Feeling Fuzzy When It’s Time to Write

Graphic by ErikaWittlieb

I have time to write now, and so much to say, why am I feeling fuzzy? There are so many distractions and things to do, but I can’t seem to focus on anything. I started the outline for restructuring my website and drew a blank. What could be going on? I will share some of my challenges, actions, and results to get back to writing.

Physical distractions

When I have difficulty writing, I notice physical needs. One physical distraction is hunger. I got back from the dentist an hour ago. The hygienist coated my teeth with fluoride and said it’s best not to eat for 2 hours. I had a small granola bar for breakfast and half a cup of coffee anticipating a nice lunch at noon. It’s 1:00 and I’m wondering if I should go ahead and eat and risk less benefit from the treatment. Should I plow through when I am not at my best? Or should I take on other tasks that don’t require mental stamina and creativity? Good questions to ask myself.

My plan: Plow through and write about the problem while I am feeling it, do something active for 20 minutes and then have lunch. 

Result: After sitting in the dentist chair for an hour, doing a task that needed to be done and required physical movement helped my body and brain work together.

Mental focus

I’m trying to work, but I can’t think of anything. I had a busy morning and early afternoon is not my most creative time of day, so it’s difficult to just sit down and work on a plan using my creative juices that are not flowing.

My plan: Practice a Mindful Moment activity to finish this article.

Result: After a breathing and visual focus exercise––ok, I threw in the vowel exercise just for fun––I feel more relaxed and focused to finish writing. Bonus: I even forgot I was hungry while doing these exercises. 

Emotional distractions

Questioning whether the time and effort is worth working on my website was a distraction that gave me the mind fuzzies. Will anyone find my website? Will they care enough to read all the articles and information I keep adding? Will I be wasting my time? These are questions worth answering.

My Plan: Put in the effort to make my website representative of what I can do for the reader, make sure it is easy to navigate, invest time/money into making the website easy to find. Hire someone if I feel uncertain about doing it myself. If I am hesitant about reworking my home page, I will procrastinate, and it won’t get done.

Result: I feel motivated to carry out this plan. It is doable and I can’t wait to start, but I am looking forward to first having lunch.

Need more strategies for overcoming the mind fuzzies, lack of focus or overwhelming distractions?

Stand Out from the Crowd with a Thank You

Always send a thank you after a formal interview or strategic conversation because a thank you will make you more memorable and more likely to get the job you want. When a hiring manager or person of interest remembers you, they will be more likely to bring you back for a second interview, hire you, or refer you for another opportunity.

When you are in the middle of a sea of job seekers, how do you rise to the top?

When an organization interviews lots of people, it is very easy for them to mix candidates up or forget specifics. Your thank you helps remind them who you are

Career Sherpa, Hannah Morgan

You stand out from the crowd of qualified candidates when you show gratitude and hiring managers notice.

68% of hiring managers say ungrateful job seekers are jeopardizing their own candidacy

Talent Inc.
Show gratitude with a thank you note
  • After a formal job interview.
  • Following a scheduled informal interview to gain career information.
  • When someone has taken the time to discuss their career path, job search strategies, or career options with you. 
Email, letter, or both to show gratitude

Whether you send an email, letter, or card will depend on the situation. The best way to know what to send is to ask the interviewer, at the end of the interview, when they will be making a decision, or when you might hear from them. You don’t always have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview, but be prepared with questions, so you won’t miss the opportunity to get more information. Have a draft thank you prepared ahead of time ready to personalize for the specific interview.

  • If they will be deciding in the next week, send a thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. 
  • If they don’t give you a time frame, send a written note or letter and an email the day of the interview if possible. 
  • If the decision will be longer than a week, then mail a thank you.
The advantages of written vs. email thank you letter
  • For formal interviews where professionalism is important, mailing a formal typed thank you letter with a customized letter to each interviewer, is often preferrable.
  • A letter gives you space to tell the interviewer why you want to work for the company and why they should hire you in your own words.
  • A hand-written note, especially if you have neat readable handwriting, can be more personal.
  • Mail takes longer, but it is more likely to get to the sender. Email can get lost in spam or missed in a mass of emails. Be sure your subject line tells the receiver what it is about, for example “Thank you for the interview for <position> or Thank you from <your name>
  • When time allows, it is safest to send an email and mailed thank you (don’t send identical letters).
Thank you letter format

Your name and address

The recipient’s name, title, address (to each interviewer)

Subject line if email

Dear Ms./Mr. last name, or if it is someone you know, you might use a first name.

First paragraph: Thank the interviewer for taking the time to talk with you. Add something specific about the interview to remind them who you are. 

Second and optional third paragraph: Discuss your qualifications specific to what you now know about the job. Add something you didn’t have the opportunity to discuss in the interview.

Concluding paragraph: Conclude with thanking them again, telling them how you will fit with their team, and the best way to reach you (even if you have already told them) for questions or more information. 

Closing: Something simple like “Sincerely” or “Best Regards.”

Sign your name

Add links to social media, portfolio, etc. if desired

Thank you letter examples

How to Send a Thank You for an Interview, from Indeed. 

Tip: Whenever possible, be specific in your descriptive words. You stand out from the crowd when you use memorable words rather than general overused words. Use a thesaurus if needed. General words like, “great” don’t have a lot of meaning. In the thank you letter from Indeed above, what other word could be used instead of “great” in this sentence:

“It was great learning more about the company and culture” 

If you can’t find a specific meaningful word for your sentence, consider eliminating it since it just takes up space. Get help if you are having difficulty creating powerful sentences.

A less than perfect thank you letter is better than none-at-all, as long as you check your grammar, punctuation, correct spelling of names, and consistency. Be respectful of others time, do something extra, and set yourself apart with a thank you. It gets easier every time you show appreciation. You can start with social media by giving a recommendation before asking for one, thanking colleagues for sharing their expertise, send a thank you email for a gift or card. It will soon feel natural to say thank you, and it could be what gets you the job you want.

Stay Always Employable with skills you want to use.

Copyright Nancy J Miller@2021 http://www.nancyjmiller.com. This article may be duplicated in its entirety with attribution including link. Thank you for sharing.

Laughter and Play Are an Important Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Smiles and laughter connect people in their life, work, and job search. Dr. Phillip Glenn combed through fifteen different job interviews, and analyzed the social dynamics of laughing.  Laughter was shown to be a tool to build rapport, and interviewees who responded with laughter appropriately were more successful. http://www.stanforddaily.com/2010/04/28/strangely-charming-the-science-of-laughter/

Laughing is part of a healthy lifestyle. A hardy laugh increases oxygen, helps reduce stress, and done long enough can even be healthy exercise for people of all ages and abilities.

Laughter really is the best medicine, says Dr. Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center. Based on a study of heart healthy de-stress activities, he says it is important to exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day. http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2000/laughter-is-good-for-your-heart-according-to-a-new-ummc-study#ixzz3CxN154f2

Play is refreshing.

Most of the literature and government programs emphasize the importance of play for children. Play is just as important for adults for the same reasons: freedom, fun, fitness, stress relief, relationships, energy, and general well- being. 

When you incorporate play and delight in your life and work you will attract customers, employers, and friends that will help you and your business grow and excel. You can play with your kids, grandkids, pets, friends, and family, and appreciate playfulness in yourself and others. Get in the habit of having fun moments. Stretching, running, jumping, and laughing with kids is the most exhilarating exercise I have found. It hits all of my senses at once. 

“By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, you can reap the myriad of health benefits throughout life.” The Promise of Play.

Actively playing relieves stress, improves learning and creativity, increases energy, and enhances productivity.

“Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.” http://www.helpguide.org/life/creative_play_fun_games.htm

Reference

The Promise of Play: A Report from the 2010 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-galinsky/the-promise-of-play-a-rep_b_651192.html. Accessed 9/10/14

Mindful Moment Exercises to Help You Look and Feel Better

Distress (what we often call stress) can lead to physical ailments, conflicts, and emotional stress. Healthy stress (eustress) activities lead to a healthier more creative mind and active body. When you feel good you will have more resilience to manage conflicts, uncertainty, and change. 

Employers want to hire people who are adaptable members of their team. You will be prepared to manage disagreements at work and at home if you take a moment to breathe, focus, and relax throughout your day. Mindful moments will help you:

  • Focus on the work you want to do.
  • Feel better and have more energy for your job search.
  • Have that healthy glow that people want on their team.
  • Be the person an employer wants to hire.

“When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, a hormone created in your adrenal glands, which at high levels can interfere with brain functioning and impair your immune system. Prolonged, unmanaged stress can also cause depression, digestive issues, sleep loss, weight fluctuations, headaches and fatigue – not exactly setting you up to nail an interview.” 

How to De-stress While Job Searching

Incorporate healthy stress activities in your daily routine for greater productivity.

  • Healthy stress activities give you inspiration and energy.
  • You will recognize when distress is depleting your energy and motivation when you regularly practice mindful moment exercises.

Mindful Moment Breathing Exercise

Oxygen fuels the mind and body, but we often get so busy piling on things that need to be done or worrying about things we have no control over, that we don’t get the oxygen we need. Start your day with a breath of fresh air with this 4×4 breathing exercise (sometimes called Box Breathing Technique). You don’t need to have perfect timing to benefit from deep breathing.

  • Put your hand on your belly to feel your belly inflate like a balloon when you inhale and deflate as you exhale.
  • Gently breathe in through your nose 4 seconds and hold 4 seconds.
  • Breathe out through your mouth loudly 4 seconds and hold 4 seconds.
  • Optional: You can breathe in and out colors; mountains and rivers; or relaxing visualization you want to focus on for mindful relaxation.

Nancy’s Mindful Moment Breathing Exercise YouTube.

The Sleepmaker Waves app lets you set the timer for a minute (or more) and breathe to the rhythm of the waves. (Free on IOS or Android).

Tense and Release Mindful Moment Exercise (sometimes called Progressive Muscle Relaxation).

You often don’t even know what you are tensing until you purposefully relax. In this exercise you will tense sections of your body while you breathe and then relax. If you are sitting in one place, or doing repetitive work, set a timer so you can do this mindful moment exercise every hour or two. This exercise will give you a healthy brief tension in your body while you focus your mind on your breathing and your muscles. Breathe in as you tense a group of muscles, then breathe out as you relax.

  • Tense your face: forehead, eyes, and mouth, then relax.
  • Tense your hands and arms, then relax.
  • Tense you neck and shoulders, then relax.
  • Tense your back and hips, then relax.
  • Tense your legs and feet, then relax.
  • Notice how your body feels when it is relaxed.

Nancy’s Tense and Release Mindful Moment Exercise YouTube. 

Exaggerate Your Vowels Mindful Moment Exercise

It’s common to tense your jaw and it can easily become a habit. You don’t even recognize you are doing it. When your jaw is tense, your throat is often tight. For this exercise say each of the vowels: a, e, I, o, u, while exaggerating each one. If you watch yourself doing the exercise, it might even make you smile which is another face exercise you want to do often. 

  • Start with and deep breath, let it out and relax.
  • Say A-E-I-O-U. Exaggerate each mouth movement for every letter and hold each one for a count of three. Put extra emphasis on the O and U. Now, relax your face, close your eyes, and smile. Inhale and exhale deeply. Open your eyes and relax your face.
  • Optional: Gently move your head to each side and up and down.

Nancy’s Exaggerate Your Vowels Mindful Moment Exercise YouTube. 

Focus Your Attention Mindful Moment Exercise

Use this exercise when you feel distracted and need to focus on a job or project. It may take practice to focus all of your attention on one object, sound, or feeling but you can use this exercise anywhere to focus and relax.

  • Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths.
  • Notice everything your senses are bringing in: your vision, hearing, and feeling (everything your body is touching).
  • Choose one of your senses, for example, your vision: focus your vision on what you can see in front of you. Breathe. 
  • Focus on one object. Breathe. If the object makes you smile, that is even better).

You can do this with your hearing by focusing on one sound. You can focus on what you feel with your body.

Nancy’s Visual Focus Mindful Moment Exercise YouTube. 

Mindful Moment exercises help you eliminate distractions in your mind and body for improved relationships and productivity. Enjoy your breath!

References

Harvey, K. (2020). How to De-stress While Job Searching. Retrieved from https://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/de-stress-while-job-searching

Miller, N. (2014). A Health Lifestyle Increases Career Success. Retrieved from https://ncda.org/aws/NCDA/page_template/show_detail/94771?model_name=news_article

Take Time to Assess Your Values

Photo by: JESHOOTS-com 

Values Assessment
The things you spend your time, money, and thoughts on will become your values. Thinking about what is important to you before you look for your next techno gadget, home, or job will give you time and money for the things you really want, rather than being driven by friends, family, and the media. Here are some examples of work values with a Work Values Inventory to help you prioritize your values.

Independence
Helping
Security
Integrity
Status
Prestige
Achievement
Respect
Responsibility
Power
Influence

Work Values Inventory

Our lives are a lot like a lake: ever changing and ever flowing. Change is good. Change keeps things clean, fresh, and moving. But change that we are unprepared for can cause a sense of disaster and loss. Knowing what you value will help you establish meaningful goals to prepare for the changes you
will experience throughout your life.

Excerpt from the book, Fire Up Your Profile for LifeWork Success, Nancy J. Miller, pg. 20-22.

Using NLP Techniques to Reduce Anxiety Before Medical Procedures

by Nancy J. Miller, iNLP Center Blog Contributor

A cancer diagnosis, surgery, and dental procedures can cause different levels of anxiety. Being prepared with NLP techniques will help with the stress of routine or unexpected procedures. The NLP techniques of association, dissociation, reframinganchoring, and using submodalities  helped me de-stress and prepare for medical procedures. Read more…

Making Plans During Uncertain Times

Nancy J. Miller, Guest Post, iNLP Center Blog

We live in uncertain times. Actually, we live with the myth of certainty until things change. Things are never actually certain, but it’s easy to live like they are. When major disruptions happen, we are surprised by a sense of feeling out of control––a control we never really had. We can be certain that there will be uncertainty and we can plan for it. Read more…

Focus and Destress in Times of Uncertainty

“There are times when you want to work on a writing project, your creative work, job search strategies, or marketing concepts and your mind feels like mush. Where did the motivation and great ideas go? Maybe out the window or up in the clouds. You can’t be sure, but there are things you can do to get your mind on the work at hand.” Focus and Destress in Times of Uncertainty, Nancy J. Miller, Thrive Global.

Your Values Drive Success in Creating Meaningful Work

Are distractions taking you away from the work you want to do? Do you feel unsuccessful or unappreciated for your creative work? There are so many ways to define success. Look around and you will find people who define success for you if you let them. You can be swept up feeling unsuccessful when you are doing work you love, and you are doing it well. Being clear on your values will keep you on track and define your personal success. Values Drive Success in Creating Meaningful Work, Nancy J. Miller, Thrive Global.

When Small Things Get Big and Big Things Get Small

“There are things in our lives that seem big, but they are really temporary or minor problems. The small things get big when we focus too much attention on them. When we make small things big, we can overlook the big things that become the elephant in the room that we are not seeing. If we take care of the small things as they come up, we are better able to cope with the big stuff.” When Small Things Get Big and Big Things Get Small, January 9, 2020/in Practices for Professionals /by Nancy J. Miller, StrategyDriven.