Friday, June 24, 2011

Sex Before 16 and Divorce Rates

A recent study from the University of Iowa suggests that women who have sex too early in life may be more prone to divorce.  I was asked to comment on this study this week on CW 33.  Watch the segment to learn more.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this study. It would seem that other causes/effects should be considered - demographics, religious faith, marital status of parents, etc. What do you think?

The Emotion Behind Money and Spending

If you missed the Texas Credit Union League's radio show this week where I talked about staying financially responsible even when emergencies occur you can listen to the broadcast  here.


Listen to internet radio with Texas CU League on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Not to be the Cause of a Workplace Accident

I still get chills thinking about what happened a few summers ago. Several friends and I were sitting around the pool while our kids were swimming. If you are like me, you do a mental head count every few minutes when watching kids swim.

All of a sudden one child was missing because he had slipped under water in the hot tub where no one could see him. Sitting closest, I yanked him out of the water. After a few coughs he was fine and back to swimming. But I wasn't fine and neither were the other parents. We still talk about the close call years later.

The same close calls happen in our homes, on the way to work and on the job every day. But if a close call hasn't happened to you recently, you may be getting complacent about safety.

June is National Safety Month and there is a spike in workplace injuries in the summer - especially in construction and manufacturing industries. I was shocked to find out that the frequency and severity of accidents is actually highest among the most experienced workers because they become too comfortable and less aware of potentially hazardous surroundings. Click here to watch this video where I discuss this fact.

An injured employee hurts profitability. Not only is the injured person suffering from his injury but surrounding co-workers are left to pick up the slack during the injured employee's absence. Companies in the Smart Zone use their emotional competency to stay self aware and manage themselves to stay safe. Here's how:

Provide Training that Pays Off. In one study supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies. They learned how to listen better, how to help employees resolve problems on their own, how to empower and inspire others, and how to become more effective personal leaders.

After training:
  • Lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent
  • Formal grievances were reduced from 15 to 3 per year
  • The plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000

Boost Confidence in Your Organization. People who feel insecure in their jobs are more likely to ignore safety procedures at work than are people with greater job security, according to a study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. This study goes on to say, "When people are told layoffs will occur, production numbers go up, but safety compliance and product quality suffer." As a result, workplace accidents and injuries increase. If employees don't trust you or the company then safety compliance suffers.

Delay Immediate Gratification. "Being safe (feels like it) wastes time," is what field supervisors at a major building products company tell me. It's true that attending a safety meeting, putting on your seat belt, taping down an extension cord or stretching your muscles all take time. But I bet you never worried about the time it took to put a life jacket on your child at the lake? Preventing an accident is significantly less timely that dealing with an accident.

Know your Blind Spots. In a study of highly successful executives the following blind spots led to less self awareness:
  • Unrealistic, or unattainable, goals
  • Compulsively hardworking to the point of burnout
  • Drives others too hard
  • Insatiable need for recognition
  • Power hungry
  • Need to seem perfect

If you have these personal characteristics it can lead to a higher risk of you getting hurt both on and off the job.

Use Empathy to Motivate. Empathy is the awareness of the feelings, needs and concerns of others. Build employee buy-in for safety compliance by having workers commit to safe work practices for the sake of their own families.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why You Should Leave Work on Time Today

I know people who are addicted to anxiety who work themselves into a frenzy- and not just because I'm a psychologist. You probably know people like this, too. They are chronic multi-taskers, over-committers, Blackberry-reading, Energizer bunny types who work long hours. While they may be exciting to work with, they are also easily agitated and prone to meltdowns. Recently I was interviewed for a Channel CW33 TV segment on anxiety addiction. Click here to watch it.

Like any addiction, the anxiety/frenzied addicted person feels they "need" to feel anxious and busy even though they don't "like" the feeling. If you recognize this in yourself or you know someone who is like this, you will especially like this newsletter because it will help you become more effective. Believe me when I say that people in the Smart Zone are able to manage their emotions and leave work on time.

Keep in mind these Smart Moves to help you be more effective and leave work on time today:

Are you tired by 3:00 in the afternoon? Eat a late afternoon snack that is low fat and high in protein like nuts, yogurt or a small tuna sandwich. A high protein snack stimulates the brain's neurotransmitters that promote energy and alertness.

Are you just waking up by 3:00 in the afternoon? Eat a late afternoon snack that is high in carbs but low in fat and protein - like a granola bar, fresh fruit or a bagel. This type of snack jump-starts the amino acid in the brain that promotes a relaxation response.

Master the ability to end conversations that are not productive: If your day includes having people come by your office to shoot the bull and at the end of the day you wonder where the time went, learn to monitor your downtime at work. When you have to make a phone call to someone who could keep you on the phone too long, say up front, "I only have a minute but I wanted to get back to you before this afternoon." That sets the expectation that the call will be short.

Devote Your Energy to the Task at Hand:  Make a point of focusing on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking moves us out of the flow. Don't have an important conversation with a coworker while making copies at the copy machine. Put away your Blackberry while working on a task. Turn the volume down on your computer so you don't hear your emails pinging. Immerse yourself in whatever you are doing.

Look at but don't answer email in the morning:  I can easily use up a lot of time and energy early in the morning by getting lost in my email without realizing that I'm negatively setting the pace of the day. Review emails in the morning but get in the habit of setting aside a dedicated block of time to respond. Stick to the schedule and you will avoid getting lost in email adventures that misuse your energy and attention.

Just for fun, watch this short video on why you should leave work on time today.