Archive for December, 2008

Dec 31 2008

Additions to my Wii

Published by under Hills-Valleys-Exocets

I was lucky enough to own a Wii of my own.

My Christmas addition to the Wii Kit was a Wii Fit Balance board.

The brilliant thing about this piece of kit is that you can exercise without knowing it! In best fashion you can be a bit more active than being a coach potato and you don’t even have to step outdoors – which is all the more welcome in these cold winter days.

It has been a huge source of amusement and entertainment – and let’s be honest – there’s pretty poor competition from live telly right now.

Now I know it’s also possible to fool yourself into thinking that you’re doing something good… 45 minutes playing slalom ski doesn’t eliminate my need for healthy eating and regular aerobic exercise. But the Wii can be a source of real health benefits.

Jodie Lawton has created the Wii Health Zone membership site that it a great guide to getting best benefits out of this investment.

Having fun can really be good for you!

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Dec 26 2008

I want a Wii for Christmas…

Published by under Inspiration

I was just well enough to go to midnight Mass this year – with my cough, no singing in the choir for me though!!

It was a wonderful event, very gentle and a great experience of the caring community that a Church can be at it’s best.

Towards the end of the service, before we were sent on our way, the priest went “walk about” in the congregation talking to the small number of young children who had been allowed to stay up late enough to attend this service… his question to them was predictable enough “And what are you hoping for when you get home?”

We were all reduced to laughter when one four year old mite yelled at the top of her lungs “I want a Wii!!!!!”.

If only we’d captured that one on video.

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Dec 24 2008

Not once, but twice!

Published by under Hills-Valleys-Exocets

Are you healthy at the moment?

There’s a lot of “stuff” going round. Predictions of nine times more cases of flu than usual for this time of year… Have you escaped? I do hope so!

I got my first taste, not of flu but of a very heavy cold, in mid-December. It wasn’t fun but with the help of extra vitamin C, a good deal of positive visualisation, extreme-self-care and a selection of cold remedy treatments, I managed to get to the end of my working schedule with a bunch of happy clients and a longer than usual (for me!) list of things to be done. In my cold-fogged haze I hadn’t been as efficient with my paperwork as normal but, not to worry, there was plenty of time before Christmas to catch up!

Well, blow me, as soon as I started to make a recovery, I was struck low by another bug! This wasn’t a case of my immune system being ready to fight it off but, at it’s lowest ebb it was ready to be subverted by the next attack.  So for the last week I’ve been coughing and spluttering my way through Christmas.

It’s exhausting.

I can only praise the patience and caring skills of people around me who have helped make Christmas a smooth and successful family affair despite my attempts to interfere and take over!

What have I learned through this experience?

  • Take time… everything takes longer when you’re operating below par so don’t try to do too much.
  • Accept help. People want to help and being fiercly independent doesn’t make you (me) or them feel any better!
  • Sleep… sometimes little and often feels better than struggling on.

My paperwork is still undone… I can’t say that I’m a well-behaved patient but I’m learning to accept my limitations. My admin will get sorted, not as soon as I had planned, but before I get started again in the New Year.

Until then, good food, gentle exercise and the acceptance that I can afford to ease off and be gentle on myself will ease my passage into 2009.

I hope that you are fit, healthy, happy and enjoying the Christmas season, whatever that means to you!

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Dec 18 2008

Time Management – just how difficult can that be?!

My schedule has been busy leading up to Christmas. As lead trainer for Training For Universities I find myself delivering a wide range of workshops ranging from Presenting Your Research at Conference to Dealing with Change. In spite of this diversity, in one of those statistical blips, I found myself delivering Time Management for three sessions within a week.

When I was very new to training I wondered whether delivering the same material would soon become boring…

I guess that is still a possibility. Doing the same thing repeatedly in any job can become boring or limiting if it stifles creativity.

What I have found is that the participants in each workshop add their own magic to the mix that makes each day different and three Time Management sessions has just proved the point.

Can I learn anything from this?

In a sweeping generalisation I can say that it seems that younger participants in these workshops had significantly simpler lives. They had their work… they had a social life but this seemed very flexible and without too many ties or committments.

Older/more mature participants in the workshops were far more likely to be juggling multiple responsibilities, part time work, part time study, young families, aging parents… few were dealing with businesses in any way. Life was generally more complicated and there were more fixed committments.

The tools needed by each group were different, but that’s not surprising either.

All groups I work with seem to like the “Eat That Frog” tool…

This is a great procrastination buster designed for those tasks you hate and would do anything to avoid, your personal “frogs”.

The rule is that the first thing you do each day is “Eat That Frog”.

This means, before you turn on the computer, before you check your email, before you do anything that will possibly be a distraction from that task you are so desperate to avoid, you eat your frog!

This is one tool that is beautiful in it’s simplicity and if you use it, it works!! Once you’ve “eaten your frog”, your day gets so much better…. don’t just take my word for it. Many particiants in my workshop email me to tell me how effective this is. Try it yourself and see!

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Dec 11 2008

Time Management For PhD studen…

Published by under Tweets

Time Management For PhD students: 2 days, 2 places, 2 totally different group responses. Would life be easier if it were more predictable?

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Dec 09 2008

Project review meeting today -…

Published by under Tweets

Project review meeting today – what are we going to do in 2009 to make success inevitable?! It’s good to get a bigger picture overview!

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Dec 07 2008

Printing Christmas card labels…

Published by under Tweets

Printing Christmas card labels – a 5 min job that takes 90 min! They do look good with little sprigs of holly though (thanks Bec!).

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Dec 02 2008

Late for a Time Management Workshop?!

Yesterday I set out for London – two days doing Time Management and Project Management.

I decided to “let the train take the strain” and headed out in a reserved seat in the “Quiet Coach”. It seemed to be a near perfect way to travel. Warm, comfortable and with space to relax, read, listen to music or prepare for the day.

And then we approached Swindon, still in darkness outside our metal cocoon, and came to a quiet halt. And we waited, and waited, and waited…

After 40 minutes we pulled alongside a platform and were invited (instructed!) to leave this train which was terminating at Swindon.

Apparently a frieght train had ploughed through a set of points ahead and had blocked all London-bound traffic. There was one service heading for London – that was very popular as people surged from one train to another, their bleary-eyed calmness replaced by a very keen competitiveness to ensure they had a seat on the London-bound train!

We were heading back to Chippenham before taking a very scenic route into Paddington avoiding Swindon.

The good news is that we did get to London, an hour and forty minutes late!

I was greeted with severe delays on the Circle Line (quick, back to the Hammersmith & City Line!) and then Baker Street Station was closed because of a fire alert and no trains were allowed to stop there…

Now, dear commuters, I don’t know how typical a day this is for regular commuters. I dread to think.

However, for me, the edge came in the knowledge that I was, through no fault of my own, being delayed en route to a workshop on Time Management!

In my workshops I teach that it is important to plan and to allow a sufficient buffer… I’d reserved seats and had allowed two hours to make a 20 minute journey from Paddington…

I teach that it’s not what happens and much as your reaction or response to events that will decide the course for the rest of your day… so I emailed ahead as soon as I knew my ETA in London and asked for the start time of the workshop to be delayed by one hour. Yes, I could have said “I’ll get there as soon as I can” but is that the best for the participants? I know I’d prefer a definite one hour delay – time to get something useful done and come back in time for a coffee.

So we reconvened after a slight delay… every delegate did show up and, with a slight smile on their face, was very sympathetic about my journey.

Not the way I would have chosen to start the day but damage control was successful…

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