Monthly Archives: July 2017

Target: reached

Several weeks ago, I wrote here that I was going to try and do the 30 day abs-challenge. I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to complete it. It took me closer to 60 than to 30 days, but that’s ok.
While my belly might not be as muscular and dry as it was around 3 years ago, I’m still very happy with the result. And so are my irritable bowels apparently, as they seem to be a lot less irritated.

30 day Abs Challenge Result

This sight makes me happy, even if it only looks like this for about an hour after I wake up πŸ™‚

I’m trying to keep stay in this shape for a while, by repeating the 30th day of the challenge at least every other day.
Ok, I must be honest, I usually only get to 90-100 seconds of plank. 120 seconds plank after all the other exercises is just a bit too brutal.

30th ab challenge day

Divide or Conquer

Many people will probably recognize this situation, as I see it happening all around me.
When you are working in a fast-paced organization you will probably get opportunities on a regular basis. However, your existing work will generally not be ending or handed over as quickly as the new work starts.
As you want to seize the opportunity of starting that cool new role, or that fun and challenging new project, you agree to, or decide to do both your existing and your new role or project.

I always felt that I’m able to handle multiple roles or projects. I work pretty quick and I have a good memory, which helps when you have to switch context.
A few months ago though, I found myself with only one role for the first time in a long time. And it was GREAT. It turns out that even though it’s possible to have more than one role or project, it’s still a lot easier and nicer to only have one.

There are a couple of things that made it so nice:

  • While it’s possible to multitask, it’s a lot more effective to focus on a single job at a time. It means that I was not just able to do the bare minimum, but I was able to think about a task or situation for a bit longer and in some cases come up with better or nicer ways to handle them.
  • When working on more than one project or task doesn’t mean you can plan them neatly one after the other. Usually both will require urgent attention at the same time, leaving you struggling to take care of both. As I’m a perfectionist that is not a nice feeling. I have long given up on being able to do my work “perfectly” as there will never be time for it and in most cases, it’s inefficient as well. But having to take care of two urgent jobs at the same time will mean stress, long days and less patience with people and situations.
  • Another nice side effect of only doing one role was that I was able to finish work approximately within work hours. I could do the work really well and still finish mostly on time. Also, as switching context a lot drains your energy, I also had more energy left to do other things in the evenings, like going for a run, or having dinner with friends.

I’m able to do this clear analysis, because I have multiple roles again now and I can clearly tell the difference. I did it to myself too, no one forced me to pick up another role. It looks like for the foreseeable future I will be using a bit more energy and hours for work. But perhaps I will have learned from this experience and this insight will help me when I’m in a situation where I can chase after an extra role again next time. One can always hope!

Keep calm and be nice

Almost one daily basis we run into situations where people do things that in one way or another impact us. A car cutting you off on the road, a kid making a scene in the supermarket, a big bloke bumping into you on the street, or someone jumping the queue at the bakery store. It’s easy to get angry or annoyed in any of these situations. The person that you feel wronged you will most likely not even realize that you are angry though, let alone that they’d care. But it will certainly ruin your own mood.

I always try to think about why someone would act the way they do. Maybe they had a bad day at work, or they feel unwell, or they are distracted by worries over someone close to them. If you can think about a person in that way, it’s a lot easier to stay calm and not get upset.

Of course, it doesn’t always work. When I’m tired myself, or I had a difficult day, I sometimes snap over something that in hindsight is unimportant. Or in some cases people act in ways that can’t be explained by anything other than that they arSimply be the qualities you seek in otherse rude and egocentric.

I try to live by the rule that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. Even if they don’t treat you that way (yet). Simply because it makes you a nicer person. And I believe that in the end, you get what you give.

Using your voice of reason

If you are in a management or consulting job, like me, chances are that you spend a lot of your day talking.
Hopefully you spend some time thinking about what you are saying (this might not be as obvious as it sounds ;-), but most likely you don’t really think about how you are saying it.
Yet to get your point across the “how” is almost as important as the “what”.

If you have a deep voice, you might tend to mumble or growl, which means you are hard to understand or come across as negative, even if you might not intent to.
If you have a high voice, you might accidentally squeak or scream, which means you come across as unsecure or hysterical.

Of course, the first thing to do is to make sure that you articulate well enough for people to be able to hear what you are saying. After that though, you should pay attention to how you are saying things.

I don’t have a high voice for a woman. However even when I was a teenager, if I would get a bit overexcited, my dad would ask me where my broomstick was. And you just know if your dad thinks you sound like a witch, your co-workers and customers will feel the same way. To come across as someone who’s in control, self-confident and has some authority, I must ensure that I keep the pitch of my voice down. No squeaking. That’s not always easy. Sometimes emotions run high and if that happens my voice tends to follow.

While it’s important to keep the pitch of your voice down, you should also ensure that you don’t sound monotonous. Especially if you are talking for a longer period of time, like when you’re presenting, it’s important to keep it lively and to slightly vary the pitch and the volume of your voice while telling your story. This will help to keep people interested and awake. No guarantees though, I’ve had people catch up on sleep while I was presenting more than once!

If you are due to present to a group of people you have the opportunity to practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. To most people, me included, it’s unpleasant to hear the sound of your own voice, but recording yourself is still the best way to improve your presentation skills.

If you are in a meeting in which you want to get your point across, you usually don’t have the opportunity to practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. This means you should stay alert and be kind to yourself. I sometimes get emotional and let out a squeak. Or I raise my voice to get my point across.
When that happens I try to take a deep breath. There’ll be other meetings and more opportunities to practice and improve!