The Work/Life Struggle: 6 Ways to Find Your Balance

 

6 ways to find your balanceDo you struggle with finding a good work-life balance? Do you often feel overwhelmed or guilty? You know – the ‘doesn’t matter what you do’ guilt? If you stay home with sick kids you feel guilty for not producing at work. If you go to work you feel guilty for not being home with your sick kid. Same thing for going to / missing the ball game, dance recital, fill in the blank. And what follows the guilt? Resentment… a path that leads nowhere good.

Achieving a happy, guilt-free balance can seem like an impossible feat. For me, balancing family, work, school, church, and the other hundred things that come up is one the biggest challenges in life.

Finding balance has become harder as work friendships and the awesomeness of technology have allowed us to blur the work/life lines to the point that they are now practically inseparable. We check work email at home and home email at work. We use our cell phones for personal and business use.

Google’s research reveals that only 31% of us are able to break free of the “blurring” and draw a line between work and the rest of our lives. (Google, gDNA).

However, many people like having their personal and professional lives all rolled into one and if you’re happy with the balance you’ve found by working this way, you’re ahead of the masses.

69% of us have work in the back of our minds throughout our waking hours. (Google, gDNA).

However, of that 69%, half of us wish we could segment more. So, for those who need a little more separation, here’s six steps towards a happy balance.

  1. STOP LOOKING FOR IT. The word “balance” indicates that your time and energy will be spent evenly between work and life and that’s not realistic. Instead, make your goal Work-Life EFFECTIVENESS. This is what we really want after all… to be EFFECTIVE in all areas of our lives.
  2. Set effectiveness goals each week for each area of your life. This week I will have been effective in life/work/school if I _______.
  3. Let go of perfectionism. It isn’t going to happen. You aren’t going to be perfect, no matter how badly you’d like to be. Neither is your spouse, boss, friend, or child. Just let it go.
  4. Unplug. Don’t text during the soccer game, surf Facebook during the movie, or send emails while you’re out with the family. Shut it off and enjoy the moments.
  5. Exercise & meditate. It reduces stress, increases endorphins, and lifts your mood. Just taking the stairs and doing 5 minutes of breathing exercises at your desk is a step in the right direction. You’ll feel better able to deal with the rest of what life throws at you.
  6. Reduce time-wasting people and activities. If you are struggling to find time for the really important people and things in your life, you definitely do not have time for the unimportant ones. Choose wisely.

One important note about all this: Don’t try to overhaul your whole life at once. Remember, we’re trying to SIMPLIFY life so just pick one or two things to tackle at a time.

Have fun and let us know how it goes!

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If we can help reduce your work stress by helping you communicate with your audience or grow your business – we’d love to help!

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

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5 Ways to Handle Arrogant People

The Know-It-All

We all have that person in our lives who knows more than everyone else about every possible topic. They’re arrogant, infuriating, and irritating. They can make us angry, drive us crazy, and sometimes even reach their true goal of making us feel like idiots so that they feel smarter.

The arrogance of some people makes even their virtues appear vices. – Bouhours

They’re easy to pick out in a crowd.

  • Their conversations are about themselves.
  • They don’t like for anyone else to be the center of attention.
  • They brag, boast, and dismiss other people’s stories and ideas.
  • They know more about any topic than anyone else.
  • They frequently interrupt.
  • They put other people down, make fun, and joke at the expense of others.
  • They try to be around people of high status.
  • They find it ridiculously hard to admit to being wrong.
  • They don’t understand complexity and prefer black and white situations.

Generally speaking, these people have much less experience than they pretend to and assume a lot but know very little.

The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. – Albert Einstein

The interesting thing that I’ve learned about these people is that they are often quite insecure. It may seem hard to believe but it’s true.

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself.

The truth is that they talk about themselves and brag (endlessly) because they feel the need to show how important they are. They fear being insignificant or unimportant.

Of course, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. There are those people who truly are simply so full of themselves that they can’t see, or hear, anything else. They are, however, in the minority.

Arrogance is an unhealthy ego in need of repair. – Thomas Faranda

Sadly, regardless of the reason they act so arrogantly, we still have to deal with them. Here are tips for handling them… and having a little fun along the way.

  1. Change the topic. Arrogant people try to keep conversations on topics that they are comfortable with. Each time they start dominating the conversation, change the topic and throw them off balance.
  2. Avoid interaction. The arrogant person’s tactics work best with an active audience. Don’t give them one.
    • Smile a lot. Say little. Do not get drawn in.
    • Laugh loudly at an inappropriate moment then change the subject while they’re confused.
  3. Feed the Fire. Pretend you don’t understand something simple and watch them swoop in and prove their superiority. They’re too self-centered to catch on but everyone else will.
  4. Call Them Out. The next time they interrupt you or take over, take a page from your teenager’s playbook. Look them in the eye and say, “Really?” in a tone of disbelief. Practice in the mirror if you need to. The look on their face will be worth it.
  5. When all else fails, take mental notes so you can laugh about it with your friends later.

Whatever you do, don’t lose it. Remain calm. Smile. Use your manners. You don’t want to look like the bad person but you do want it to be clear that you don’t tolerate fools. Give yourself a high-five for not getting sucked in to their spirit-robbing ways and your intelligence in out-witting them. And remember:

An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person. – Leo Tolstoy

Have a tip to add or a funny story to share? We could use a good laugh… share it in the comments! Find this interesting or know someone who needs to read it? Please share it! And – find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If we can help you communicate with your audience or grow your business, we’d love to help. We promise not to brag.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

10 Tips for Dealing with Annoying People

HOW TO DEAL WITH PEOLE

Do you have a person in your life that is driving you insane? Someone who constantly works on your nerves? Does the sound of their voice make you cringe? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, dealing with annoying people is inevitable. While some of us accept them for who they are and move on with our lives, others remain irritated with how much and why we dislike them. That’s where I am. We can’t always just walk away so it’s important to learn how to deal with these people and situations. Here are some tips.

Most really annoying people have no idea that they are annoying. They will not understand your rudeness or anger in response to them.

  1. Get to know them. Try to spend some time getting to know them so you can understand exactly WHAT it is that gets on your nerves and maybe even WHY they do it.
  2. Avoid them and make necessary interactions brief. If you are going to them, have something you have to do next and let them know you can’t hang around. If they are coming to you, keep a spreadsheet or return call slip nearby and tell them you’ve got to get to it. Pick up the phone and pretend to be having a conversation. Or, if it’s an option for you, studies show that people are far less likely to stop and talk with someone wearing headphones.
  3. Block it out. When someone is really getting under our skin, we have a tendency to think about how annoying they are and wait for them to do the next annoying thing that will throw us over the edge. Just stop. Make a plan for how to deal with them and move on.
  4. Blame yourself. If you know that the next time they try to show you a stupid YouTube video it’s likely that something evil is going to rise from the fiery pits of hell and explode all over them, stop them in their tracks. Try saying, “I’m sorry but I’m really tired… crabby… stressed… can we do this later?”
  5. Don’t expect something different. You KNOW how they’re going to act, what they’re going to do / say. Be prepared for it.
  6. Stop following. If someone is driving you crazy on social media, stop letting them.
  7. Zone out. If you can’t remove yourself from the situation, try thinking about something else while they talk. Make a to-do list for when the meeting is over or, like me, imagine yourself spitting spitballs at them.
  8. Just tell them. Sometimes honesty is the best policy although obviously this is not ALWAYS an appropriate response. But, if you can, try: You’re really working my nerves. You’re overreacting. Why are you so angry all the time? Why do you have to talk so much during meetings? Why do you talk when other people are talking?
  9. Mirror mirror. If you can pull it off, this one can be really fun. Whatever the irritating behavior is, beat them to the punch. Go to their desk with stupid videos 10 times a day. Stand in their office and talk non-stop about how much your neighbor gets on your nerves. If it happens to be a sound, laugh, or facial expression that’s driving you crazy, copy it or come up with one of your own. Every time they do it, you do it.
  10. Let them win. Basically the opposite of #10, this works wonders on the one-upper. When they tell you they ran 10 miles this morning, lost 20 pounds over the weekend, shot a 400 pound, 20 point deer, say, “oh, cool” and walk away. They’ll stop.

Have a great “annoying” story? Have a tip to add to the list? Tell us in the comments! If you give one of these tips a shot, we’d love to hear about it!

As always, if we can help you communicate with your audience, online or in person, we’d love the opportunity to help strengthen your relationships. Yep, we’ll even deal with the annoying ones.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

How to Read Body Language Like a Pro

body-language

Ever wonder what’s going on in someone else’s mind? Think someone’s not being completely honest with you? Despite their words, do you often get a vibe from someone that you can’t quite put your finger on? Understanding body language and non-verbal communication can often tell you the meanings and information that people’s words aren’t saying.

Some studies suggest that speech makes up only 25% of communication.

Many times, non-verbal cues are more important than the words being said. Why? Because people have much less conscious control over their non-verbal messages than their verbal ones. As a result, non-verbal cues almost always give away true feelings and intentions. Just remember that like ALL communication, it goes both ways! So, while we all want to figure what other people “aren’t” saying – it’s important to be aware of what messages YOUR BODY is sending as well.

DISCLAIMER: This article only skims the surface of all that has been studied on non-verbal communication and is not intended to be an all-encompassing list… just some tips to give you an edge over the other guy!

TIP #1: A LACK of non-verbal messages is a signal too – it suggests an attempt to carefully control body language so as not to give something away (which often means hiding something).

TIP #2: When verbal messages and non-verbal messages conflict, trust the non-verbal.

Ready?

Body Movements

  • Saying no while nodding yes: hiding something (usually the truth)
  • Scratching, adjusting glasses, and biting fingernails: nervousness, anxiety or hostility
  • Clenched fist: anger, solidarity
  • Touching nose while speaking: lying, exaggerating
  • Neck scratching: doubt, disbelief
  • Pursed lips: distaste, disapproval, distrust
  • Lip biting: worry, anxiety, stress
  • Head titled to one side: thoughtfulness
  • Head tilted downward: criticism
  • Handshake with both hands: seeking control
  • Handshake with arm clasp: seeking control, paternalism

Posture

  • Closed (arms folded or crossed, legs crossed, body positioned at a slight angle from the person they are communicating with): discomfort, disinterest
  • Open (directly facing the other person, hands apart or on the arms of a chair): openness, interest, readiness to listen
  • Crossed arms: defensive, self-protective
  • Gripping own upper arms: insecurity (self-hugging)
  • Arms behind body with clasped hands: confidence, authority, anger
  • Holding anything across chest or in front of body: nervousness
  • Hands in pockets: boredom
  • Figure 4 leg cross: stubborn, independent
  • Open leg sitting: arrogance, combative
  • Ankle lock sitting: defensiveness
  • Splayed legs standing: aggression, ready for action
  • Standing at attention: respectful
  • Feet or foot direction: indicates direction of interest
  • Hands on hips, standing: ready, in control, angry

Eyes

  • Consistent eye contact: listening, engaged

Pupil dilation is an involuntary reaction to the sight of someone attractive.

  • Lack of eye contact: disinterest, dislike

Pupil size is often reduced when we encounter someone we dislike.

  • Constant eye contact: trying too hard – may well be lying
  • Looking left: recalling, remembering (left brain)
  • Looking right: imagining, creating (right brain)
  • Looking right & up: fabricating, lying
  • Rapid blinking: distress, uncomfortable
  • Infrequent blinking: hiding something, trying to control blinking

Pitch, Tone & Speed:

  • Higher pitch to voice: nervousness (caused by a tightening of the larynx)
  • Fast speech: nervousness

Remember, this is not an exact science and none of these cues, standing alone, are accurate indicators 100% of the time. In other words, if you’re talking to your boss tomorrow and his eyes dart left, I’d hold off on calling him a stinking liar or reporting him to the board.

Alright – you’re ready to go out and conquer the world! If you love this article and you’re really into this type of thing – or if you want to improve your knowledge & skills… check out Lie To Me on Netflix and follow Joe Navarro on Twitter at @navarrotells. Let me know what you think in the comments!

As always, if we can help you communicate with your audience, no matter who or where they are, online or in person, we’d love the opportunity to help you grow.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com