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Lightening the load

Work tips that half your problems and double your productivity

16 January 2024
Give yourself a win!

Well, Happy New Year to you.

I hope your 2024 is as fabulous as you are! But it might not be feeling so fabulous yet...

Many people I've spoken to are taking a little while to get into gear this year.

12 December 2023
January's not a magic month, you know

So, it’s that time of year when we’re clearing out the December diary to make the dash to the Christmas finish line feel just about doable.

Never mind “Deck the halls with boughs of holly” it’s more like trim the diary with vim and gusto.

I’m hearing things like:

• ‘I think that workshop will have to go into January’
• ‘Can we plan a team session / awayday for the end of Jan?’
• ‘Let’s push that agenda item to the January Board’

28 November 2023
Just take it off!

I’ve been involved in planning a few team awaydays and events recently and I’ve been reminded of the infamous quote attributed to Coco Chanel:

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

Now, given how stylish you are, I’m sure you’ll know the quote well. It refers to dialling down the need to add too many bells and whistles to an outfit, suggesting that it distracts from the style.

20 September 2023
You can run, but you can't hide

How’s that post-summer feeling? Are you still channelling summer vibes thanks to some unseasonably hot weather in the UK?

Are you excited and motivated by getting on with the next big thing?

Or are you feeling a distinct sense of dread?

5 September 2023
The thrill of the new pencil case

So, as you reflect on your summer – what comes to mind?

Did you craft that stillness and space in your diary to create ideas? Did you get away from the UK rain?

But how can you get a lasting benefit from that summer break every day? (Without a lazy breakfast or a poolside pina colada at 11 am – well you’re on holiday!).

Whatever you need to achieve between now and Christmas, you can channel that September ‘back to school’ feeling to make it more possible.

18 August 2023
Space - the final frontier

I know what you’re thinking – you’re too young to remember that reference.

But if we overlook that fact, there is a summer lesson here to be learned.

Most of my clients tell me the end of July and August tends to be quieter in their diary. Most regular meetings get cancelled because everyone’s away, key workshops are scheduled for September and there are less people around to email you for time to talk about that key project.

1 August 2023
Why walk when you can sprint?

Hopefully you've had or you're planning a proper summer break this year. Whether your'e staying within the beautiful UK, heading up a distant mountain or making a bee line for an idyllic beach - you need it.

Let's face it, you're a bit knackered. A bit weary. And a bit in need of inspiration. It's been an uncertain 6 months and your brain's had enough.

But that holiday can inspire you well beyond the relax, recharge and re-energise that I hope it brings you.

19 July 2023
Do the 'holiday hustle'?

So, we're well into holiday season - how is yours so far?

I'd like to share a super simple holiday hack you can apply to any time of the year.

Thinks about the day before your last holiday or break from work...

My guess is that you’re astounded at how much you got done on that dreaded ‘to do’ list. You were slick. You were decisive. And you felt suitably smug as you sipped a glass of something delicious that evening. Sound familiar?

10 May 2023
Don't believe the hype!

How many times have you read a book, listened to a conference speaker or to a podcast guest and been intimidated by what they’ve achieved?

Or maybe you’re intimidated by the beautiful home of your friend, where the kids seemingly put their bags away without being asked and the kitchen is a haven of fun and creativity. Maybe they even have a sign declaring that ‘Home is where the heart is!’ Urgh! [*no offense to your home décor choices intended.]

But should you really be intimidated by these things?

10 January 2023
What's your 1 thing?

In amongst all the emails telling you the thing you bought in December is now half price (argh!) here's one that's worthy of a pause.

We’ve hit the reset button and have a brand spanking new year to play with.  

And like fresh new snow that you’d love to walk in – you have a chance to make your mark in 2023 in exactly the way you want to.

29 November 2022
A problem named, is a problem halved

Problems. They’re like buses - they seem to come in 3s.

And it’s harder to deal with 3 niggly problems than one big one that you can sink your teeth into.

At the moment, we’re not lacking sources for problems. Financial. Business. Economic. Political. Humanitarian. I’m tired just thinking about it!

But don’t panic, we’ll get those 3 key problems solved in no time.

15 November 2022
A legal high

So, who’s feeling a little bit tired? A little bit flat with dark evenings? A tiny bit overwhelmed with the political minefield of Christmas gifts and visits?  

Who’s feeling just a little bit uninspired? 

Never fear. Inspiration is only a text or WhatsApp away. 

1 November 2022
Hey, I just say it like it is!

How many times have you heard (or said) the phrase – ‘I just say it like it is. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to get stuff done’. Argh! 

And how many times has it been met with universal approval? Never. 

But…we all need to share our ideas or concerns. To challenge and be heard. 

19 October 2022
Free Therapy?

Do you want some free therapy right now? Thought you might. 

Well look no further. Grab a coffee (and that warm jumper) and settle in for the next tool in your autumn / winter toolkit to help you ride the storm.  

I call it: Do you see what I see? 

4 October 2022
Down it!

Well, we were promised an Indian summer. But that doesn’t appear to have happened as the last two weeks have been flippin’ freezing!

So cold, in fact, that my Yorkshire husband has agreed for the heating to be on before October. I know! 

So, as you reach for your autumn and winter kit, I’m sharing a series of tools to help you re-stock your armoury for the season. 

Think of them like the reassuring hug of the cosy jumper and warm socks you need in your life right now. 

30 August 2022
How to beat Sunday Sadness

We’re heading into September, and you’ve got 4 months to deliver the strategy, the projects or the numbers that you’re on the hook for in 2022. 

It would be easy to just dial up the intensity and dive headfirst into the to-do list. 

But… having had a break (for many of us the first real break since COVID) I’m now hearing a bit of malaise from some clients.  

6 July 2022
Your conference survival guide

Does the idea of ‘networking’ make you feel a tad queasy? You’re not alone. 

For many people it feels dated. Old school. And very alpha #diversity  

But, if you’re anything like me, you’re now going to a lot more face-to-face events than you have in the last 2 years. The pre-summer awards, events and conference calendar is in full swing.  

And the dreaded networking has reared its ugly head.  

As a leader you know it’s important to hear from people in your industry to get ahead of trends. To know people who do similar work, so you have people to talk to. And that a good network is worth its weight in gold when finding talent. 

21 June 2022
Oh, just say it!

Why are you holding back? If you say what you really think, what’s the worst that could happen*?  

*As long as you say it in the right way of course! 

People often ask me the best thing about running my own business… 

There are many answers to that question, but the one I keep coming back to is ‘freedom’.  

I get to work with fantastic clients I love, on projects I’m excited about. 

And… drumroll… 

I get to say what I think. 

17 May 2022
And the award doesn’t go to… are you trying to do 10 things badly? 

Are you in danger of doing 10 things badly rather than 3 things well?  

Are you feeling like the proverbial butterfly, flitting in and out of key projects without feeling like you’re really making a difference? 

You’re not alone. 

Almost every client I speak to right now is feeling that way.  

19 April 2022
Why am I even here? The beauty of outcome focussed meetings 

I almost spat my mint tea over my screen with laughter.

We were discussing how to make time for development in a coaching wrap up session and one joyfully defiant comment really tickled me.

22 March 2022
Stop. Collaborate and LISTEN

I’m very good at spotting when a client is on transmit and not receive. But I have been known to get the balance wrong myself and it almost cost me (and my client) a day of time… 

14 February 2022
What’s driving your bike: how to harness the IQ and EQ

Imagine the scene, it’s a cold February afternoon. I’m at a conference. I’ve heard several speakers already and my brain is whirling with the ideas I’ve heard and dissolving under the weight of them. My energy levels are dropping and I’m wondering when the next coffee break is… 

1 February 2022
Choosing not to get wiser?

Heard at a recent leadership webinar I attended… 

“Experience isn’t worth anything –

it’s the reflection on that experience that counts.

If we don’t reflect, we’re choosing not to get wiser”

In amongst some theory about wisdom (perhaps too much theory if you ask me), that statement stood out, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all afternoon. 

So, why is reflection such a big deal?  

19 January 2022
The ‘F’ word: what gives you the fear?

So, whether you’re optimistic about 2022 or feeling as knackered as when you finished last year… I think we can all agree that the pace isn’t slowing. We’ve given up on waiting for more certainty to get stuff done so we’re on with the strategy and turning plans into action. But is something holding you back? Something that’s stopping you kicking off that project or starting that goal? 

7 December 2021
Quality feedback in 90 seconds

Give or receive meaningful feedback in less time than it takes to make a soft-boiled egg?  

 

You betcha! 

23 November 2021
Ask for what you want – you just might get it!

One of the things my best mate likes about me is that I’m not afraid to (politely) ask for what I want. (Accepting, of course, that I may not always get it). This is often helped by a side-order of cheek – I can’t help it, it’s genetic. 

26 October 2021
Style over Substance

Picture the scene: I’m on my way to work with an amazing client and facilitate their workshop. The prep is done, the agenda is set, and I’m ready!

12 October 2021
Are you tired and emotional?

I had the rare experience a couple of weeks ago of coming close to losing my cool. 

In the same 4-hour period I had an emotional personal blow, an annoying work blow, some (helpful) but very direct feedback that felt like a sucker punch and, finally, a scheduling nightmare (not my creation) on a very important meeting. 

14 September 2021
Curiosity killed nobody – the cat’s fine!

It might not surprise you to know that one of my most annoying habits as a child (I’m told there were several) was relentlessly asking why.  

I didn’t accept anything on face value. And the arbitrary ‘because I said so’ was like a red rag to a bull to me. 

27 July 2021
Who you gonna call?

We all need a safety net of collaborators and friends to turn to in a crisis, but how do you maintain these relationships to ensure a network of trusted advisors when needed?

1 June 2021
What to do if you're a learning grouch like me

The higher achieving you are, the more likely you are to set high standards for yourself. Therefore, the more likely you are to resent being a beginner. And to learn new skills you have start, well, at the beginning.

 

4 May 2021
The worst decision you ever made?

You’ll be pleased to know that improving the speed and quality of decision-making doesn’t have to involve a headache-inducing re-structure of your teams and meetings.

But it does involve some thought.

Try these tips and reap the rewards.

 

20 April 2021
Regrets? I've had a few

The things that feel like missed opportunities right now are telling you a lot about your priorities going forward.

22 March 2021
It's time to face your feedback

Good quality feedback is FREE development, it just involves some time and effort in asking and interpretation.

9 February 2021
Running into problems? Here's your crash mat!

New perspectives solve problems.

But we’re not getting new perspectives right now. Think about the exchange of ideas you’re missing out on in the coffee queue or the quick drink after work. You may even be solving an old problem because you didn’t get the update in that 5-minute lift ride that yesterday’s crisis has evaporated.  

Sure, you can get new ideas from reading or research but there’s a better way.

27 January 2021
Happy with how you spend your time?

At this time of year when reflecting on aims, I often hear a desire from my clients to “manage time better,” “be more productive,” or “focus on what matters.”

Even very successful clients, whose role would prematurely age the average genius, struggle with time management

12 January 2021
Worrying: the new hobby for 2021?

So, hands up if you thought that the craziness at the end of 2020, had to give way to a more measured and manageable 2021?

It can’t carry on being this chaotic, right?

Ah, apparently it can.

15 December 2020
Cartwheel or crawl into 2021 - your choice

Usually at this time of year I spend lots of time looking forward.

But this year is different. There’s far more ‘here and now’ activity that’s taking up my time.

And it’s concerning me.

2 December 2020
Beat the brain fog

Hands up if your brain is trying to solve multiple ‘crises’, your end of year energy levels are sapping and you’re finding yourself in various states of inertia.

You too? You’re not alone.

18 November 2020
The right kind of thank you

A few years ago, I had a team member called Melissa. She was excellent at her job as a senior programme manager and had many successes. But unlike other members of my team, public recognition was not her bag.

20 October 2020
The lockdown paradox: has it given us more freedom at work?

It seems we’ll be in varying degrees of lockdown for the foreseeable future, but the impact on working life hasn't all been bad.

6 October 2020
'Commute' like a boss - a coping strategy for working from home

In the increasingly frequent, and occasionally baffling, updates from the government, it’s become clear that the advice for the foreseeable future is to work from home if you can… which could last for 6 months.

29 August 2020
More tools for your 2020 development

I’m not a betting woman, but if I was, I’d put good money on you not being as adaptable or flexible as you think you are.

13 August 2020
Tools for your 2020 development and beyond

You’ve probably thrown most of your plans from January 2020 out the window. I’m afraid it’s time to throw out one more – your development plan – and here’s why…

 

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