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Rush Hour Traffic: Get Through it Collision and Stress-Free

Rush Hour Traffic: Get Through it Collision and Stress-Free

It is recommended by ancient traditions that you should begin your day in a calm and relaxing fashion. From waking up slowly to having a few moments of stillness, our bodies and minds need to be introduced to the new day in a rather subtle manner. Are your mornings blissful and calm? Not mine!

Most of us wake up to a raging alarm and daily news reports that outlines everything and anything that could have possibly gone wrong with the world. Then we tune into the rush hour traffic report followed by the weather report (if you live in a winter wonderland like me) to determine if we have a few extra minutes to spare or if we are already running late.

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There is absolutely no benefit in a stressful beginning and one needs to find a creative way out of the everyday anxieties of life. Here are some tips that can help ease your mornings.

Can You Avoid It All?

As prevention is the best cure, is there anything you can do to avoid rush hour in the first place? Ask your employer for flexible work hours or maybe arrange for a school bus for the kids and avoid the detour?

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Though your initial reaction might be that of disbelief that this is even a possibility, you’ll be surprised to see how many companies are actually open to the idea of a flexible working schedule. Being a part of the new generation, employers have also evolved with time and are more concerned with productivity and effective time management than a restrictive work schedule. The one solution fits all days are gone as skills of yesterday can become hindrances of tomorrow if they don’t adapt with time.

Working from home once or twice a week is also becoming increasingly popular in the North American work culture. This gives employees some quiet working time free of office distractions as well as avoiding the regular commute while the employer is also at ease as productivity can easily be judged when you report back to the office the following day.

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Learn about your companies policies and talk to your HR manager to evaluate the outlook of your company. Talk to your boss to get his opinion and you just might be able to create a personalized solution for yourself.

Can’t Avoid It All?

Carpooling to me is the next best alternative if you can’t possibly avoid rush hour as it minimizes your exposure to it and maybe even gives you access to the priority driving lanes. Not only will this give you a break from the anxiety that exists between the accelerating and braking moments, it also gives you the opportunity to read a book or maybe even take an extra nap yet not lose the comfort of a private drive.

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If all other ways fail, giving yourself some extra time and having breakfast can make all the difference. Lets be honest, hunger only gets the unpleasant side of us out and an unfulfilled tummy combined with running late is simply a recipe for disaster. Be kind to yourself, find time for breakfast and give yourself an extra few minutes so that the heart rate does not rise with every red light that comes by your way.

Why not try listening to something soothing and relaxing as you embark on your morning drive? Though hard rock and hip-hop sound cool to the ears in our teens, starting our mornings with heavy music can make the brain instantaneously tired and clumsy. Try listening to something soft and soothing instead. Maybe some meditation music or an audio disk of a book you’ve wanted to read or a new language you admire? If nothing interests you this early in the morning, let there be silence. This may be the only time of the day where you can actually have some quiet time.

Featured photo credit:  a street of shanghai on the night via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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