Tag Archives: productivity
A New Year with a New Way of Starting it.

Have you returned from your Christmas holiday full of new spirit and New Year’s resolutions and do you already feel a shift in energy as days are getting a bit longer and there is more sunlight. My plants outside thought it was spring already and I did not dare to tell them yet that winter is coming back. I remember the slight optimism of last January when I was hoping for a “back to normal” and only six weeks later the world was in turmoil again. 

This year I made a change and started the New Year in South India at 30 degrees Celsius and with an amazing vacation that feels like a trip to paradise. And while it’s cold and snowing now in Switzerland the warmth and happiness I took with me lightened up my heart for most of the last two weeks. I hope you understand that I also have moments of self-doubt and fear and that I’m not always the calm and relaxed coach that you might know. I can also get stressed and deal with similar issues you might experience. This year though I have not (yet) felt the “post-holiday” blues. I even feel elated as I write this, in a rather festive spirit as I complete the second work week of this new year.

My desire and ambition is to be fresh, energetic, focused and emotionally stable. I want to create and find the atmosphere for creativity whether I’m in an office or in a fancy hotel room. I want to be up for networking with prospects and clients all the time. I want to get up in the morning with a big smile and fulfill my purpose whether we have a pandemic, a war, or a snowstorm. And this is why I’m practicing how to manage my energy better constantly. And in India I was even more motivated to learn more about meditating and yoga.

The Magic of Rituals 

6 January marks the last day of the holiday season in Germany and Switzerland. In some parts of Europe, it is the most important day of the holiday season. For us, it means that the next day we really need to throw out the Christmas tree and all the decorations. It’s a nice ritual and the cleaning-up exercise means that I can get back into full steam. As often rituals help me with transitions and change I thought I’d share mine to get back into my creative mode again. I also think someone needs to tell my neighbor that it is definitely high time to take down the Christmas decorations especially as we are approaching New Year this weekend (again). I asked my colleagues in Singapore if it was okay to wish them Happy New Year (ahead of time) as in the German culture wishing ahead is often considered bad luck but they loved it. So from one Happy New Year to another Happy New Year I believe we should all take vacation, work-from-anywhere and really re-energize before getting back into the hustle and bustle of our self-imposed modern lifestyles. Yesterday, I even managed to close the books for 2023 and discard old case files. 

1 – Decoration Boxing

Allow yourself one last look at your Christmas cards and decorations. Then box all of them into the Christmas box where you keep them until after Thanksgiving or the first advent weekend. Say goodbye to Christmas movies too..

2 – Calendar Planning

Get an annual calendar for your wall and mark all the important dates such as holidays, vacation or downtime, birthdays, weddings, launch dates, workshop days, lectures and other important events that you already committed to. Plan one long weekend every month for either self-care, your partnership or a strategic offsite. Book all your travel ahead with enough cancellation options and dive into the feeling of pre-travel excitement way before it is happening. Did you book your summer holiday yet?

3 – Routine Prepping

Prepare everything that you usually need to have ready to get into your weekly routines such as lunches, dinners, grocery shopping, and other regular Sunday activities to start into a good week ahead. Get your hair, nails, shoes, suits back in work look. (I know those bra’s are starting to feel uncomfortable.).

4 – Workspace Enhancing

Clean your workspace at home and consider at least one enhancement such as upgrading your software, buying colorful pens, post-it notes or a new journal. Buy a few colorful physical folders for your creative ideas and pimp up your filing system. Get yourself an orchid or a beautiful flower that you can add to your “home office.”. 

5 – Purpose Reminiscing

Remember why you are where you are today in your professional life and as an entrepreneur, digital nomad or expat and connect with your mission statement. Read it out to yourself. Does it still fit? Check your resume and other brand messages. Is there anything you feel needs an upgrade? Visualize your life in 2023, add photos to your vision board and pick your word for 2023 if you haven’t done so yet.

I wish you all a wonderful start in the New Year.

Angie

PS: If you haven’t received a Global People Club Sandwich from us yet this year please make sure that you subscribe as we will continue to deliver these blog posts to your inbox.

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Do you feel like the nutcracker sometimes?

Recently I went to the ballet. They showed Nutcracker and Mouseking. If you know the story of the nutcracker you might be able to relate to his feeling. He is a prince trapped in a wooden statue. Maybe you feel more like “Aschenbroedel”? A princess trapped in a gray suit who sorts out the beans or the dollars on a spreadsheet.

You are well-traveled and fascinated by traveling outside the shores of your country. You are presumed to have the same bubbly experience as an expat sent on an international assignment to another country. You thought your experience would be like the adventure that you had on your previous vacation trips. Your first day in the foreign land was laden with a lot of exuberance and effervescence. But you had barely spent one month before all your hopes disappeared into the thin air.  Now, the only rhetorical question you keep asking yourself is “Can I get relief from being trapped in this figure, please?” or “Where is that prince in shiny armor that will find a shoe that only fits me? When will I be invited to dance at the ball?”.

There are many moments when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated that you can’t do it all.  And you don’t want to add to the stress of your spouse who’s busy searching job boards and tweaking their resume every time.

Your days are busy. Sometimes you leave work at the end of the week feeling unfulfilled, longing for a sense of purpose.

Sometimes you lie in bed missing your parents, friends, and loved ones so much that you often wonder if this was all a big mistake. In the middle of all these, you receive your line manager’s email that the presentation you made was a wreck.

The longer this goes on you notice that feelings of resentment creep up, toward your partner, your job, your young kids, or even your host country.

This does not have to be your story or case. I want to help you gain control of your life and live with a sense of purpose again. If you are feeling frustrated, crave a sense of purpose, or wish you are doing more to make the most of your life abroad, we have the answer you have been looking for.

Our program addresses, head-on, the biggest challenges that globally mobile individuals face, it is based on methods tested for over a decade with individuals just like you.

We teach you powerful strategies to give you immediate relief to your immediate challenges and help you take over the driver’s seat of your life’s vehicle. All of this, in short, easy-to-apply lessons – right when you need it. It has everything you need to:

● Develop and keep the right mindset to cherish your experience abroad

● Identify your purpose abroad (beyond work or the family)

● Stop letting stress get between you and the ones you care for

● Feel close to loved ones, even if they are thousands of miles (or kilometers) away

Imagine a life where you feel in control and spend your time and energy on things that resonate with your higher self.

● You are taking real steps to reduce the strains of your life abroad

● You have your confidence back

● You feel competent in your intercultural interactions

● You are fueled by a sense of purpose

● You have a community of people who understood you, and whom you could rely on for support

 You can start today and then rise from the physical and mental exhaustion in which circumstances have kept you. Yes, you can rise to a new life of purpose and relevance.

I am not just going to propose some hypothetical ideas, but time-tested, hands-on ideas that would immediately get you back on track. Having lived abroad and moved several times in my life, I had to deal with adapting to a different intercultural climate myself. I have been able to weather even the most complex challenges and it would be my pleasure to take you by the hand and help you navigate this new terrain.

If you want to make some important changes, anywhere from feeling less overwhelmed, finding purpose, or creating better connections with your loved ones from afar, book a meeting with me here. I want to learn more about you and the challenges you are currently facing.

Kind regards,

Angie Weinberger


By Romée Jager

Do you feel overwhelmed and overloaded before the day has started? You are not alone! It is 7:30 AM, and I started working half an hour ago. Even though it is only the beginning of my working day, I already feel way behind. I am staring at my screen and scrolling through my emails, marking them as unread again and giving them a color code. 

I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start. My solution? Making myself a second cup of coffee. While the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans reaches my nostrils, I think about how to structure my tasks for the day. 

I wonder why we ‘’only’’ have 24 hours in a day, and I start wondering whether I will make it in time for my dinner appointment, as I will probably have to work late again. I feel like my mind is going in a downward spiral, and suddenly I remember something that Angie Weinberger once told me: ‘’it is not that we need more hours in a day; instead, we should prioritize better’’. 

It would be great if somebody could invent the time machine and double the time we have in a day. But let’s face it, as the time machine has not been invented (yet), we need to find ways to boost our productivity by getting more done in the time we have. 

Peak, Through, Recovery

If you enter ‘’Improving Productivity’’ on Google, more than 226 million results pop up, including many articles providing productivity hacks. We have already provided you with Angie’s seven productivity hacks.

However, it is fundamental to consider your biorhythm when implementing those tips. Knowing your chronotype is key.

Instead of just scrolling through our emails and randomly doing some of our tasks, we should carefully reconsider when we do certain tasks in order to increase our productivity. According to Daniel Pink, international best-selling author of six provocative books about business and human behavior, significant changes in performance can be seen depending on the time of day we choose to do certain types of tasks. Therefore, instead of just accomplishing them randomly, we should carefully plan and structure our day. Our day is divided into three periods of productivity that Pink calls: Peak, Through, and Recovery. 

Identify Your Productivity Periods

As you plan your day, you need to consider your different periods of productivity. Do you recognize any of the mentioned productivity periods? When do you have the most energy during the day? During which part of the day are you the most focused? These are all questions that you should start asking yourself. 

Research shows that everybody has their own subjective understanding of chronological time. Edward T. Hall identified that time is a concept greatly influenced by culture. He distinguishes two main types of time perceptions. In some cultures, the people have a polychronic time perception, which ‘allows’ them to do several things simultaneously, whereas, in monochronic cultures, people prefer to do one task at a time. 

It is critical to understand your preferences. For example, try identifying the different productivity levels you have during the day and plan your tasks accordingly. Personally, my peak time is during the morning until just before lunch; therefore, this is the best time for me to do some highly focused work. As I am mono-focused, this is the time for me to turn off my Skype/Zoom/Slack notifications and get some work done. 

After lunch, my productivity drops, and I see myself scrolling through my emails again. As I already had three cups of coffee, I really can’t solve that ‘low’ with yet another cup. Instead, this is the time for me to start on the administrative tasks and routine activities. During my ‘’Through’’ period, I feel that the ‘’Recovery’’ is coming, and I move to more creative and insightful tasks again. 

How to Get Started

Maintaining a Have-Done Diary could help recognize how you use your daily time and understand when you are better focused. When you have identified your different productivity periods, the next step is to plan your tasks accordingly. After a while, you can see your productivity skyrocketing and your pile of work getting thinner. Try these two methods to improve your productivity.

Consequently, after you go through the steps of the Have-Done Diary and Productivity Level Periods Analysis, you can peacefully shut down your work computer and feel satisfied. You can even plan your tasks for tomorrow already. You can now be at ease and attend dinner parties with your loved ones. You might even sing along with the radio while driving home because you got things done! So you come home, and your mind is where it needs to be, present in the moment. 

If you want to learn more about timing and our hidden patterns, we recommend you this book ‘’When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’’ by Daniel Pink. 

Do you find it challenging to identify your productivity periods? Or do you feel that you need to reset yourself again? Then our RockMeRetreat from 17 to 23 November 2022 is for you! 

During the RockMeRetreat, we will work on boosting your productivity. Hopefully, once you come back from this week, you will feel refreshed and inspired again and ready to tackle whatever challenges arise. Does this sound interesting to you? 


Sign up here to be invited! Angie will be happy to set up a meeting with you to discuss your participation.

About the Author

Romée Jager is the Intercultural Consultant at Global People Transitions. She loves traveling and is passionate about exploring new cultures. Romée has an MA in Intercultural Management and considers herself an interculturalist. She has been working in a Dutch governmental youth panel for over seven years, where her aim was to give the youth a voice in the Dutch political system. She believes in continuous learning and is passionate about doing research. She wrote her master thesis about Defensive Nationalism, is currently a research assistant, and is interested in furthering her research by pursuing a Ph.D. in social sciences.

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Zuerichhorn "Heureka"

Despite what is happening in the world, I have been keeping myself really busy. Honestly, getting stuff done gives me deep satisfaction, and having a lot of great client conversations raises my energy level to the max. So, I personally feel that I work on my mission to bring the Human Touch back into Global Mobility and my team is helping me along.

However, many of you work in corporations and don’t have the luxury that I have where I can choose how I spend my time and with whom I am talking. Many of you still feel the pressure of having a boss or someone to report to and their demands sometimes drive you crazy.

However, being “busy” is not the same as being “effective” so I wanted to share a method that has helped me over the last few years to feel a sense of accomplishment over the holidays. You probably will notice that this year the annual Christmas rush and madness will be different. Not only because we work from home a lot more. 

Our common anxiety and fatigue level is a lot higher this year than in the past and working towards the year-end might even seem less stressful this year because your adrenaline has been high the whole year. 

I wanted to list a few topics that I am observing in projects and coaching conversations and give you a method on how you can deal with them in a playful way. This is also an activity where you can involve your family because Family Success is a Team Sport”.

1 – Oil the Perpetual Machine

What I am observing inside corporations and what increasingly frustrates me is the lack of accountability and constant waste of resources and time. It reminds me of Jean Tingeluy’s artwork “Heureka” at my favorite spot in Zurich. Often it seems that many functions and positions are just there to maintain a well-oiled machine, but the value they add to the clients or companies they serve is minimal. 

2 – Reduce the Data Squash

We also use a lot of time correcting or searching for data because the original source does not contain the data or the data is flawed. We have to rely on our brains to remember specific scenarios so we can cover all exceptional circumstances. We hire more consultants to help us administer a workflow tool that does not deliver the data we need instead of training the data entry specialist in the Philippines or in India so that the data is entered correctly. We implement three levels of controls instead of helping the first handler of the data to deliver a zero-error quality report.

3 – Mend the Process Porcelain

Do you often chase someone because they forgot to take action on an item they were supposed to deliver so you can continue your process? You might be correcting processes and mending broken process porcelain because the decision-makers do not understand the process and just run around like a headless chicken. Sometimes you might feel like a mother at work trying to collect the toys that the children left lying around all over the floor. You pick them up so that nobody trips, but you are also not really noticed while you do your work quietly in the background. (My image here is that of the mended mask of Kylo Ren, an old Japanese tradition being showcased in a lovely way in Starwars.) 

4 – Feed the Digitalization Babies

Many digital processes still are in the baby’s shoes so they often need someone to check them and make sure that they are completed. I have been in arguments with my bank because they don’t offer a draft function so that I can enter payments right when I receive the invoice and execute them later when I have enough funds in the account. My payments regularly get stuck because of cash flow issues. Then I need to build an administration around the digital process. And the funny thing is that here they always blame the customer. They hardly ever say: “This is an interesting idea and if we can help you with that we will consider it.” Still, I encourage you to feed the digitalization babies by giving them input, and food, and teaching them. It could easily be that nobody has ever thought of what you are telling them and that your input helps another genius to improve what is broken.

5 – Piece together the Lego Spaceship

The more digitally you work the more you miss the link between tools and systems (the rubber ring). Often you work with many different tools and providers, and then it is your responsibility to link them all and like LEGO build your spaceship from scratch. You might need to build a street or highway around a tool so that before you can build a linked system or even automate a process. It’s worthwhile bringing more minds to the table to discuss solutions and workarounds.

At the end of the day, we often feel exhausted and still, we feel we have not achieved anything meaningful. The secret to feeling good about your productivity, therefore, is in the system and how you visualize your contribution. One good method is a physical Kanban board. The Kanban board had a revival with “Agile”. I remember that I wrote an assignment back in Tassie in 1995 about Total Quality Management and came across Kanban then.

Another one is a simple shared team task list in a Google Sheet or XLS.

The 25 Priorities Kanban Board

In our team, we have developed a visualization method (The 25 Priorities Kanban Board) to help us prioritize work. I am a big fan of planning and consistency, so this method helps me keep track of my priorities and get stuff done.

You need 

  • A stack of colorful post-it notes.
  • A few big pens.
  • A Poster of A1 size (I use my flipchart). 

Here is how it goes:

  • Five Pink Post-It Notes (Work Projects) – Here, you write down your five most important work projects to complete.
  • Five Green Post-It Notes (Home Improvement) – Write down five projects you wish to complete at home. 
  • Five Yellow Post-It Notes (People) – Write down five people you wish to connect with.  
  • Five Orange Post-It Notes (Love Tasks) – Write down five requests of your partner or children that you would like to fulfill.
  • Five White Post-It Notes (Self-Care) – Here, you write down five wishes that you will grant yourself.

You probably notice that you should focus on different life aspects too, and not just work projects.

Mountain View

You probably heard me tell you before that I don’t consider myself an “Expat”. I have been living in the same home for more than ten years now and feel so settled in Switzerland that I am working on the steps to become a Swiss citizen right now. During the pandemic, I became an “accidental expat” because for a while the borders between Switzerland, Austria, and Germany were closed. Then for a long time, it was just too dangerous to travel and potentially bring the virus to my elder family members. I’m relieved to say that my beloved grandmother Maria died this year at 100 1/2 years of age and that she left us peacefully after a long and satisfying life.  My family was very lucky during these times. However, I will not forget that it took a virus to close the borders and we might be exposed to border closing during any national or international issue in the future. You decided to go on this adventure, but you might not always cherish it when you are in the middle of it. You might find many aspects of the global nomad lifestyle satisfying and you could still feel stressed and exhausted right now. You might have overworked yourself, taken too little time for yourself or your loved ones or you might be feeling a bit disoriented around this time of the year. We tend to look back in December and think about what we want to change in the New Year. We are all experiencing varying levels of emotional and mental turmoil. There is no solution to the root causes of that anxiety, but we need to maintain our mental health like we do our physical. The World Health Organization, correctly anticipating that the longer the pandemic lasts, the more it would impact mental health, has spent the last couple of years publishing support and guides for people to follow. I have been following them, and they have proven helpful in centering me and giving me better control of my mental health.

Pause. Breathe. Reflect.

Take some slow breaths, inhaling through your nose, then slowly exhaling through your mouth. Slow breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress because it signals your brain to relax your body. There are various breathing practices such as Yoga and other forms. You start right now by listening to your breathing for a few minutes without trying to control it.

Improve your Healthy Routine

The emphasis here is on both Health and Routine. That means not using alcohol and drugs to deal with fear, anxiety, boredom, and social isolation. Instead, focus on establishing consistent sleeping patterns, maintaining personal hygiene, eating regularly and having healthy food, and improving time management to include exercise, work, and personal time.

Practice Self-Care

We are human and thus not immune to doubt and anxiety. Don’t expect too much of yourself on days that are more difficult than others. Instead, accept that some days, you may be more productive than others. One way to practice self-kindness is to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed, especially news from your home country. Limit news to fixed times during the day and listen only to trusted sources. 

Offer Support in Your Community

If you can help yourself and have the capacity for it, helping others can be good for you too. Offer support to people in your community who may need it. We have learned to be resilient, we have survived previous crises, and we have managed to turn our lives around in the oddest situations. But now, we are not so sure anymore. When will this pandemic end? And how will we live when we get out of it? Which part of the world still feels safe? Will our children ever be able to catch up on the school lessons they have missed? 

Like we need yeast to bake bread, we need energy and love to work and live with people around us. We might think that we can just stay at home and send our avatars to work, but who would we then be? 

We need to get dressed in nice clothes, have a commute to work, and have a distance between “work” and “leisure.” Otherwise, we lose our fire and inspiration and lose touch with our inner creator. 

Join our RockMeRetreat

I missed having offline workshops and what I love about this retreat is that we can be offline most of the time and connect with our inner creators again. We can work on our relationships with people who are important to us. We can build a community of people who help each other irrespective of their cultural or religious background based on shared values and profound love for people.

I wish all of us to support each other in communities, and I’m convinced that an OFFLINE RETREAT will most certainly create miracles despite the wonders of technology. Because of the travel situation and insecurities around the world, we currently offer the RockMeRetreat in Switzerland at the Ilanz monastery. I have been on a retreat there before, and it’s a humble, yet quiet and comfortable place, and the sisters are extremely warmhearted and welcoming, and the mountain view is just amazing.

If you wish to join us for the RockMeRetreat in November 2023 please sign up for this list so we can inform you further about the retreat.

We might also consider other places for custom-made RockMeRetreats. Please email us if you wish to consider a retreat for your leadership team in 2023. We’d be happy to discuss your needs further.

Back to School – Seven Virtues for Purpose, Performance, and Productivity

Video Interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv1ju5gxMLs