When my friend Sharon told me she was an Industrial Hygienist, I had no idea what that term meant. Did she do dental work in manufacturing areas? I found out that she deals with the workplace environment to ensure a safe and comfortable place of employment. Ergonomics is one of her fields and is essentially the study of what makes our bodies most comfortable in relation to light, sound, movement, temperature, air quality, and our furniture. Since the average office worker now sends and receives 52 phone messages, 106 e-mails, 8 pieces of mail, 5 faxes, and 28 texts per day; we need to be comfortable doing all these things.
Here are some insider secrets on how ergonomics can help increase your personal energy and your health while you are at your office so you don’t have to go home from work exhausted. Posture, type of furniture, work organization, and other personal space practices all work together to affect fatigue, stress, strains, or injuries. Follow these pointers and you will have more energy left over at the end of the day to play with your kids, your pets, your partner, or your friends. And playing as hard as we work is what leads to a balanced life with less stress and more fun since our work hours have increased by 20% and our leisure time has decreased by 32% since 1973, we need to make the most out of what leisure time we have and be sure we have the energy to enjoy it.
Have a seat:
* Working for long periods of time without a break in an uncomfortable position can lead to headaches, eye-strain, and loss of concentration. Moving within your range of comfort zones and various postures is good for your spine, muscles, joints, and circulatory system. Get up and stretch to get the blood flowing into your limbs and to allow your left brain and right brain to integrate more readily by focusing on something else for a while. You will come back refreshed.
* Find your various comfort zones which may include standing or a more upright posture when speaking on the phone to enhance the voice by opening up the diaphragm. It may include a more relaxed position when using the computer. I find myself doing all my writing on my comfy couch on a lap desk, while my antique writing desk goes untouched for that purpose. I can’t seem to get creative while sitting at a slant-top desk. Use what works best for you.
* Your chair should be of comfortable height with your fee firmly planted on the floor or on a footrest. Shorter people may have back strain if their feet cannot touch flatly on the floor since their backs must arch to get their feet to touch. Footrests can alleviate such a strain – this goes for airplane seats, buses, bleachers etc. I have found a box of copy paper or a file box is just the right height for someone 5’ 2”!
* The backs of your knees and the underside of your thighs should be free of pressure with enough space under your desk for your knees and thighs to clear should you cross your legs or decide to use a footrest.
* Your lower back should be supported. If you are in a hotel room – use the blanket draped over the back of the desk chair and a pillow or rolled towel behind the lower part of your back. There are also portable back pillows for conferences and road trips to help support your back. Your mother was right – avoid slouching forward as it impedes breathing and fatigues the back.
* Your shoulders should be relaxed with your hands, wrists, and forearms aligned in a straight, neutral position. If you use armrests, your shoulders should be relaxed with your elbows in near your body when they are resting on the chair. Your forearms should make a 90 degree angle to your upper arm when poised at the keyboard to aid in bloodflow to the fingers. Avoid resting your hands and wrists on sharp edges which will impede circulation.
* Your computer keyboard should be directly in front of you and sometimes it may be in your lap to change positions. Your hand should be relaxed when holding the mouse and if you are not actively using it, rest your hand elsewhere. Practice typing and clicking with a light touch and clean your tracking mechanism regularly so it moves effortlessly. Your keyboard slope should allow your wrists to be straight.
* Do you refocus your eyes intermittently on distant objects or get up and walk around to give your eyes a rest. Position your monitor to avoid glare on the screen – by reducing ceiling lights, or positioning the monitor between lights, or by using a glare-reduction filter. If you wear bifocals, avoid tilting your head back to see the monitor. Your monitor should be about arm’s length from your face just below eye level, and directly in front of you or a bit to the side if your document holder is the main thing you are focusing on in front of you. By properly positioning your monitor, you will reduce eye strain, and muscle fatigue in your shoulders and upper back.
* After switching from a very active job to become a computer jockey, I noticed my arm going numb and tingling in the fingers. I found out from my chiropractor that I had huge knots in my shoulders from improper chair/desk height and from scrunching the phone between my shoulder and my head. Even though you may take a break from the stresses which caused these ailments, the muscle knots do not go away on their own – you must have them worked out by a massage therapist. I have found freedom from tension knots by purchasing a cordless headset telephone and by having preventive massages on a regular basis. Sometimes we need to listen to our bodies when they tell us something is askew.
Lights, Sound, Action!:
* Fluorescent lighting can cause headaches from the constant buzz and flicker. Natural light or full-spectrum lighting can increase your productivity by 255 and reduce headaches as well.
* Avoid assaulting noises or sounds which disturb your natural rhythms. For some people white noise helps drown out unpleasant, distracting sounds. For others playing soft music with the tonalities of smooth jazz or classical is more energizing.
* Getting fresh air during the day helps boost your energy along with getting some sunlight and vitamin D from the sunshine. A short walk outdoors will help breathe new life into your during the afternoon slump. Some buildings are known for their toxic air or sick building maladies. Oddly enough, the Environmental Protection Agency had some of the worst air in the country until they took steps to rectify it.
So Ergonomics plays a big part in personal energy – even though I could not find ergonomics in 3 of my dictionaries and thesauruses which were printed in the 1970’s. We’ve come a long way in detecting what makes our bodies comfortable and most productive. In the end, it is an individual choice on what makes us comfortable. All we have to do is sit still long enough to really listen to it.
I’m a card-carrying member of the “non-commercialized holiday traditions” club. For most of my adult years I’ve not been a believer in the usual nostalgic American tradition of shop ’till you drop, unfettered consumerism type of holiday madness. I call it practicing safe stress over the holidays and quite frankly, every day. That’s why I loved living in Europe for 10 years with all those wonderful outdoor markets and much less commercialism at that time. Of course as a kid, I reveled in my parent’s consumerism as I opened present after present for Christmas. As the wise poet, Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better”. Now it’s just embarassing to imagine how much value I put on that stuff as a kid. Ah yes, adulthood does have its advantages.
If you’re a fan of Oprah, you may have seen the following info in her magazine and if you didn’t catch it; I’m bringing it to you right here. Yes, I’m copying the info from her magazine word for word on page190 written by Lauren Murrow and Rachel Mount. I commend them on their research into what a few bills can do in somebody’s life. So, in honor of all Americans who may not have as much to give this season as well as those of you, like me, who take a vow to avoid all malls and shopping venues from mid-November until mid-January; I give you 17 ways under $20 to give this ThanksGIVING, your particular holiday or any day you feel like it. Starting at a buck, you can make a contribution to make changes in the world without adding to the pile of stuff for somebody.
- $1 for 2 books shipped to a classroom in Africa. In many African school rooms, 20 students share 1 textbook: www.booksforafrica.org
- $2 for a set of drumsticks for a low-income public school student learning to play the drums: www.littlekidsrock.org
- $3 for a field trip to a museum, concert or theatre production for a high-risk youth: www.createnow.org
- $4 for 2 hours of prepaid phone time for a soldier stationed overseas – calling cards for our troops: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com
- $5 for a one-burner kerosene stove for a family that would typically rely on an open fire: www.foodforthepoor.org
- $6 for measles vaccinations for 15 children in a developing country: www.doctorswithoutborders.org
- $7 for a week’s worth of food for an abandoned dog or cat at a shelter run by the American Soiciety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: www.aspca.org
- $8 for a medical teaching doll to be used in educating a child about his or her cancer treatment: www.stjude.org
- $10 for a box of nails uded to adapt a disabled veteran’s house from Homes for Our Troops: www.homesforourtroops.org
- $10 for a day’s worth of fresh fruites and veggies for feed 2 chimps, most of which have been orphaned by poachers at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehab Center in the Republic of Congo: www.janegoodall.org/oprah
- $10 for 2 specialized bottles for babies born with a cleft palate, who otherwise might suffer from malnutrition before receiving corrective surgery: www.operationsmile.org
- $10 for cloth and tools so an Afghan woman can become self-sufficient by taking a 6-month tailoring course through Creating Hope International and the Afghan institute for Learning: www.globalgiving.org
- $11 for 11 trees to be planted in Alabama communities devastated by the April tornadoes: www.arborday.org
- $12 for 20 pounds of multipurpose soap to help keep families germ-free around the world through Oxfam: www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com
- $14 for 2 nutitious meals delivered by volunteers from Meals on Wheels to a housebound senior citizen: www.mowaa.org
- $15 for a backpack and school supplies for one homeless or low-income urban child: www.cradlestocrayons.org
- This item was not in the Oprah mag, but I wanted to offer it to you and your friends as a way to connect with loved ones over the holidays and every day. For $9.80 you can send 10 custom greeting cards or postcards to anywhere in the world with your own photos and personal message at www.BizBuilderCards.com and select the Pay-as-You-Go option to send some cards. You can send a couple more on me – my treat as an added bonus. The video will walk you through sending a card and the company prints it, stuffs the envelope, stamps it and mails it for you. If you have questions – send me an email Gail@GailHahn.com.
On a final note – for a little more money, you can donate to your local food bank or give some small business owners some work by giving the gift of their services to loved ones such as: house cleaning services, yard services, home improvement services, a massage, a mani/pedi or spa treatments, a home chef, or any number of personal services that include experiences rather than stuff to help support the small business community.
I hope this list is helpful. Big thanks once again to Oprah and her team for brining us enlightened ideas. (BTW – have you seen her Life Class show – awesome!) If you have more ideas of making a BIG impact on a small budget, let me know and I’ll share ideas. Cheers!
There’s a lot of talk these days about happiness. Are you happy, are your kids or partner happy? Do you work in a happy environment, even the folks who are employed at the happiest place on Earth are not immune to the question of “Am I happy here?” And “here” can mean here in your life, here in your job, here in your business, here in your marriage, here in a geographic location or here in any specific situation.
Lots and lots of studies, books and blogs about happiness have cropped up over the years. It’s a sign that we’ve moved up the food chain on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once a need is met, it’s no longer a need and we go out seeking something else. Our motivations come from needs, so once a need is met, we no longer have tha motivation. So I’m guessing that most of us have our food, clothing and shelter taken care of and now we’re in search of the self actualization and happiness penthouse level.
One of the aspects of happiness is to find something you love to do, make it your life’s work and focus your energy and attention towards it. It gives you meaning, gives you joy and gives you something you do well to serve the world and create a better place. Having that type of purposeful project fans the flames of your inner potential. When our work is a natural express of who we are and what we do well, that intersection of our talents and the world’s needs is ripe for success. Ultimately, our work on Earth is to shine our light joyfully and give our greatest strengths to the world and if we combine that with our vocation, it’s brilliantly blissful. Need help figuring out your gifts, talents and purpose? We can point you in the right direction at YourRealPurpose.com.
Happiness is a decision of the mind. Deciding you are going to take action to make changes towards what makes you happy is the first step. Of course EVERYTHING starts with the mindset, deciding, then doing. Our thoughts, ideas and desires are what drives us forward and helps our soul to evolve and happiness is a pleasant side affect. So many of us seem to be in the busy-ness of being too busy to do X, Y or Z. I’d say being too busy to slow down and figure out what makes you happy is like being too busy driving to stap for gas. Slowing down to figure out what feeds your soul in how your serve and how you move through the world is refilling your tank. Once you know what feeds you, then you can put it on your t0-do list and fit it into your busy schedule.
Research shows that life’s most gratifying experiences and happy moments come from really living and being present at what you’re doing, who you’re being and where you are and NOT in all the trappings of the usual suspects of success. Studies show that the little things add up to a happier life such as walking to the store from home instead of driving, great neighbors, friendship, sharing conversation, socializing, notice daily joys, music, smells, dogs/cats, tending your garden, fresh flowers, home-baked treats, spending time with family disconnected from technology.
So many of us are experiencing a life deficit disorder in our rush to the bus/metro/carpool, the rush through lunch, the rush home and rushing to get everything done. Your challenge this week is to slow down, make time to make your list of your happiness factors that affect you personally. What’s on your list? Once you make your happiness factor list, do a gap analysis to discover where you can close the gaps and just how far out of whack you may be, or celebrate how on track you are and rejoice in your alignment with life/work/happiness. Make it a priority to create happiness at home, in your workplace, in your life. Once you have your list, challenge yourself to put more of those things from your list into your daily life and into the workplace.
Here are some ideas to get you started for a happy workplace:
- SAS corporation supplies M&M’s and coffee in the break areas, they have on-site childcare so employees can visit their kids at lunch, dry cleaner drop-off service, on-site doctors, lovely landscaped grounds.
- Northwestern Mutual offers boxed dinners from the cafeteria so dinner is easy to fix after a long day, music groups/bands so employees can enjoy their hobby with others and give concerts to colleagues.
- Car detailing or seated massages while at work, bosses serve breakfast to workers, Office Olympics or friendly competition – chili cookoff or bake-off.
- Colors affect our mood – paint the walls what makes you happy, fresh flowers, music, flextime, ability to express how you work through your work, listening, respect, caring for others.
- Disney entertains you while you wait in looooong lines, Vail and Copper Mountain ski resorts through out candy to skiers in lift lines and ask trivia questions to make the time in lines go faster.
- My dentist recently replaced their waiting room furnishings with very comfy, luxurious yet whimsical furnishings, a new plasma TV, fireplace and fountain and a fresh supply of current magazines.
What is your workplace doing or what can you contribute to your business/workplace to up the ante for happiness for yourself, your colleagues and your customers? It will go a long way in improving the happiness factor in your life since you spend about a third of your life at work.
I’m taking a new look at my workplace and living space these days. I’m moving my business and my life to a different place. I’ve noticed how I want to lighten my load, throw off the dead weight, innovate ways to do more with less.
I’ve gone through this drill with each move and notice that I’m drilling down more and more to ge to the heart of what works for me in my business and my home life. Taking a fresh perspective on the things that you have usually done or used to serve you helps bring out new innovative ways to doing things and using things. I though I’d been ruthless the last few moves with removing items that no longer served me or the business well. I find it needs to be done in layers.
What if you did the same to your organization and pretended you were moving offices, moving to a different level of service, moving closer to your customer’s needs. What would you jettison? What would you keep? Who would stay or go? What do you really need in your office or what is serving it’s purpose, but not very well?
Have you looked at your processes with a keen eye, or from the eyes of your customers or your colleagues to see where you can streamline? Take a cue from Domino’s Pizza and their new menu items. They have a survey printed on the box asking how you like it. Have you interviewed your clients to ask “how we doin’?” Have you interviewed your team members to ask the same when you’re in a performance review session.
How about a brainstorming session with other departments to ask where the bottlenecks are and how to creatively improve them? It starts with letting go of your old perspective on how things should be done or how they should look or be. Be open about the outcomes, re-purpose some things or ways of thinking. Embrace some changes or create some yourself to shake things up. It could start with cleaning out the junk drawer or just looking at what’s working or not working so well and being open to propose a better plan.
Sometimes you have to introduce the innovation or the change in increments and layers. If we’re forced to change too much in too short of time, we experience future shock and we dig in our heals. Making incremental changes and letting it settle in, then tweaking some more, ditching a little here and tossing a little there doesn’t meet with so much resistance. Ask around and see what your team can tweak or hold a contest to see who can come up with the most innovative solution to a recent challenge.
Some find it hard to accept new ways of working because they may think they’ve failed in some way. Being open to innovation means not holding on so tight to what you thought was the best way of doing things yesterday. Things change, you did the best you could with what you knew and what you had at that point in time. Let go of some old ways and things to make room for new ways and things. An open mind is a good mind. Create space for new things to come in.
Now excuse me while I clear away the old printer to make room for the new, innovative wireless one (double the output, double-sided printing, eprinting and half the cost of ink)…
Networking with business owners and professionals over the past couple months raised some questions about who is working in their right livlihood and who is not. Being a customer in any retail establishment or restaurant,you can almost sense who is in alignment with their right livlihood as sales people or servers. You know how they greet you and their demeanor if they like being there or if they’re just passing the time until they can clock out.
Think of Susan Boyle, the singer who was afraid to show her talent and kept her light hidden until she had the courage to sing in a competition and is now one of the top sellign artists of all time and performing for royalty. Who wudda thunk? What if she never had the courage to listen to her heart? What about you? Do you have the courage to find out your true path? Learn more on a personal consult with me and my business partner or ask for a recording of our telecourse Cracking the Code to Your Calling.
There are so many workers out there who are just passing the time, letting their lives pass by without investigating what it is they really want to do. Or what their soul purpose is in this lifetime. It’s a very easy thing to decode once you know the formula for unscrambling the GPS you hold in your own hands. Your personal GPS, your Greater Purpose System is encoded into your fingerprints before you were born. There is a scientific method of decoding your prints, which are unique to you, and figure out your life purpose, your life lesson and what ‘school’ you’re in for this lifetime. You’re given everything you need to know for following your right path and living your right livlihood. You just need to decode the message. Listen to a free 30-minute teleclass on the 4 different schools of life purpose by sending an email to Gaia@GaiaHart.com and ask for the link.
If you’ve been floundering, wandering about, not knowing if you have a purpose, feeling dull, without passion or fulfillment in your work; then we need to connect. My team and I will be your guides to crack the code to your life purpose, the life lesson that keeps holding you back and showing up and the life school whose curriculum you’re here to learn. Once you know your school, your lesson and your purpose, the rest is easy to figure out. All kinds of variations in your school and purpose can be explored. You’re given the right path to your right livlihood and the experts to help you figure out how you want to travel on your path.
After a 45-minute life purpose analysis of your fingerprints, you’re given your life school, life purpose and life lesson. Afterwhich you’re given a decoder document explaining it all. Then you get another 45-minute session with a personal life purpose coach to help you strategize implementation. All this for under $300 as our gift to you with a savings of $200 off the usual investment.
What is knowing your life purpose worth to you? How much of your life are you willing to spend out of connection with your divine purpose? How many unfulfilled days are you willing to give to somebody else in exchange for a paycheck? If you’re fed up and not going to take it any more, or if you’re just curious if you’re already on the right track to the right livlihood, then send me and email at Gaia@GaiaHart.com to set up a free pre-coaching call to see if it’s the right fit for you. What have you got to lose, but your the rest of your life?
Looking forward to hearing from you and helping you find your light and your right livlihood to enrich the world and yourself.
I’ve had umpteen discussions recently with entrepreneurs, execs and employees in transition or in frustration. Most are disgruuntled and seeking higher levels of challenge, free expression, satisfaction and success. The Gallup organization cites that 55% of employees are disengaged and 20% are actively disengaged with a majority of workers actively seeking other opportunities.
When you’re feeling the itch to change something in your career and you don’t know exactly what’s wrong, but you know you’re not happy; then it’s time to uplevel your life and your work. You’re working at a lower level than your capacity. When there’s no more personal or professional growth left in your work, then it’s time to move on to another challenge. If you’re feeling flustered, frustrated or ready to pull your hair out or somebody else’s hair, then you’re on the edge and need to jump up another level to function more in your place of purpose and brilliance and less at your level of competence or routine.
There are several levels at which we operate: inability, ability, talent and brilliance. The level of inability are the areas in which you don’t do well or where you don’t necessarily have an aptitude or competency. You don’t necessarily have any interest in doing these types of things. For me this area is plumbing, taxes and car repair. These areas are better off out-sourced to give somebody else a job who commands that ability.
Your level of ability are areas you can do, but they don’t give you joy and it seems like lackluster busy work. It smacks of mediocrity and you’d be better off out-sourcing these things as well. Housekeeping, cooking or landscaping may be one of your areas. Or you may revel in gourmet cooking and that is your place of brilliance – it’s all very individual. If you’re working at this level, it seems beneath your talents and you’d get bored or frustrated easily. You may find yourself saying “this is stupid” one too many times.
Your level of talent is where you likely excel, earn income, get praise for what you’re doing and are admired by colleagues, family and friends for what you do. They likely want you to stay at this level because it feels safe and comfortable for them and they like you there. It’s a secure feeling because you know what you’re doing and you’re good at it. Although you may be getting itchy to do something else. You start to feel confined and the chafing of the golden handcuffs or maybe trapped in the lifestyle, but not feeling the joy any more for what you do or who you’re doing it for. You don’t want to lose what you’ve already accomplished in your career, but you’re not happy.
Many stand at the edge of this terror trigger and lose their courage to jump up to the next level of brilliance due to the unknown. Others may not want you to jump because they’re afraid for you. Our subconscious is built on security, survival and safety. Many back down off the ledge and live in their level of talent, a little discontent, a little dull ache for more, feeling “it’s not great, but it’s not that bad – I don’t hate it and I’m better off than most – I should be happy.”
We can start out in a business or a job that fits our place of brilliance at first, but as we learn and grow, it offers less challenge, personal and professional growth and it shrinks down to our levels of talent or ability. Think about Oprah when she decided to start her magazine in addition to her wildly successful talk show and then decided to shut down her show to start her own network. You can bet her first TV show was in her place of brilliance for her capacity at that time and then she expanded her capacity and the show just wasn’t big enough to contain her dream and her brilliance and her purpose. By all accounts, her level of ability far surpasses most mere mortal’s dreams of brilliance. It’s all very personal.
Your purposeful place of brilliance is where you truly shine. It’s exhilarating, joyful, happy and it feels right. It’s where you dreams are made. You are usually richly rewarded for it. It’s where purpose, passion and profits reside. My purpose is to help you find yours. My mission is to help you identify and clarify your mission. Let me know how I can help you uplevel your work and your life to your place of purpose and brilliance – Gail@GailHahn.com.
If you’ve ever experienced your life as a mundane hamster wheel similar to the movie Groundhog Day, then you’re in for a new awakening on our free teleclass: Cracking the Code to Your Calling: Unveiling Your Life Purpose to Boost Passions & Profits. Life Purpose Analyst Margaret Shebalin and I will be covering the technology known as scientific palmistry to share with you how you can unravel the secret treasures at your fingertips. You can listen to the recorded teleclass at: http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/W1dCHL8X.
Once you know your true calling, live your true purpose and fully express your purpose in your work and get paid for it, you can break free of the Groundhog Day syndrome that most people endure. You don’t have to live an aimless, ho-hum life day after day when you hold the GPS (Greater Purpose System) in the palm of your hands. You were born with specific DNA that points to your purpose. It’s been in front of your eyes your entire life.
Learn the decoding system we use to reveal your real life purpose on our priceless (recorded 37-minute teclass at: http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/W1dCHL8X. Listeners will receive a special code good for $200 off your first coaching session with Margaret and Gail to reveal your real purpose and your life schools. Your life compass will be revealed to you during your very first session. As a bonus, our listeners will receive $200 off their first Life Purpose session where your life purpose, life lesson and life shcool will be revealed at http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/W1dCHL8X.
We invite you to discover your true calling. We’re thrilled to incite insight into each and every one of you. Our purpose is to reveal your purpose to you and guide you along your right path. Looking forward to ‘seeing’ you on the call on Groundhog’s Day so you can break free of the Groundhog syndrome and live the life you were born to live. Feel free to contact me with your questions at Gail@GailHahn.com.
I just returned from the SendOutCards convention and I’m fired up. I was inspired to share some of my insights into revitalizing your promotions, your people and your workplace. Here’s another round of articles to energize and inspire leaders and entrepreneurs. The following articles cover leadership and team motivation for Generation X and Y team members, how to be a shameless self promoter for your own business and how your purpose is a critical piece of your promotions.
Other articles cover the key component of mixing fun and effectiveness at work. We know that work made fun gets done and good times lead to good business. Creating a quality workplace not only boost performance, but it boosts purposeful work ethics and quality of life at work.
And then there’s the accountability thing. Having a mastermind group, a success team, a personal board of directors helps keep you on track and on purpose. Create your own circle of success and support to help leap-frog your business beyond what you could do on your own. Enjoy the articles and if you want to listen to them, check out my radio show on http://thewinonline.com/node/5978. One show per week is posted on the site. I’ve just recorded 19 shows, so your favorite article/show may not be aired for several weeks. All shows are archived, so they will be there when you’re ready. Enjoy!
Mentors vs. Tormentors: 50 Ways to Ditch Your X (and Y) Employees
Success Circles Teeming with Synergy
Fun*cilitation: Facilitating Fun and Effectiveness in the Workplace
Put Energy into Your Efforts
Secrets to Self Promotions & Your Purpose