In case you haven’t heard, work-life balance is a myth. At Thrive, we’re all about work-life integration. It’s different from work-life balance in that it’s a more holistic — and realistic — approach. The truth is that none of us will ever achieve perfect balance, and striving to get there just stresses us out. Work-life integration acknowledges that sometimes work will demand more of your attention, and other times life will, but by setting boundaries and making sure you’re prioritizing healthy habits, you’ll be able to thrive in all facets of your life.
We asked our Thrive community for their best tips for leaving work at work, and they had some pretty great strategies.
Here are a few of our favorites:
A brief overview of the basics of Personal Development as I experience the process based on my coaching practice.
1. The Present
Eckhart Tolle refers to living in the now, which means being able to see and feel what your life is in the present moment.
The present-day buzzword for this is to be mindful by practicing mindfulness.
Standing in a beautiful park, by a calming body of water, or attending your child’s school play or other family event, and actually seeing the trees, feeling the flow and energy of the water, enjoying the play or event while feeling joy instead of being lost in your thoughts (which are taking you elsewhere) is experiencing the now, the present moment, being mindful of that very moment.
Thoughts can propel you into an entirely different location even if you are not there physically. It seems odd that we do not just naturally live in the now. After all, almost everyone would agree that the present moment, the now, is all we have.
When you are able to live in the day life becomes more relaxed and enjoyable. You empower yourself by influencing what you can influence.
There are no quick fixes for work-related stress, but taking a day to recharge can be powerful for our mental well-being.
At Thrive, for example, we offer Thrive Time: a half or whole day off to recover from a spurt of intense work, which doesn’t count toward vacation, sick time, or other paid time off. Thrive Time is meant to recharge us, so we can return re-energized and feeling creative and productive again. Whether your company offers a similar policy or more general paid time off, if we’re not mindful, a day off can slip by, and instead of feeling refreshed when we return to work, we feel regret for how we spent our time away.
To make the most of a day off, consider these three tips:
When managers answer this question, they often describe how and how often they deliver feedback to their employees: timely, direct, actionable, contextual, continuous. As long as the feedback is delivered often enough and directly enough, we reason that it’s effective.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A recent Harvard Business Review article by Michael Schaerer and Roderick Swaab titled “ Are You Sugarcoating Your Feedback Without Realizing It?” provides a grave reality check. Their research shows that many managers deliver inflated feedback unintentionally, and often think they’ve been much more clear than they have been.
Indeed, in one study mentioned in the article conducted at a multinational nonprofit organization, Schaerer and Swaab observed that “the employees perceived feedback as being more positive than their managers thought they would.” When the feedback became more negative, the understanding gap widened.
Last week, a client asked me, “How can I delegate more effectively?” It made sense that she wanted to dig deeper into this. Delegation is a superpower for leaders — it’s one of the most powerful ways to scale yourself and your impact. I strongly believe: great leaders delegate better than average leaders.
Part of this is causality, though. If you don’t delegate, you’re probably going to burn yourself out as an average leader and never finish the journey to becoming a great leader.
In some ways, delegation was always one of my strengths. But it was also something I leaned into too much once in a while. I was quick to pass on responsibilities and give others opportunities, but it was sometimes a scattershot approach. And it didn’t always come with the clear guidelines and support that makes delegation effective.
So, where is the balance? How can we unlock this deep well of efficiency and effectiveness? Like most leadership topics, it begins with the leader.
1. Address Your Own Control Issues
In many companies December and January are the months in which employees have discussions with their line managers, to review their year’s performance and get their final score. This is already a very emotional and important moment, followed immediately by another one: setting the objectives for the year to come.
For some employees, to sit in front of a blank page and think about the future can be a daunting task. How can you formulate your objectives? Which ones will your colleagues have? Will you be able to make them specific and measurable enough?
Not very easy, is it? Trust me, I have been there, and I feel for you. It can be a very intimidating job, however there are a few things you can do improve the overall process.
By Suzie Doscher,
Personal Development Life & Executive Coach, Self-help Author
How can companies best support their employees during these difficult and challenging Covid-related times? Working from home has added extra issues for employees to deal with including:
Personal development allows you to 'grow into your skin' and become the best version of yourself so you can handle difficult moments with greater ease.
Personal Development and Coaching are essential for success in the workplace as well in your private life.
With a healthy set of 'soft skills,' life becomes easier and more balanced.
You are not alone, we work as a team.
Imagine being in an environment you know is confidential, discreet, trusted and safe.
Where you are be able to voice your thoughts and find solutions for problems that are realistic. Get in touch with us for more information.
Contact Suzie Doscher or any of our coaches in Switzerland for a free introductory session
Every summer, many people put aside their work, daily stresses and responsibilities and escape on a vacation, somewhere far away from reality. It may be a secluded retreat in the mountains, a camping trip with the kids, an arranged tour in another country, an Alaskan cruise, or days relaxing at an exotic beach or resort.
However, with the current pandemic including social distancing and travel restrictions, along with financial constraints for many, those plans may have to be temporarily shelved. But the desire to escape reality – for just a bit – is very much alive. So, with many people remaining in their homes, how can that off-work journey happen? We have some tips for making the best of the situation and creating cherished vacation memories without ever leaving home. It’s called a staycation.
What’s a staycation?
By Rebecca Muller, Community Editor at Thrive Global
Photo by visuals on Unsplash
Part of starting a new job is the excitement of meeting your co-workers and making new connections. But with so much of the workforce continuing to work from home, joining a new team remotely can have its own set of challenges. Without the face-to-face interactions you’d normally have in company meetings or at team lunches, bonding with your new team members through a computer screen can be difficult.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to create real connections with your new colleagues even if you’re working remotely, says Risa Mish, J.D., a professor of management at Cornell University. “The virtual context may lengthen the amount of time it would normally take to form relationships” she explains, “But if you put the effort in, those relationships will happen.”
Here are five tips Mish recommends to help you break the ice:
by Leah Njoki
Ever been asked to say a few things about yourself? Perhaps you said you’re a good communicator, attentive to details, or a team player. The point being, we all define ourselves in a certain way.
Here’s the paradox, though; It’s not what you say that is an accurate representation of who you are, but rather what you show yourself to be. That’s how people judge you. They respond to the image you project. As such, it’s critical to focus on what you do rather than what you say.
If you want to sell yourself to the world in an authentic way, focus on these four really small things because they say a lot about you. This way, you’re guaranteed to make a lasting impression and command respect from people.
1. How you keep time
By Susan Begeman Steiner
“Off with her head!” screamed the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. She screamed this repeatedly during a game of Croquet involving Herself, a deck of playing cards, a white rabbit and Alice. This was a rather extreme example of what most of us do every day. Like the Queen, we blame others when things go wrong.
To be twice as effective, stop blaming others.
Blame is an enticing and tempting response to difficulties. One can see the “blame game” everywhere. Just listen to any news station, politician or someone standing next to you in the long line at the Post Office. You will hear how whatever is happening is someone’s fault.
By Nicole Loher at Her Agenda
Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash
Between the upcoming election, a second possible COVID-19 lockdown in the US, a shifting job market, and much more, there’s a lot to distract us from our goals.
In a recent survey, 61.1% of participants that worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic cited social media as the greatest source of distraction from work. On the other hand, 53.7% admitted that their smartphone has affected their productivity during the lockdown.
According to Daniel Goleman, author of Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence, distractions come in two forms: sensory and emotional distractions. Sensory distractions are external, or the things happening around you, and emotional distractions are internal and often a symptom of mental distraction or your inner dialogue.
Try these five science-backed ways to help maintain focus:
By Susan Begeman Steiner
Diane was new to the job and was having a problem with a co-worker named Matt. The team that Diane was leading needed Matt’s expertise for their health-care project, but he didn't show up for team meetings. He would miss one team meeting after another, always for seemingly good reasons. Diane heard from others on the team that Matt was arrogant, anti-social and notoriously difficult to work with. Diane and her boss met with Matt and talked to him directly about the advantages of his participating on the team, but nothing changed.
By Marina Khidekel, Head of Content Development at Thrive Global
Photo by EIELEI on Unsplash
A recent study found that people who laugh (or even smile) frequently are less stressed in the face of anxiety-inducing events, and even show fewer physical and emotional stress symptoms than those who laugh less often.
Researchers are finding that laughter can act as a buffer for feelings of stress and overwhelm — and in particularly challenging times, leaning into moments of levity, joy, and silliness can boost our mental health and help us deal with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.We asked our Thrive community to share one thing that’s making them laugh during this challenging time. Which of these is bringing a smile to your face right now?
By Karen Bridbord, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Organizational Consultant
When I wrote about the inflection of workplace culture back in May, I was expecting the pandemic to be a distant memory by now. Remember when we all thought it was going to last three weeks? Yet today, six months into the most significant global health crisis of our lifetime, we find ourselves still grappling with uncertainty.
Instead of creating new rituals to uplift and ground us as we find ourselves, as I recommended in the beginning of the pandemic, we now must find a way to sustain ourselves. We’re collectively exhausted. This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to act accordingly. This includes adjusting our company values and how they’re operationalized in our organizational cultures.
By Suzie Doscher, Executive & Life Coach and Self-help Author
When a company focuses solely on reaching targets and continually pushes employees to reach these goals, the side effects often result in a high turnover and burnout rate. Ironically, this can cause the company NOT to achieve its targets in the desired timeframe. Pushing too hard in one direction results in an inevitable push back from the opposite direction. This is a law of nature that applies to the business world as well.
Stressed employees trying to reach sometimes unrealistic or unnecessary targets tend to operate at half of their capacity. They start to make mistakes and lose track of the details amid their overwhelming work schedules. They tend to suffer physically exhaustion as well. All of this hurts productivity, the very thing the company is trying to increase.
By Rebecca Muller, Community Editor at Thrive Global
What should you do when you know you’re feeling stuck at work, and you know you’re ready for something new — but you don’t know what that something will be? Researchers now call this often stressful stage the “exploratory phase.” And the process of contemplating your next career move — while living with a deep-seated feeling of uncertainty — can be scary.
“Success is pretty much never something that happens immediately or seamlessly,” Traci Stein, Ph.D., M.P.H., a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor at Columbia University, tells Thrive. Stein says it’s important to remind yourself that almost everyone struggles with an exploratory phase in their career at one point or another, and the process isn’t one that should scare you away from trying something new. After all, exploring any new opportunity takes you out of your comfort zone.
By Justin Black, Head of People Science, Glint Platform at LinkedIn
For organizations around the world, the past several months have brought a wave of unknowns. How do we set up our workforce to be successful in a fully remote setting? How do we make sure they’re safe, supported, and informed as things rapidly change? When will we return to the office and what will the impact be on our employees?
The ambiguity is compounded by COVID-19’s novelty — no real playbook exists to help organizations respond and recover from a modern pandemic. CEOs and HR leaders have looked to health and safety officials, peers, and industry experts to help guide their plans.
By Sweta Bothra, Lead Therapist at InnerHour, a Mental Health Platform
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
What kind of mindset do you have? Is it one that drives you to become the best version of yourself, even when times get tough?
A mindset can be defined as the way in which a person perceives themselves and the world around them. Your mindset can hugely impact your behaviours, ideas and choices you make when it comes to your goals. It can even affect your work, relationship with others and daily routine. Ultimately, the kind of mindset you have defines you who are and who you can become.
There are two types of mindsets – fixed and growth. Let’s look at each in a little more detail.
By Sweta Bothra, Lead Therapist at InnerHour, a Mental Health Platform
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
Our daily habits influence our lives in a large way. They determine how we think, behave and interact with others. In fact, according to researchers, our habits account for almost 40% of our behaviour every day.
Building healthy habits can help us achieve our goals, improve our relationships, and live a happier and healthier life. Before we talk about how to build healthy habits, let’s understand how habits are formed in the first place.
The 3 R’s of Habit Formation
Every habit starts off with a three-part psychological pattern referred to as the habit loop.
by Jeff Kavanaugh
Photo by Christopher Paul High on Unsplash
As a partner at a consulting firm as well as a professor in the University of Texas’s MBA program, I not only team up with some of the brightest young business minds in the country, but hire them, too. And in the process, I’ve come to suspect that their expectations don’t always match recruiters’ needs.
So to test my suspicion, I recently conducted a survey of over 3,000 students and recruiters to uncover their assumptions about the skills that lead to success in the job market. And the most startling gap that I found had to do with mismatched perceptions about leadership skills.
WHY (AND WHEN) LEADERSHIP IS OVERRATED
By Tim Davis
Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash
March 11, 2020 is a day destined for the history books: “WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic.” It was that day that, all around the world, leaders began scrambling, ripping through the pages of their crisis playbooks (or quickly creating them), searching for their pandemic play-by-play. Shortly after came the day the markets crashed on March 16, turning the crisis to both a health and economic calamity.
Though etched in our minds with great infamy, it’s days like these that I believe make true leaders. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be the leaders we remember if it weren’t for the fiery trials that forged their legacies. This is true not only for politicians and activists, but also for business leaders. As president of The UPS Store, a business deemed essential throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) when leading through a crisis, and how leaders can turn even a global pandemic into an opportunity.
By Jessica Mudditt
Giving advice is often counterproductive, say experts, even when someone asks you for it. Here are some pointers on how to get it right.
Think back to the last time you were discussing a challenge at work and someone chimed in to offer their opinion. Did you welcome their advice? Probably not. It’s more likely you dismissed it and thought to yourself: ‘You have no idea know what's going on.’ Or possibly the more defensive: ‘You don’t even know me.’
Coaching expert and author Michael Bungay Stanier believes that many of us are too quick to jump in with proffered solutions. He discovered that advice-giving has become endemic in the workplace, which prompted him to write The Advice Trap. In it, he argues that our tendency to dispense advice stems from society teaching us that success means having all the answers, and that leaders in particular must prove their value by liberally dispensing it.
By Susan Begeman Steiner
One of the complaints I often hear in companies is “So-and-so does not respond to my emails.” My response is, “What is your agreement with So-and-so about responding to emails?” Invariably I’m told that there is no actual agreement in place.
As much as one might assume that people should respond to emails in a timely manner, that doesn’t mean that they will…unless there is an agreement in place. In the absence of an agreement, your options are to complain, hope the person gets the hint, nag him or try to work around the unworkable situation.
The simple fact is, agreements up front can solve problems before they arise and make interacting with others a lot easier.
Opinion editorial by The American Genius
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash
Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how strong leaders can see their teams, their companies and their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:
Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development