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   Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 14

  Keep Calm
How to stay positive in testing times
    News and views



Dear %1

The slightly annoying "Keep Calm and Carry On" wartime poster parodies are near ubiquitous these days.  Perhaps it's a sign of the times.  The BBC suggests it is one of the greatest motivational posters ever.  You can even create your own version online at keepcalm-o-matic.

Without a doubt, calm optimists will always do better than frazzled pessimists, so with National Stress Awareness Day in the UK on Wednesday (on 2 November), here are ten ways to keep calm.

1. Build in planning time
Time to plan and prepare will leave you feeling calm from the start.

2. Give yourself some contingency 
Allow extra time to get there early or finish before it's needed to reduce stress levels from the start.

3. One thing at a time
Not only is multi-tasking inefficient, but it adds to your stress levels.  Do one thing at a time and you will be calmer and do better quality work.

4. A problem shared...
If you do feel the first signs of stress, talk to others around you.  If they are stressed too, then you will know you aren't alone. If they are not, then perhaps they can help calm you.

5. Get up and walk around
Doing nothing more than getting up from your desk, having a stretch and walking about a little will reduce your stress levels.  If you can take fifteen minutes to take a walk outside, the effect will be even greater.

6. Tidy up 
For many people, an untidy work space increases feelings of stress.  Deal with it.  The delay will more than be compensated by subsequent increases in your efficiency, and getting your area tidy will give you an immediate sense of control.

7. Smart snacking
If you cannot take the time for a nutritious and relaxing lunch break, at least choose healthy snacks, so you can feel virtuous.  Plenty of fresh water, nuts, fruit, dried fruit and raw vegetables all help you to keep your body well, and enhance your resilience.

8. Have a rant...
... but choose your timing carefully
If you need to let off steam, do it with the right person at the right time: a trusted friend, outside of work hours.  Remember, if you spend too much of your home life moaning or being angry, you will damage one of your most powerful stress-busting assets: your family relationships.  So invest time in strengthening them.

9. Stress is a part of success 
We all need something to spur us along, so recognise stress as a part of the process.  Only when you cannot escape it at the end of the day is it time to really worry.  So make sure you plan treats and fun or relaxing activities for your leisure time.

10. Focus on your achievements
Often when we are stressed we focus on failures and things we have yet to do.  Focus on success and what you have done, to give you a sense of control.  Celebrate your successes to replace feelings of stress with a sense of pride.


Brilliant Stress Management
How to manage stress in any situation

Brilliant Stress Management
Order Here

Brilliant Stress Management is in the
WH Smiths travel Top 50


Two Seminars you may like

It ain't the Stress that does the damage

More than just survival:
Thriving in times of Change


These are two of the 16 seminars I am currently offering.  Here is the full list:

  • Three hour MBA

  • Seven Ways to get More from Your People

  • Seven Ways to get More from Yourself

  • Brilliant Influence:
    Ten Secrets of Persuasion

  • Brilliant Project Leader

  • Brilliant Time Management

  • Faster, Better, Cheaper

  • How to Read People

  • It ain't the Stress that does the Damage

  • It won't work because...
    Handling Resistance to Change

  • More than just Survival:
    Thriving in Times of Change

  • Practical Decision Making

  • Practical Problem Solving

  • Practical Project Management

  • Risk Happens!
    Control Risk and Avoid Failure
    in Organisational Projects

  • The Seven Rules of Project Management

Learn more on my website.


Recent Blog Posts

Young Apprentice has started
My first blog of the series introduced some of the candidates and drew the first three lessons.  My Apprentice blog over the summer, drew over 1,000 viewers per day at its peak, and I am hoping for the same.  I shall be blogging as soon as possible after each episode.

Three recent Stress-related blogs

The most common cause of
long-term absence is stress

This is a key finding of The 2011 Absence Management Survey, produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simplyhealth.

The report sets out a number of key findings, in a timely fashion.

Let Mummy Love ease your stress
Oxytocin is a hormone released during labour and lactation, and and is thought to be important in other maternal behaviours and in pair bonding; it is sometimes known as the “love hormone”. When it is triggered, we feel a deep sense of comfort and well-being. 

Leslie Seltzer exposed sixty one 7 to 13 year-old girls to stressful situations, like maths problems or public speaking.  

Disgust, Stress and the Common Cold
Disgust is one of the primary emotions and one that we most easily recognise.  Our sense of disgust has evolved for good reason – it protects us from the harmful bacteria that proliferate on decaying plant and animal matter, on our excretions and in bodily fluids.

But recently, a group of researchers at the University of British Columbia, led by Professor Mark Schaller, found that the emotion of disgust can serve a second important function in protecting us from disease.


National Stress
Awareness Day

National Stress Awareness Day is on Wednesday (2 Nov) in the UK. 

I will be on tour this week (Practical Project Management and
Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects), in Manchester, Birmingham and Reading.

...So, I have lined up five blogs - one a day - on my website, about stress:

Monday: The Most Common Cause of Absence looks at the CIPD's 2011 Absence Management Survey.

Tuesday: It ain't the Stress that does the Damage looks at the scientific origins of the title of one of my most popular seminars.

Wednesday: It's National Stress Awareness Day - and I look at some of the best new resources available on the ISMA (international Stress Management Association) website.

Thursday: More than just Survival: Thriving in Times of Change looks at the extent to which stress triggered by change is responsible for workplace absence.

Friday: There's More to Life looks at some recent research on the effect of wealth on happiness.

Stress Management

My latest book, Brilliant Stress Management grew out of a seminar and keynote called:  
"It ain't the Stress that does the Damage"

This seminar is only available  in-house - 90 min to 3 hour formats.  The focus is on building the resilience to thrive in a stressful environment. 

Contact me for details of how to book  "It ain't the Stress that does the Damage" or its companion seminar: "More than just survival: Thriving in times of Change".

Brilliant Stress Management
Order Here

Brilliant Stress Management is in the WH Smiths travel Top 50

Brilliant Project Leader

Brilliant Project Leader is due out later this month, and my next newsletter will focus on project leadership.

Brilliant Project Leader
18 November

As anyone who has attended my project management training or seminars will know, my approach to project management is highly practical.  So, to accompany the book, I prepared a resource pack of 12 project management templates.

You can now download these freely at Brilliant Project Leader website and, at the same time, take a look at the contents of this book.  It will be my seventh.

Amazon has a healthy pre-publication discount, with their pre-order price guarantee.  This is an amplification of my Practical Project Management Seminar.  It is a great complement to...

Risk Happens!
Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects

Risk Happens! is available in paperback, iBook and Kindle formats.  It is accessible to new project managers, yet has tools and resources that will give experienced hands new ideas too.  It includes 60 invaluable tables and checklists, and 57 figures and diagrams. Win a Free Copy on the Risk Happens! website, along with free downloads of risk management tools.

There is a second chance to win a free copy, at Josh Nankivel's excellent  PMStudent website.

The Three-hour MBA

"Effective, promising, challenging and
downright useful"

The Three-hour MBA, has been a great success as an open event in London, Birmingham and Manchester, with some cracking feedback.  I am taking bookings for in-house seminars.  There are more open dates in November, too - see below.

"A lot of information in a short space of time but delivered superbly that
made it manageable."


November Seminar Dates

Practical Project Management (morning) and
Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects (afternoon), November:

  • 1 November:
    Renaissance Hotel
  • 2 November:

    Copthorne Hotel

  • 3 November:

    Reading Lake Hotel

  • 10 November:

    RIBA in Portland Place

The Three-hour MBA (afternoons) along with
Brilliant Time Management (mornings), in November:

  • 17 November:

  • London
    RIBA in Portland Place

  • 22 November: Manchester
    Renaissance Hotel

  • 23 November: Birmingham
    Copthorne Hotel

You can still book onto any of these events (even tomorrow's) by calling 01227 252100. There is a calendar on my website, where you can see all of the dates.

My focus this year ...
... is on writing, responding to press enquiries, and new speaking engagements.  If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website: www.mikeclayton.co.uk.  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


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Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... mike@mikeclayton.co.uk
... Tel: 08456 441349
... www.mikeclayton.co.uk
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

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© Mike Clayton, 2011