How to Beat Net Fatigue

Twitter, Facebook and the new Google+ help us plan our social lives and can bolster our careers. But being a social-media butterfly can be a job in of itself. “Digitally Fatigued,” an article in The New York Times, profiles several avid “net-workers” on how they improve their lives through social networking without burning out on posts and Tweets.

Using Full Life Coaching concepts, online social networks can touch on work, family, friends and community spheres. But for all of their useful aspects, if we come to overrely on online networking, we risk being behind our computers and missing out on actual life. Those interviewed in the article encountered this dilemma, but through creative thinking, they retained the advantages of social networking.

When it comes to fighting tech fatigue, there are some executive coaching techniques more powerful than just trimming your friend lists:

  • Keep a schedule and utilize applications to manage your productivity and avoid burnout. Overload happens when social networking becomes a habit instead of a tool. Business writer Josh Kaufman set a schedule of 30 minutes a day to catch up on his posts. He uses applications like Freedom, which temporarily blocks his Internet access when he needed to work without distraction.
  • Ask yourself if joining a new network will be worth the investment. Social networks appear and vanish with increasing frequency. Google+ appears powerful and enticing, but it’s too soon to know for sure. Jessica Lawrence asked herself what she could get out of Google+ that she couldn’t from Twitter. Cutting down on network clutter can prevent you from spreading yourself too thin.
  • Use applications that allow you to post on different networks simultaneously. Daily social networking can become a grind for those who make it part of their jobs. Applications like Ping.fm automatically syndicate posts to multiple networks. Buffer and SocialOomph work according to an automatic schedule from a bank of posts made in advance.

As our lives are becoming more integrated with social media, the importance of balancing our online and off-line time becomes more apparent. But with the right mindset in place, you can maintain an online presence without sacrificing time from your life.

 


Dr. Siegler's Book

Dr.Siegler's Bio

Seeing Eye To Eye

On July 25, an editorial in The New York Times lambasted the Republican Party for walking out on President Obama’s meeting concerning the nation’s financial future. Politics aside, the piece pointed out something interesting: a lack of compromise. According to the article, the walkout stemmed from an unwillingness by both parties to reach an consensus.

On August 2, a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling was finally signed into a law. CNN spoke with Fareed Zakaria of Time Magazine on about how the lack of compromise from Tea Party hardliners nearly held the country hostage.

Compromise is a fact of life. As children, we were taught to share. We cannot always have our way, but we can reach an agreement by which we and another party can both be relatively satisfied. Many of us learned compromise by simply sharing our toys and reaping the rewards of community. The same lessons apply when we broker business deals or negotiate decisions with friends and loved ones.

We all have to protect our own interests, and sometimes it’s difficult to find the middle ground. Here are some executive coaching tips for learning how to compromise effectively.

  • Know what the other party wants. Likewise, decide what exactly you want out of an agreement. By knowing exactly what all parties want out of a deal, it will make negotiation smoother.
  • Know when to make concessions. Along with knowing what you want, know what you can let go. It can help if you’re willing to give the other party something they want for something you want.
  • Refrain from a stubborn “my way or the highway” attitude. Listen to others who weigh in on the matter. Ignoring or cutting them off is a sign of disrespect and can put everyone on the defensive.
  • Conversely, don’t tolerate disrespectful behavior from others. Let them know that, if they’re not willing to at least listen to you, you’re not willing to talk.
  • Focus on the situation and resist the urge to judge the people involved. Nothing breaks down communication as badly as throwing around accusations that someone else is being “difficult” or “stubborn” if things aren’t going your way.

If employed from a position of strength and awareness, compromise will prove a much more powerful tool than stubbornness.

JS

 


Dr. Siegler's Book

Dr.Siegler's Bio

Wellness, Executive Coaching and the Spheres of Life

There is no shortage of dietary challenges we face day in and day out. Most Americans simply eat too much, lead inactive lifestyles and uphold unrealistic images of bodily perfection which are celebrated by the mass media. No matter what challenges you face, the right diet with the right exercise regimen can do wonders for your spirit, your mind and, of course, your body; an enhanced focus on your body sphere can improve your personal and professional life.

The SpheresTM approach to executive coaching touches upon improved diet and fitness, but these alone do not cover the body sphere. Instead, the focus is overall wellness, including an enhanced body image and ensuring your health is a primary concern. In fact, the body sphere can act as a foundation for improved longevity and can help you achieve high-energy performance.

Here are a few ideas to remember when trying to focus more on improving your body sphere:

  • Portion control is paramount. Rather than eating two or three larger meals in a day, try eating four-to-six small meals each day.
  • Breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day. Eating larger portions later in the day can negatively impact the body.
  • Eat healthy protein like chicken or grass-fed beef or legumes.
  • Avoid cheese, pasta, and white bread as much as possible.
  • Drink a glass of water several times a day.
  • Sleep 7-8 hours each night. Only a few people can thrive on less.
  • Exercise and leave yourself ample recovery time. Use weights, do cardio or any physical activity you enjoy.
  •  Yoga is often an excellent pursuit for balance, meditation, and flexibility.  Many athletes find it is synergistic with other sports.
  • Live without judgment of yourself and others.
  • See yourself in reality so that you may better focus on what areas of your life you’d like to improve.

What else would you add to your wellness plan? Leave your comments below!

JS

 


Dr. Siegler's Book

Dr.Siegler's Bio

Understanding Change in Agriculture and Life

To avoid a global food shortage, changes may be coming to agriculture and food production. According to an article in the New York Times‘s environment section, “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself,” experts in food cultivation and farming warn of dwindling crops due to climate change.

The rise in temperature is hurting agriculture and causing a rise in food prices. Dwindling food stocks also threaten less fortunate countries with starvation. That is, unless the food business and the food itself change with the times.

Farmers and scientists are creating new innovations in developing crops that can handle the rising temperatures and the sudden changes in weather. (For example, the article examines one Indian farmer’s surprise success with a new variety of rice.) But they stress that our habits and our assumptions about how we eat must adapt to avoid high prices and low yields.

Sudden changes can be daunting, but keep in mind some of these coaching techniques:

  • Keep yourself in the loop regarding technology, the environment and the food we will be eating. Read newspapers and news websites to keep yourself current with what’s happening. Keeping current with today can help you prepare for tomorrow.
  • Plan ahead. If the price of food is higher, alter your budget and your shopping habits to meet those changes.
  • Don’t do anything drastic. Recall that in 1999, some were convinced that computers would go haywire on New Year’s Day 2000, sewing mass chaos. In the end, nothing happened to those who spent way too much buying needless supplies.
  • Understand that everything is subject to change. If you feel anxious about something you don’t understand, then research it for yourself. In the online age, there are countless resources dedicated to everything from basic biology to agriculture.
  • Don’t believe everything you read. Some resources are more objective and reliable than others.

Hero: Elizabeth Taylor

The most recent celebrity death had the silver lining of reminding us of their numerous social and community-oriented accomplishments. The star from the Golden Age of Hollywood Elizabeth Taylor died on March 23 at 79 years old from heart disease. A woman of supreme beauty and grace, Taylor also exhibited enormous philanthropic generosity throughout her life, and is commended as a Full Life Hero for her contributions to both film and society.

Elizabeth Taylor is especially notable for her contributions to AIDS charities, including co-founding the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and for raising more than $270 million for the cause. She was one of the first public figures to speak out against AIDS at a time when many people denied the existence of the disease, and hosting the first AIDS fundraiser in 1984. Taylor also devoted time and money to other philanthropic causes.

What can readers of the Full Life Amplifier Blog learn from Elizabeth Taylor’s life of philanthropy and selflessness?

  • Devote yourself to the causes that have not only personal meaning for you, but also a major impact on others. Taylor first became involved in the fight against AIDS after her friend and frequent costar Rock Hudson announced that he suffered from the disease, but her contributions from this relationship helped more people than she ever knew.
  • All causes deserve attention and effort. Elizabeth Taylor made substantial donations in 2009 to charities for religions other than her own in order to facilitate the education of less-fortunate children. She did not allow differences in religious beliefs to limit her contributions to great causes.
  • Investments and planning can continue your legacy even after your death. Some of Taylor’s jewelry—valued at approximately $150 million—is going to be auctioned off for AIDS charities, continuing her philanthropic streak even after she’s gone.
  • Pay no mind to what the critics may say. Taylor was no stranger to controversy, especially regarding her numerous marriages and extravagant lifestyle. Nevertheless, by all accounts Taylor was happy with her station in life even in her twilight years.

Elizabeth Taylor’s consistent concern with philanthropic endeavors demonstrates her selflessness. She made huge contributions to charities and nonprofits that undoubtedly raised the quality of countless lives. It is a pleasure to honor one of our greatest stars for both her acting and altruistic achievements.

What are your thoughts?

JS

How can we curb the spread of stigma against the overweight?

In a New York Times article called “Spreading Fat Stigma Around the Globe,” it’s being demonstrated that cultural views of obesity are becoming more and more negative. Even in cultures like Puerto Rico where the ideal of beauty has more curves, the tide of public perception about obesity is turning; an increasing number of people are perceiving overweight people as lazy as opposed to being perceived as suffering from a condition resulting from genetic and social circumstances.

It’s easy to be judgmental about an overweight person, especially if their condition is unpleasant or inconvenient for you. But it’s important to remember that genetic factors play an enormous role in a person’s weight, and that losing excess weight takes a great deal of discipline and self-control. Stigmatizing obesity will not help: shame is never a good motivator.

What can you do to avoid developing a judgmental attitude towards the overweight?

  1. Stay respectful towards others by constantly trying to empathize with them. Think about things you’re ashamed of and how mortified you’d be if someone were to draw attention to them. Don’t dwell on this, but at least keep it in mind.
  2. Be polite to overweight people, even if they inconvenience you in some way. For example, many people can recall an occasion where they’ve had to sit next to one on a crowded plane or bus. If your “space” is invaded, consider whether you can politely ask them to move slightly, or if you can discretely ask a flight attendant if you could switch seats. But do not allow yourself to grow rude or impatient as this would further propagate disrespect of the overweight.
  3. Don’t ever draw attention to an obese person’s appearance, which could make the problem worse by raising their levels of self-consciousness.

Resist the temptation to negatively judge others. Obesity is an epidemic, and shaming its victims is counterproductive and belittling. More importantly, it’s never productive to cultivate judgmental attitudes about others, even internally.

What are your thoughts?

JS

Could writing more concisely help your career?

A recent article in the New York Times called “Teaching to the Text Message” demonstrates the importance of writing concisely and packing a lot of information into a small space. This challenges conventional English-teaching wisdom like the research paper, but it’s a very valuable skill to get to your point quickly and with few words, as in a text message. The long form has its place, but in these times, brief and precise communication is preferable.

Usually, the most direct way of saying something is the most accurate and telling. At Full Life, we begin the initial coaching sessions by having our clients cut to the main point: “In one sentence or less, what brings you here today?”

What are some advantages to writing shorter and more concisely?

  • It’s more likely that someone will read your communication, ensuring that your main points will be comprehended and addressed.
  • You will appear more competent at expressing your thoughts if you get to the point quickly, as opposed to taking a while to get there.
  • Your points will be more clear and noticeable. Excess words bog down your writing and cause the main point to get lost in the text.
  • Your writing will be easier to follow and understand. If you go into too much detail, your readers will get lost in the nuanced particulars and may lose interest.

In the age of texting, Facebook, and Twitter, it’s becoming more and more accepted to write directly to the point. Making an effort to be concise in your writing and speaking can help your career, both in how people perceive you as well as how you engage others.

What are your thoughts?

JS

Technology and Human Distance

A recent book review in the New York Times of Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together summarizes how the widespread use of technology has influenced human relationships. In a nutshell, Turkle finds that as we come to expect machines and the internet to make our lives easier, we then rely less on other human beings. Essentially, technology makes people more and more remote from each other.

The most significant line in the article deserves to be reprinted here:

“[Turkle writes about the] notion that technology offers the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, while actually making people feel lonelier and more overwhelmed.”

Over-reliance on technology shapes our relationships with others, sometimes resulting in a skewed social life. For example, it’s understandable that a person might prefer text messaging or internet chatting over the telephone or face to face interaction because these mediums allow us to briefly connect. But, we don’t want to lose other forms of more in depth communication. If we don’t exercise our ability to connect more deeply to those around us, then we lose that ability. What’s worse is how this effect is introduced to the younger generations at an early age, potentially stunting their ability to intimately communicate to others.

Here are some ways to counteract the negative effects of our technology:

  1. Go back to making phone calls or at list mix it up with texts. Practice reacting immediately to what the person with whom you’re talking says.
  2. Welcome small talk throughout your day. Sometimes small talk with others, like fellow commuters, even servers or baristas in cafes and restaurants. If you can get used to frequent, low-pressure conversation, you’ll find yourself more able to speak freely when face-to-face conversation is more important.
  3. Slow it down. For example, when cooking, stay away from the instant meals. Set aside time to make a meal from start to finish at a leisurely pace. This will help you enjoy your time and your food more and not grow to expect “instant” meals. This is healthier and primes you to be able to slow down with others when it matters.
  4. Don’t think you have to have all the latest technologies all of the time. It’s easy to feel entitled to, for example, WiFi on an airplane, but if it’s not on your plane, make sure you bring a book and a laptop or tablet to keep you busy. Or better yet, take a nap.

Real human attachment is far more important than how many internet friends you have or how many text messages you sent last month. Make the effort to reach out and hold onto treasured others in your life. Old fashioned connection is still the likely road to happiness.

What are your thoughts on technology and human distance?

JS

Resolutions and What Others Think

It’s a month since New Year’s! So how are you coming with your New Year’s Resolutions? Actually, a lot of people have trouble implementing their resolutions over time. Changing behaviors is very challenging for most of us.

One way of optimizing your chances of resolution success is by letting others in on your goal or goals. Somehow this “telling” establishes accountability to others which increases the likelihood that’s you’ll follow through with them. Sharing resolutions also amplifies the potential price of failure if you don’t succeed. It’s one thing to be disappointed in yourself, it’s something else to disappoint someone else. Telling friends and family may sometimes be more annoying than helpful. A recent article in the New York Times lists a number of online applications that incorporate feedback from other users to increase probability that you’ll accomplish your goals.

Using an online resource to track and share your resolutions and goals has a number of benefits compared to the old fashioned way of sharing your resolutions. For one, there’s the both real and perceived anonymity involved. Most resources listed in the NYT article allow users to preserve their anonymity but share their resolutions with a community that will congratulate and praise them as they accomplish their goals. Even if you were to use your real name ito optimize your resolution success, there is a potent sense of safety and boundary from an online community that could make sharing personal goals easier. The online sites also make your goals and achievements easier to track.

It’s not too late to get into the resolution spirit. Here are some ways to track your process and make it more likely that you’ll follow through with your resolutions, at least your biggest one:

  1. Join a goal-listing and tracking website to make a list of all the things you’re trying to accomplish in one place. There are numerous options, my favorite is 43Things.com. Many have tools for you to share your goals with others and receive and provide feedback and encouragement.
  2. Get more targeted by utilizing a site aimed at your specific resolutions. Trying to quit smoking? Try DeterminedToQuit.com. Getting into shape? Try ShapeFit.com.
  3. If you have a little extra money, put it at stake by joining StickK.com. StickK allows you to motivate yourself by entering your credit card information and setting a wager that you’ll accomplish the goal. Fail, and you get charged and the money is sent to a charity of your choice. Succeed, and you won’t get charged.
  4. Record a video diary with your resolutions and progress and post it to a video site like YouTube.com. This is the option with the least anonymity and the highest social stakes, but some choose this mass disclosure for motivation.

Implementing what you want is always a challenge. Whether you share a resolutions with a friend or use the new, creative resources afforded by the internet, it is a use challenge to persist in seizing change over time.

What are you doing to ensure at least one big resolution is accomplished?

JS

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Both Fun and Discipline are Keys to an Effective Budget

A New York Times article titled “Why A Budget is Like a Diet—Ineffective” discusses some ways that modern budgets don’t work and how to fix that. A major reason that budgets are ineffective is that they turn saving money into a chore that isn’t any fun.

The comparison between a budget and a diet made in the title is interesting, because it relates to my coaching for weight control with some clients. I’ve long felt that living within your means, whether with respect to calories or finances, should be kept effective and fun with occasional opportunities to disregard the restrictions.

Here are some of my tips on how to make a budget last:

  1. Pick a purpose for which you’re saving. A vacation, a new house, a new car, or even and important goal, are good examples. This will make your savings more concrete and real, instead of just a number on your computer screen.
  2. Splurge every once in a while. I coach dieters to pick one night a week to eat out and go off the calorie budget a little, so that the process of restraint doesn’t seem so endless. The same goes for limiting your spending. Set aside a little bit of money to pick something you’ll really enjoy and that will make the most of your money.
  3. Spend money on experiences, not things. Experiences will be all the more rewarding because they’ll bring you closer to those you are with and they will make memories that will last longer than simple items might. Go to concerts with friends or loved ones, go on a remote hiking or canoeing trip, or pick an exciting vacation destination. Focus on building memories, not acquiring possessions.
  4. Split your money into separate accounts: for fixed expenses, saving, unforseen urgent expenses, and luxury expenses. As the article states, it’s more beneficial to set aside a little money for luxuries than to take small amounts from your fixed or urgent budget. This helps limit unnecessary spending and whatever you don’t spend can either be rolled into the rest of your budget or saved for the next month’s luxury budget.

Remember that achieving budget control depends on having fun and continuing to have some luxuries over time.

What are your thoughts?

JS

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