Posts Tagged ‘time management’

The pros and cons of being a People Pleaser!

April 11, 2013

iStock_000010736302XSmallDo you find yourself struggling to manage your time because you’re too busy running around after others?

Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests for help/support and end up working late to catch up on your work?

A phrase I often hear from clients working on resolving time/stress management issues is:

“It’s because I’m a people pleaser, isn’t it?!”

Can you relate to this? There are often times when the motivation behind our actions is to help or please others, and sometimes this can have a negative impact on other things.

But being a ‘people pleaser’ isn’t all bad … it just depends whether or not you overdo it!

Here’s my take on the case for and against ‘People Pleasing’ …

PROS …

Imagine you are starting a new job or taking on a new position, and you want to make a good impression.

This can give rise to a tendency to say ‘yes’ to several requests for help, advice, guidance, etc.

It can also be a great opportunity to showcase your talents and skills, as well as show everyone how good your ‘people skills’ are!

Even in areas where you don’t officially hold responsibility, you may have experience, and this can be another opportunity to:

  • help others,
  • build rapport,
  • establish your place as one of the team (as long as you’re not stepping on someone else’s toes!)

CONS …

iStock_000018857374XSmallWithout keeping this in check you can become exhausted!

Not only are you doing things to help others, but you’re having to find time to do the things that you should be doing for yourself … leaving you very little time to unwind.

This can lead to stress and a feeling of overwhelm, because you can’t handle all the demands you’ve agreed to.

If you’re not careful, the following may also happen:

  • you gain a reputation as ‘the person who gets things done for others’,
  • you are taken for granted,
  • you feel guilty when you realise you can’t please everyone!

A SOLUTION …

Saying ‘yes’ and looking for opportunities to help others should be done in moderation, whilst being mindful of the things that are important to do for you / your role.

Learn to say ‘no’ more often, and be confident that your team colleagues will respect you for who you are and for your integrity when you need to say no … not just for your willingness to help others.

Would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic 🙂

IMG_0060 - Version 2I’m Debbie Inglis and I work with school leaders, team leaders and teachers helping them to be more effective and successful in their roles. Contact me to find out how I can help with any of the areas mentioned in this or any other blog post.

Call me on o1629 734101 or email: debbie.inglis@squaretwo.co.uk

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 4

December 16, 2012

Day #4: Pace yourself

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Conserve energy by trying to do the things that are more physically or mentally demanding when you have most energy!

First thing in the morning works for me. Some people peak late morning, others can have more than one energy peak during the day.

Don’t try and do all the physically demanding stuff in one go if you can help it. I aim to intersperse the more mentally draining jobs with simpler admin tasks. When I’m successful with this I find it gives me time to recharge the batteries.

When are your energy peaks? And how are you using them?

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 3

December 15, 2012

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Day #3: Avoid the queues and shop online!

This is probably a no-brainer; many people already do this.

I do like to support my local shops wherever possible, and regularly buy from local farm shops. But when time is short and roads are icy, online shopping can save a lot of hassle.

Simple searches online can produce a range of sites to choose from …

Putting in “Presents for him” comes up with a few options, including:

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http://www.menkind.co.uk

http://www.amazon.co.uk

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk

http://www.thegreatgiftcompany.com

I’m not particularly endorsing these ones and I’m sure you’ll find sites that suit your tastes and budget.

Here’s a few from “Presents for her”:

iStock_000007776964XSmallhttp://www.iwantoneofthose.com/gifts/gifts/gifts-for-her.list

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/christmas/gifts/the-50-best-gifts-for-women-6273690.html

http://www.handpickedcollection.com/gifts-for-her/all-gifts-for-her.html

The ones which offer experiences tend to be popular with those who have everything! Here are a couple:

http://www.intotheblue.co.uk/

http://www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk/

Have you found any useful websites for present buying this year? If so, please share the URL and any comments below!

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 2

December 14, 2012

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Day #2: Focus on the important and urgent things first 

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be tempted to do the things you enjoy first, and/or those small tasks that don’t take long.

Either way – you win! You’ve either enjoyed doing the task, or you’ve ticked lots of the smaller tasks off your list, giving you the feeling of more achieved.

This feeling tends to be short-lived and can soon be replaced by a growing sense of anxiety, because the bigger / less desirable things still haven’t been done.

Try this as an approach instead …

Split your Tasks List into 2 columns:

 ‘Important & Urgent’ and ‘Important & Not Urgent’

Put your tasks under the appropriate headings, and tackle the ones under Important & Urgent first. As time moves on the ones under the Not Urgent list will move into the Urgent list, and get done then. Either way, you’re giving the important stuff greater priority than perhaps you’d done before.

Things that are large tasks – split them into smaller ‘bite-sized chunks, and do a bit each day.

If they are tasks that you keep putting off, do them whilst listening to your favourite music, or whilst sat in a really comfortable chair, or change your environment in some other way to make the task more palatable.

Alternatively – if all else fails, take the plunge and just do it! Just do it

Don’t waste time thinking about how you feel about doing it, or coming up with lots of excuses  (guilty, m’Lord!)

Enjoy ticking those trickier tasks off your list! 🙂

De-cluttering Part 2: Mental clutter and tipping points

April 24, 2011

In De-cluttering Part 1 I explored the idea that physical clutter is different for each individual. We all have tipping points beyond which our ‘stuff’ becomes clutter and we feel the need to do something about it.

In Part 2 I turn my attention to the other dictionary definition: clutter = a state or condition of confusion. In other words, our mental clutter. Extending the idea of tipping points from Part 1:

What might the tipping points be that take us from clarity to confusion?

Here are some scenarios to explore this further …

1. Having too many choices


Sometimes with blog posts I start with a few ideas on a topic and I have a clear thought-train. Then, as I begin to write, I add other ideas and things can escalate until the clarity turns into fog! So at some stage, the tipping point came with one idea too many, or allowing myself to stray from my original path. The solution then was for me to strip away some of the less relevant ideas, or choose one aspect to write about, and save the rest for another post!

2. Not saying “no”


I’ve worked with several clients who talk about too much to do and no time for themselves. As we explore why this is happening, it becomes apparent they find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests/demands from others.

Thinking about everything you’ve agreed to, and trying to juggle the additional stuff with your regular things, is bound to lead to mental clutter. So recognising the tipping point between what we can manage realistically and what just becomes unwieldy is important. Learning to say “no” is useful to avoid additional clutter or confusion. Check out some tips to help with this here.

3. Negative thinking

Do you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do ____”, “I’m no good at ____” or “I’ll never be able to ____”?

These limiting beliefs about yourself can overpower your more positive, constructive thoughts. They clog up your moments of clearer thinking.

I would suggest that the tipping point here is when you find yourself opting for the negative belief rather than an alternative. Finding alternative beliefs is key here. Ask yourself what would be a more useful belief to have. For example: “I’m no good at expressing my opinion in meetings” can become “I can express my opinion with confidence and clarity”. Even if you don’t feel you do this at the moment, following the belief up with a good plan to achieve it will get you there!

What form does your mental clutter take, and how can you avoid it?


(Photo credits: Too many choices ; Say no! )

The power of doing nothing

February 27, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 27

How often do you do nothing?

We lead such busy lives, we rarely find time to switch off, take time out, unwind.

Perhaps a more important question to ask is: What does “doing nothing” mean to you?

For me it’s about one of 3 things:

  1. time out for reflection, usually about my coaching or my business
  2. time away from what I’m doing because I’m stuck with an problem and need a break from it
  3. resting time to recharge the batteries (mentally as well as physically)

The benefits I find are clarity of thought, ability to find solutions, being more creative, and having more energy.

My “nothing” usually involves going for a walk, finding a quiet space in the house, listening to music (which I don’t do often enough!), playing the piano, or doing housework!

What do you do to switch off?

When do you find it’s most beneficial?


(Photos: walker; music; floor cleaner)

Make time for the golf balls

February 13, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 13

This weekend I’ve made a conscious effort to spend quality time with family/friends and give myself a break from the usual routine. I believe it’s important to get the balance right between routine, rest and time with others whose company you enjoy.

A great example to highlight what I’m talking about here is the following short story. Some useful and thought-provoking messages within:

The Mayonnaise Jar and the 2 Cups of Coffee

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now”, said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things … your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions … and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else … the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first … the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Eat that frog and reduce procrastination

July 5, 2010

Photo courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliffe

Whilst working with a client recently on time management and procrastination, I was reminded of the book Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. My client was discussing doing the things he didn’t enjoy (his ‘frogs’) first thing, making the rest of the day more enjoyable, and having that resulting feeling of ‘got that out of the way now’!

According to David Allen it’s the smart, creative and sensitive people who have the most undecided things on their To Do lists. This is because they can create very detailed images and thoughts about how a task might play out, which can be off-putting. The tasks don’t even need to be things you have done before, but if you were to perceive them as ‘difficult’, ‘hard’, ‘tricky’ or ‘boring’, for example, your associated feelings will reduce your desire to tackle the task.

Often, it’s the big important life or business-changing things that we put off, and it’s how we perceive them that is the crucial factor.  Think about the things you put off….

  • How do you think of them?
  • What images or thoughts come to mind?
  • What do you say to yourself?
  • How productive and helpful are these thoughts?
  • How can you change them if they aren’t productive?

Taking positive action

1. If your frog is particularly large, try a bit of it each day, rather than ‘all in one go’! For those creatives among you – imagine it separating into, say, 5 or 6 smaller, more manageable (bite sized) frogs, which you can handle over a period of days.

2. Don’t look at it or think about it for too long, unless you can change the image to something more appetising (e.g. a chocolate frog but perhaps not from the Whizzo Quality Assortment!)

3. As David Allen suggests, instead of thinking of the task, think of the 1st action you will take when doing each task. Change your To Do list to your Actions list.

4. Try sauce with your frog to make it more palatable. Adding sauce is about taking any residual unpleasantness away by adding something nice;  eg. having your favourite music on in the background.

What kind of things do you procrastinate about?

How do you overcome this?