Getting off to a good start

At the start line

  I can hardly believe the start of the new academic year is already well underway. The noise as new voices fill the corridors and the canteens, the sense of excitement, the vague looks on faces as people try to find their way around a new place… If you are a new starter – whether you that means new to this role or new to the organisation – you may be feeling a potent mixture of excitement and overwhelm. There […]

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Using your brain

Cartoon of cogs working in a brain

One of the additional delights of a greater understanding of neuroscience is the evidence it provides to support folk wisdom. Hebb’s law, simply put, explains that “cells that fire together wire together”. In a simplistic way this explains that the sequence of cells, neurons and synapses, in any given neural pathway, work cooperatively. The more often they are used in sequence the more likely they are to work together and the threshold for “firing” gets lower the more they are used […]

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A 50+ hour work week?

Pulling together

Fact: many researchers and academics work long hours. It’s the type of career that you choose because you love it. Work-life balance usually means something different to researchers than to many people. Most researchers will tell you that they love the work so much that it often doesn’t feel like work. I know I always felt really privileged that I got paid to do stuff that I was amazingly interested in, each and every day. But, (and you knew the but was coming […]

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Procrastination busted open!

traffic-light-Red and Green

I’ve read lots about procrastination – it’s a great way to avoid getting stuff done! In truth, I’m not a great procrastinator but I have worked with many people, friends, colleagues and clients who are deeply affected by putting things off. Procrastination seems to defy all logic. Most people affected know it doesn’t help them though they seem powerless to change things. So far as I can see there are many reasons why people engage, apparently unwillingly, in this activity […]

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On being selfish

jigsaw puzzle of time

Many of my clients are simply run ragged. They have jobs and families and homes to run. Their to-do lists are literally without end and no sooner is one job ticked off the list than two more appear to take its place. Sound familiar? “When do you have time for you?” is a question frequently met either with a snort of laughter or a faint despair. It’s difficult to find a working mum who really does put herself first. The […]

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Better ways of giving feedback

Man with His Hand on His Forehead

Most people, in theory, crave effective feedback on their  performance within an organisation and practically, dread it when their managers offer to provide an opinion on how they do their job. There are so many really bad ways of giving feedback, an urgent question is, can we find a better way? Let’s start by considering why feedback so difficult to give or accept. I imagine we’ve all experienced negative feedback. It can come in many forms from the “Well that […]

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What Really Makes You Feel Good?

boy focussed on writing in notebook

The pursuit of happiness seems to be a 21st century obsession. Often we chase security, adventure, influence, money, status, relationships – or not. Frequently things like gadgets, shoes, books, cars… All these and more are things we think will make us happy. Yet, in and of themselves, they are not happiness. Certainly, money helps. Yet once we get above what it takes to live comfortably in our society or our social circle, the amount of money we have is a […]

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Boost Confidence & Reduce Stress in just 2 minutes

Cartoon of cogs working in a brain

Your mind affects, maybe even controls your body. Probably not news. We can also prove that your body affects your mind, how you feel, how you behave. Would you like to see how? Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist who has done just that and you can benefit from this knowledge within the next two minutes. We often read that an awareness of body language is important because it influences how other people think about you… but does your posture […]

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How to build new habits for a happier job or a healthier life

Dog holding red rose in mouth

In a recent post I talked about the benefits of a positive attitude to ageing. The evidence is clear. It works and will add 7.5 years to your life expectancy which is great news if you already have a positive attitude to ageing. But how do you go about changing your attitudes or of learning new habits? The ingredients seem to be positive thoughts and positive actions. Both are linked and doing more of one is likely to bring more […]

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Do we ever make mistakes?

Oops! Road Sign

Several conversations with colleagues recently have raised interesting questions about how different people define a mistake… is it something that we did but it had an unexpected or unanticipated outcome? Is it something we hoped would achieve a particular thing and we discovered it wouldn’t or didn’t? Perhaps we did something and didn’t follow the rules, recipe or procedure and got less than optimal results… Maybe we even did something which worked exactly as we thought it might and then […]

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