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July 2019 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • Exciting Announcement from Wendy Ellen Inc.
  • Do You Feel Stifled by the Four Walls of Your Office or Cubicle?
  • TIP! Bring Nature to Your Office
  • Need New Ideas? Try a Change of Scenery. Literally.
  • Mind Map Your Way to a Fresh Perspective
  • Quick Reference: Four Tips to Incorporate Nature Into Your Workday
  • Get Creative
  • Coach's Corner: Break Away From Your Usual Routine and Try Something New
July 2019
Volume 6, Number 7

Thanks for Joining Us!

It's July already, and the Calgary Stampede has come and gone! Here at Wendy Ellen Inc. we hope you are all enjoying summer and the opportunity to take some time to refresh and relax.

Speaking of refreshing, there are times when all of us get bogged down in the office. Projects languish, time drags, and inspiration fails. Have you considered a change of scene? This month we're exploring ways to gain a new perspective, keep your energy up, and recharge your batteries. 

Keep reading for more learning!

Do You Feel Stifled by the Four Walls of Your Office or Cubicle? There's a Reason For That.

Trapping ourselves indoors has created what health experts call a "nature deficit disorder" -- depression or anxiety resulting from too little time spent outside. Getting outdoors can do great things for your health. Reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving immune function are among nature’s health benefits. What's more, incorporating elements of nature into your workday can also give your brain a boost, resulting in increased productivity, focus and creativity.

Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub, co-author of Your Brain on Nature, says a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it “stimulates reward neurons in your brain. It turns off the stress response which means you have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure and improved immune response."

Turning off the sensors that are involved in the stress response allows the higher brain centers to be accessed, resulting in increased concentration, improved memory, greater creativity and productivity and reduced mental fatigue. While Selhub says spending 20 minutes a day outdoors is recommended, studies have shown even looking at photographs of nature can deliver some of the same cognitive benefits as physically being outdoors. A 2008 study at the University of Michigan showed students who looked at photos of nature performed better on tests of attention and working memory than those who looked at photographs of urban scenes.


Need New Ideas? Try a Change of Scenery. Literally.

Need new ideas? Try a change of scenery. Literally.

A great way to mix things up is to get away from the setting you’ve been working in. Do you work from home? Try a new location like a coffee shop, library, or coworking space. Work in an office? Go offsite with your team.

Sometimes staying in one place can decrease your productivity and drain you of all of your creativity. In fact, recent studies show that brief diversions can vastly increase our focus and productivity. Getting out of the space you associate with your work can help bring an unexpected shift in your perspective. For group work, offsites are often used to boost creativity by allowing teammates to take a break and do something fun together to motivate better collaboration.


Mind Map Your Way to a Fresh Perspective

Sometimes the reason you can feel stuck on a project is because there’s too much information to process, causing you to lose clarity on your end goal. When this happens, or when you just feel like you need to come up with new ideas, one great way to get perspective is to mind map.

Mind mapping is a visual note taking style to help you get your ideas out on paper. There’s no one “right” way to mind map, but the basic concept is to start by drawing how your ideas and thoughts relate to each other using lines to connect everything.  Essentially, you’re making a map of how all of your ideas relate to one another.

Click on the image below to see a larger version:
To mind map your project, start with one central idea, like the overall project goal or just a piece of it. From there, think about your project as a hierarchy. What are the major tasks, goals, or ideas behind the projects? Write those down and draw lines to the central goal.

Keep mapping the smaller details and drawlines to the other ideas that are connected. Don’t worry about making it look beautiful or doing it “right.” The goal is to get all of your thoughts down on paper - or digitally - and make connections to help you generate new ideas. If you like the idea of an electronic mind map, there are free online tools to help you get started.

Quick Reference: Four Tips to Incorporate Nature Into Your Workday

Take meetings out of the boardroom. Hosting meetings outdoors is an easy way to get your daily dose of nature without taking a break from the job. By removing yourself from familiar office surroundings, you can literally step outside the box and feel freer to brainstorm ideas. Amit Bendov, CEO of SiSense, a business-intelligence and analytics-software company, invites a different employee each day for “walk and talk” meetings.  "It's a great way to get people away from their computer screens [and] it provides employees with a safe environment to bring up concerns, a positive atmosphere to brainstorm and a literal and metaphoric breath of fresh air," says Bendov.

Mix business with fitness. Jason Ovitt, CEO of Asylum Public Relations, cycles to work every day and at the end of each day, he and co-founder Laura Baumgartner ride for 30 minutes together to go over accounts and to-do lists for the next day. "It’s a great time to solve problems while de-stressing because we aren’t stuck in the office glued to our computer screens and phones and there are no technology distractions, incoming emails or phone calls to take us off topic,” says Baumgartner. 

Take your laptop outdoors. Working at the park or an outdoor cafe can provide the mental stimulation required to get through the day. Lettuce, an online inventory and order management software company located in Venice, Calif., encourages employees to take their work to the company's rooftop lounge to enjoy the panoramic ocean view. "When we take time in our day to step away from the desk to enjoy where we are, we come back re-energized," says CEO and co-founder Raad Mobrem. "It’s helped us to come up with more creative solutions and maintain a generally upbeat and united office environment."

Dine alfresco. Since we know eating from your desk is bad for your health, lunchtime is a great opportunity to grab a breath of fresh air. PMBC Group, a health and technology public relations firm, organizes 20-30 minute lunchtime walks two to three times a week and brown bag outdoor lunches every Thursdays. "Eating outside together bonds us as a team," says Ola Danilina, CEO and founder. She says moving between the indoors and outdoors gives her team more energy and improves productivity.

"At times it can be easy to become bored with the monotony that accom-panies most positions. Consider creating a motivation tool that’ll help you avoid this. Write in a journal or even create a short video that details a project you’re working on or the challenge you’re experiencing. Include the obstacles, what you’re learning, your role, and accom-plishments. Through the development process you can find ways to become more inspired, explore creative solutions that invigorate interest, and identify areas for professional development. This is not only a way to encourage yourself but also to determine where you can use support to grow in your position".
Adrean Turner
Changing the perspective of your organization takes experience!

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for assistance today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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