Refining the Art of Relaxation
Traditionally, summer was the time for family vacations and time away to relax and recharge. These days our busy lives oftentimes don't allow for dedicated downtime. Thanks to the advances in technology, many of us can now work from anywhere, anytime. While this may seem convenient, I was recently reminded how beneficial it is to put just as much attention on taking time away and leaving our work commitments at the door (at least for while).
We all have various levels of stress in our lives, whether from work in a fast-paced environment, caring for young or elderly family members or other outside sources. There may be troubling personal dynamics with individuals at work, such as a micromanaging supervisor, that follow you home at night. We're also a society of information overload and staying "plugged in" means we can be overwhelmed with input each and every day. We are, after all, in the middle of an election year. For me it's working on my growing business and organizing my husband's upcoming milestone birthday!
We've all heard how maintaining high levels of stress is detrimental to our physical and mental health. It can have a serious impact on your body, leaving you open to illness and affecting your digestion and memory. It can also make it more likely to have an accident or make mistakes. Of course, if any of these occur, you'll feel even more stress, creating a never-ending vicious cycle.
So, what can we do? Answer: Interrupt the stress cycle by taking vacations or even brief periods of time off. Shutdown the laptop and tablets and put the phone on vibrate. This summer I've managed to take a number of four-day weekend trips. We visited San Francisco for a game between the Giants and the Boston Red Sox. Sadly, as Red Sox fans, we were a bit disappointed in the outcome. We also spent a delightful weekend with wonderful friends in Ashland to take in the Shakespeare Festival. Last weekend, we traveled to visit with friends in Yakima Valley, WA.
Time away allows us to gain perspective on life, giving us a chance to recharge and return to our daily routines re-energized. And the best part is it doesn't even require the added stress of planning an elaborate vacation. Here in Oregon we're lucky enough to be just hours away from the ocean, mountains, desert, lakes, rivers and more, making it easy to find a relaxing location close by. Find your spot, call a few friends and just get away. Of course, a lovely bottle of wine doesn't hurt, either!
Does Your Business Have Room for Process Improvement?
If you feel like you continue to work harder and longer, but can't really seem to get ahead? Your business may be in a need of process improvement. Below are some common signs that your current processes and procedures just aren't working. Once these are identified, you can make plans on how best to tackle these issues and set a path to improving.
Long cycle times
Frequent errors in key systems/documents
Increased levels of customer complaints
Employee frustration around confusing or complicated procedures
Bottlenecks in the process slow things down
It takes a lot of people to get one thing done
There is a lot of re-work (having to do something more than once in order to get it right)
Augmented Reality - Pokémon Go!
Pokémon Go has been sweeping the nation and the world. Executives are excited about the jump in Nintendo's stock price. Parents are using it to get their kids to exercise and walk the dog at the same time. Millennials and other adults are enjoying a nostalgic trip back in time. Little kids are just having fun. But, at the core of this interactive experience is a little-known concept called Augmented Reality. Not to be confused with Virtual Reality, Augmented or Mixed Reality occurs when images are projected on a screen, while still being aware of the real world. Is this the next step in interactive entertainment and how can the technology be used in the business world?
EPA Report Tracks Changing Climate
EPA recently released their report which showscompelling and clear evidence of long-term changes to our climate and highlights impacts on human health, as well as the environment in the United States and around the world. The report features observed trend data on 37 climate indicators, including U.S. and global temperatures, ocean acidity, sea level, river flooding, droughts and wildfires. The report also indicates that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has exceeded 400 parts per million and that average surface air temperatures have increased across the U.S. since 1901.
Read the Climate Change Indicators in the United States report
Featured Nonprofit: Transition Projects
Transition Projects helps people transition from homelessness to housing in the Portland metro area. Each year, they assist more than 10,000 people through a broad array of services,resources, and tools. They offer short-term residential programs, resources for permanent housing, veteran programs, as well as a mentor program.