Swift Seven: Tips to Enjoy Your Workday

CA-lunch break

Welcome to “Swift Seven,” a new blog post format that I will use on occasion to share a very quick, but helpful list of seven tips related to a topic.

Before I give you the seven tips, don’t forget that we are in the 10-day launch period for my new book, and you could win a surprise package from me! Click here to read the details, watch a video, and enter the drawing (no purchase required for the drawing.) If you buy the book this week, you can get a free personality assessment as well! Please tell others about these special opportunities–they expire midnight Sunday night!

 

Now, on to the “Swift Seven” tips to enjoy your workday:

1. Start the day with a brief moment of inspiration at your work space. Read a quote or devotion, say a silent prayer, look at an inspiring photo.

2. Plan to bless one coworker with an uplifting word or small act of kindness. Then do it!

Be kind and compassionate to one another…Ephesians 4:32a NIV

3. Start a list of things to be thankful for at your job, or add at least one item to an existing list.

4. Take a moment to stretch and breathe deeply.

5. Organize or decorate a very small part of your work space. Perhaps cull a file or two, straighten a drawer, or do a little dusting.  Look at my “Creative Workspaces” board for inspiration.

6. Take a reasonable break. Don’t work through your entire lunch. Take a moment outside and try to notice something about the building or landscaping you’ve never seen before.

7. Express thanks that you have a job, remembering those less fortunate.

Bonus: Buy the Boost Your Workplace Morale: A Practical Guide for Employees (and their Managers) book to have a handbook of ideas and discussion prompters handy.

 

Coffee Break Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 12-16 #bgbg2

1Co13.13

 

Read 1 Corinthians 12.

This chapter is about the various gifts that are given to believers. What might your gift(s) be?

 

How does this chapter contribute to the idea of teamwork?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 13.

This is a popular chapter about love. How can you apply its principles to your work today?

 

Write out the “love is_____” verses. Consider placing your name in the place of “love.” Does this describe you?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 14.

What is important if we are gifted in ways others may not understand?

 

Why was order in church important to Paul?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 15.

What important concept is discussed in this chapter?

 

Are there any negative attitudes in your life that you need to resurrect into life giving ones?

Read 1 Corinthians 16.

Ponder verse 13 (women can apply this too.) What stands out to you?

 

What does it mean to have the “grace of the Lord Jesus” on us?

 

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Four Ways to Boost Your Morale at Work – A post, a video, a new book, and a bonus opportunity!

BWM Cover

The culture in your workplace is unique. It is influenced by the dispositions of everyone on the team, the policies by which you work, and the environment, among other things. Each worker on the team has an influence on the morale in your workplace, whether or not they have a title such as “manager.” So since you are responsible (in part) for the morale in your workplace, here are four ways to boost it:

1. Quit whining. No workplace is perfect, and sometimes you feel like venting. But if that’s the only thing you do, rather than try to figure out a solution, you’ll always be unhappy.

2. Consider others as better than yourself. That annoying coworker? Try to think of her with more honor than you give yourself. Pray for her. Do something nice for her. Be thankful for something about her.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves… Philippians 2:3 #bgbg2

3. Do something kind for your coworkers. Bring in a treat. Clean up the break room. Give someone a compliment.

4. Try some creative ideas such as games or discussion prompters. I know just the source for them!

My newest book, Boost Your Workplace Morale: A Practical Guide for Employees (and Their Managers) is a short, fun read that gives 13 chapters of ideas and concepts for improving workplace morale, including:

  • 12 types of employees (are you Thankful Ted, Clean-up Cathy, or someone else?)
  • 12 discussion prompters (both informal and business related)
  • 12 team building activities (What can you do with a puzzle?)

Each chapter has twelve ideas, to make it easy to consider, discuss, or experience one per month for a year. There is a bonus chapter of resources as well.

The book is now available in paperback ($5.39) or e-book ($2.99) via Amazon. Click here for more information or to order.


BONUS: The special “launch” period for this book is July 24-August 3, a 10 day period with unique opportunities!

During this period only: Buy either version of the book and you’ll receive a free PDF of a basic personality assessment (normally $3.99) mentioned in the book.

Spread the word about the book and be entered into a drawing for a free surprise package from me. The winner will receive some surprises along with his/her choice of one of the following autographed paperbacks:

Boosting Workplace Morale: A Practical Guide for Employees (and Their Managers)
A Light for Your Path: Helping You Reflect on Each Chapter of the Bible
Organizing from the Heart: Change Your Mindset, Conquer Your Challenges

I’d like to get Boosting Workplace Morale into as many hands as possible during launch week. Thank you for your help! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Coffee Break Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 7-11 #bgbg2

1Co10.31

Coffee Break Bible studies are provided to help you take a pause with God’s Word this week.

Read 1 Corinthians 7.
What thoughts does Paul have about marriage?

Why does Paul seem to feel, in some cases, that there are challenges with marriage? Do you agree or disagree?

Read 1 Corinthians 8.
What do you think being a “stumbling block” means?

Is there a younger/weaker Christian in your life that struggles with “grey areas” or temptations? How can you be an encouragement rather than a stumbling block to them?

Read 1 Corinthians 9.

What rights did Paul feel the Apostles had?

What attitude did they have toward their rights?

Read 1 Corinthians 10.
What warnings does Paul give from Israel’s history?

What important lesson have you learned from something in the past?

Read 1 Corinthians 11.
Paul has some strong words in this chapter. What are some of his criticisms?

Are there gatherings that you are part of (meetings, fellowships) where the focus becomes off-purpose? How can you help improve these gatherings?

 

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Forget What You Give. Remember What You Receive.

CA-forget remember

I am not sure of the source of this quote. But it’s a very wise one regardless. (If anyone knows, please let me know.)

There’s a lot of wisdom there.

I confess that I don’t always forget what I give. There have been plenty of times that I remember giving something to someone (or a group) and noticing when I didn’t get thanked. In fact, one time a caring person who had similar struggles approached me to talk about this tendency I had. I’m glad he did. It was a helpful exhortation which turned me toward a philosophy of not tracking the recognitions I thought I “should” receive. That makes any acknowledgment I may get even more fun!

Here are some ways we forget to “forget what we give.” We remember:
  • the thank you note we never received for the wedding/birthday/holiday gift we gave;

  • the favor our friend doesn’t seem to want to return after “all we for her in her crisis;”

  • the fact that God doesn’t seem to be “abundantly blessing” our bank account despite our faithful tithing.

…God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. Hebrews 6:10 ESV
What would it be like to give something and then put it out of our mind?
  • We could enjoy the “thank you’s” that do come as blessings in an of themselves, not the completion of a checklist we have in our minds regarding how someone else should acknowledge us;

  • We could be surprised by a “return favor” instead of expecting one;

  • We could appreciate the richness we live in each day rather than the dollars we don’t have;
  • We could unclutter our mind from carrying around thoughts of what people owe us.

That leads to the second part: remember what you receive.

How grateful are you for what you receive on a daily basis? Do you focus on noticing your abundant blessings? Here are some ways we can remember the right things:
  • When we experience an inconvenience, be thankful that it was simply that. (Many people are suffering far worse.)

  • Make a point to notice at least one small “love note” from God every day, or at least several times a week.

  • Graciously thank someone who has done a kindness for you recently. Send an email, text, or note or make a phone call. Better yet, thank them just for being your friend!

  • Receive well the kindnesses that others show you. For example, I’ve learned not to say, “You don’t need to do that” when someone offers me a gift (i.e. picking up my tab.) Instead, I’m learning to say, “Thank you for doing that” or “The Lord blessed me through you.” This also applies to accepting compliments with grace. Please don’t diminish the gift others are offering with their words or deeds by saying they shouldn’t have done what God may very well have prompted them to do.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Matthew 10:8 

Now, a question for you. What is something you’d like to remember with gratefulness today?

 

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Coffee Break Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 2-6 #bgbg2

1 Cor 5 7-8

Coffee Break Bible studies are provided to give you an opportunity to pause with God’s Word in the middle of your busy week.

 

Read 1 Corinthians 2.

Where does wisdom truly come from?

In what area of your work (home or employment) do you need an extra measure of wisdom today? Take a moment to ask God to open your heart to His thought about the matter.

 

Read 1 Corinthians 3.

How could this passage be used to think about team work?

What do you think about verse 19?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 4.

What is the reminder to us in verse 2? If applicable, how is your employer trusting you to be faithful today?

Who does Paul plan to send to the Corinthians, and why?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 5.

What are some things Paul is warning the Corinthians about?

What do verses 9-12 teach you about judging others and spending time with those involved in ongoing sin?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 6.

What does this passage share about law suits?

In verse 12, Paul is quoting the Corinthians. How does he counter their statement that “everything is permissible for me?”

 

 

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Four Ways to Have an Ideal Morning

CA-morning1

Are you a morning person?

Whether you are or not, everyone has to deal with some sort of a morning every day.  I listen to the “Beyond the To-Do List” podcast and the host, Erik Fischer, has often asked his guests to share what an ideal morning looks like for them. This is not an unusual question for people in positions of influence, it seems. Michael Hyatt did a podcast episode on reengineering your morning. My blog post on three ways to reduce time management stress  also deals in part with this idea. It’s a popular topic. Let’s flesh it out some more.

To have an ideal morning:

Design a morning template.

A template in a word processing program is a shell document you start with to launch several similar pieces of writing. You add to and modify it as appropriate, but the general skeleton stays the same. It’s the same with a morning plan. Most of us–either by default or intention–have a morning routine we have fallen into. I have several components that make up my template, but sometimes they need to be rearranged or eliminated.  My ideal morning template five elements which I have associated with the word BEGIN.

  • B – breakfast
  • E – email & home office base tasks
  • G – grooming
  • I – inspiration
  • N – neatening
Assign a reasonable time block
If you could incorporate all the elements of an ideal morning without rushing, how long would you spend? 45 minutes? One hour? Two hours? Think about the amount of time you typically have which begins with your routine wake up time and adjust your expectations accordingly.

For me, a minimum of two hours is ideal. The five elements mentioned above interweave and can be lengthened or shortened depending on the requirements for the day. But typically:

 

  • B – breakfast – usually consists of what I call a “Seven Layer Smoothie” and/or morning breakfast meal such as oatmeal, breakfast pudding, or eggs, any of which can be enjoyed during other elements such as inspiration time. I hardly ever simply sit to eat breakfast unless I’m going to meet someone.
  • E – email & home office time. I take a glance at what email or notifications have come in overnight, mainly to satisfy my curiosity. I also have about a 10-15 minute home office time where I greet people for their birthday and do quick run through of email before starting my official work day.
  • G – grooming and dressing – I may do the bulk of this in one segment but then do some final touches later, or let hair dry while I’m doing something else, etc.
  • I – inspiration – this starts with going through a series of inspiring apps when I first awaken. I stay in bed for this 15 minutes or so, and begin with the YouVersion App for some Scripture reading. (Bible Gateway would also be a good source.) Later, if time allows, I’ll add a more extended time of quiet for additional prayer, reading, and study.
  • N – neaten – I nearly always make the bed. I also like to unload the dishwasher, straighten up other parts of the house as I can, and perhaps take out food for the evening meal if it requires defrosting in the refrigerator.
and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. Luke 21:38
Have a distinct ending time.
To cut down on mental clutter (a concept for another post) it helps me to have a consistent time in mind that I consider the end of my morning routine and the start of my work day (whether I’ll be working at home or leaving for activities out of the house.) For me, that is typically, 8:00 or 9:00. Whatever the time, it’s a good idea to have a marker to mentally shift toward settling into my home office or a home project, or to pack up and begin my transition into my vehicle to leave for errands, meetings, etc. I got lax about this in recent months, and am working on tightening this up.


Start the night before.
I’m not the first to present this concept. I know that flylady.net recommends that you have an effective before bed routine. This is a bit tough for me because my energy level flags in the evening, so I have tried to design an after dinner routine. You can shave minutes off your morning by having clothes picked out, lunches packed, the house in a general state of tidiness, electronics charging and keys in their assigned place by the time you go to bed.

So how about you? What would an ideal morning look like to you? What one step can you take to start making that happen?

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Romans 13-16; 1 Corinthians 1 #bgbg2

Ro15.13

The 2014 Coffee Break Bible studies are designed to help you travel through the entire New Testament in one year.  You are currently about half-way through already! I hope they have been a blessing to you!

 

Read Romans 13.

What does this chapter teach us about our relationship with authorities?

What does verse 8 teach about debt and love?

 

Read Romans 14.

How should we behave toward another brother or sister in Christ that may be having doubts about “disputable matters?”

 

Write out verse 19. How can you live that out today?

 

Read Romans 15.

If you had to describe this chapter in one word, what would it be?

Write out and ponder verse 13.

 

Read Romans 16.

What do you learn about Paul based on his personal greetings?

What does Paul “urge” in verse 17?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 1.

What does Paul remind the Corinthians of in verse 7? What does this say to you?

According to verse 10, what is important to Paul?

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You are Halfway Through 2014: How’s It Going?

OneWord Hope 2014

July 2 was the mid-point of 2014 already. How time passes! How are you doing on your new year’s resolutions? Overall, I’m keeping up with mine mainly because I made a one-page goal sheet for 2014 listing goals for several areas of my life and keep it with my (near) daily quiet time area. That way I can regularly review. I had selected a word for the year…this one being “HOPE” and with that, I’m not sure I’m doing so well.

Below is a post I wrote that first appeared here several weeks ago. As I look back over this, I realize I still have room for improvement. For example, under “engagement” just today I got myself embroiled into a negative conversation that ended up not being very fruitful (God still can redeem it.) Should I have even entered into the conversation in the first place? Not sure. Could I have approached it differently? Perhaps.

Now, on to the post.

Word of the Year: HOPE

The word HOPE has been part of my life for quite a few years now. Since 2005, I have had a small business called H.O.P.E. Unlimited, with HOPE standing for Helping Other People Excel. I’ve collected items with the word HOPE on them since then, and feel that the word hope is a pleasant word. It reminds us of a promising future and is a picture of what we have in Christ.

I chose to focus on the word HOPE this year, making it my “one word” for two reasons. One, I wanted to have a more settled, joyful approach to life. I found myself having difficultly with that in 2013 and have seen improvements in 2014. Second, I am using the letters of the word HOPE to give me four areas of focus.
H – habits
Good habits are the foundation of a less-stressed, more productive life. For example, in mid-2013, my husband and I began a journey of learning to eat in a more healthy way. Over time, some of this lifestyle has become a habit. Other habits I’m cultivating deal with my quiet times, task/time management, home management, and goal setting.

O – opinions
I’m quite active with social media, and am giving thought to how often I should or should not share my opinion, or more importantly, base my decisions on the opinions of others. As a person who craves the approval of others, it is important that I concentrate more on what God is telling me to do and not be so influenced by the desire to be liked.

P – perspective
I want my perspective this year to be informed by my relationship with God. I am trying to slow down and not worry about the future while still making sensible and reasonable plans. I’m currently in a wilderness season regarding one area of my life, but God has been doing some good work in me during it, using the time to reshape my perspective. I also want to think differently than society on some things, and encourage people to step back and re-think their perspective from time to time as well.

E – engagement
I’m focusing more on my relationships, taking steps to become more intentional with some of them and also thinking through healthy boundaries. This doesn’t just refer to “in real life” relationships–I’m having to consider the “why” and “how much” of social media as well. 

So far, this year has been one of more hope, not only in the above areas, but in some meaningful experiences. God has gifted me with some unique opportunities so far this year despite the wilderness portion of our lives right now. He is teaching me that hope comes in lots of little gifts and that He is using me to bring hope to others as well.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

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