Tag Archives: leadership

Time: your ally or your enemy?

I was asked in a recent seminar: ‘how can my laughter yoga, nls: natural laughter skills, positive psychology and mindfulness practices help time be my ally not my enemy?’

‘The busier I get, the more I meditate’, says the Dalai Lama.

The most important aspect for all busy, stressed, anxious people to remember is to use time well, to deal with priorities, and to avoid mistakes and duplication.
The biggest mistake is to feel too busy to re-prioritise and re-assess current needs.
How do we achieve this?

The main specific tip is to:
– stop
– stand up
– stretch
– breathe
– smile
– chuckle
– take at least 30 seconds in this routine.

When you do this, you re-assert a measure of control into your life and therefore into your time management. If you are alert to your inner processes, you might experience a settling, like a Christmas snow scene which has all the snow swirling and shaken up, and when allowed to stand, it all settles again. You might experience the ‘noise’ of life quietening down, and the important ‘signals’ becoming more audible.
However you experience it, the act of deliberately inserting a break is an empowering action, gives you a greater sense of control, relieves stress, anxiety and pressure, and allows priorities to clarify. You come out of this break with a better sense of what to do next, and how to do it.
Specifically, this process allows you to identify your top priorities and the appropriate actions to achieve them.

Awareness and ‘now’ practices like laughter yoga, nls: natural laughter skills, meditation and mindfulness, especially when used regularly, help you identify when you need these breaks. The earlier you spot the need and take action, the better your time management. Consequently, you start to experience lower your stress levels, less anxiety, greater happiness & general wellbeing, and increased productivity.

Whatever else, you feel better because you feel more in control. When you feel better, you can be more focused. When you feel better and more focused, your time can become fun – and those who have fun get more done.

www.joehoare.co.uk

 

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Need more time? Well, laugh more!

‘Purleeeeease – laugh? When I’m stressed and busy? Meditation? Laughter meditation? I just don’t have the time. Let’s get real here – how can I manage more things when I’m short of time already?’

Ring a bell, anyone? I remember this time management conundrum well, so I enjoy helping others out of it.

Funny things happen when you laugh, especially when you laugh as a health promotion practice. In our era of intensifying stress and time pressure, the quest for happiness, serenity and productivity is also intensifying. As anxiety and depression increase, so do practices like yoga, meditation, laughter yoga and nls: natural laughter skills.
As time monsters proliferate, so do subtle time management practices.

‘The busier I get, the more I meditate’ says the Dalai Lama.

How is it possible that the solution to time shortage is to take up more time-consuming activities? Sound a bit funny, this? Yet this is what works.

First, following an earlier theme that laughter practices stimulate a sense of ‘I feel better’, this  gives us a sense of greater control in our life. This alone is an excellent reason to start laughter practices immediately. We feel more in control of our time,a pre-requisite for time management.

Secondly, laughter and smiling practices bring us into the ‘now’. The decision to use these practices breaks us out of our hamster wheel of mind-swirling overwhelming demands. Being mindful and in the ‘now’ immediately breaks the cycle of pressure, whether time pressure or pressure on the spirit.

Thirdly, time spent being mindful reconnects us with our intuition, our sense of inner knowing. This is where our time management solutions are. Allowing mindfulness and our intuition to guide us allows the important time management priorities to reveal themselves. Like cream, they float to the surface.

So far, so good – but how do we access all these benefits? Where do mindfulness, laughter yoga and nls: natural laughter skills fit in?

  1. Wake and Smile – W.A.S.
    Possibly your simplest and most powerful daily practice is to start your day with a smile. You start your day with conscious positive intention. You can either lie in bed and do it, or even smile in the mirror. The practice is for it to be a genuine, good-natured smile for 10-15 seconds. Use the ‘pencil in the teeth’ technique if necessary, as in ‘Awakening the Laughing Buddha within’. Just do it, whatever it takes.
    Starting your day well gives you a sense of being in control and ready for what the day brings.
  2. Laugh at Lunchtime – L.A.L.
    At lunchtime, repeat this smiling exercise, or look around and find something to have a good-natured laugh about.
    Use the power of your own mind to access thoughts or memories that bring you a sense of lightness, wellbeing or joy.
    Listen to your intuition and re-prioritise your afternoon accordingly.
  3. Laugh at Work – L.A.W.
    During your working day, find moments to stop, relax, stretch, breathe, smile and chuckle. We all need regular breaks to keep our work focused, relevant, creative and productive. Add the L.A.W dimension to access your intuition and help you prioritise and manage your time well.
  4. Laugh at the End – L.A.T.E.
    At the end of your working day or at the end of your day, do one final smiling & laughing exercise. Besides the mild euphoria this induces, it also helps you settle and calm down. Whether you’re about to head home or head to bed, you do so with an enhanced sense of calm and peacefulness.

The more you develop your laughter practices, the more you improve your health, happiness and wellbeing – and your time management.

www.joehoare.co.uk

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How do YOU prepare for an important event?

Many years ago when I had that money-making genius Dottie Walters as my leadership mentor, she talked about one of her preparation tips for her presentations. She said that in her mind’s eye she always filled the room with pink light. After one of her presentations, a delegate came up to her and asked ‘Did you see all that pink in the room?’ In that moment, she came to appreciate how vital her mind’s eye preparations were.

Unsurprisingly, part of my own preparation is smiling and laughter. In my mind’s eye I always fill the scene with smiling faces and the sound of genuine, spontaneous, good-natured laughter. I picture everyone enjoying themselves and appreciating the experience. I also fill the room with light and dedicate the session to the highest good and so place the outcome in the Universe’s invisible magic hands. This is probably the single most important piece of preparation I do.

After I’ve done that, every time, without peradventure, sooner or later I have two further experiences.

The first is I want to run away.
I get a strong fear feeling in my gut with an almost overwhelming need to run away as far and as fast as possible. When I was 16 I once made myself physically ill, I developed a palpable stomach condition that meant I couldn’t take part in an end-of-course team show and was bed-bound for 2 days. So I’ve definitely done the fear thing. Nowadays I know it as part of my preparatory phase. I still feel that fear and it always surprises me but I recognise it as my old friend and just breathe through it.

The final experience is supreme calm.
It’s a weird and almost unnatural feeling. It’s as though I’m enclosed in cotton wool. I feel impervious to everything. I feel utterly and unshakeably still inside. It’s my final phase, like a supreme one-pointed meditation, where the only thing on my radar is the imminent event.
I think this must be what I heard President Obama refer to as ‘quiet time’, that final stillness before you’re ‘on’. You’ve done everything you can, you’ve done whatever preparation you’ve done, and the rest is just going to happen.

I find this cycle operates whether it’s a presentation for a large group, a 1-to-1 session, or even for an important matter of the heart. I experience this same complete cycle. In a funny way, it has become reassuring, a sign that I’m on track, a sign I’m prepared for the ‘event’.

How do you prepare?

www.joehoare.co.uk

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