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Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace

Is the crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down? By day's end, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

Author Jeff Davidson says, "If you're continually facing too much information, too much paper, too many commitments, and too many demands, you need Breathing Space."

Best of BuyerZone Work Life Balance Blog Recipient

Jeff Presenting:

Can't see the video? Click here.

Recommended Reading
Jeff Davidson: Simpler Living

Jeff Davidson: Breathing Space

Jeff Davidson: Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Things Done

Jeff Davidson: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time

Larry Rosen and Michelle Weil: Technostress

Mark Victor Hansen: Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul

Sam Horn: Conzentrate

Patricia O'Gorman: Dancing Backwards In High Heels

James Davison Hunter: The Death of Character

John D. Drake: Downshifting

David Md Viscott: Emotional Resilience

Alan Lakein: How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life

Scott Adams: The Joy of Work

Don Aslett: Keeping Work Simple

Jeff Davidson: The 60 Second Organizer

Jeff Davidson: The 60 Second Self-Starter

Recommended Blogs

Breathing Space Blog

Monday, May 18, 2015

What is Work-Life Balance? - Breathing Space Blog

As The Work-life Balance Expert® I define work-life balance as the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. It is attaining focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for your time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having some breathing space for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. It is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within 24-hour days, seven-day weeks, and however many years you have left.

Supporting Disciplines
Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

1) Self Management
Sufficiently managing one's self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management
Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management
By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one's individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management
In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management
Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management
The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges the importance of rest and relaxation- that one can't short-change leisure, and that "time off" is a vital component of the human experience. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one's activities.

Entirely Achievable
Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beware: the Post-Vacation Slam - Breathing Space Blog

Holidays are arriving... Would you like to minimize stress following your travels? Suppose your time away from the office is ending. Once back at work, you have a stack of messages on your desk. Your mail is eight inches high. There are memos, reports, and announcements all over the place. You experience extreme pressure to catch up. The moment you return, the whole world seems to falls in on you.

The Remedy? Plan your trips so that you return before you announced you would. Include a "decompression" phase in your plans; your trip is not complete until you comfortably reintegrate yourself. Also:

* Take one less vacation day and build in a day for transition and decompression rather than coming back too abruptly.

* Avoid returning to work on a Monday; it's already a high-pressure day.

* Instruct others to handle or reroute as many phone calls as possible; and to segment your mail and other papers that come in. Return to a clean office and a clean desk.

* Unpack all your bags quickly. You may be tired, but the task will only be more burdensome later. Put all notes and papers in their place as soon as possible if you ever intend to act on them.

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Monday, May 04, 2015

A "Technology Bill of Rights" - Breathing Space Blog

Technology puts independent workers in the driver's seat, so to speak. But it can create such dependency, say my pals, Larry Rosen and Michelle Weil, that it might even lead to questioning one's own creativity and capabilities. To keep technology in it's proper perspective, they say to declare your independence.

1. I am the boss, not my technology.
2. Technology is available to help me express my creativity.
3. I decide when to use the tools technology provides.
4. I have the right to choose what technology to use and what to put aside.
5. I can use technology to stay connected, informed, and productive – my way.

6. Technology offers a world of information. I get to choose what information is important to me.
7. Technology will have problems, but I will be prepared to handle them.
8. Technology can work 24-hour days, but I can choose when to begin and when to stop working.
9. Technology never needs to rest, but I do.
10. I can work successfully by enforcing my boundary needs.

Source: Technostress by Larry Rosen Ph.D. and Michelle Weil PhD.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Do Not Litter My Lawn - Breathing Space Blog

Writing in the New York Times years back, Sewall Chan offers a wonderful article about local efforts to Halt Unwanted Paper Deliveries. Excerpted, he says:

"In an era of spam, telemarketing, moving billboards and other forms of aggressive commercial solicitation, an old-fashioned form of advertising is surprisingly - many say irritatingly - resilient: fliers, restaurant menus and business cards slipped under the doors, wedged in door jambs or left on the stoops of houses and apartment buildings in New York City."

"Until now, homeowners have had no recourse to block the unwanted paper, often called 'lawn litter' because in neighborhoods with yards much of the paper ends up on the lawn." Now however, the city is "enforcing a recent state law that prohibits the placement of 'unsolicited papers, fliers, pamphlets, handbills, circulars or other materials advertising a business or soliciting business" at homes in New York City if the property owner has posted a sign saying such materials are not wanted." Bravo!

"Advertisers who violate the law face fines from $250 for a first offense to $1,000 for repeat violations... Under the new law, the property owner's sign must be at least five inches tall and seven inches wide, and display the following language in legible letters at least one inch high: "Do Not Place Unsolicited Advertising Materials on This Property."

" owners who receive unwanted advertisements will be able to fill out a citizen complaint form and mail it, along with the unwanted ads, to the Sanitation Department's enforcement office in Brooklyn."

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Accuracy Matters - Breathing Space Blog

Check out news stories on your own before passing them along to others:

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

22 "Laws" of Life - Breathing Space Blog

Notes from Discovering the Laws of Life by John Templeton, Templeton Press, 1997.

* No one knows the weight of another’s burden.
* Enthusiasm is contagious.
* You fear what you do not understand.
* Thanksgiving leads to having more to give thanks for.

* Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.
* Every ending is a new beginning.
* Practice within when you are without.
* Perseverance makes a difference between success and defeat.

* The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention. ***
* Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.
* If you would find gold, you must search for where gold is. ***
* Happy relationships depend not on finding the right person, but on being the right person.

* You cannot discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
* We receive freely when we give freely.
* Your life becomes what you think.
* The seven deadly sins are: pride, lust, sloth, envy, anger, covetousness, and gluttony.

* There is as much risk in doing nothing as in doing something.
* Find a need and fill it.
* Thoughts are like boomerangs.
* Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

* Beautiful thoughts build a beautiful soul.
* Success feeds on itself and creates more success.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Medicated Passengers - Breathing Space Blog

On a plane trip from Raleigh to London it became abundantly clear that all of the electronics installed, including private movie screens on every seat back, music channels, and headsets were a way of "medicating" passengers. The plane's aisles had been designed so that no one could move about easily.

Instead, people were induced to stay in their seats, sit, eat, and not circulate. I guess the airline determined that most passengers would gladly accept electronic medication if it would make the time in the sky seemingly go faster.

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