all to go down the same path but honouring the person they are. Sounds impossible right? With 1 concentrating on budgets, another on customer experience and another on KPI’s?
However when you can see how everyone thinks, acts, works and they see how you think, act, work, you can create a strategy that enables everyone.
This is critical in these challenging times so that people feel honoured and respected. Listened to and safe to say “Help!” or “What do you mean by that?” or “Can I make a suggestion on a better way here?”
Those water cooler moments are missing from our fast paced zoom/team overloaded days. This helps re-establishes these essential office ethics.Mandie Holgate
You can use this article to help your team to understand how they manage their time and what they deem to be essential/urgent/the priority. Which leads us on to…
This is something I created for a client who told me it didn’t matter if they had 10 days in a week their boss would still fill it! When we looked at their list of tasks we could see that there were tasks that were assumed to be essential that actually weren’t. We often add things to our to do list that honour who we are. So for instance if you are someone that worries what others will think, you are likely to spend valuable time emailing people when it is not necessary. A solution could be a quick word in the next meeting, establishing expected boundaries and you instantly could be saving time.
Got someone that copies everyone into everything? Have you considered they lack confidence and don’t want to risk upsetting the team or letting you down? Seeing things from a new perspective usually removes at least 25% of most people’s deemed essential tasks.
If you can’t find anything, then its’ highly likely you are assuming you have to do everything and there is not a better way.
There is, you just haven’t explored this to a deep enough level yet to discover it. This article explores what those hidden issues may be.
When you are all heading down the same path to the same goal research says that your team are far more likely to rise to any challenge when they feel like they helped create the plans and actions. (They will even do this with no pay rise as long as fundamental things like gratitude and respect are practiced – see we aren’t all money orientated?)
Therefore it’s imperative that you understand how to keep everyone (including yourself) motivated and productive, especially when they have to be self sufficient and work in an unnatural way to them. This article looks at how to achieve that, covering;
It greatly concerns me that absenteeism is going to rise due to poor mental health causing many physical health problems as well as increased anxiety and depression. Did you know that mental health conditions cost UK Businesses £8 billion every year and that’s a pre-Covid 19 year!
Here in this article we explore key strategies I use with teams to help them create a mental health tool kit, revisiting some strategies that you may recognise. Learn not to fight who you are and how being honest and communicating your needs will lead to greater resilience and adaptability.
If you fear doing this then item 4. Looking at guilt will be essential. I’ve never seen guilt be good for a person. Some negative emotions and feelings can force us to find a more powerful and better way of working. I’ve never seen guilt do this for a single client. https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/howtoreduceabsenteeismtozero/
And lastly when you face adversity and control seems to have been removed from your working life it can be hard to stay positive. Here we explore the key mistakes leaders make when engaging with their team and how to remove yourself from the equation so your team can be honest and get what they need at this challenging time.
I recommend that companies create a plan of action together. I usually hear it’s far harder to do in your organisation because you’ve got your own views, experiences, beliefs, values and expectations impacting on how you view what others see and feel. This often stops people from hearing what is actually going on, adding their own twist and perspection.
The above article will you help explore how different personalities may not fit well with yours and what you can do about it. (Without expecting a personality transplant!) It will help you explore better ways to phrase things and how if you aren’t dealing with these key areas that impact on what your team are saying and feeling can impact on inter departmental relationships, negativity and a feeling that we are all doomed!
No matter which articles you read or share with your team, ensure you don’t add more than a few actions on your plan to achieve it. 3 to 5 is plenty. It ensures momentum and continued accountability an action. This needs to also have a date in your diary to reflect and review.
Ensure you don’t underestimate the dip in confidence can have on you and your team. There are so many articles on this site about boosting your confidence and what is the underlying cause it’s easier to use the magnifying glass to find what you need. Taking Control Of Your Mind and Fight the fear are 2 of my books that I know have a exceptionally high success rate in helping people build confidence, honour who they are get what they want in life.
By starting this process with “Where are we now?” you can look to see where the improvements are and aren’t and adapt your plan accordingly. I like a 1 to 10 scale. Because those that like the big picture right through to those that like the detail can get on board with this simple system. Here is an example of one that was created for a team. A benchmark graph can be a visual tool that everyone has a copy of and can compare over the weeks. It leads to a great follow up session of questions like;
In this session the circles including the following words that mattered to them as leaders;
I would have added (personally but it wasn’t my list!)
This is an depth study of many coaching sessions looking at leadership, time management, increased productivity, KPI’s and team relationships. Let me know how you get on and what additional opportunities you would like for you and your team. I’d be happy to explore how we best create this.
(44) 1206 381482
I was sat with a client who protested “I could have 10 days in a week and I’d still not have enough time to get everything done!”
I then coached them to create a 10 day week and they were right, they had too much to do! But through their coaching session they created the below plan and now miraculously have more time, less stress and achieve more.
The 10 day week is a strategy for time management that is so powerful that I share it with many business owners, teams and leaders and it helps increase productivity and creativity and reduce stress too. (It basically helps you use your brain in a more productive way!)
You will see how this strategy can be employed to support yourself and your staff when working from home or adopting a 4 day week too. Don’t fight who you are and how you think – honour it and this will enable you do that to be more productive.
Below you can download your own version and ensure you also ask the below questions (these are some of the ones that featured in my session with my client), because often when you don’t have enough time in your day these things are the real issue;
Questions to ask yourself;
There are lot of questions you need to ask yourself, but if you aren’t achieving it is more likely to do with your perception of what is importance, your confidence and communication and prioritising what your success needs. I’m happy to have a chat to look at this in more detail.10 day plan
My online mastermind group (The Insiders) is only £10 a month and gets incredible results because I coach and mentor everyone, make them accountable to outcomes and we work together (and buy from one another) do join us!
All Insiders get 50% discount on my courses too. Learn more here.
I know you have a mountain of things to get done and the bank holiday seems like a great opportunity to get ahead, right?
But here’s the thing, I once created a 10 day week for a client, and they could see that no matter how much time you create – you will fill it.
Mountains of research points to the benefits on your minds ability to problem solve, get creative, get productive and even sell more from having a bit of down time. Space.
That’s not checking your phone. That’s going for a bike ride. Painting a picture. Walking the dog. Yoga. The Gym. A barbecue with friends. Reading for no other reading than you love the book. Tinkering in your garage/studio/hobby room or garden.
Just real brain space from work.
The reason you won’t do it is because there’s a real fear hiding there;
The list of excuses for not turning off the phone and stepping away is endless. And I’ve probably heard them all;
In every case the client has been able to see the detrimental effect that needing to work 24/7 has on their long-term success, their happiness, their family and friends, their health even their ability to make more money.
So, trust me when I say, step away from the phone/laptop/report.
If you want lasting success – Escape. It’s just one day.
But before you escape you need to;
Not feeling it?
Feel this is impossible to do?
I’m more than happy to have a chat anytime. Well you know how it is right?