Liggy Webb

About Liggy Webb

I have just completed by new book "Thank You "and I am currently researching my next book which will be about resilience. I am the Founding Director of The Learning Architect and work as an international consultant with the United Nations. This involves travelling extensively and my trip to Afghanistan this year was incredible!.

I also consult with various industries on the topic of Modern Life Skills and Workplace Wellness and the very topical subject of mental health.

My books include "How to Work Wonders" - "The Happy Handbook" and "Thank you" and "Ask The Experts - 50 Lessons “which are all available via Amazon and book shops and info@thelearningarchitect.com.

As a presenter I am asked to deliver motivational presentations on the subject of modern life skills

I am also a trustee of the Chrysalis Programme and support mental health initiatives.
As a positive psychology enthusiast and a keen supporter of mental heath initiatives I am an avid supporter of The Action For Happiness movement - http://www.actionforhappiness.org

Specialties

Workplace Wellness
Modern Life Skills
Behavioural Change
Positive Psychology

http://www.thelearningarchitect.com

Decision Making:

“Decision is like a sharp knife that cuts straight and clean, indecision a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges” Graham Gordon

All of us have to make decisions every day. Some decisions are relatively straightforward and others are definitely more difficult. Simple decisions usually need a simple decision-making process. Difficult decisions, however, typically involve a whole host of complex issues. Often there is uncertainty where many facts may not be known and you may have to consider many interrelated factors. There are decisions, too, that have high-risk consequences, and the impact of the decision may be significant for yourself and for others.

Every given situation has its own set of uncertainties and consequences, and anything that involves interpersonal issues can often be challenging as it difficult to predict how other people will react.

With these challenges in mind, the best way to make a complex decision is to use an effective process. A systematic approach will usually lead to consistent, high-quality results, and can improve the quality of almost everything we do.

A logical and systematic decision-making process can help you to address the critical elements that result in a good decision. By taking an organised approach, you’re less likely to miss important factors, and you can build on the approach to make your decisions better and better.

QuestionsTo create a constructive environment for successful decision making, you need to first of all establish your objective and define what you want to achieve. Once you have done this you will need to agree on the process and know how the final decision will be made, including whether it will be an individual decision or involve others. If you have to involve others it is so important to involve the right people and allow other opinions to be heard. Make sure, too, that you are asking the right questions and challenge yourself. Being creative will help too as the basis of creativity is thinking from a different perspective so this is good to do when you are first faced with the situation so that you can explore all your options.

The more good options you consider the more comprehensive your final decision will be.

When you generate alternatives, you force yourself to dig deeper, and look at the problem from different angles.

 

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

If you use the mindset “there must be other solutions out there”, you’re more likely to make the best decision possible. If you don’t have reasonable alternatives, then there’s really not much of a decision to make!

When you’re satisfied that you have a good selection of realistic alternatives, then you’ll need to evaluate the feasibility, risks and implications of each choice.

In decision making, there’s usually some degree of uncertainty, which inevitably leads to risk. By evaluating the risk involved with various options, you can determine whether the risk is manageable. Risk analysis helps you look at risks objectively. It uses a structured approach for assessing threats, and for evaluating the probability of events occurring.

After you have evaluated the alternatives, the next step is to choose between them.

With all of the effort and hard work that goes into evaluating alternatives and deciding the best way forward, it’s easy to forget to “sense check” your decisions. This is where you look at the decision you’re about to make dispassionately, to make sure that your process has been thorough, and to ensure that common errors haven’t crept into the decision-making process.

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s important to explain it to those affected by it, and involved in implementing it. The more information you can give to people about why you made a certain decision, the better. One of the key benefits of taking the systematic approach to decision making is that you will be able to analyse and evaluate your decision making process which will, in turn, make it easier to communicate. If you need support of others they will also feel more reassured that you have given consideration to your actions.

Once you have made your decision, accept that you have made the best decision based on the all information that you had at the time. Deliberation or indecision will hamper your progress so go for it and trust in a positive outcome.


Decision Making – Useful Tips

  • Identify your objective
  • Create the right kind of environment
  • Establish who else is involved
  • Explore the alternatives
  • Analyse your options
  • Conduct a risk assessment
  • Conduct a “sense check”
  • Make your decision and stick to it
  • Be assertive in how you communicate it
  • Believe in a positive outcome

Stress Management:

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” ~ Chinese Proverb

The pressure of modern living is becoming more and more challenging for so many people these days. If real life was like being on the set of a reality TV show – and as easily manipulated – many people, when overwhelmed with the burden of stress, would sooner be voted off!

Clearly, in the real world, we don’t have that as an easy option, and being able to develop our personal coping strategy is essential to maintaining our physical and mental health.

The term “stress-related burn-out” is becoming commonplace, especially in the workplace where many people spend the majority of their waking hours.

Of course, what is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. We all react differently, with some people thriving on it while others crumble.

The interesting thing is that no one really knew that they were “stressed” until around 1956. The word “stress” was not included in our vocabulary until Hans Seyle, a Canadian physician and endocrinologist, defined it over fifty years ago.

Man ScreamingHis pioneering work into the influence of stress on people’s ability to cope with and adapt to pressure has opened a fascinating debate into the pros and cons of this modern-day phenomenon. His belief was that it isn’t stress that can kill us; it is our reaction to it. And, by adopting the right attitude, we can convert a negative reaction to stress into a positive one.

Stress Benefits?

Stress, despite the dangers, does also bring some benefits. We all need a certain amount of pressure in our lives to galvanise us into action and “healthy stress” can be productive and act as a motivator. However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress disorders, which are unhealthy for the mind and body.

Anxiety and depression are some of the most common mental health problems and the majority of cases are caused by stress.

Research by mental health charity MIND also suggests that a quarter of the population will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

When faced with a situation that makes you stressed, your body releases chemicals, including cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenalin. These invoke the “fight or flight” feelings that help us to deal with the situation. However, when you’re in a situation that prevents you from fighting or escaping, such as being on an overcrowded train, these chemicals are not used.

If the chemicals that are released during stressful situations accumulate from not being used, their effects are felt by the body. A build-up of adrenaline and noradrenalin increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the amount that you sweat. Cortisol prevents your immune system from functioning properly, as well as releasing fat and sugar into your blood stream.

 

“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”

Aesop, Fables

Stress is a well-known trigger for depression and it can also affect your physical health. So it’s important to identify the causes of stress in your life and try to minimise them.

Any sort of loss, from bereavement, divorce and separation to a child leaving home, causes stress, as do long-term illness and disability. But things such as marriage, moving house, a new job and holidays have quite high stress ratings too.

In work, worrying about deadlines or about not being up to the challenges of a particular task can cause stress.

Man Holding Head in HandsEvery one of us is unique in the way that we respond to stress. However, some common signs may include: increased irritability, heightened sensitivity, signs of tension (such as nail-biting), difficulty getting to sleep and waking up in the morning, drinking and smoking more, loss of appetite or comfort eating, loss of concentration and lack of emotional control.

If you suffer from any of these, it is so important to take action to relieve damaging stress before it affects your physical or mental health.

The secret of managing stress is to look after yourself and, where possible, remove some of the causes of stress.

If you start to feel things are getting on top of you, then do something about it straight away.


Stress Management – Tips:

  • Exercise is one of the very best ways to reduce stress.
  • Breathing exercises will reduce stress immediately.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
  • Focus on simplicity and do one thing at a time.
  • Know your own limits; don’t expect too much of yourself.
  • Talk to someone and discuss constructive ways to deal with stress.
  • Study and learn time-management techniques.
  • Try to spend time with people who are positive.
  • Use visualisation techniques.
  • Explore alternative therapies.

Energy Management

“And what is a man without energy? Nothing – nothing at all”Mark Twain

What are your energy levels like? Are you “ready to go” in the morning? Are you able to maintain high levels of energy throughout the day? Do you rely a lot on caffeine or sugar to keep you going? Do you have much energy at the end of the day?

During the day we all go through stages of feeling up and down, feeling awake and feeling sleepy, being alert and being distracted. Our bodies go through a repeating energy cycle (ultradian rhythms) every 90 to 120 minutes. The implications are that we only do solid work for up to about 90 minutes at a time and we then need a break or switch to something lighter.

The trick to managing your daily energy is to work on the more difficult things when you are alert and focused, and work on the easier stuff (or take a break) when you’re feeling lower in energy. To make the most of your time, work in short bursts or sprints and then recover. To maximise your energy, you need breaks.

One good tip is to get up and get going in the morning. The brain is a goal seeking mechanism and likes to get going once we are awake so, if we refuse the snooze on our alarm, we will embrace our day already more energised.

Typically, everything we do either builds or takes away from our energy reserves. Effective time usage depends on looking after multiple sources of energy. These include physical, emotional and mental energy.

Eating well with plenty of vegetables and fruit and being light on the fats and sugars is important, as is making sure you are hydrated by drinking sufficient water. A good slow carbohydrate-releasing breakfast like porridge is excellent for sustaining energy levels. Sugar-rich food will give you a quick energy fix but will leave you feeling even more tired later on.

Exercise is an excellent energiser – I saw a strap-line in my gym that said:

“Energy – the more you give the more you get”

which, I thought, sums up exercise very well. People who exercise regularly are likely to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

Regular exercise also improves mental and emotional health. The chemicals and hormones that are released in the brain through exercise can help deal with stress, promote wellbeing and provide us with more sustainable energy.

Cultivating good relationships with those you live and work with is really important as constant conflict can really drain energy resources. Learning to forgive and not hold onto grudges is really helpful; otherwise they will eat you up and consume not only your energy but your time as well.

Learning to chill out and relax and let go of worry and stress at the end of the day is key. By keeping a clear conscience so that you can relax in the knowledge that you have stuck to your values and principles is one way of being able to clear your mind of anxiety.

“Enthusiasm finds the opportunities and energy makes the most of them.”Henry S. Haskins

Stress can affect sleeping patterns, and poor quality sleep will most definitely affect energy levels. If you are worried about something, it can often be on your mind even when you try to forget about it.

This may cause sleepless nights or bad dreams. You may find it difficult getting to sleep or you may wake up a few times during the night. This can also make you tired and groggy the next day.

With regards to mental energy, it is important to be careful with what we feed our minds with, as negative thinking can be a real drain and we can be our own energy saboteurs.

“We need to learn to switch off so that our mind and body has time to recharge”

so some kind of meditative activity would be good, even if it just going for a walk, having a hot bubble bath or spending more time with loved ones.

Woman on Exercise BikeIf natural resources continue to be depleted then every part of our lives will be detrimentally affected.

By taking responsibility and initiative ourselves, we can actively encourage others to be an active participant in taking better care of our planet and our environment.

There are many great initiatives that the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) have set up and many other organisations have implemented campaigns and initiatives to support the environment. You don’t have to be an eco-warrior to make a difference; you just need (in the words of Ghandi) to be the change that you would want the world to be.

Energy Management – Useful Tips

  • Refuse the snooze on your alarm.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Drink 2 litres of water a day.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes every day.
  • Take a walk in the fresh air.
  • Develop healthy sleeping patterns.
  • Reduce caffeine and refined sugar.
  • Live by your values and principles.
  • Take breaks every 90 minutes.
  • Visualise yourself in an energised state.

Life is what YOU make it!

The above article is an extract from The Happy Handbook – A Compendium of Modern Life Skills by Liggy Webb which is out now.

Liggy Webb is widely respected as a leading expert in the field of Modern Life Skills and Workplace Wellness.

As a presenter, consultant and author she is passionate about her work and improving the quality of people’s lives. She is the founding director of The Learning Architect a consortium of niche industry experts. Liggy has developed a range of techniques to support individuals and organizations to cope more effectively with modern living and the demands and challenges of life in the twenty tens and beyond.

As a consultant with the United Nations she travels expensively and has recently returned from Afghanistan which she describes as biggest life education to date!

For more info visit:

www.liggywebb.com

www.thelearningarchitect.com

email: info@liggywebb.com

call us: 00 44 (0)1242 700027

Time Management:

“But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Imagine if time was a bank account and, each morning, you were credited with 86,400 seconds. If, by the end of that day you hadn’t spent any of the credits they would instantly be deducted from your account. What would you do?

Well the chances are, I expect, that you would make every effort to spend them. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much we take time for granted and then regret the moments we lost?

ClockIn transport economics, the value of time is the opportunity cost of the time that a traveller spends on their journey. In essence, this makes it the amount that a traveller would be willing to pay in order to save time, or the amount they would accept as compensation for lost time. The value of time varies considerably from person to person and depends upon the purpose of the journey, but can generally be divided into two sets of valuations: working time and non-working time.

One of the biggest challenges that many people face is personal time management and the ability to prioritise. Let’s face it; we all have our own quirky little habits that we have adopted and I am sure we have all been guilty of putting ourselves and other people under unnecessary pressure by just not being as well-organised as we could.

It is important to respect other peoples’ time and, if our own lack of personal organisation or timekeeping disrupts others, then it is important that we take responsibility and do something about it.

Always only 24 hours

Also, it is worth considering that, no matter how organised we may be, there are always only 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t change. All we can actually manage is ourselves and what we do with the time that we have. Many of us are prey to time-wasters that steal time we could be using much more productively. It is so easy to go off-track or become distracted by something that is so much more interesting than the task in hand.

Procrastination is the ultimate thief of time, and putting off what we can do today is something many people are guilty of. It is actually far better to do the thing you least like doing first so that it doesn’t hang over you making you feel gloomy at the prospect.

It is important to remember, the focus of time management is actually changing your behaviours, not changing time. A good place to start is by eliminating your personal time-wasters. For one week, for example, set a goal that you are going to change one time-wasting habit that you are aware of. Think of this as an extension of time management.

The objective is to change your behaviours over time to achieve whatever general goal you’ve set for yourself, such as increasing your productivity or decreasing your stress. So you need to not only set your specific goals, but track them over time to see whether or not you’re accomplishing them.

“Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift.

That’s why it’s called the present.”

A good suggestion is to start each day with a time management session prioritising the tasks for that day and setting yourself a performance benchmark. If you have twenty tasks for a given day, how many of them do you truly need to accomplish? Put them into two categories, essential and non-essential, and make sure you do the essential tasks first even if they are the ones you don’t necessarily enjoy the most.

Rewarding yourself and setting yourself little treats is a good way to motivate yourself, even if it is just taking a five minute break to recharge your batteries before you set about your next task!

The key benefit of time management is that it will free up precious time, reduce your stress levels and boost your self-esteem as you manage yourself more effectively and efficiently.

Time is precious; don’t waste a moment!


Time Management – Tips:

  • Accept that thee only 24 hours in a day!
  • Find out where you’re wasting time.
  • Create time management goals.
  • Implement a time management plan.
  • Use time management tools.
  • Prioritise ruthlessly and confidently.
  • Learn to delegate and outsource when you can.
  • Establish routines and stick to them as much as possible.
  • Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks.
  • Make sure your systems are well organised.

Woman and Clock

Life Balance

“Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.” ~ Orison Swett Marde

Work-Life Balance is a phrase that has been bandied about since the 1970s. Personally, I think the term Work-Home balance is a better description.

Work-Life balance tends to imply that we go to work and we have a life! The reality is that many of us spend more time at work than we do at home and more time with our work colleagues than we do with our friends and family so it is a huge part of our lives.

Work is fast becoming the way in which we define ourselves. It is now answering some of the traditional questions like “Who am I?” and “How do I find meaning and purpose in my life?” Work is no longer just about economics; it’s about identity. About fifty years ago, people had many sources of identity: religion, class, nationality, political affiliation, family roots, geographical and cultural origins and more. Today, many of these, if not all, have been superseded by work.

Over the past thirty years, there has been a substantial increase in workload which is felt to be due, in part, to the use of information technology and to an intense, competitive work environment.

Long-term loyalty and a sense of corporate community have been eroded by a performance culture that expects more and more from employees yet offers little support in return.

Technology

Many experts forecasted that technology would eliminate most household chores and provide people with much more time to enjoy leisure activities. Unfortunately, many have decided to ignore this option, being egged on by a consumerist culture and a political agenda that has elevated the work ethic to unprecedented heights.

Stress

An alarming amount of absenteeism in the workplace is now stress-related and it is clear that problems caused by stress have become a major concern to both employers and employees. Symptoms are manifested both physiologically and psychologically. Persistent stress can result in a range of problems, including frequent headaches, stiff muscles and backache. It can also result in irritability, insecurity, exhaustion and difficulty concentrating.

Balance

It is now more important than ever that people learn to manage their work life and home life so that they create a better balance that reduces stress and promotes better long-term health.

 

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home”

Betty Bender

 

The idea of work/home balance is further complicated by the fact that today’s workforce is more culturally diverse and also made up of different generations, each with its own set of priorities. Additionally, businesses are in various stages of their own life cycles. Instead of looking for a generic, standardised concept of work/home balance, we need to understand that it is our own responsibility to make sure that we implement personal strategies that help us to get a better perspective on how we balance our time and energy between the two.

One important thing is the distinction between work and home – and to be aware of the negativities that we can potentially carry between the two.

If we are not careful, it can become a bad habit that, at the end of a each busy day, we offload to our partners all our moans and whinges about our work day, thus infecting our home lives with the stress of work. A good habit to get into is spend time at the end of each day sharing your achievements and successes and focusing on the positive outcomes of the day.

Work and home life are equally important, and the key to happiness is about finding the right balance so you can get the best and the most out of both of them.

Work/ Home – Useful Tips:

  • Schedule brief breaks for yourself throughout the day.
  • At the end of each day, set your priorities for the following day.
  • Make a distinction between work and the rest of your life.
  • Address concerns about deadlines and deliverables early.
  • Make sure you take all of your allocated holidays.
  • Create a buffer between work and home.
  • Decide what chores can be shared or let go.
  • Make time for exercise and relaxation.
  • When you get home, focus on positive outcomes from the day.
  • Pursue a hobby that has nothing to do with your work.

 

Work Home Life

Goal Setting:

“Man is a goal-seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals” Aristotle

Goals unlock your positive mind and release energies and ideas for success and achievement. Without goals, you simply drift and flow on the currents of life. With goals, you fly like an arrow, straight and true to your target. Setting goals gives us direction, purpose and focus in our lives.

The trick to managing your daily energy is to work on the more difficult things when you are alert and focused, and work on the easier stuff (or take a break) when you’re feeling lower in energy. To make the most of your time, work in short bursts or sprints and then recover. To maximise your energy, you need breaks.

There are lots of benefits to setting goals. First and foremost, they help you to develop clarity which is the first step to helping you achieve what you want in life.

You will develop a stronger FOCUS: whatever you focus on, you get more of; if you have clear goals and focus on them, you will get more of what you do and want and less of what you don’t want.

When you get clear about where you want to go, you set up steps and actions to get there. This increases your efficiency because you are working on what is really important. When you work on what’s important, you will accomplish more than you ever expected.

You will get what you really want in life, rather than settling for “whatever comes your way”.

As you set and reach goals, you become more confident in your ability to do what you say and get what you want in life.

“Success breeds more success.”

Only 3% of people have proper written goals, and according to research, these people accomplish 80% more than those who don’t. That’s an astounding difference, isn’t it?

A common acronym in goal setting is the possibly-familiar SMART goals, but what does it really mean and what is so smart about them?

The SMART acronym is used to describe what experts consider to be “good” goal statements because they contain most of the essential ingredients. Out of all the formulas I have come across for objective and goal-seeking, it is by far the best and the most easy to apply and stick to.

The SMART acronym itself has several different variations depending on who you ask. However, I think it is useful to look at all of them because it provides a well-rounded goal statement.

 

S – Specific & significant

M – Measurable, motivational, methodical & meaningful

A – Action-oriented & achievable

R – Realistic, relevant & recorded

T – Time-bound & tangible

 

The main reason that your brain needs goals is that it behaves as a goal-seeking mechanism, similar to a precision-guided missile. As these missiles fly, they continually make small adjustments and corrections to their trajectories to realign themselves to their target.

 

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the
width of it as well.”

Diane Ackerman

 

Your brain also works in a similar way. Dr Maxwell Maltz, author of the classic Psycho-Cybernetics, said that human beings have a built-in goal-seeking “success mechanism” that is part of the subconscious mind.

This success mechanism is constantly searching for ways to help us reach our targets and find answers to our problems. According to Maltz, we work and feel better when our success mechanism is fully engaged going after clear targets.

All we have to do to use this mechanism is to give it a specific target. Without one, our success mechanism lies dormant, or worse, pursues targets we didn’t consciously choose.

The key with goal setting is to assertively take control of what we want and to identify exactly what it is that we really want to achieve with a clear understanding of why we want to.

The benefits of goal setting and goal achievement are numerous. It allows you to become more empowered and altogether more responsible for your own destiny and personal success. It also helps to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence which, in turn, has many physical, emotional and mental health benefits.

Goal Setting – Useful Tips

  • Embrace the benefits of what you want to achieve
  • Set goals that are personal to you and that you are committed to
  • Understand specifically what it is you want to achieve
  • Know how to measure your goals
  • Ensure that your goals are achievable
  • Write your goals down
  • Make sure that you set timelines
  • Use positive affirmations
  • Believe in yourself
  • Don’t give up

 

Set Goals