Productivity

I facilitate workshops in corporate America and around the world. I’ve taught in many Veterans Associate hospitals across the United States. I teach nurses, doctors and administrators many different classes on topics such as How To Manage Your Team Through Change, Building Resilience, and Creative Problem Solving. And one of the things that comes up is productivity.

People who come in early and leave late cannot understand people who come in late and leave early. People who get projects done on time and within budget cannot understand co-workers who are late with projects and over-budget. It makes some people mad as heck. But when you think about it—life is a choice. The people who come in early want to come in early or they would not do it.

Why get mad at the people who come in late? Why get mad at people who can’t finish projects on time? If you are a manager of late people, talk to them. Put them on notice, write them a letter, two letters and if they don’t comply—fire them. For the rest of us, why concern ourselves?

I had a lady in one class who was so annoyed about her co-workers she told me, “I go home every night and talk to my husband about it!” Can you imagine what it is like for him to listen to his wife go on night after night about her co-workers?

If someone is not being as productive as you, you can do one of two things, 1) get on with your work and mind your own business. 2) If it affects your work flow, talk to your manager and seek their advice on how to best handle the situation.

I don’t recommend going to the person directly unless you have a great relationship with them, or unless you’ve taken a class on how to have a “Crucial Conversation”. But if you are having a problem, then you most likely do not have a great relationship, and that is why you need to seek help. If your manager doesn’t help, then stop worrying. If they’re not worried why should you be? Don’t cover for your co-worker. Don’t stay late to get their job done. Don’t take up their slack. Be productive in your own job; but do not do so much that it makes you ill.

Today, be productive in the way that makes you feel good. Not too much and not too little. Just like the porridge in Goldilocks Tale: Not too hot and not too cold. If you cannot handle your work load talk to your boss, “I just want to go over my projects with you, so I can prioritize them. I am doing this, and this (show them a neatly typed list of your projects). I would appreciate your advice on prioritizing the work. As you can see I won’t be able to get to everything and I want to make sure the important work gets done first!”

Be productive but do not harm yourself my friend. Enjoy being productive but do not get overwhelmed. And if you do not have a job; then be productive in the best way. Clean up the home, the yard, the garage. Do your best to make things better for everyone around you and you will feel good about yourself and that is what this life is all about my friend, feeling good.

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Understand

The Latin phrase for Understand is Percipio Percepi Perceptum which is defined as: to gain, learn, perceive, and understand. If we can gain knowledge about something, perceive what it means, learn from it, then maybe we will finally understand it. Maybe since you are reading this, you may want to find out about depression. Depression is real, and if you are fighting it you are not alone. Depression has been the misery of many great leaders.

Moses, Elijah, David, and Job had to deal with it. Sir Winston Churchill called depression his ‘black dog’, and Ernest Hemingway referred to it as ‘the artist’s reward’. President Abraham Lincoln battled depression and suicide all his adult life. There were times when for his own safety he would not allow himself carry a knife.

Even when we are blessed in life, depression sneaks in like a dark, heavy cloud. We pray, fast, or make resolutions, only sometimes, to find it getting worse.

One of the combat moves that I have used and still use today to kick depression is to read the Scriptures because it gets God’s hope back inside of me. For example Proverbs 12:25.reminds me that Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down (depression), but a good word cheers it up. Or this Scripture: Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

I used to fight believing in God, because I just wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if He was real or not. I didn’t want to feel stupid for believing in a mystical being of super natural power. After all we are told that UFO’s are for mad scientists and crazy people, who think they see lights in the sky, or have been whisked off and probed by aliens. I did not want to count myself amongst those people—I have enough crazy thoughts running around my head without believing in a supernatural being. But over time, battling depression on my own was no longer an option. I needed help. When I read Deuteronomy 33:27 – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. I feel an immense weight lifted off my shoulders. “Ahh, thank God you are there to help and guide me.”

And this is my very favorite one: Isaiah 45:2 I will go before thee and make the crooked places straight. This always makes me feel peaceful and calm. The way ahead may seem rocky, uncertain and full of problems, but God is going before me and making crooked places straight.

Today my friend, seek to understand depression in your life. If it is spiritual as mine seemed to be, I found that dark forces clouded my mind from seeing hope of a better day. In the end only the word of God stripped away the darkness so that I could see the brightness of day.  Today, seek to understand your depression. You may be in the dark simply because you cannot see the light but the light is actually all around you. Anyone who is among the living has hope. Ecclesiastes 9:4

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Pressures

How are you doing my friend?  Today is about releasing the pressures of life. Pressure is about the continuous physical force exerted on or against something or someone. In one of my workshops I show a slide of two people in the arm wrestling position. Then I tell people, “find a partner and take their hand—your goal is to touch your hands to the ground as many times as you can.” A few people get it and they do not put pressure on the other person. They don’t wrestle they simply let their arms flip, flop to each side and count how many times they can do it. But most people immediately go into arm wrestling and trying to put as much pressure on each other as they can.

Pressure is not always a bad thing however. When I write a book for McGraw-Hill we agree on a deadline to have the first draft completed. I usually don’t too much in the beginning—I always figure I have time, but as the deadline gets closer I get cracking and work really hard to get it finished on time—that pressure actually helps me.

Pressure can also be good to help prepare for things such as projects, classwork and even relationships. The pressure of wanting a relationship to work can be helpful in bringing your best self to the game. I know after forty-five years of marriage that I sometimes get out of line. I can be moody, angry and frustrated, but as I see how it affects my hubby in a negative way, it puts pressure on me to change my attitude. I want to be the best I can be for myself and for him.

Today is about putting some pressure on yourself to complete something, to start something or to decide what your next step will be. Today, and just for today it is about putting yourself in a pressure cooker. Let the answers boil up and pop out like steam in a hot-pot over the stove. It’s like putting your feet to the fire—we want to know what it is that you are not doing—so that we can get it done, or start doing it.

What are you putting off doing? Do you need to write your resume, send it out, or make a phone call? Do you need to apologize to someone? Do you need to see someone to help get your finances in order? What is it that is holding you back? Today my friend put some pressure on yourself to accomplish the thing that needs to be done most. Enjoy the pressure—it is there for one reason only—to remind you that you are alive and willing to kick depression by bringing vitality and action into your life.

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Relax

Today is about becoming less tense. It is about finding ways to relax. And there are many ways to relax. Music is one way. The song ‘Weightless’ is supposedly one of the most relaxing songs ever recorded. However, I went online to try to listen and first of all an annoying ad popped up and then YouTube kept buffering so I never got to hear it. So I had to close my eyes for a moment and think about a beautiful golden sandy beach with the sun shining down on me…this was impossible to do however, because of the trucks loudly going past my window. It’s not always easy to relax; but where there is a will there is a way. I went to my Pandora app on my I-phone and played Enya, she always makes me feel relaxed.

Maybe you have a friend or family member who makes you feel relaxed, call them up, skype them or better still take them for a coffee and ask them for tips on how to become relaxed and less tense. Maybe you have a pet. Owning a dog, cat or even a goldfish provides many therapeutic and health benefits. Pets ease loneliness, reduce stress, promote social interaction, encourage exercise and playfulness, and provide unconditional love and affection. Caring for a pet even helps people live longer. That’s why people take their pets into hospitals and hospices so patients can stroke the dog.

Today, choose one way to release the tension and relax. Relax, relax, relax my friend. Things are never quite as bad as they seem—and even when they are really bad, there is always someone else experiencing worse—so relax and enjoy the relaxation.

Sit for a moment and notice your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out. When you have a thought, just let it go, don’t pay it any particular attention. Let it go with your out-breath. Breathe in good thoughts, and breathe out negative thoughts. Let them go. Keep with your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. My friend you are a wonderful human being. You can relax in the knowledge that you are in this present moment, and in this present moment there is everything you need; love, joy, happiness–it’s all a choice, and the choice is yours.

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Curious

Curious.

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Curious

Being curious is one of the best things you can be in life. It keeps you young. It keeps your mind active. It makes you interesting; it makes other people interesting. It is having the desire to learn or know more about something or someone. Even the word itself looks curious and a little bit strange, and that’s what is so wonderful about being curious.

If you are ever in a social situation where you don’t know anyone and everyone seems like a stranger, you can go into curious mode and ask open-ended questions. “Hi what brings you here today?” “What do you like best about these occasions?” “I’m new to this type of event, what can you tell me about it?”

Or if you are feeling alone and no one is around, you can go online and learn about something you’ve never explored before. Like, what’s the dumbest dog in the world? Or people falling down which brings up some very funny YouTube video’s—or cats doing dog tricks. Or what about going to the closest big city and going to a museum or art exhibition?

My dad always used to find his next hobby in the library. He told me once, “I pop into the library and look at books. I see a topic that is interesting to me and I take out the book and start reading.” He had many a hobby just from doing that, from playing golf to pottery, to building a 25 foot sail boat in our back yard, he learned it all from books.

Today, is your ‘being curious’ day. Pick anything and be curious about it. It could even be your child, or partner or parent. Ask them to spend an hour or so with you so that you can find out as much as you can about them.  Ask them questions like, “What is your earliest memory?” “What is your fondest memory?” “What do you like to do most?” “What scares you?” And so on. Today my friend take the time to be curious and interested and you will find it takes you out of yourself and into many more interesting worlds.

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Forever

Forever is a long time. It is without ever ending. We are not meant to live forever, unless your religion tells you of a life ever after. But we’re not talking about that—we’re talking about life on this earth, on this planet right now as I am writing this and right now as you are reading.

My friend, we will not continue living on this planet in this way forever. Your depression, your happiness, your joy, your passion will not feel the same tomorrow as it does today. Even in the next moment, something could happen, you could hear from a friend, and it could be something wonderful or something sad. You could turn on the TV like people did on the morning of 9/11 and become immediately sad, distraught or angry. But now, after some years have gone by, even the most distraught will feel differently as time has gone by. The hurt does lessen—I know this because I have experienced the death of a loved one and it does lessen over time. Never forgotten, but somewhat healed.

It seems things last forever, but they don’t. Feelings come and feelings go. Whatever you are feeling right now, will change. It could be in the next picosecond, which is one trillionth, or one millionth of one millionth of a second. Or it could change the next day.

When you know that no feeling lasts forever, you can begin to think about the good things in your life. You begin to realize that however bad you feel right now it will not last forever.

Today, we will explore how things change from moment to moment. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and experience drinking it with a feeling of ‘Ahhhhh’ that tastes real good. Watch a comedy and experience how it feels to burst into laughter. Go for a walk in nature and experience the feeling of ‘mmmmm’ this feels beautiful. Know that after depression comes vitality—depression does not last forever my friend….nothing does and that is the true joy of life.

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