Wednesday, February 4, 2009

8 Ways to Stay Positive in Tough Times

By Barbara Pachter

The economy has tanked. Sales are down. You're disappointed that you didn't get your promotion, you're angry at your colleague for missing a deadline, or you're bummed that you blew the presentation. It is easy at times like this to let negative events affect you and influence how you appear to others.

Many people don't realize that they have a pessimistic communication style and that they express themselves negatively. Yet in work, and in life, you do not want to let your negativity come through. It can affect your career if you do.

Who wants to be around someone who complains to others, puts people down, disagrees with you, or generally talks about downbeat topics? The answer is simple: No one does. These Negative Nellies or Neds view the glass, as the saying goes, half empty.

To start viewing the glass half full, practice these eight behaviors:

AVOID DOWNBEAT TOPICS. Don't keep discussing negative things. You do not want to keep talking about how you lost the contract, or how bad the economy is. People will steer clear of you to avoid listening to your negative comments.

REMIND YOURSELF TO BE POSITIVE. One man I coached put up a small sign by his desk with the initials KIP (Keep It Positive). Another man had a boss who would pass him a note that had B+ (be positive) on it if he started being negative in meetings.

TAKE ACTION. Don't let a bad situation paralyze you. Explore different options. Take a class, sign up for training. Keep your resume up-to-date; don't put your job search on hold. The more action you take, the more likely the issue will be resolved.

STOP COMPLAINING. Complaining is draining. People get tired of listening to the same negative comments about someone over and over again. If you have an issue with someone, talk to him or her, don't complain to others. Plus, people can start wondering what negative things you are saying about them.

DISAGREE AGREEABLY. Saying, "I see it differently," or "I disagree" lets people know that you have a different opinion without attacking them or their opinion. If you say, "You're wrong," you are pointing fingers.

AVOID USE OF THE WORD "BUT." "But" can negate what comes before it. If someone says, "I agree but ..." or "You did a nice job but ..." you are waiting for the bad news. Use the word "and." "You did a nice job, and it would even be better if ..."

WORD THINGS POSITIVELY. The same thought can often be expressed negatively or positively. One manager said, "I don't want my people viewed as unprofessional or incompetent." Or, "I want my people viewed as professional and competent." What would you rather hear?

REMEMBER YOUR NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION. Have a pleasant facial expression. No stern expressions, frowns, or stares of gloom as you go about your day. Greet people when you see them. Avoid sarcasm and eliminate any harsh tone to your voice.

This is the time to develop your communication and influencing skills.

Click here to learn more about the Priority Influencing Program

Sleeping Smart!

Importance of sleep

Sleep is essential for your health and well being, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. For example, surveys conducted by the NSF reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Most of those with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated. In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month - with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more. Furthermore, 69 percent of children experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

How environment and behavior affect a person’s sleep

Stress is the number one cause of short-term sleeping difficulties, according to sleep experts. Common triggers include school- or job-related pressures, a family or marriage problem and a serious illness or death in the family. Usually the sleep problem disappears when the stressful situation passes. However, if short-term sleep problems such as insomnia aren't managed properly from the beginning, they can persist long after the original stress has passed.

Drinking alcohol or beverages containing caffeine in the afternoon or evening, exercising close to bedtime, following an irregular morning and nighttime schedule, and working or doing other mentally intense activities right before or after getting into bed can disrupt sleep.

Traveling also disrupts sleep, especially jet lag and traveling across several time zones. This can upset your biological or “circadian” rhythms.

Environmental factors such as a room that's too hot or cold, too noisy or too brightly lit can be a barrier to sound sleep. And interruptions from children or other family members can also disrupt sleep. Other influences to pay attention to are the comfort and size of your bed and the habits of your sleep partner. If you have to lie beside someone who has different sleep preferences, snores, can't fall or stay asleep, or has other sleep difficulties, it often becomes your problem too!

Having a 24/7 lifestyle can also interrupt regular sleep patterns: the global economy that includes round the clock industries working to beat the competition; widespread use of nonstop automated systems to communicate and an increase in shift work makes for sleeping at regular times difficult.

According to leading sleep researchers, there are techniques to combat common sleep problems:

-Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
-Don’t drink or eat caffeine four to six hours before bed and minimize daytime use
-Don’t smoke, especially near bedtime or if you awake in the night
-Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep
-Get regular exercise
-Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where you sleep
-Develop a regular bed time and go to bed at the same time each night
-Try and wake up without an alarm clock
-Attempt to go to bed earlier every night for certain period; this will ensure that you’re getting enough sleep

Being well organized for the next day will help you sleep better and sounder.

Click here to learn more with our Workload Management Curriculum

Turbulent Times: Threat or Opportunity?

When it rains manna from heaven,
some people put up an umbrella.
Others reach for a big spoon.

ACTION POINT: Get rid of unjustifiable products and activities, set goals to improve productivity, manage growth, and develop your people.
Click on the link below to learn more:

David Anderson
Okanagan Training Solutions - Priority Management Interior BC
250 762-5096 or 1-877-762-5096

The manager will have to look at her task and ask, “What must I do to be prepared for danger, for opportunities, and above all for change?”

1.First, this is a time to make sure that your organization is lean and can move fast. So this is when one systematically abandons and sloughs off unjustifiable products and activities – and sees to it that the really important tasks are adequately supported.

2.Second, she will have to work on the most expensive of resources – Time – particularly in areas where it is people’s only resource, as it is for highly paid, important groups such as research workers, technical service staffs, and all managers. And one must set goals for productivity improvement.

3.Third, managers must learn to manage growth and distinguish among kinds of growth. If productivity of your combined resources goes up with growth, it is a healthy growth.

4.Fourth, the development of people will be far more crucial in the years ahead.