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The Quest for Peace of Mind

Complexity has become the hallmark of our collective existence, but peace of mind is well within our grasp.

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For some people, peace of mind means reduced levels of stress. For others, it’s having more leisure time or fewer bills to pay. Peace of mind might represent having control over one’s space – living in less clutter or having less to clean and maintain. For some, having greater peace of mind is linked with spirituality or reverence to God.

Your quest for peace of mind could encompass one or more of the notions above, maybe even all of them. If any of the above are true for you, keep reading.

Complexity as a Hallmark

You were born into an era in which complexity has become the hallmark of our existence; fragmentation of the mind is all but inevitable. Never before has there been a generation in human history besieged by more items competing for its time and attention than the generation in which you find yourself. Think of it – in his entire life, George Washington never spent a second watching a news update.

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With each passing year, indeed each hour, greater amounts of information are generated at an accelerating rate. Increasing numbers of technological breakthroughs are continually being achieved without any pauses between such advances, for people to adjust to new situations.

Professor Lowell Catlett, an expert on the topics of technology and change, observed that, from a capability standpoint, all the high-tech products on your desk and in your home will be antiques (not high-priced antiques!) in a few years from now. Moreover, technology manufacturers themselves are intentionally putting their own products to bed in shorter and shorter cycles.

New and Improved!

Sony’s shelf-life (market life span) for high-tech products, for example, is less than 90 days. When Sony ships a product to an office superstore, Sony itself is near ready with an updated product that exceeds the capability or design functions of the previous shipment.

Sony contends that their estimated shelf-life will continue to diminish. Their mission is to make their own products obsolete with vastly superior products.

Why would they do this? Is it a company full of masochists or something? Suppose they actually achieve breakthroughs every few weeks. Doesn’t it wreak havoc on their employees, their distribution systems, and you as a consumer? The answer is a big fat yes.

At the same time, if Sony doesn’t constantly improve what they’re offering, then their competition will crush them. Every major manufacturer feels the same pinch. Consumers – you and I – generally have no idea what is hitting us.

It’s Not Your Imagination

We’ve reached the point where the regulations, laws, news, information, and technologies that we’re ‘expected’ to know are leaving us overwhelmed, confused, and exhausted. The infrastructure that holds society in place – the computer systems, the highways, and the energy that runs them all – is based on increasingly sophisticated systems and technologies.

If you notice that the world is getting more complex each day, and if you feel as if your own life is already overly complex, relax. You’re probably quite rational. These day, even when you’re simply minding your own business, life is becoming more complex.

The complexity is not a function of aging, or of having more responsibility, a bigger mortgage or higher rent, more children, or more of anything in your life. Each of us are now pioneers in this brave new world. Mercifully, most of us are still able to ably proceed. Take time to pray, meditate, reflect, and/or simply relax.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Business

Smart Move in a Rough Economy: Help Your Boss to Shine

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives

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Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you. Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this.

The best way to make your boss look good is to handle your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion.

If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it’s still likely that you’ll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you’ve been doing more than your share, and he or she won’t be able to take a new position without your help.

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Becoming a Mentor to Others

Maybe you’re only 27 years old, or perhaps you’ve only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you’re willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department’s goals are, and determining your company’s objectives:

Your Job Description

First, knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization, an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion.

Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.

Company Goals

Second, learn and understand the goals of your part of the company. By whatever method your organization is broken into groups — department, division, project team — your group has objectives.

Goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group’s goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.

What is the Mission?

Finally, be aware of your organization’s mission. Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don’t already know it, find out. Your organization’s brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out.

The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.

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Business

Lessons of the 2020s: Unanticipated Events Happen

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being as well as on our time

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By now, nearly everyone has mentally marked the first few years of this decade as strange and, for those on the right, entirely upsetting. While we can’t guard against the unknown, or anticipate radical moves emanating from Washington DC, we can seek to do our best with what we have and what we know.

Each day when you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the products and tasks unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off.

How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you thought was complete.

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To Be Flustered No More

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

I believe there is, and it involves first making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task that you need to handle. Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Anticipating the Unexpected

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

So… when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed ‘knowing’ that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course. The key question for you is: can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions?

The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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