Category Archives: Quix Tips

“I’d Like To Dedicate This To…” (Quix Tip)

Imagine how different your work day would be if at the beginning you dedicated your day to someone, in their honor, or for their benefit. How would that change how you move through your day? How would that change your tasks, your interactions? This spirit of giving is a link, a connection to get us out of our own shoes. Perhaps you’d like to imagine the customer that will enjoy the final product that you have a hand in creating, even if what you do seems removed from that final user experience.

Also posted in Positive Psychology | Comments closed

Quix Tip: Free Your Stuff

“A man there was, though some did count him mad, The more he cast away, the more he had.” – John Bunyan If you or someone you know is having a hard time getting rid of things, here are three steps to take: Fill just one box with things you haven’t used in a year. Imagine someone out there in the world happily putting to good use the objects that are dust collectors in your closet. Drop them off at Goodwill or Salvation Army (during business hours!) The next step is to keep at it, simplifying and organizing. As Katharine Fullerton Gerould said, “Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.” So it’s a dance you dance throughout your life. For example, think of the paperwork out there – remember when computers arrived and we thought we were in the dawn of a paperless society? Paper consumption has gone up – it’s perhaps a little too easy to hit the ‘Print’ button. Statistics have shown that 80% of all papers filed are never looked at again and 50% of all filed material going to storage has no retention value.

Also posted in Positive Psychology | Comments closed

5 Ways to Make Your Office More Environmentally Friendly

1. To Print or Not to Print In the midst of the electronic age, it seems ironic that we are now clicking the print button more than ever. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. While there’s something quite satisfying about having something hot off the press, stop and ask yourself, do I really need to print this?  Let’s face it, a lot of times the answer is going to be no. But when you do print, here are some things to consider: Use scrap paper when possible. Rather than tossing out documents and faxes that you no longer need, use the other side for printing. Many printers and copiers have more than one tray, so you can have one that is always full of scrap paper ready to go. Use recycled paper. When it isn’t appropriate to use scrap, use paper with the maximum post-consumer content available, and no less than 20%. Do two-sided printing and copying to save paper. In lieu of conventional faxing, there are many online fax services available now. Just remember, don’t print them out unless absolutely necessary. Print in draft mode whenever feasible. While the quality of the print will not be as high, you will certainly cut back in chemical use from the ink, not to mention saving some money!  As we all know, that ink is some expensive stuff! Feeling crafty?  If you have a lot of scrap paper around (and most of us do), try your hand at making your own recycled paper. This is a really fun project (great to do with kids) and very easy to do. Please click here for a link on how to do it! 2. Why Am I Wearing a Sweater in August? Air conditioning keeps us cool and comfortable, but what about when it’s uncomfortable? It doesn’t seem to make sense to be dripping hot during the walk from the car to the office, only to find yourself with goose bumps once you’re inside. Here are some simple tips to help conserve energy and cut costs. Set the thermostat in your workspace to 78 degrees during work hours, and raise the setting to 85 degrees when the space is unoccupied. The energy savings can be significant – as much as two percent of your air conditioning costs for each one degree that you raise the thermostat. Allow your workers to wear comfortable clothing during hot weather. It makes little sense to keep a room so cold that workers must wear suits and coats. Install ceiling fans – they make it feel at least four degrees cooler during the summer months and use considerably less energy. 3. What a turn-off! Yes, global warming certainly is a turn-off, to say the least, but doing a couple of things, like turning off your computer and monitor when you’re not using them, can substantially cut back on the amount of greenhouse gases your office is responsible for contributing to the atmosphere. According to Energy Testing, and Consulting, computers are constant power drains, equivalent to leaving on a half dozen light bulbs. Leaving your computer and monitor on all day and night uses more than 10% of a typical home’s energy usage. Yet, the simple act of turning off the computer at night and using suspend mode when going to lunch or taking breaks will reduce your “carbon footprint” by over 1500 pounds a year. If 100 of your colleagues did the same, it would reduce carbon emissions by 75 tons! Turn off the monitor and hard drive after 10 minutes of inactivity. Have your computer go into “standby mode” after 15 minutes of inactivity. Have your computer “hibernate” after 25 minutes of inactivity. Turn off the computer and monitor – and the power strip they are plugged into when you leave the office or know you won’t be using them for more than an hour. 4. You Are How You Eat These days there are many options for grabbing a quick bite ‘to go’ for lunch, but before you do you may want to take a few things into consideration. Canvas-bag it. In other words, bring your lunch from home!  Getting take-out everyday generates an enormous amount of waste in disposable wrappers and packaging. By bringing your own, you can use reusable containers and silverware, not to mention that you save a lot of money! Switch to organic Fair Trade coffee and tea in the office. If you grab a coffee to go before you get to work, be sure to use a travel mug. Make it a policy to provide reusable dishes, silverware, and glasses and buy as much organic and local food as possible for parties and other events. Provide filtered drinking water to reduce bottled-water waste. 5. Take a Chunk out of Junk This tip will likely prove helpful in the home as well as the office (if not more so), especially if you are up to your eyeballs in junk mail catalogues. And as we all know, once you get one catalogue, there are many more of various types to follow due to shared mailing lists. Here’s a quick tip to help get you unburied and minimize the amount of waste that goes into your recycle bin. Call them up and ask them to take you off their mailing list. It may seem like stating the obvious, but this really only takes a minute or two to do. The phone number is on the back page, usually along with a customer number in a yellow or blue box. Generally, all you need to do to be removed is give them your name, address, and customer number – and then you will be junk free! If you get a junk catalogue and don’t have the time then and there to call to be removed, rip off the back cover, put the rest of it in the recycling bin, and then hold on to the back cover and make sure you call later when you have a minute.

Posted in Quix Tips | Comments closed

Questions for the Journey

On your next journey you may wish to ask yourself these seven questions: What would I like to quest for on this small journey? What simple pleasures can I really allow in today? What will help me recharge my batteries? What will it take to soften a little bit more in the belly, to breathe more slowly, deeply and freely? What will help me bring a sense of ease back into my day? How can I be more fully alive and present to all the delights that are around me right now? What will enable me to give my best when I return?

Also posted in Happiness, Positive Psychology | Comments closed

Quix Tip: Stay in the Game

When you try something new and fail the first time you try it, what keeps you going? What will help you keep faithfully showing up? Here are eight ways to help you stay in the game: 1. Face the Dark Side – What’s the classic pessimist statement you hear in your head that tries to tie this failure to all other failures in your life, past and future? A hint: This voice uses the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ almost exclusively. 2. Remember Your Best – Remember a situation where you overcame failure and challenge successfully, when you were really proud of yourself, your conduct and the outcome. Remember how hard it was and how good it felt. That good feeling is available to you again in this moment. 3. Question the witness – Look at the pessimistic statement with a hard, rational eye. Is what it’s saying really true? Just because you made a wrong turn and you’re five minutes late for an important meeting, does that really mean you’re going to lose the client, your job and end up homeless and alone? Seeing how illogical and irrational that pessimistic voice is may help you realize that its guidance isn’t to be followed. 4. Select the Right Level of Challenge – If the level of challenge is too low, you’re bored. Too much, and you’re overwhelmed. Pick the right challenge for you, one that both tests and invigorates you. 5. Savor the Journey – Ease up on your attachment to what the end result is going to look like. Focus instead on the fresh, unknown moment as you try something new. This wild, unpredictable moment of beginning again has perhaps the strongest possibility for you to feel fully alive. 6. Ask for Help – Whatever we’ve been successful at hasn’t happened in a vacuum. We learn from and are helped by those nearest us, and those farther away. A girl gets back on her bike with her father’s encouragement. A boy tries again to nail a toy ship together, helped by remembering that his grandfather and great-grandfather were carpenters. A project is completed together by all the members on the team. Take heart, get advice, remember, keep the fire alive of the millions of innovators in the world that have come before you and that are still to come. 7. Remember the Big Picture – Be less attached to immediate results and more attached to the possibility of something new and wonderful and hard-earned adding its value to your life. 8. Laughter Helps – A sense of humor and humility goes a long way. As Joni Mitchell sings in the song Refuge of the Roads, “Heart and humor and humility will lighten up your heavy load.” Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency – engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game – for peak work performance and enjoyment.

Also posted in Resiliency | Comments closed

Quix Tip: What Keeps You Afloat?

Some days it feels like we’re adrift on a stormy sea of worry, fear, anxiety, and pressures, whether it’s about work, lack of work, relationships, lack of relationships, the future, the past, and on and on. What keeps you afloat? What displaces the tough parts of life and keeps you going, engaged, hopeful and able to give? Tell someone you care about of this “something” that resides in you that keeps you loving life and the world anyway, no matter what gets sent your way. Find out what keeps them afloat too, and you can encourage each other to spend more time afloat out on your boat. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency – engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game – for peak work performance and enjoyment.

Also posted in Persistence, Resiliency | Comments closed

Do The Work, Not The Time (Quix Tip)

Your value trumps your time – it’s a greater measurement than the time you put in. We know this intuitively – it’s why we get educated, get experience, play to our passion. All of these things increase our value. Yet for the most part, we use the clock as a greater arbiter of work done in a day than the value of the work that gets done. All people are created equal, but not all time is equal. Some days it can take hours to do what on other days (or moments within a day) it could take minutes. And vice versa. Value trumps time – focus on your value. Pick a day this coming week that is least locked in by time – meetings, etc. Choose one thing of value that you want to get done that day, something that is challenging but important and can be done in less than a day if your focus is relatively undivided. Do it. Get it done. Take the rest of the day off. Notice how uncomfortable it may be to even contemplate that, let alone actually do it. Watch the swirl of, “yeah buts” that crowd in. Now actually do it and savor all the scary freedom that awaits you when you recognize your value and let it trump your time. I tell this to teams in many of Quixote Consulting’s training and team building programs, but always in a Virtual Team Quest. People working on their own, away from a home office have the best chance at putting this into play. But I do believe in every job there’s room for this shift of thought. If you focus on value, you can see that you’ve been effective, something we all long for. What’s the value you’d like to give and what do you most want to be doing with your time?

Also posted in Persistence | Comments closed

Take a Small Bite After All

(Guest Post by business etiquette expert Laura Herbert) One of the keys to better table manners is to take smaller bites. It is awkward to take large mouthfuls of food –and unsightly as well. Taking smaller bites means you’ll be less likely to talk with your mouth full and more likely to sit up straight. Plus it will help you to eat at a slower, healthier pace.

Posted in Quix Tips | Comments closed

Quix Tip: Breathe

Breathing is not only the most important part of yoga, it is the most important part of being alive.  Your body completes this simple, beautiful task every moment of your life without the mind having to keep track of it, or put it on the To Do list. Beyond feeding the body with oxygen, breathing can pull you out of fretting about the past or future and connect you to the present moment. There is no other place, no other time that the breath can happen than right here, right now. You may find it helpful to close your eyes. Notice how you’re naturally breathing. Follow your breath’s path. Is it labored, shallow, quick, full, excited? Take a full, slow inhale, filling and relaxing the belly. Don’t strain, just allow the filling of new life, new oxygen, new energy. Pause at the top of the cycle of breath when you are completely full. What does it feel like to be completely full, to be at the moment of completion? Release your breath fully and deeply in a long, slow, relaxed manner. Slowly, deeply, fully, let your breath release all tension, worry, fatigue in your body and mind. Pause at the bottom, the place of no breath, completely empty. What does it feel like to have released everything and be in a moment of empty stillness? It may help your noticing to make the sound of your breath audible. You can do this slow noticing anytime, anywhere for as long or as short a time as you’d like. Your breath is a simple gift that is always with you, a golden ticket that can be consciously used at any moment to bring you in good relation to the most wonderful place and time – right here, right now. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s teams building and team development activities: Office Yoga – Learn simple techniques to stay productive at your desk or energize your off-site.

Also posted in Resiliency | Comments closed

Quix Tip: How To Take a Mini Vacation

Schedule five minutes, an hour or an afternoon with yourself for a mini vacation sometime this week. Clear this time of any responsibilities and stressors. Make some notes about your favorite parts of previous vacations – was it that there was no agenda, no answering to anyone? Did you love the play of sun on your face, the quiet sounds of water nearby? Did you enjoy the adventure? Creatively model your mini vacation so that it has one favorite element of a previous vacation. When the time comes, let your self fall into this small time of renewal and thoroughly enjoy. Repeat as needed (daily if you’d like). Especially in the winter months, something in us cries out for a little bit more sweetness in our days. Even if you’re unable to get away for a longer vacation, a Mini Vacation is always a possibility. Taking a mini vacation is an exercise in listening to what you’d like, what you prefer. We can get out of practice in being able to respond to the immediate moment. Usually if we’re hungry, we simply feed ourselves and then “come back to life.” It’s rarely that simple when we are asked to respond to other important parts of living. So often, whether from fear or a sense of duty or obligation, we suppress our ability to respond to ourselves. We lose sight of the fact that our happiness, our ability to respond energetically, is entwined with listening to and responding to what we need. Mini Vacations can be a powerful tool to bring us back to the life we love. This is deceptively important work. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” Mini Vacations increase the likelihood of our happiness and renew our natural enthusiasm for our work. By slowing down, and relaxing for a moment, even in the midst of anxiety, we paradoxically set the stage for better output and better relations with those around us. Bon voyage! Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s teams building and team development activities: Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency – engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game – for peak work performance and enjoyment.

Also posted in Persistence | Comments closed