There's nothing like a fresh start!

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A fresh start

There’s something about the start of September that reminds me of going back to school and the start of another year.

New pencil case aside, a new season or academic year can represent something of a fresh start. A clean slate and an opportunity to start over.

And so with this newsletter.

A refreshed is just one of the new initiatives I’m introducing in this, the ninth year of the business. I recently enjoyed a week-long personal retreat in Spain, which really supercharged my thinking about the business, so watch this space for exciting training and coaching developments in the months to come.

I hope you’ll join us for the ride.

🎧 A bowl of refreshing people soup!

Last month, I was delighted to join Ross McIntosh for an episode of his fantastic podcast ‘People Soup’.

Ross interviewed me about my career to date, but also the work I’ve done this year to raise awareness about workplace loneliness - and how to combat it. Once published, you’ll be able to find the episode wherever you get your podcasts or direct from his website. Big thanks to Ross (and his producer, Emma) for a really fun discussion. Thanks also to the live audience who joined us for the recording - and all your questions and very kind feedback.

Although incredibly common, loneliness remains a taboo subject. And it’s not just difficult to discuss. Workplace loneliness has a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being, detracts from our performance and productivity, and erode our existing relationships. With this in mind, I co-wrote a guide to beating loneliness with Dr. Sarah Wright from the university of Canterbury in New Zealand. As we point out:

“The effects of loneliness on our psychological wellbeing are well-established and point to the ominous effects loneliness has on our psychological health. For example loneliness is linked to higher incidences of depression, increased anxiety, reduced self-control, reduced self-esteem, and job burnout…”

It should really be on the agenda for every senior HR professional.

“Especially relevant for worklife, loneliness also affects our ability to think, particularly on complex tasks such as abstract thinking, planning, and decision making. Lonely individuals also tend to demonstrate poorer work performance, reduced job-related well-being, and lower creativity in the workplace”.

You can access our free guide and a selection of other relevant resources from the website:

You can also check out this recent video where I outline five of the most commons misunderstandings when it comes to loneliness.

🎥 Tomorrow is a very busy day…

Procrastination is a bit of an evergreen coaching topic. Virtually everyone procrastinates from time to time, but for some of us, it causes significant problems and upset.

Procrastination isn’t a form of laziness or some kind of moral failing. We procrastinate to cope with the actual or anticipated discomfort we associate with a task or situation. It’s a form of coping based on avoidance, and as we all know, this brings us welcome relief. In the short term, at least.

Over the longer term, our procrastination invariably comes back to bite us, as problems pile up and our initial optimism feels very misplaced indeed.

Over time, procrastination has a negative impact on our productivity, on our wellbeing and, when we consider the impact it can have on those around us, on our relationships and professional reputation. So, even though it’s not a form of laziness, it’s also not a sustainable way of dealing with difficulties. The good news is, there’s something everyone can do about it.

In episodes 141 and 142 of My Pocket Psych, I took a look at the root causes of our procrastination and what we can do about it. And in my most recent video, I took a look at the various stories we tell ourselves to justify our irrational delays.

These stories (like “I work better under time pressure”) help convince us that we’re being rational, when all we’re really doing is depriving ourselves of valuable time to do a good job. At the core of beating the procrastination habit is recognising these stories, and seeing them for what they are - unhelpful myths.

🎉 Nine years later…

This month marks WorkLifePsych’s ninth anniversary, a chapter in my professional life that has been the most exciting and rewarding so far.

I’ve been privileged to work with some incredible clients, complete some extremely interesting projects and learn so much from the various professionals in my life. I think it’s fairly obvious to those who know me that my role as a psychologist is very important to me and my work is something that I very much enjoy.

I see myself as incredibly lucky that I get to do what I do, and want to thank everyone who has contributed to the success WorkLifePsych has enjoyed since those early days back in 2014.

🚨 And finally…some dates for your diary

We’ve got quite a few events scheduled for September.

A mix of internal WorkLifePsych events and a presentation on how to cultivate your psychological flexibility.

🗓️ 13th Sept: Community Masterclass

Members of Community Plus will be able to join me for a masterclass with Dr. Antonia Dietmann, all about the power of conversation at work. Antonia will be referencing her interesting PhD research into the impact of social chats at work, and explaining how to leverage conversation in the workplace.

🗓️ 21st Sept: Community Office Hours

Another one for Community Plus members, our regular monthly office hours session with yours truly. Drop in (virtually) for a chat about all things personal development. You can sign up for Community Plus here.

🗓️ 23rd Sept: ‘Women in Tax’ event

I’m speaking at this event hosted by BDO, where I’ll be outlining how tax professionals can use the skills of psychological flexibility to cope sustainably with the various demands they face at work. You can find out more and reserve your place here.

🗓️ 26th Sept: Online Community Meet-up

Our regular (free!) Community Meet-up is all about procrastination and how to beat it. If the recent podcast episodes and videos whetted your appetite, bring along your questions and get some expert advice on how to put procrastination behind you forever. You can sign up here.

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