Helping people on the journey to success. Writes for The Startup, Mind Cafe, Better Marketing, and more. pat@phaddock.com.

Covid, holiday, and winter blues create a triple threat.

Covid, Holiday, and Winter Blues Create a Triple Threat Science-backed coping remedies for the bluest of seasons
Covid, Holiday, and Winter Blues Create a Triple Threat Science-backed coping remedies for the bluest of seasons
Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

For many of us, winter usually brings a double dose of the blues due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the holidays. This year, we’re facing a triple whammy because we’re heading into the blues season with a heavy dose of Covid-19 blues, which isn’t going away any time soon. Governments are only marginally successful at controlling Covid-19, and while vaccines look promising, production and distribution challenges need to be met.

SAD is already rearing its depressing head, and holiday celebrations are being curtailed by the increasing need for isolation, face masks, and travel bans. We’re in a deep blue state, and it’s going to get even deeper. If we feel overwhelmed now, the weeks ahead are going to make everything worse. Is there anything we can do when the holiday blues and the SAD blues join forces with Covid-19 blues? …


Hint: Screaming isn’t one of them.

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Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Frustration can feel as if we’re spiraling into the ground like a screw being turned by some unseen hand that’s out to get us. Things hit the fan, we’re up against a roadblock, everyone seems to be working at cross purposes to us, tempers are short, irritation is high, and we’re frustrated beyond description. Nothing is going the way we want.

Frustration can make us feel pressured, trapped, helpless, angry, and a host of other negative emotions. It can boil over into arguments, fire up into conflict, and lead to actions we later regret.

While screaming might release some of the immediate pressure, it’s not an optimal solution. We need strategies to help us cope with frustration and to recognize what it may be telling us. …


“Mood music” isn’t just for romance; it’s a quick cure for a bad mood

Music Can Raise Your Mood “Mood music” isn’t just for romance; it’s a quick cure for a bad mood
Music Can Raise Your Mood “Mood music” isn’t just for romance; it’s a quick cure for a bad mood
Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Our mood matters in many ways. A good mood can make us more creative, productive, happier, and resilient. On the other hand, a bad mood can drag us down, kill our motivation, and leave us bereft of happiness. Sometimes, we know what triggers our mood; sometimes, they seem to appear out of nowhere; sometimes they bounce up and down like a ping-pong ball. While it can seem as if our moods are out of our control, they aren’t.

Our moods can range from high to low in a matter of seconds. Consultant and author Larry Senn, in his book The Mood Elevator, provides a road map for navigating the ups and downs of mood. His elevator looks like a thermometer with zero as a curious, interested mood. Above zero are the positive moods from flexible and adaptive to grateful, which is the top mood. …


We don’t have to like the people we work with; we just have to work with them

3 Ways to Work with People We Don’t Like We don’t have to like the people we work with; we just have to work with them
3 Ways to Work with People We Don’t Like We don’t have to like the people we work with; we just have to work with them
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Coworkers, colleagues, clients, customers, managers, vendors, and more can get on our nerves and under our skin. Even those we like and enjoy working with can step on our toes occassionally. Add in the stressors of social isolation, remote working, and budget cuts, and our already short fuses are dangerously close to ignition.

Before we blast off in a tirade we will regret or become so mired in our frustration that we damage our existing relationships, we need to step back, take a breath or a time out, and find ways of working with people who irritate us, those we don’t like, and the ones who don’t like us. Despite our personal feelings, we need to build and maintain productive working relationships. …


Editing our own work is hard work

10 Tips for Easier Self-editing Editing our own work is hard work
10 Tips for Easier Self-editing Editing our own work is hard work
Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

Writing is a creative act; we are merely getting ideas and information out of our heads onto the page. The real work comes after we have written when we shift into a more analytical phase, and the crafting of our work happens. Editing is the process that ensures our content is clear, concise, and correct, and that it meets both our needs and the needs of our readers. By approaching editing as a methodical, step-by-step process, it becomes easier to accomplish, the finished document is structurally sound, and we enhance our reputation as a professional writer.

“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.”― …


Plan for writing success with these 7 steps

How to leverage your time and efforts when writing Plan for Writing Success with These 5 Steps
How to leverage your time and efforts when writing Plan for Writing Success with These 5 Steps
Photo by Leosprspctive on Unsplash

It’s fun to just get in the car and drive somewhere, explore new places, enjoy the journey without a care for the destination. Writing is similar. Sometimes we want to explore a topic and see where it takes us. While this can be an excellent creative and/or therapeutic exercise, it doesn’t always work when we’re trying to create something marketable. Ambling around a draft isn’t the fastest way to reach “the end.” Professional writers need to produce a steady stream of good content, and having a road map that leads to our destination keeps us headed in the right direction. This doesn’t mean that we can’t take side trips that come up and look enticing. Sometimes they work and improve the writing; other times, we find ourselves at a deadend. …


Non-techie ways to boost the effectiveness of your phone and tablet

How to Make the Most of Your Mobile Devices Non-techie ways to boost the effectiveness of your phone and tablet
How to Make the Most of Your Mobile Devices Non-techie ways to boost the effectiveness of your phone and tablet
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

For most of us, phones and tablets have become our primary tools for handling work-related matters, especially when we’re away from our offices as many of us are now. According to GeoMarketing, the average person spends more than 3 hours a day using mobile apps — and that number is pre-Covid. More than ever, we need to maximize these devices for both efficiency and productivity if we want to get the results we need for business growth and profits.

Some people are naturally highly organized; everything is labeled and has a permanent home. If this is you, or if you’re a techie, your mobile devices are probably well organized and effective. Those of you like me who aren’t techies or who are “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” people need simple ways of getting organized that respect our need to have everything in front of us. If your phone or tablet has a built-in app library function, it can organize your apps for you, no tech knowledge needed. However, since I don’t always agree with the decisions my devices make, I use my own system. Regardless of what system you use, it’s important that you replicate it across all devices to create consistency and eliminate the need to think about where to find something. …


Skills for getting your ideas across and gaining the support of others

Communicate like a Pro Skills for getting your ideas across and gaining the support of others
Communicate like a Pro Skills for getting your ideas across and gaining the support of others
Image by cvpericias from Pixabay

The ability to write and speak clearly and accurately is the mark of a professional whether you are in a career or are an entrepreneur. Good communication skills help others understand you and helps you understand them. This leads to fewer mistakes, better relationships, increased productivity, and much more.

You gain many benefits for both your work and your life by investing time and energy into improvement. A study on relationships by John Gottman, Ph.D. University of Washington and The Gottman Institute, showed that the primary reason for divorce comes from communication issues and the inability of the partners to express themselves. Good communication strengthens connections and lessens misunderstandings. It also reduces the likelihood of mistakes, saves time, and improves people’s perception of you as a professional. …


Don’t let your mood ruin your day or your relationships

Fast Fixes for a Bad Mood Don’t let your mood ruin your day and relationships
Fast Fixes for a Bad Mood Don’t let your mood ruin your day and relationships
Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Everyone has good and bad days. Your mood swings up and down like an elevator — sometimes plummeting downward so fast you feel like you’re in freefall. Other times, it goes up like a rocket. Up, down, until you’re dizzy and exhausted.

Why Positive Moods Matter

Research shows that positive moods enhance creativity, flexibility, cognition, performance, relationships, productivity, and more. You are more resourceful when your mood is positive and upbeat.

On the other hand, negative moods adversely affect your judgement and interpretations, which can lead to conflicts that damage relationships. Cognition is impaired as is the ability to control emotional reactions. Negative moods also are associated with a variety of serious problems, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and more. …


Become comfortable saying, “No”

Boundaries Matter for Professional Success Become comfortable saying, “No”
Boundaries Matter for Professional Success Become comfortable saying, “No”
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

“No” is such a small word that carries so much power when said; yet it is so hard to say. For some people, it’s more important to be agreeable than to do what they need or want to do. However, saying yes when you want to say no can lead to feelings of resentment, irritability, and frustration.

Some resistance to saying no comes from childhood upbringing when saying no to those in authority usually was met with stern disapproval. There may be an innate fear of punishment associated with refusal. Then there’s guilt. Sometimes you want to show the person making the request that you love them, so you don’t refuse. Peer pressure may also play a role; just saying no is not an attractive option when everyone is saying yes. Regardless of the reason, your inability to say no can drain your energy, derail progress toward your goals, and ramp up your stress. …

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