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Set of 4 cards by Yoko

The Holstee Company produces a lot of unique and inspiring products as well as a regular e-newsletter with all kinds of reflections on modern life.

Some of these reflections can be hum-drum and a little starry eyed, some are really worth reading, and occasionally there is a gem.

This article from Saskia Kerkvliet, Community Building Director at Dachi Tea Co., is one of those gems. It describes 5 things that will both improve your wellbeing and help you get more out of your life. And in principle they’re so easy, as you’re probably already doing some or many of them. Find out what here….

More from the RSA: The Divided Brain

In this RSA Animation (24 Oct 2011), psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist looks at both the theory and history of the ‘divided brain’, and how it has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. He warns how wholesale embrace of left hemisphere virtues is leading us in directions that are dehumanising and ultimately not in the best interests of humanity and society.

RSA Animate – The Divided Brain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFs9WO2B8uI

Why do we reach 40 and experience midlife crisis?

Founder of MindValley.com, Vishen Lakhiani, suggests that most people today are caught up in achieving what he calls “means goals”, rather than “ends goals”. As a result we are obsessed with day to day concerns, and suddenly reach our forties dissatisfied with where life has brought us.

The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself
http://youtu.be/f8eU5Pc-y0g

In this video, he reflects on the midlife crisis and offers a practical exercise to help us work out what each individual is really meant to do with his/her life.

(To download the PDF goal setting sheet, go to the YouTube address above.)

You can also sign up for the Finer Minds Newsletter, which gives you “unlimited access to life-changing tools and techniques, transformational personal growth guides and inspirational articles from the hottest authors on the planet” at http://www.finerminds.com/welcome-to-mindvalley.

“Achieving Work Life Balance” Checklists

Here is a series of checklists, which can help promote work life balance.

Achieving personal and family balance

  • Learn how to say no – diplomatically.
  • Whatever you’re doing, concentrate on that, and don’t be focusing your mind on past events or future plans.
  • Turn off distractions – no mobile phone, TV or email alerts! If you’re spending time with family, friends, or yourself, make it quality time.
  • Create some space for yourself at the beginning of the day. Meditate, or just give yourself some quiet time to enjoy that cup of coffee or read the newspaper.
  • Pursuing spiritual activities is not a waste of valuable time! Perhaps this could be a time for morning meditation, or for others an early morning surf could be their ‘spiritual salute to the morning’. You choose!
  • Share roles, particularly in housework. There is no place in an advanced culture in the 21st Century for housework to be arbitrarily divided up along the lines of traditional sex roles. Divide up tasks by all means – but be absolutely clear who is supposed to do what! You may actually prefer to divide tasks along traditional gender lines – if al parties genuinely agree, why not? But don’t use it as an excuse to fob off the drudge tasks on to one person, while the other gets the ‘fun’ tasks. You need to be fair in the division of labour. And have regular reviews of the tasks to make sure no-one’s feeling resentful, because things have been working out differently in practice than in theory! In other words – communicate!
  • Written lists and timetables are useful. If everything is set down, you have a plan, probably a schedule and a checklist all rolled into one. And there’s less room for misunderstanding, shirking or slacking off. There it is in black and white. (Or colour, if you prefer!) Lists and timetables can be made for chores, finances, health and fitness programs, knowing where everyone is or is supposed to be at any given time, as well as for planning holidays, events to attend and so on.
  • Schedule down-time and block out things on your calendar for quality time with family members. Write it in – it gives you something to look forward to as well as helping you plan.
  • Always leave time to do something you enjoy doing that has no tangible connection to your ‘responsibilities’. Time to enjoy yourself and be creative, relax, perhaps pursue a hobby.
  • Do personal development and other activities mentioned on this website.
  • Avoid or at least limit exposure to negative people who drain you of energy.
  • If you can afford it, outsource things that can free up some of your time. Have someone else do your lawn mowing, get a cleaner. As well as making time for yourself, you’re supporting others in their aspirations.
  • Get enough exercise and movement in the fresh air.
  • When you’re away from work, disconnect.

Achieving balance at work

  • If you’re commuting to and from work, have your radio station tuned to relaxing music – classical is ideal!
  • Approach your employer and enquire about whether they have work life balance policies, and point out the benefits if they haven’t. You might be able to arrange a flexible working agreement that will benefit both parties.
  • Always present any suggestions in a win/win situation for both parties. But if the employer is not willing to play ball, be polite and quietly consider your options after you’ve had some time to think about the situation.
  • Flexible working arrangements may include telecommuting or working from home at least some days in the week; part-time work; job sharing; time off in lieu; flexible hours or flexitime; a staggered return to work in the event of returning from an extended absence through illness, maternity/paternity leave etc; agreements on a set number of hours to work over a week, a fortnight or a year; possibilities for study leave or professional development; possibilities to redesign your work; and other ideas. Much of this is now enshrined in legislation. Find out what the rules for your work situation are.
  • Know when to walk away from any situation. There’s a difference between perseverance, which is a positive trait, and stubbornness, which is negative. But sometimes, if you’re the person involved, it’s hard to know when you’ve crossed that line.
  • Be prepared to downshift, sea-change or tree-change, if the work life balance destabilisation all becomes too much, or if you’re not getting out of the arrangements the results you want. It’s all very well to make yourself a multi-millionarire by the time you’re 30, but if you’re dead from overwork at 40, that’s not a good trade-off.
  • Multi-tasking is a croc. It is not as wonderful as its proponents (who are probably Facebook, e-mail and TV addicts!) claim it is. Studies show most multi-tasking results in less efficient and polished task completion than if you concentrate on one thing at a time.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re not feeling well, rest. If you are really ill, it is just stupid to go to work and infect everyone you meet. That TV advertisement we probably all know with the jingle “soldier on with XXXX, soldier on” panders to workaholics and short-sighted employers, as well as making billions for the particular pharmaceutical company. But how happy is your employer going to be if, instead of one person at home in bed with the flu, 25% of the workforce is off, just because someone is obsessed with ‘soldiering on’. It’s not the Siege of Leningrad! The city will not fall if you are in bed ill for a couple of days!
  • Avoid or at least limit exposure to negative people who drain you of energy.
  • When you’re away from work, disconnect.

If you are an employer or manager

  • In the normal work routine, schedule one work day a week with NO Meetings – and enforce it.
  • Have someone chair meetings who can do it efficiently, who can run them on time, who can quickly cut to the core of an issue, and who can diplomatically but firmly cut wafflers and ‘me-me-me-people’ off. At meetings the 80/20 rule is that 20% of the participants waste 80% of the time, because they don’t know when to shut up!
  • Investigate how flexible working arrangements may increase employees’ job satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. Such arrangements might include telecommuting or working from home at least some days in the week; part-time work; job sharing; time off in lieu; flexible hours or flexitime; a staggered return to work in the event of returning from an extended absence through illness, maternity/paternity leave etc; agreements on a set number of hours to work over a week, a fortnight or a year; possibilities for study leave or professional development; possibilities to redesign an employee’s work; and other ideas. Much of this is now enshrined in legislation. Find out the rules and consider what arrangements could suit your firm.
  • Happy employees want to be innovative, indulge their creative intelligence, and expand their skills. This could provide you with innovations and benefits you never dreamed of.
  • Delegate. Trust your people, allow them room to succeed and to show what they can do.
  • If you give employees a choice in their rostering, they will feel more control, and you will reap the benefits.
  • Maintain an enlightened and common sense attitude towards sick leave. If an employee is really ill, it is counterproductive for them to go to work and infect other employees, or to undermine their health or recovery. How happy will you be if, instead of one person at home in bed with the flu, 25% of your workforce is off sick, just because someone (perhaps you) was obsessed with ‘soldiering on’. It’s not the Siege of Leningrad! The city will not fall if an employee is home in bed ill for a couple of days!
  • Avoid or at least limit exposure to negative people who drain you of energy.
  • Germany has been running democratic workplaces for decades, in which all employees of the company feel they can have a say in how things are done, where they can share ownership and management of the company (even with profit-sharing schemes!). It is a work model that benefits everyone, and can have surprisingly beneficial effects on the bottom line.
  • Allow for some buffer times where appropriate. Murphy’s Law (if something can go wrong, it will) is an immutable law of the universe, and sometimes time is just needed to catch up. If the diary is so artificially overloaded that, when something goes over time, the whole schedule is thrown out, there is something wrong with the planning.
  • Finally, many of the top entrepreneurs and other people successful in their fields also schedule in ‘thinking time’ – a time when nothing in particular is planned, a time for calm reflection, rumination, and an opportunity for the mind to naturally generate those spontaneous flashes of inspiration, which are often the keystone of dramatic breakthroughs or new innovations.

Bob Proctor asks you to challenge the paradigms determining your life

In this short video, Bob Proctor, author of You Were Born Rich and teacher of “the power of their mind to achieve prosperity, rewarding relationships and spiritual awareness”, tries to enlighten us by pointing out that we have been absorbing paradigms (beliefs) about ourselves since our early childhood, and that our success or lack of success is overwhelmingly determined by these.

And he says we can change our ability to achieve success by shifting those paradigms.

Bob Proctor – Shift Your Paradigm
http://youtu.be/9zkiyaiZFi0

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