With things slowing down for many of us at this time of year, it’s an opportunity to review how you feel about your work and what you need to do to keep on track with your goals.
Time for reflection
I used to work in a college library and the summer at work was very different to the rest of the year, transforming from a buzzing, busy hub (yes, libraries have changed!) to a calm retreat, with just one or two of us working. It was a time to have a clear out and tidy up, get our weeding done (the industry term for retiring unused and damaged books!), and for a stocktake. Once we’d done that, we’d think about improving our spaces, preparing materials, and do all we could ready for the new intake in September.
In my role now, I feel the same need for summer contemplation and review. I plan to actively take time to reflect on my life, inside and outside work. I think we all feel that pause in the summer and the impending stationery-fresh feeling of a new term. We spend so many years in education, then go through that cycle with our own kids and loved ones, it’s not surprising that we see September as the start of the year. Or perhaps the sunny weather and some fresh air helps our thinking.
So how might this work evaluation look? You’ll need to set yourself some time and space to really think. If you’re lucky, you might have chance to sit outdoors and contemplate – be that on a beach, breeze in your hair – or on a good old staycation visiting local beauty spots, pondering life over a different landscape.
Have a pen and paper or digital notetaking device handy as it’s so easy for thoughts to drift away, and you want to capture all that you’re feeling.
Sit somewhere quiet and uninterrupted then use our handout as a guide to ask some of these questions:
- What is my predominant feeling of work over the past 12 months?
- What was my biggest achievement?
- How does work fit around my life and commitments?
- Where can I see changes I could make?
- What skills do I need to learn next?
- How is my mental health and what does my employer have in place to help?
Write as much as you can in response to each of these questions. Take time to think about each part of your working world and how that fits into the other things you do and with your future goals and ambitions.
Then think about how you can continue to achieve the things you’re happy with. The market, as we know, is forever changing so maybe you need to put in some safeguards or maybe speak to your stakeholders. Write some notes on how you might improve the areas you’re unhappy with.
When you feel you’ve carried out a thorough appraisal, you can then complete the goals handout and set yourself some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound) goals to help you plan the year ahead.
Remember, we offer coaching with trusted management professionals with our courses. So if you need someone to talk things through with, give us a call.
I do like to be beside the seaside
I love being by the coast and I’m excited to be going away to the Isle of Wight soon where there is a plethora of beautiful beaches. Once I see the waves, I feel my breathing improve, my stress levels decrease and that there’s something so calming about being by the water.
Pondering on whether that is something I think because I’m on holiday or if there’s research to back it up, I came across a new word – thalassophile which means someone who loves the sea. I think I might be one of those!
And here are some scientifically-backed reasons why the sea is good for you:
According to research by the University of Milan, an oceanic climate, characterised by strong ventilation and intense ultraviolet radiation all year long, is particularly good for the respiratory tract. The bioclimate of seaside regions is sedative, calming and helps recovery from some diseases such as heart attacks, seasonal allergies and depression.
According to William Dorfman, a psychology professor at Nova Southeastern University, the white noise of waves breaking on the rocks relaxes our brains and stimulates the production of feel-good chemicals in our body, including serotonin and dopamine.
Reconnecting with the Earth
By walking barefoot on the sand we create a good connection with the Earth and its roots. Also, feet have many nerve endings: that’s why long walks on the beach have beneficial effects not only on them but on the whole body.
The exposure to sunlight, as long as the skin is protected, is really beneficial for the human body: it triggers the production of vitamin D that boosts calcium absorption, which is essential when we grow older.
I hope you make that time to slow down and to do that audit on your working life. Remember as well that we want to grow but not at the expense of our health. There are times we need to slow down and appreciate what we have.
I am enough ❤