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Mindful Living from the Inside Out - Samantha Amit’s blog

 
 
 
 

Time Management skills for creating and running Productive Meetings

In my experience in most Hi-Tech and Technology driven organizations too much time is spent in meetings. Managers complain that they don’t have time for working. I want to walk you through ways you can run more effective meetings in your organization. You will also learn how to focus your meeting so that they can be more productive. This needs to be done in a number of ways.

We want to focus the meeting on a number of levels

  1. Relevant participants

  2. Meeting goal

  3. Relevance of discussion

  4. Action items

  5. Meeting summary

Relevant Participants

When we call a meeting it can save time to prepare the agenda ahead of time and send to relevant participants. Its important to try and limit the participants to those that really need to be there. If a good meeting summary or Minutes of Meeting (MOM) is created then these can be sent to other people that do not necessarily need to be present but would benefit from reading the Minutes.

Meeting Goal

Before the meeting

You want to call a meeting. Why? Let’s assume the meeting and following actions arising out of the meeting are success. Envision that successful outcome. So before calling the meeting this is part of the planning process. It will also help you in identifying who you believe must participate and others that can optionally join. Send out the goal and agenda (sub goals) in an email. You may want to look up SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely and define the Meeting goal and Agenda according to this.

During the meeting

The meeting goal should be clear to all in the meeting. Take five to ten minutes to discuss this as you begin the meeting also setting expectations, stating the goal and getting input to see everyone is on the same page. It is good practice to also include what in your opinion is a successful outcome of the meeting. Bestselling authors on self management : David Allen in Getting Things Done talks about envisioning a successful outcome and Stephen Covey in Seven habits of highly effective people says “Begin with the end in mind”

Relevance of discussion

This is a critical stage of the meeting. It’s important to facilitate and also focus every meeting. Continue to keep the focus on the agenda. If there is a topic that is taking too long you may want to stop the conversation and define an action to move this forward. You want to be focused on the agenda and not bring in new topics – this is not a problem solving forum. Notice if what is being said is understood and if you can move on to the next point. This means focusing the participants as they speak and sometimes stopping them to say ” Valuable input! Lets discuss ….” thereby moving the meeting forward.

Action Items

Action items should be clear with a date and responsibility. There should be enough time to define action items (if not during each agenda point), so at least ten to fifteen minutes of an hour meeting should be allotted to this. The action items are defined in the meeting summary.

Meeting Summary

Someone should be responsible for writing up the meeting summary which I also call Minutes of Meeting (MOM).

The meeting summary should include:

  1. Name of meeting (Header)

  2. Date (Header)

  3. Attendees (directly after Header)

  4. Absent (list of people that should have attended but were absent)

  5. Executive Summary

This contains a meeting summary with the main points and is valuable and time saving for top level executives and others that did not attend but that should be informed. It contains the meeting goal and main outcome of the meeting with any main points summarized.

6. Details

This is a point by point form of the minutes of the meeting. Try to write clear summarized points. Preferably each point should be no more than one sentence.

7. Action Items

Name of person responsible, action and date due.

The meeting summary should include a Confidential noting if relevant. It is sent by email to attendees of the meeting and other relevant parties. Try and also keep the sending of the summary to a minimum. Everyone receives too many emails. Email subject should be meaningful. If the summary is in an attached file you may want to include the Executive summary and Action Items as part of the email body content. This saves time in opening the file.

As an end note try to keep meetings to a minimum - people need time for working. When you decide that a meeting is in order try keep the meeting to 50 minutes. People need time to get to the next meeting and its helpful as a time gap to do short tasks before the next thing in the day.

By Samantha Amit


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Mindfulness meditation changes brain structure

According to the study’s senior author, Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvement and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

In previous studies, including those by Lazar’s group, researchers have found structural differences and signaling changes in the brains of experienced meditation practitioners when compared with people who do not meditate. These studies, however, could not document that the changes were the result of meditation.

In a similar vein, a scientific team from the University of California, Davis, reported that the psychological changes associated with meditation are linked to the activity of an enzyme called telomerase. Their study was the first to show a relationship between positive effects of meditation and levels of telomerase.

In the new MGH study, investigators took magnetic resonance images of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and then after they participated in an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. Images were taken of areas known to be involved in memory and learning. A control group of nonmeditators was also imaged.

The participants met once a week for sessions that included meditation, and they also were given audio recordings for guided meditation practice at home. Meditators were asked to document how much time they practiced daily.

The meditation participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes daily in mindfulness practice. An evaluation of their brain images showed increased gray matter density in the hippocampus (learning and memory area) and a decrease in gray matter density in the amygdale, which is involved in stress and anxiety.

The meditators also showed structural changes in areas of the brain associated with introspection, compassion, and self-awareness. None of the brain changes observed in the meditation group were seen in the controls, indicating that the changes were not merely the result of the passage of time.

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be helpful in a variety of health situations, including reducing fatigue and depression in patients who have multiple sclerosis, easing burnout in physicians, and relieving symptoms in fibromyalgia patients.

This study was the first to document structural brain changes associated with mindfulness meditation. Britta Holzel, PhD, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University, noted that “we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.”

SOURCES:
Holzel BK et al. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience 2010 Mar; 5(1): 11-17
Lazar SW et al. Neuroreport 2005 Nov 28; 16(17): 1893-97
Lazar SW et al. Neuroreport 2000 May 15; 11(7): 1581-85
Massachusetts General Hospital

By

Dina Wyshogrod, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Certified MBSR Teacher

Founder/Director, MBSR-ISRAEL

The Israeli Center for Mindfulness-Based

Stress Reduction

02-672-7261

Dr.Dina@BreatheDeep.net

www.Facebook.com/mbsrisrael


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Loosing Control – Meditation practice can help you gain this!

It feels wonderful to be back – Yeh back to meditation. I have sat for only two days running. Its early to say, though I know myself once I decide the commitment follows. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls it makes me feel a million dollars, just the anticipation of knowing how different I can be when I am focused. That’s what meditation does for me. Responding calmly to situations instead of automatically reacting, being mindful in many a moment.

I have a really good excuse for my personal negligence. I had a baby 18 months ago. Mika was born three weeks before my 40th and I felt like I was on drugs. Not that I know what that is! I mean I hit cloud 9. I was on a high. I was busy with my baby and adjusting to her and life, I felt so good that I gave up on something that in truth is precious.

When I reflect back on these 18 months I didn’t stop practicing, what happened was that I was not serious. I could go days without sitting. My practice was erratic and I had lost faith. I had my baby girl. I was busy with her, my family including two teenage kids, my career. We all know that even a drug wears off. Truth be known is that I am thankful for this period. It has been an eye opener. I have slowly seen my attention deficit issues worsen and I mean drastically. I have noticed how frustrated and also angry I can be at situations. Different to how I am when I am committed to meditating daily. There is much research with findings of the positive influences of mediation on the brain. I believe that the last year for me has just verified this.

I have realized that I have been mostly on automatic pilot and not conscious of the moment. Since I love control. This is a sure way of being out of it. I do realize that control is an illusion. What we can control is how we choose to respond to any situation. The feeling is terrible when this goes. That’s what happened to me. I noticed there were times where I didn’t have patience that I had before. That I could have behaved differently. I want that part of me back. That’s what meditation gives me. Its a gift of health, of love, of endless surprises.

It has been hard for me to sit. I mostly would much rather be doing something else. Crossing another item of my ever increasing task list. The price has become too high. I know what its like to be with and without constant commitment to mindfulness practice. This time in my life and the self discovery is going to be something I will talk about for years. Its because I know the difference! Meditation make all the difference - I know!


Sam (Samantha) Amit
Professional Mentor, Coach & Trainer
Tel:+972-526774475
www.ask-your-coach.com

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How to advance yourself and your business during this New Year

This year I found myself focusing with many of my clients on self management and how to be more efficient. Many people were looking for tools and ways to be more productive and to be more satisfied from the Inside-Out about what they were doing.

3 tips:

  1. Plan the important things. We are often so busy on the urgent and we don’t dedicate enough time to that which fuels and drives us. In your weekly plan (be sure to have one!), be proactive and include the important things in your life.

  2. Increase your learning and incorporate new methods that can help you advance yourself. I can recommend David Allen, Getting things Done. I especially like his method for handling large volumes of e-mails. Google “GTD” or use YouTube to watch some cool videos.

  3. Ensure your working environment is suitable for your needs. Make some small changes so that you are more productive, comfortable and motivated in your office. For the Independent Professionals amongst us that are working out of home, have a dedicated space and feel like you are “going to work”.

Opportunities to grow:

For Small Business Owners that feel they are lacking the noise of the office I can recommended a Program called Quantum Leaping Forward With Your Business: Incorporating Co-working in offices in Raanana with other independent professionals, Training & Coaching to Transform Your Business Quickly.

For more information: http://bit.ly/djiQMH

Secrets of Time Management Workshop. 3 meetings.

Workshop is in easy Hebrew.

Call me for more information or click on http://scr.bi/bkm4We


Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

I would love to see you or be in contact soon,

Audio - advancing-yourself-and-your-business-in-the-new-year


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Now is the time for Living

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we need to put ourselves out there.  To be prepared to fall down and look stupid.  I had the priviledge of being at the 5th Adlerian Conference last week and participated in some AMAZING workshops.  One of them was with Roi and Raanana (I will get their full names and edit this blog).  Roi is a paralysed from the waist down.   A  with such courage and uses his disability to show others how you can turn a disadvantage into an advantage.

He showed us a balancing exercise he does in his wheelchair ….that takes practice.  The practice involves falling over backwards and hitting the floor.  He said that in order to succeed you need to be prepared to fall down.

Just today I received this exerpt from the book The More We Find In Each Other by Merle Fossum and Mavis Fossum in Todays Gift inspiration email.  I wanted to share this with you.  “Life is a risk. A committed relationship is a risk. Letting ourselves go, voicing opinions, telling our deepest feelings, playing frivolously at the park, setting aside our carefulness with each other and sometimes falling flat on our faces — all these things give us the pleasure of being alive. If we insist on playing it safe, then we never feel the thrill of the game. Our lives with each other become flat and empty if we do not take some risks. We have a right to be weak as well as strong; a right to be respected when we feel silly as much as when we appear dignified; a right to say what we believe even if it is half-baked. The greatest mistake is never to engage life.

Have a fantastic day,

with love

Sam


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How prepared are you to change?

Life is a forever changing.  How set are you in your habits and ways?  How prepared are you for stepping out of your shoes?

What made me write this blog post tonight is that I not literally but physically stepped out of my shoes this afternoon when my shoe platform came away from my shoe whilst walking on the pavement.  So if you can imagine me hobbling along with one high platform and another flat shoe until I made the decision to get a bit dirty.  Now you have to understand that I have a fetish for clean feet!!!  I overcame this and decided to enjoy the freedom of walking barefoot.  I consciously chose to feel the warmth of the road beneath me from the baking sun and it was truly a weird feeling that I actually enjoyed this and my walk even changed into a slight swing.

We can feel liberated by unexpected occurrences that challenge us, when we go with the flow rather than clinging on to the old.  Embrace change!  Renew yourself.  Do something small that is different then what you would usually do.  It may even be driiving a different way to work, or choosing to by a new color shirt that you usually would not wear.  I know that I take calculated chances but do step out of my shoes pretty frequently and especially so out of curiosity to see what will be.    We can do this also when we feel fear gripping us.  We can hold on to that fear or try moving with it and you may be just walk a few more steps and leave that fear behind you.

By Sam Amit


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Feeling scared at a primary school play

My 11 year old son, Barak, participated in the holocaust ceremony this morning, which included a play, at his school. In the play he together with other children hid in the basement of a home of people who risked their own lives to save others. The children had to keep silent when the German soldiers came looking for them, the Juden. I went to watch with Barak’s 8 month old sister, Mika. There was almost silence in the hall and while I was watching I was trying to make sure that Mika didn’t blurt anything out as baby’s tend to do. I kept putting her pacifier into her mouth and she kept taking it out. I can say that I felt a kind of a fear and as I felt this I thought – “Sam can you imagine what the parents must have felt when trying to keep their babies and little children quiet?”

We live in such easy times. I cannot imagine the horrors that holocaust survivors went through. My thoughts are with the survivors and their families.


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When there is not enough time in the day….

Have you ever felt that there just isn’t enough time in a day? That your task list is 10 miles too long? Then it may be time to start prioritizing. Focusing or prioritizing on what you want to move forward lowers stress and that helps you be more productive. If you had to choose 3-5 key to focus on, what would they be?

I have so many versatile activities that I am involved in and this together with a family life is quite a challenge. I can get lost when I don’t stop to focus and create some order. This is why I specialize in organization as its something that doesn’t come naturally to me.

Plan your week with realistic goals you want to achieve. When doing this think about the AREAS you want to focus on and give priority to. Name these areas. Each morning (or the evening before) plan each day and decide on what areas you will be focussing on that day. Then for each area define 1-2 activities or tasks from each of these areas that you want to say YES to. During the day be true to what you have selected and build in some flexibility for the unexpected. This is always certain to happen. As you are tempted to jump on to other things that are not on your agenda remember to be true and faithful to your plan. Saying No to this means keeping your promise of what you laid out to do. At the end of the day reflect on how things went and make changes for the next days ahead according to your progress and following your review.


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Entrepreneurial Moms Get Structure

As an entrepreneurial Mom with three kids, I find that organizing your day goes a long way.

Here is an idea to break down your day and get some kind of structure into your life even if it only feels like it.

You can take this basic structure and play around with it. It’s important to find what’s right for you.

I suggest breaking your 24 hour day into categories and within these the time you would like to spend on each. Home Maintenance (3.5 hours) , Personal Care (2 hours) Work (7 hours) , Sleep (8 hours), Life & Family (3.5 hours) .

Home Maintenance is cleaning, decluttering, fixing things, running home errands like the shopping, gardening. Personal Care is your daily exercise, personal grooming like your hair, going for a mani or pedi. Life & Family is cooking, time with your partner and the kids, extramural activities, family or school meetings, life appointments like going to the dentist, buying clothes. Flexibility should be built into all these categories since the unexpected will always come up.

Define and continually review your goals.  Make weekly tasks. Daily to do lists often lead to stress. I know with myself that when I have too much to do it can be overwhelming. I take one step at a time, try and do as much as I can in my weekly list and focus at the end of the day at what I HAVE done instead of what I have not done!


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Preparing for a family holiday – what’s important for you?

In my coaching session with Karen Alon I chose to be coached about my upcoming holiday where I am going to be visiting my parents in South Africa. I will be traveling together with my fourteen year old teenage daughter, my eleven year old son and seven month old baby. What came out of the coaching session is that I want to be conscious of each child’s needs, really listen to them, a chance to get closer to my children, know them even more and give each child some time with me alone.

At the start of the coaching session I myself did not know what I wanted exactly. I expressed the desire to plan more and not to let things be too spontaneous. Spontaneity comes naturally to me and this is my default way of behaving. This means planning very little. As you know everything in life his its benefits and disadvantages. The disadvantage of waking up each morning on vacation and then going with the flow is that you can land up doing very little and spend a tremendous amount of time in front of the television. Adults may read, many kids are really good at reading the subtitles on TV shows. Although I must admit my eleven year old does love reading books. I realized that I wanted to plan with each child and see what each wanted to do while we were away in addition to the usual going to restaurants, movies, shopping and of course seeing animals. What also came up was being aware especially of my teenage daughter who will be away from her friends and knowing that this would be a challenge for her.

I will use this time away to spend time with each child alone and communicate with them. My son wants to take some swimming lessons which he has not done in a while, my daughter wants to horse ride. We will do a bit of the usual and maybe some new things. What’s important for me is not so much the doing but the BEING. How will I be with each and everyone?

I encourage you to think about your Passover or Easter holidays and what’s important for you during this time.  Do you need to plan ahead for something to happen? Organize something? How do you want to BE?


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