How to cope with summer

It’s hot, you’re supposed to be on holiday and enjoying yourself, but did I mention it’s hot? You’re working but shouldn’t be. You’re not working but should be. Summer is hell and sometimes it’s as hot as there.

The Positivity Blog has a lot of advice on how to chill out in every sense. I’m not keen on all of it but I like this one about what to do when you’re not working, when you are on holiday:

Go slow. You’ll be less stressed. And you’ll enjoy all the people, sights and experiences so much more because you’ll naturally take the time to appreciate them.

10 Small Ways to Make this the Least Stressful Summer of Your Life – Henrik Edberg, Positivity Blog (10 June 2015)

You could also bring some work with you. That’s my contribution here.

Read the full piece.

Twelve Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety

The Positivity Blog – seriously, could that name be any more Hallmark Card happy clappy? – spends its time being very cheerfully upbeat about everything but once in a while it does hit home with a smart piece. This time it has solutions to when your stomach is churning. We’re creative people, we churn for a living, so I reckon even if one or two of the dozen methods help us out, it’s worth looking into. Although one of the suggestions is to do a workout, so, you know, already it’s 11 Powerful Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety and 1 to Increase it.

1. Breathe.

Sit down, in a quiet place if possible. Breathe a little deeper than usual and do it with your belly and not with your chest. For just a minute or two focus on only the air going in and out of your nostrils. Nothing else.

This will calm your mind and body down. And it will bring your attention back to the present moment instead of it being lost in scary, future scenarios or bad memories from the past.

12 Powerful Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety – Henrik Edberg, Positivity Blog (8 April 2015)

This isn’t on my mind because as I’ve got three speaking engagements back to back now. I might just breathe out a little and go re-read the full piece. Mind you, advice number 2 begins “Get Good Knowledge” and that phrasing gives me pause.

A Month of Networking

Special torture. Writer Rachel Gillett did it so you don’t have to. She documents an entire month and it’s perhaps not the most surprising read in the world but you’ll feel for her and you’ll also definitely take her advice.

During the first week of the challenge, I eased into networking by inviting coworkers to lunch. This low-pressure situation promised to help us practice our conversation skills. I asked my coworker Rose to invite another colleague, David, to join us for lunch—and on the walk to our lunch spot I felt very deeply the true awkwardness of this scenario.

I think we were all aware of the social connotation when someone asks you to lunch. One can’t help but wonder, what’s the motivation here, what’s the angle? So as we sat down to eat, I wanted to dispel any fears of a hidden agenda. Our networking lunch was simply an occasion to get out of the office, get to know each other better. After brushing the initial awkwardness aside, we enjoyed a delicious family-style meal of samosas, saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, lamb korma, and naan. We ate like kings, kvetched like yentas, and it was great.

My Painful (And Sometimes Fun) Month Of Networking – Rachel Gillett, Fast Company (16 March 2015)

Read the full piece.

Email is great, now leave it alone

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that email addiction leads to stress and unhappiness. Now, for the first time, researchers have tested this idea directly and found that, yep, there are probably positive psychological benefits to intentionally ignoring your email whenever possible. In a new study in Computers in Human Behavior, Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia took a group of workers and, over the course of two weeks, assigned each to one of two conditions: One group was told to keep their email program closed, turn notifications off, and check their email only three times a day, and the other was told to leave notifications on and check their email as often as possible. After the first week, each group switched into the other condition, and each group was regularly surveyed about how often they were checking their email, how stressed they were, and how productive they felt.

To De-Stress, Check Your Email Less – Jesse Singal, Science of Us (December 4, 2014)

Read the full piece. Via New Republic.

The big idea of how to be and how to stay productive

It’s hard, isn’t it? Even now. You’re handling a lot more than you ever did but it’s ceaseless and the more you can do, the more you get given to do. You’re the one who gets stuff done and, grief, if that isn’t a pain.

Also a pleasure, admit it. Yes, sure, you can take on that extra work, no trouble.

It is trouble and it is hard and it does take consistent, persistent, ceaseless effort.

But the way you do this always the same. The detail of your tasks and even of how you organise them may vary, yet at the heart there are just three things to keep in mind:

1) Spend time now to save time later
Invariably, just invariably, it takes you less time if you do something now than if you do something later.

There are exceptions. I’ve found I boom along at close to lightspeed when a deadline is coming but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you said the quality of what I do suffers.

The key reason for this is to do with number 2:

2) Stop churning
I know someone who was worried about a thing that was coming up at the end of the month. But he had all the information he needed to know what that thing would be. Not just whether it would be good or bad, but exactly and precisely what it would be. No doubt, no question of error, no wriggle room.

Now, he carried on worrying rather than work it out because he didn’t want to know if it was bad. But he thought about this a lot, just a lot. He churned it over and over in his mind for weeks.

You don’t churn good things. So don’t churn bad ones either.

And one way you do that is number 3:

3) Get tasks out of your head
We’re rubbish at remembering everything and coping with everything, we are fantastic at acting, working, resolving.

Use a good To Do app, get everything in there and know that everything is in there, then just do what the app tells you needs to be done now.

Out of your head and into your list, it makes all of this easier.

Don’t worry, be whatever

Oh, give me a break. There’s a site that has collected quotes about worry. And it’s called The Sunshine and Apples Inky-Poo Positivity Site. Okay, I made that up. But puh-leese. Can we just get on with things and not start quoting each other? T’is a slippery slde from that to armed insurrection.


“If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.”
– E. Joseph Cossman, quoted on The Positivity Blog (Undated by believed to be 16 July 2014)

Okay, I’ll give them that. Can’t argue with that.

And actually, I can’t argue with most of the quotes on the site. Curses.