Every Second Counts

  • Do you sometimes wish you weren’t always trying to beat the clock?
  • Do you seem to spend your day rushing around chasing your own tail?
  • Do you wish there were more than 24 hours in the day?
  • Do you envy those who can multi-task, seemingly without effort?

You may have attended time management courses, read books, used diary-planners [paper and electronic] to organise and plan your day but even with all these, there are always tasks outstanding at the end of 24 hours.  Sound familiar?  Well, you are not alone.

So, how well do you manage your time?  Well, if you are like many people, then the answer will be ‘not very effectively!’  Perhaps you often work late and are always trying to keep to another deadline.  Maybe you are a manager of a team which just manages to lurch from one completion date to another with just one hour before the due time.   In fact, what you have perfected is the art of ‘crisis management’ but that is not what you enjoy doing and, after a while, it becomes not only stressful but also demoralising.

On the converse side, when you do manage your time well, you are more productive at work and you are in a better mood when you get home, with your stress levels low.

So where is the key to utopia?  Is there one?  In fact, we all have it in our own hands.  We know that there are 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. The question is: how can we manage our time more effectively so that we get more out of each day?

Different types of time

There are two types of time: ‘real time’ and ‘personal time’.  In ‘real time’, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day and 365 days in a year.   Each day, time passes exactly as the day before.  When any two individuals turn 40 years old, for instance, they have both lived for exactly 40 years, no more and no less.

But in ‘personal time’, everything is relative.  Remember when you started your first, very boring job.  Time probably dragged and you counted the seconds before you went home.  But then you started an exciting job and your time then flew past.  So it all depends on what you are doing as to whether time drags along or flies by.

Ideally you want to enjoy your work and be motivated with what you doing. However, that is not always the reality as there are going to be some tasks that you are not enthusiastic about, yet they still have to be done.  There are also times when you don’t feel motivated and yet you need to find that motivation from somewhere.  And that means that you need to learn to be self-motivated by achieving any given task not only to the satisfaction of your boss, but also to your own satisfaction.

The good news is that personal time comes from inside your head and only you can create it.   And anything that is within your power to manage with the resources available, you can control – so that really is good news!  Real time is relevant, of course, because that is what deadlines are marked in, but as we live in personal time, we need to ensure that they are synchronised at some point

Are we then saying that this is a case of ‘mind over matter’?  Well, in many ways it is.  You cannot always avoid boring jobs but you can divide them up into small chunks to help you speed up the process of dealing with them.

And how many of you pride yourselves on procrastination?  Well, you can stop procrastinating and spending hours talking about what you don’t want to do, and spend more time actually starting it and getting it finished! And that may well kick-start you to do other things that you have been procrastinating about.

With over 25 years of providing support in the field of time management, contact the Carole Spiers Group if we can help in any way:  info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk



How to cope with trauma

We are living through extraordinary times, the like of which we have never before experienced in the UK.  Our emergency services and hospital teams sweep into action after each atrocity to offer assistance to the injured and comfort those who suffered the ultimate loss.  For those who lost family members or sustained life-changing injuries, the road ahead is long and painful.  At first, people will remember the victims but, as time goes by and terror campaigns targeting innocent victims continue, names will sadly turn into statistics.

Traumatic events in the workplace

However, you don’t have to be caught up in terrorist attacks to feel the effects of trauma. It could be that simply watching the news brings reminders of a time when you experienced trauma yourself. Trauma may be brought on by events such as an accident at home or at work, a robbery, a fire, lay-offs, death in service, threats, violence, or natural disasters such as floods.

What can an organisation do?

Nothing can adequately prepare organisations or individuals for the occurrence of a traumatic incident because, by definition, such incidents are outside ‘normal’ experience. However, research shows that the way an organisation treats its staff in the aftermath of a traumatic incident can have a profound effect, not only on the recovery of individuals directly involved, but also on their colleagues and families. Individuals may be traumatised by a disaster for some time afterwards and during this period their productivity and commitment to the organisation can be drastically reduced. Managers may find themselves having to play a key role in managing a situation which might ultimately be more damaging to the organisation than the original event.

The nature of trauma

Anyone who has been involved in a traumatic incident is likely to experience some form of reaction to it. Such reactions may happen immediately or they may not occur until weeks, months, or sometimes years afterwards.

Staff are more likely to be badly affected if:

  • There were fatalities and/ or injuries during the traumatic incident, and these were sudden or violent
  • Individuals experience feelings of guilt, wondering whether they could have done more to help the injured or could have prevented the incident from happening
  • They lack adequate support from family, friends or colleagues
  • Stress arising from the incident comes on top of existing problems that are unrelated

Emotional reactions

An individual’s emotions are likely to be in turmoil after an incident, although some people may not feel anything. Amongst the more common reactions are:

Irrational guilt for having survived when others did not

Anger at what has happened, or at the injustice or senselessness of it

Fear of breaking down or losing control and being unable to cope

Shame for not having reacted as they might have been expected to

Sadness at the deaths and injuries of colleagues

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

People are very likely to find that they are unable to stop thinking about the incident. They may experience disturbed sleep, suffer loss of memory, concentration or motivation. They may experience flashbacks and hate to be reminded of what happened, or may always have to be on their guard against a repetition of the incident.

Physiological reactions

Individuals often experience reactions such as tiredness, sleeplessness, having nightmares, dizziness, palpitations, shaking, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the throat and chest, sickness, diarrhoea, menstrual problems, changes in sexual interest, changes in eating habits, and many other symptoms. Frequently these may occur without any conscious connection being made with the incident.

Resultant behavioural problems

Individuals may be hurt following the incident and their personal relationships, particularly with their partner, may be placed under additional strain. They could find themselves taking their anger out on family, or emotionally withdrawing from close contacts, just when they need them most.

What can be done to help?

Nature often heals by allowing feelings to emerge naturally, enabling people to want to talk about them. This should be encouraged if the opportunity arises.

Talking to a trained counsellor is often beneficial and can reduce much of the tension and anxiety. Trying to ignore personal feelings or avoiding having to think or talk about the incident, in the belief that the individual can cope, is usually counter-productive in the long run. Suppressing feelings can lead to problems being stored up which can create even greater difficulties.

When to ask for professional support

People who have experienced a traumatic incident should be encouraged to seek professional help if they:

  • Experience chronic tension, are exhausted or depressed
  • Continue to have nightmares, are sleeping badly, or have flashbacks
  • Have no-one to share their emotions with
  • Think their relationships seem to be suffering or sexual problems develop
  • Start to be accident-prone, or their work performance suffers

It is important to encourage individuals to remember that talking about their experience can help. Suppressing their feelings, on the other hand, can lead to further problems in the future.

With over 25 years of providing support in the field of trauma and post traumatic stress, contact the Carole Spiers Group if we can help in any way:  info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk



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