- lie comfortably on the floor, knees bent, chin tucked in - what Alexander Technique teachers call the 'constructive rest position' - or sit upright in a chair, legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor
- consciously relax your neck and drop your shoulders, rest your arms by your sides with your palms turned upwards
- breathe long and gently through your nose, into your belly until you see it gently rise, for a slow count of 5
- pause, and hold that breath for a count of 5, then gently exhale through your mouth for another count of 5
- while doing this, try to clear your mind of all other thoughts, or if this is difficult close your eyes and visualise a pebble dropping into a pool of water and gently sinking down
- repeat this breathing cycle 10 times, then see how your regular breathing adjusts
- you can also use this breathing technique at any time you feel tense or stressed, or as the basis of any meditation practice
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Friday, 16 July 2010
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Friday, 9 July 2010
Gossip can be a lot of fun and is often a feature of office politics - so it’s tempting to indulge - as long as it doesn’t backfire, because it can also make or break reputations. Plus it can seriously undermine your concentration at work!
Recent news of US company Bridgewater Associates' boss Ray Dalio issuing a ban on office gossip has given rise to speculation about the nature of office gossip, and whether a ban is either useful or enforceable.
If you’re the boss, and you want to keep gossip at a minimum, make sure your workforce is kept informed of events and changes. Insecurity at work ups the gossip quota – much of which can be unhelpful to office stability – as people speculate and speculation somehow becomes fact, however inaccurate, like a game of Chinese whispers.
What we also know is that office gossip – whether face-to-face at the water cooler, whispered at a desk, or via email, SMS and MSN – is distracting and time-wasting and can be extremely detrimental to both personal and workplace productivity.
Without being a goody-two-shoes, if you want to get ahead at work the cardinal rules for office gossip are:
1. Set boundaries – don’t share personal confidences you might later regret if they are used against you
2. Be discreet – getting a reputation as the office gossip will imply that you are not to be trusted
3. Keep any gossip upbeat – you don’t want to be seen as the office moaner
4. Never commit to paper, email or text something that could fall into the wrong hands and work against you
5. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you by slagging off your boss or anyone who might be responsible for any future promotion or reference
And if you’re going to be gossiped about, make sure it’s positive gossip that will enhance your reputation as a trusted, productive co-worker everyone wants to be associated with!
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Saturday, 3 July 2010
We can be distracted by external stimulation, like noise in particular, or internally by the “chattering monkeys” of our mind - so what can we do to help improve our concentration levels in the workplace?
8 Top Tips
- eat breakfast: your brain can’t run on empty and if you don’t eat your stress hormones will kick in to sustain you and these will make you feel jittery and distracted, as will that cup of coffee you drink to help compensate for an empty stomach!
- utilise your circadian rhythms: high alertness occurs around 2 to 3 hours after you wake, so start your day with your most important task - you should then be able to concentrate for 90 minutes before you need a break (although this may take practise if you are unused to it!)
- make a list: prioritise your tasks, and use different times - like immediately after lunch -for tasks that require less concentration
- avoid what external stimuli you can: put your phone on silent, turn off your email alert, close down internet pages you’re not using, and sit with your back to as much activity as you can if you work in an open plan office
- avoid multi-tasking: focus on one thing at a time because, as cognitive scientist David Meyer says, “Multi-tasking is always going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes. Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.”
- take a break: research by psychologist Marc Berman in 2009 showed that 20 minutes spent in a rural environment (the local park will do) will help what has been identified by Professor Stephen Kaplan as “attention restoration” - even looking at a picture of a beautiful rural scene has been shown to help - and get you back on track
- stay hydrated: regular drinks of water really help the brain stay alert and this makes concentration easier
- use music: if your workplace allows this, or if you can wear headphones, music while you work can help block out other noise and promote the sort of brain activity that is conducive to concentration - if it’s the right music. Baroque music has been found to be beneficial, so bring on the Bach!