What would you do with a break from work?
Not just a long weekend or two weeks of paid vacation, (which is usually spent on a trip that’s anything but restful.)
Instead, we’re talking about an extended period of time away from your day job: a month, six months, maybe even a year. We’re talking about a sabbatical.
When we think of sabbaticals, we often think of academics taking a year off from teaching for research or writing. But what if the concept of sabbatical is more universal than we think?
The word “sabbatical” actually comes from a Biblical concept called “the Sabbath,” which means “to rest” or “to cease.” Wikipedia gives us a more modern definition: “In recent times, "sabbatical" has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something.” Sabbaticals can be about more than rest: it’s about giving yourself space to get those creative juices flowing and inspire fresh ideas for your job. What we’re often craving is creativity.
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April 15 is just 20 days away. Have you filed your taxes yet?
Maybe you were eager to find out how big that tax refund will be (or learn just how much you owe Uncle Sam) and filed your taxes last month. Good work! But for most Americans, taxes are messy, dredging up financial realities we try to ignore but once a year. We naturally procrastinate, filing them at the very last minute.
If we’re honest, we procrastinate a lot, about all kinds of things… especially at work.
While procrastination can feel like a major personal shortcoming, procrastinators aren’t alone: we’re psychologically hardwired to put off difficult tasks and decisions. It’s another symptom of “fight or flight” - we’ll do what it takes to avoid an emotionally draining or mentally complex situation, making excuses along the way.
Of course, procrastination can be lethal at work. Apply these tips to help you have the greatest impact during your workday - or even to finally finish your taxes!
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February is Black History Month, and we would be remiss if we didn’t address the importance of race and culture in the workplace. If we want to both work hard and live well, understanding differences in how we act and think - and why - is crucial.
We all laughed at Michael Scott’s bungling of “Diversity Day” in the second episode of The Office. But there’s always truth in comedy, right? Frankly, honoring diversity in the workplace is easier said than done.
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It turns out the origin of Saint Valentine is a little… well, nebulous to say the least. Nonetheless, we use the name to celebrate love on the 14th of February! I remember my parents buying us small gifts for Valentine’s Day, I’ve celebrated “Galentines” Days, and I now enjoy the nudge Valentine’s Day provides to tell my husband, children and friends how much they mean to me.
I hope you are able to love and be loved next Wednesday!
That love is part of the “why” behind MatchPace. I love my family, and I also love my work. But I struggled to do work I loved in a way that didn’t interfere with my ability to be present with my family. I didn’t want to be away from my children 40-50 hours a week, but I found it hard to find a part-time professional position because in our workplace culture, “part-time” usually communicates “partial effort.”
But I know that’s not true. This study of nearly 2,000 white-collar professionals in the UK in 2013 showed our time spent doing actual productive, content-related work is less than 3 hours each day. Other studies show 61% of our time at work is spent managing our work, not actually completing it.
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Earlier this month, we encouraged you to start 2018 by looking back at the year behind you and asking some key questions to evaluate your goal-setting track record and set yourself up for success.
Have you set any goals for 2018? It’s not too late - the best time to start is now!
Whether your goals are in place or you need a jump start, here are four strategies to creating no-fail goals that will catapult you forward in 2018.
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Here we are, a week into 2018! Have you made any resolutions? How are they going? Still going strong, or have you already “screwed them up?” Maybe you think if you didn’t set your resolutions on January 1, it’s too late to bother (like me!). Or are you someone who doesn’t bother with resolutions because you think they’re silly, or just a chance to beat yourself up?
There’s something fresh about something new - a new year, a new job, a new place to live. It’s a opportunity to reflect, to consider, and to try to do things differently.
So even if you think New Year's resolutions are silly, you likely still feel a slight pull to consider what has come before and how 2018 might look different.
Even if you don’t call them “resolutions,” are you ready to do the work to achieve bigger and better things in 2018? When you’re intentional about refocusing and setting smart goals, a new year can mean a fresh start - with or without resolutions.
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I went for a walk with a friend a few weeks ago. She said her in-laws had asked what she wanted for Christmas. She sighed and said, “All I want for Christmas is time.”
She’s not alone. We’re working longer hours, concerned about the future, and struggling to check off our to-do lists each day.
The holiday season in particular is ripe with opportunity to feel overwhelmed and stressed by shopping lists, social commitments, family dynamics and the race to meet those annual goals at work.
Can we really give ourselves the gift of time?
The short answer: yes. When we view time as a valuable, non-renewable resource, we can start to organize our days, including our workdays, in a way that respects the limited time we have each day and give us some of those precious hours back to spend on family, friends, and making our world a better place.
Here are three steps to give yourself the gift of time this holiday season:
As workweeks stretch 50, 60 or more hours long for many Americans, we’ve got to wonder if these extra hours spent slaving over a desk or chained to our smartphones is actually helping us be more productive. In fact, research tells us that working excessive hours actually makes people less productive, not more.
What if the solution to inefficiency and burnout isn’t simply working less, but working differently? How would your workweek look if your goal wasn’t to clock a certain number of hours, but to achieve specific outcomes and then go home and unplug?
Happy November! We can’t believe 2017 is rapidly coming to a close. On the blog this month we’re talking about burnout: why it happens and how to avoid it. Stay tuned for a special Thanksgiving-themed blog later this month, too!
We’ve all felt it. Exhausted, overwhelmed, depleted... burned out.
In fact, 95 percent of HR leaders reported that employee burnout is sabotaging their workforce.
What is behind such pervasive burnout? Are we simply working too many hours each week, or is the way we work the problem?
Here are some of the reasons why your employees are burning out like a firework.
We admit: our last two blogs have been pretty negative. But knowing that nearly 70% of American workers are tuned out at work, we felt it was important to help employers and managers understand why employees are disengaged and how employee disengagement hurts your business.
Now that we’ve identified the problem, it’s time to turn to solutions. We don’t believe employee disengagement has to be the new norm, so here’s how we can all be part of the solution.
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Employee disengagement hurts your organization. From team morale to the bottom line there are emotional and financial costs to having a disengaged workforce.
Last week, we gave you five ways employee disengagement is hurting your organization. That’s the first step to attacking your problem - understanding why it is a problem for you. The next step is to understand why these employees are feeling unmotivated at work. Until you know that you can’t create an effective strategy for re-engaging those employees.
While each team is unique, the fact that so many people (70%) are anywhere from less than enthused about their jobs to outright seeking to sabotage their place of employment, means there are some key trends that can help you diagnose and treat the problem.
Take a look - do you think any of these issues are living beneath the surface at your organization?
Read the five common reasons employees are disengaged at work.
We’ve all heard the staggering statistic: according to Gallup, only 33 percent of all American workers feel engaged at their jobs. That means 67 percent - nearly 7-in-10 - workers in America are somewhat disengaged at work, if not disengaged entirely.
Look around yourself, at your job, or at the next business you walk into. Does your team have engagement issues? What about the team at your doctor’s office or your mechanic shop - where quality work greatly influences your life!
Chances are - your team, and organizations that you care about and need in your life, have an employee engagement problem.
Here are five reasons your employees might be disengaged and why it's hurting your business.
Earlier this month, we talked about setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This is a tried-and-true strategy for setting goals that you can achieve and a plan to make them happen.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes setting goals simply isn’t enough for me. What happens when you set SMART goals and find yourself getting frustrated or falling short?
Knowing what you want is one part of the equation towards accomplishing your goals. And systems can be the missing link between goals that remain unattained and those that are achieved or even exceeded.
Read how to implement systems that make achieving your goals painless.
Several years ago, I started doing something a bit unusual: setting my “New Year Resolutions” in September. My birthday is in September, so it feels natural to start *my* new year this month. And September feels like a fresh start for many ways: a transition out of summer, when schedules and routines were relaxed for fun in the sun; back to school (or re-focusing at work); cooler nights and fresh autumn mornings.
In fact, I think you should be setting goals in September regardless of if you set them at the start of the year. This is a great time to reassess your progress for the year and realign how you’re spending your time to ensure you accomplish what is necessary by calendar year’s end. This is especially true at work, where you likely have year-end goals for yourself and your team (and maybe even bonuses contingent on achieving them).
But simply moving your goal-setting to September won’t guarantee you set good goals and achieve them. That’s why I rely on SMART goals - goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely - to help me make a plan for success. Here’s an example. (Click to read more!)
For most of us, Labor Day is the summer finale, knowing that once the holiday has come and gone, fall is upon us and it’s once again time to focus on school and work.
Growing up, we wouldn’t miss the first high school football game of the season on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend. It was also our last chance to get a new outfit for school, new binders or a new lunch bag. Finally, we enjoyed a quiet Monday at home before the big yellow school bus would arrive the next morning like clockwork.
But did you know there’s a greater significance to Labor Day beyond one last chance to savor summer?
Click to read how Labor Day inspires us work hard and live well.
Despite growing evidence and plenty of discussion around how multitasking is not just ineffective but actually bad for your brain, we can’t seem to banish multitasking from our workday. Notifications from multiple devices cascade through our ears, pulling us away from the task we’re trying to focus on. Open tabs in our browsers seem to multiply like rabbits. Suddenly, it seems like the only way we can accomplish anything is to do multiple things at once.
But is multitasking really the problem? As I prepared to write this article, I was pulled away by a phone call, multiple text messages, checking to make sure I responded to an email, and of course a pit stop on Facebook. Psychologists have dubbed this incessant barrage of tasks, necessary or otherwise, that draw us away from what we’re currently doing task switching.
Read how task switching might be derailing your productivity and focus.
For a majority of Americans, August’s arrival means time for vacation. This is the month many organizations quiet down as employees scatter to various destinations (or opt for a restful “staycation” close to home).
It’s important to step away from work for a week or two each year for some real, honest unplugging from your iPhone, email, and any other work. But we can’t expect a week or two of vacation to sustain us throughout the year. We also need to build consistent times of rest into our everyday rhythm.
So while you may be away from the office this month (or even if you work through August, it’s likely a bit quieter than usual), take some time to consider how you can build rest into your life on a regular basis.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
We’ve all heard the research: rest is important, and without it, we burn out. We know resting is a good idea (and have learned how burnout wreaks havoc on our bodies and relationships the hard way).
But resting isn’t just a quantity issue - it’s a quality issue, too. If you don’t know what kind of rest truly restores your mind, body, and soul, you may not be experiencing the quality rest you need. It’s time to think about what activities are restful for you, and perhaps more important, what isn’t.
Click to read how to not just rest, but rest well.
If you’ve encountered languages other than the one you grew up with, you’ve likely discovered a word that captures an idea that doesn’t quite translate directly into your own language.
I like it when that happens. It introduces me to a new way of thinking, to a concept I hadn’t considered in the same way.
The ancient Greek language has two different words for time. Chronos refers to the kind of time we measure by the ticking clock. It’s the time we use as we try to meet deadlines, make it to appointments, or go to bed at a decent hour. We cite it in numbers: 8:45 a.m., 4:15 p.m.
Kairos, on the other hand, has a spiritual implication, a sense of significance. It represents time “in the moment,” giving everything into that moment and receiving everything it has to offer. On Kairos time, you are truly present, not rushing toward the next thing.
Which type of time energizes you? Which drains you? And most importantly, which is your default setting?
Click to read more.