All posts by Chris Richardson

When Logistics Tracking Apps Become Cyber Stalkers

Where should we be drawing the line between a logistics tracking app and cyber stalking? Turns out, the difference might be hard to pinpoint.

Cyber Stalker Logistics Tracking

To watch the video version of this article, click here.

Here’s what a Logistics Manager needs to be aware of, and the boundary lines that he/she really shouldn’t be crossing.

Logistics tracking devices or Apps are nothing new these days, and anyone that has a smart phone and uses one of the various map apps is constantly satellite tracked. The stark reality is that both Google and Facebook know you better than your parents, partners, friends and loved ones!

Logistics Assets

As this technology has grown, many companies are now using it as part of their logistics tracking and customer service. Even small businesses, like your local plumbers, have them in their little white vans, so Cheryl the office manager can tell irate customers that Bob the toilet un-blocker is on his way.

But this usually works better when they’re less than 4-8 hours away!

However, one company in California took this all a step further and had a ‘staff tracking app’ installed on employees’ work phones. Nothing sinister about that you might think…

The apps are great for:

  • productivity,
  • time management,
  • personal security,
  • and a myriad other reasons.

However, the issue arose with a travelling female sales executive, whose movements were being tracked 24 hours a day. That’s right, 24 hours – covering both work and personal time.

The device had been set so that it was unable to be turned off during non working or “private time”. I mean who wants your boss to know that every Thursday night you attend Knitters Anonymous, or involve yourself in over 50s Morris dancing on Sunday mornings!

Disappearing Privacy

Anyway, the female executive decided to uninstall the app due to ‘privacy’ reasons. And got herself fired for doing so. This was even after her boss boasted about the ability to know how fast she was driving down the highway.

So what’s happening now?

She is taking him to court for alleged unfair dismissal and invasion/breach of privacy to the sum of $500,000 USD.

That’s scary.

And the moral of the story? Staff tracking apps should only for work time management and security, not be used for following each and every move an employee makes. And also, organisations need to be very careful about employee/employer gender and power dynamics, and how they could be interpreted.

It might just make you think again when an app on your phone asks to access your location!

Now where’s my phone…

Productive Minds work with Managers and Supervisors of Supply Chain Companies, providing people management training and mentoring to help leaders manage change, manage work stress and inspire creative problem solving in their teams.

How Middle Managers Can Make or Break Supply Chains

Can middle managers or supervisors make or break your supply chain company? Are organisations selecting the wrong people for these roles?

Middle Managers

To watch the video of this article, click here.

Over the years working and consulting in a wide variety of business, health, and education settings, I have noticed a common and obvious trend. The selection of supervisors or middle managers from the existing employee pool.

For some workplaces this is a smart choice. You know the person, their work history, and their technical skills, and, as the senior manager or company owner, you generally like them.

Plus, it saves a truckload of recruitment time, costs and fees.

Capability Struggles

So what’s wrong with this common practice?

Well it depends. Often the successful employee displays all the seemingly right characteristics: reliability, dependability, happy to go the ‘extra mile’, and deference to their superiors!

But what happens when they now have to supervise and direct their former colleagues? Did they suddenly get an USB stick full of management and leadership skills to download into their brain?

Did that person immediately demonstrate new behaviours, negotiation skills, creative and collaborative thinking, and ability to motivate their team? Probably not.

They usually struggle big time with the change. They’re like a duck on a pond – seemingly calm upon the surface, but paddling away furiously under the water.

They have no idea how to manage and lead their people. The shelf life of these middle managers is around two years if you’re lucky.

Some senior managers may think, “when they resign or burnout, I’ll just promote someone else”.

Cultural Harm

But what’s the real issue here for your company? It’s culture destroying. Supervisors or middle managers who are thrown into the deep end of the pool without a buoyancy vest usually sink.

And they will take down the rest of the workforce with them.

It’s usually a slow insidious slide:

  • grumblings from workers,
  • dissatisfaction on how they’re being treated or spoken to,

with a resulting in a decrease in productivity, increase in accidents (real or concocted), sabotage of company assets, absenteeism, and an unhappy workplace.

Why would any CEO or business owner want that?

What can you do?

Invest in them – train, educate, coach and mentor them. A one off induction just won’t cut it. It takes time, practice and a willingness to master new skills.

If you have ever been motivated by a inspirational person at any time in your life be it a footy coach, church leader, primary school teacher, or the old guy/gal next door, then you know how it affects you and your environment around you – in a great way!

So why not get your newly appointed supervisors or middle managers on the leadership bus?

The ROI will be worth every cent! You’ll have functioning teams, increased productivity, less absenteeism and WorkCover claims, and a place employees want to continue working for.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?!

Learn more about developing leadership skills, both your own and your team’s, and get to grips with some great life and style thinking at www.productiveminds.com.au.

ANZAC Soldiers in WWI – What Supply Chain Leaders Can Learn

How did John Monash, a Jewish son of German immigrants, become one of the greatest leaders of ANZAC forces during the First World War? And what’s its relevance to Supply Chain leaders?

Sir John Monash - Supply Chain Leaders

Recently I finished listening to Roland Perry’s audio book on ‘Monash: The outsider who won a war’, and found it a fascinating insight into early Australian military and social history.

And it got me thinking about what it was that meant that modern day universities, freeways, suburbs, scholarship funds and monuments were dedicated to and named for John Monash.

He became very famous, and if the King of England wanted to be his mate, then there must have been something special about this West Melbourne-born bloke!

You could say that Monash was pretty smart – a civil engineer, lawyer, business and artillery officer by training and profession. These skills saw him eventually become the Commander of the Australian Corps, which, at the time, was the largest individual corps on the Western Front.

Technologically Savvy

Like great supply chain leaders today, Monash was fascinated with technology, and what it could potentially do to meet his objectives. The Tank intrigued Monash and, along with the machine gun, he used it as a new and powerful offensive weapon.

Monash, like a smart manager today, encouraged his subordinates to come up with innovative ideas. One of them was a smoke canister that could be fired from artillery, providing screening for advancing troops.

He even used his legal training and knowledge of legal patents to help that soldier get that invention patented!

Health, Welfare, Blood and Guts!

Monash recorded in his diaries seeing and hearing the agonising cries and moans of injured soldiers left for dead after many of the battles at Gallipoli. It was this that led him to demand the urgent need for post combat repatriation and emergency medical treatment.

He also strongly advocated for more nursing services for recovering soldiers, which would have been a tough gig in those days.

Nothing demoralises an Army more than poor trauma health care, and Monash realised this. And any HR professional working in the supply chain knows that Health and Welfare programs work!

Leading his People

Monash’s leadership skills were second to none, especially when it came to his troops. He valued them. He wanted them alive.

He didn’t want to waste them as dispensable shock troops, as some suggest the British Commanders used ANZAC troops as, and like the movie Gallipoli portrayed them.

He went out of his way so that his troops would be given public recognition for their wins, sacrifices and heroic deeds, as censorship, particularly in newspapers, was suffocating at that time.

And what employee doesn’t crave a manger’s public recognition for a job well done? Monash understood implicitly the positive psychological effects of this.

Planning, Forecasting and Communicating

Monash as civil engineer understood the importance of intact supply chains and the logistics of moving people.

This expertise proved invaluable on the Western front. Time spent rebuilding destroyed road and rail networks, and town infrastructures, enabled the carrying of much needed supplies and reinforcements where and when he needed them.

Monash was a meticulous planner. He used all available topographical maps, often venturing into the field to survey objectives, so his soldiers could use existing terrain to their advantage and safety.

Planning skills and forecasting are nothing new to supply chain leaders, and it’s especially effective when you let your “troops” know what’s expected and up ahead.

People, Procurement and Negotiating

One of the most important tools in the arsenal for supply chain leaders, and what Monash was exceptional at, was the ability to negotiate, schmooze and defer when necessary to his superiors and reports. Or win them over with a confident well planned strategy.

Personal Fortitude, Self-development and “sucking that gut in”.

Monash, like any great leader, didn’t magically acquire “grit” or fortitude. He worked on himself both physically and mentally.

He read. He studied those around him. He picked himself up after failures and setbacks. And he was able to overcome racial slurs and innuendos, about his religious and cultural roots used by his opponents and detractors. At one stage even the Australian prime minister had it in for him!

When John Monash died in 1931 approximately 300,000 mourners turned out to pay their respects. Given the small size of Melbourne at that time, it showed how revered this great man was.

Monash - supply chain leaders
Australian Stamp Celebrating Sir John Monash

So whilst today’s supply chain leaders may not be involved in terrible international conflicts, some of the aptitudes and skills that a great Australia demonstrated over his lifetime, could be inspiring.

You can catch up with more leadership and life and style thinking at www.productiveminds.com.au.

Are you a Grumpy Supply Chain Professional?

Are you a grumpy supply chain professional? Do you regularly go home unhappy from your day job? Then you need an imaginary rubbish bin…

Grumpy Supply Chain Pro

Going home unhappy again?

It all started this morning. Someone forgot to get bread yesterday, and the anticipated tasty tuna on nice crusty bread for lunch today, turned into tuna on stale Saladas. The first reason to be annoyed!

You’ve just missed the 06.40 into the city for that big logistics presentation and the next train is 13 minutes away. The crowd of commuters is getting bigger by the minute, and guess who’s going to be standing all the way into the city.

To annoy you further, someone who forgot to manage their body hygiene is standing up close and personal to you. Starting to get Irritable?

And what about that teenager who “shares” the latest Justin Bieber contribution to the world through her scratchy sounding iPhone speaker?

You eventually get to work, and the office prankster has pinched your chair, and replaced it with the one with the dodgy wheels. The phone is already screaming at you, and the operations managers is heading your way, looking like he’s just got a parking ticket.

Now it’s anxiety that’s kicking in.

Fight or Flight Infographic

And your office nemesis is giving you an evil smirk. Just another day in your supply chain organisation.

What to do?

But what can you do to help this, particularly when the working day is over? A couple of choices can be made. The ones you usually make…

  • expect a re-run of the morning commute,
  • get home, walk in and start yelling “because the bins are not out for collection”, and the TV is too loud!
  • the kids have heard you, and bolted from the house into the backyard or bedrooms,
  • the dog is under the table trembling and your partner has lost that “glad to see you look”.

Or you can start to practice some new skills and rituals to prepare yourself for “home reintegration” – a fancy term for getting your head in the right space!

So when you walk into what is meant to be your sanctuary with people you love and care about, it becomes exactly that. You could also call it managing your stress levels!

How to do this

At work, just before you leave your cubicle or exit the building, go through a process of “shaking off” all the bad stuff that has stuck to you over the day.

If you have ever seen a wet dog at the beach shake itself, that’s what you do! Now, if you’re feeling a little self-conscious, just imagine it, but make the process as real as possible.

Some people find that before leaving their desk that figuratively throwing that imaginary rubbish into the office bin works well too.

You can have specific landmarks on the way home from work, like a particular roundabout on the road, or the “Myki touch on pad” at the train station.

Get creative and make it a powerful daily routine.

And of course, use the breathing technique, on the train back home or just before you get out of the car.

Breathe Infographic

 

So give these tips a go…and be Grumpy no more?!

A Disney Tip for Dealing with Supply Chain Anger

Are you experiencing a lot of supply chain anger? Then the Mouse House might be able to help with this key tip.

Supply Chain Anger

For the video version of this article, click here.

Angry people – they’re everywhere. Most you can avoid, but some you just have to deal with. Especially if they’re your customers or suppliers (two of the essential ingredients for your supply chain or procurement company!).

Why Dealing with Anger Is Important

Have you ever contacted a “customer support’’ service either by phone or email and had a really negative experience? I’ll bet you have.

Have your angry emotions bordered on rage or thoughts of wanting to abuse that company out of sheer frustration? I’ll bet you have.

Did you tell your friends, share that distasteful experience through social media, leave a negative review or contact a government regulatory body? Or simply make a commitment to NEVER EVER do business with them or their product again? I’ll bet you have!

Not good for business!

Dealing Effectively with Supply Chain Anger

So how can you deal effectively with angry customers or suppliers?

Heard of Disney? You know that incredibly successful business icon of theme parks, movies, cartoons, products and people management? They must be doing something right if they can deal with 100+ million people a year at their theme parks and still have raving fans.

Odds are they’re bound to get their fair share of irate or unhappy people! So what technique do they use?

A wonderfully simple technique called H.E.A.R.D. 

1. Hear (it involves listening)

That’s right, let the person tell their story. Just hope it’s not “A Never Ending Story…”! People who have had a chance to ‘let rip’ with their perceived injustices usually feel better.

2. Empathise

Let them know you understand their frustration. Comments like, “I can see how that would make you really angry”, are helpful. When you’re saying this, be mindful of your tone and voice inflections, or they might think you are insincere.

3. Apologise

Let that person know that you are sorry about the situation, product or service issue. Say something like, “I’m really sorry that this has happened to you”.

If you know your company is not at fault, diffuse the outrage by saying, “Can I offer my apologies? I’m always sorry when a customer is unhappy”. Once again sincerity must be obvious.

4. Resolve

Get the situation under control quickly and make amends. If you can’t do it right away, give that person a clear timeline when someone else will rectify the issue.

Be specific who it will be. Give a name if appropriate. People want to connect with people, not a “service or complaints team”. Keep the person in the communication loop of what’s happening.

Saying something like, “Mr Smith, would it be ok with you if I call you back this afternoon and let you know the progress on this? What time works best for you?”

Diffuse, Diffuse and Diffuse a bit more…it works!

5. Diagnose

Get your detective on and find out what happened. Was it a product fault, wrong or late order, delayed payment, or was it miscommunication and customer or supplier expectations not being met?

What systems or change in procedures could prevent or minimise these issues reoccurring? Systemic problems may need to be pushed up the food chain for attention and action.

A good manager will listen to suggestion on improvement from staff at the coal face. After all what Supply Chain Company wants increasing complaints and the fallout from that?

In Summary

Dealing with supply chain anger, and customer or suppliers complaints, is often a part of doing business. If you can manage those complaints in an ordered and sincere way, then your company is going to be in front of your competition.

Because most businesses don’t handle supply chain anger very well at all. Sometimes just asking that irate or angry person, “How could I solve this issue for you “and listening will give you an obvious starting point for resolution.

It may not actually be that complicated.

The Ultimate Stress Busting Tip for Procurement Pros

Workplace stress getting the better of you? You need the ultimate stress busting tip to help level out, settle your jangling nerves and combustible temper.

Workplace Stress

Does this sound like your day? High pressure deadlines, the constant juggling of priorities, demanding customers and suppliers, and the never ending dramas of your employees or colleagues!

Do you ever get yourself so worked up that you become short tempered, irritable, and go home exhausted and not ‘available’ for your partner, kids or friends?

Do you dislike what’s happening to you? Well, it’s called Workplace Stress, and you have some control over how your body reacts to it.

What do I do?

Have you ever drawn a breath – I’m sure you have. But have you done it to slow yourself down? You know, when your heart is racing, your muscles tighten up, and your stomach is contracting or about to bring lunch up?!

What about when your teeth start to grind and your head feels like it’s about to explode like a bag of overcooked microwave popcorn bag? Then I guess you know all about anxiety!

These feelings and responses were developed in us over thousands of evolutionary years. We needed to have these responses to enable us to be wary of really scary things that wanted to  eat us!

When our brain interprets danger, adrenaline and cortisol go nuts in our bodies to help us to run away or fight the danger. It’s known today as the Fight, Flight or Freeze response. Check out our infographic below:

Stress Busting Tip

But where are the Sabre-Tooth Tiger and T-Rex when you’re in a procurement negotiation, or dealing with difficult clients or team members?

All this stress is in our head, and our mind being such a powerful machine makes these fears real…well sort of!

So What’s the Stress Buster Tip, O Great Wise One?   

Breathe. Yes, that’s it. But let me explain all the really technical moves:

Slowly breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs up with the good stuff called air. Breathe as deeply as you can, hold your breath for 2-3 seconds, and then slowly breathe out through pursed lips.

Then repeat the performance for 2, 5 or 10 plus minutes periodically throughout the day.

Stress Busting Tip - Breathe

As Easy as That!

So, go and sit somewhere comfortably and close your eyes. If you’re self-conscious, go somewhere private, or close your office door.

Of course it’s not advisable to do this when driving a forklift! And, for those of you who have smoked a pack a day for the last 20 years, you will need to adjust the tempo accordingly.

Keep at it. When you have mastered this you can add some ‘fancy thinking’ techniques to help you really sort this stuff out, but that’s for another article.

So give it a go, what have you got to lose, apart from maybe lots of stress!

To view this as a video click here.

Working in a Freezer, Living in an Oven!

4 cool tips for managers to help their staff when working in a freezer and living in an oven.

Hot_road_mirage

In the real world, extremely cold climates are usually separated from very hot climates by a very long car drive, or a flight in a cramped seat with a budget airline.

However, in the world of working in the refrigerated or cold chain industry here in Australia, the two climates are separated by only a couple of very expensive doorways.

To watch video version click here.

Body Shock

Remember the body shock when you left a Melbourne winter and stepped out the plane and onto the tarmac at Bali’s Denpasar airport?

Well, it’s the same, except you’ve just finished your shift in a huge sub-zero fridge, and now you’re walking to your car on a 38 degree day, and the inside of the car is topping 55 degrees which could cook an egg on your dashboard!

You know this is hard on your body – you can feel it!

So it’s smart to take precautions to make the transition from the arctic cold to the desert heat!

  1. Take Proper Precautions INDOORS.

Being able to safely re enter the outdoors starts with taking proper care of yourself when you are indoors. Take care to protect extremities like hands, ears, head, and feet. Move around frequently because circulation is slowed in extremely cold temperatures.

If you’re glued to a forklift most of the day, do what the paraplegic Olympians do in their wheelchairs – wiggle often! Lift your butt of the seat often and get that blood circulating.

When able get off your machine and stretch even if it’s only for a few seconds- your back will love you…remember you’re got a long life ahead of you.

  1. Layers, Layers, Layers 

Not only do layers of clothing help keep you warm, they also make it easier for you to gradually remove layers as your body begins to warm up.

  1. Stay Hydrated 

We tend to think of the need to hydrate only in hot temperatures, but your body actually needs extra fluids in both the extreme cold and the heat. There are lots of little “thermos” like drink containers that can keep drinks warm and can fit into your pocket or storage tray in the forklift.

Drink cooler as you go back outdoors. Your body will better be able to absorb cool, as opposed to cold fluids, so resist the urge to down an ice packed beverage immediately upon going back into the heat.

  1. Slow and Steady 

After being in frigid temps for hours, it can be tempting to rush out into the warmth of the sun and “get some rays“. However a fast switch from hold to hot can “freak out” the body, especially if you are prone to low blood pressure.

Fainting in the carpark is not very glamorous! Instead, spend some time in a climate controlled room (maybe it’s the locker room or staff room) to allow your body to slowly warm up before being shocked by the baking heat of the outdoors.

Stay cool!

Why New Year’s Resolutions Suck…and What You Can Do About It!

You’re on the way to the big New Year’s Eve event at your friend’s place or public gathering and the anticipation is giving you those little jolts of pleasure and pre-party nerves…all good of course!

New-Years-Resolution

Catching up with friends, family, work colleagues or even meeting someone new and interesting, is all part of the New Year’s Eve ritual for many people.

Throw in some good food, champagne, fireworks or even the odd out of date Emergency Flare, and you’re bound to have a good night!

That’s how it goes…right? But what about some of the things that your friends, and even strangers, say to each other over the course of the night…or specifically just before the midnight countdown?

You know, those big fat audacious statements that you’ve said or heard before.

Ones like, “I’m not eating chocolate or junk food again”. Or “I’m going to lose 20 kg in weight and get into that size 12, I saw at the boutique the other day”.

You may even declare “I’m quitting the smokes, alcohol, and cutting up my credit card”. It could even be spending more time with the family and less time at work.

Have you ever heard about the “shoulds”?

You know “I should do this” or “I shouldn’t do that”?

So what happens with all these “shoulds”? Well, often they just stay like that. Most people have all the good intentions in the world, especially after a glass or two of the bubbly stuff.

Proclaiming with almost religious fervour, that there “should” is going to happen…starting tomorrow! Tomorrow comes and the realisation of you acting on your “should” becomes overwhelming, and just too damn hard.

So what do you usually do?

  1. Beat yourself up with the entire negative self talk – how you’re hopeless, you can’t carry anything through, you’re no good, blah, blah, blah. Feels great doesn’t it? Really gets your confidence right up there!
  1. Or you just say, “Well…it was a stupid idea anyway”, and just keep carrying on with those behaviours and choices you hate anyway!

Mmmm, that works…not!

What if there was a way to make those “shoulds” into “shalls”?

For example, instead of saying “I should lose the spare tire around my stomach” or “I’m dropping 3 dress sizes in the next month”, you made it a realistic goal?

Wouldn’t it be better to say “I shall tighten my belt by one or two notches” or “drop one dress size” over the next 6-12 months?

These things just don’t happen overnight. Small incremental successes work well in maintaining our motivation to stay on track and reach our targets.

“Small incremental successes work well in maintaining our motivation”

So get rid of that “I must do this right now” mentality!

For example, if your alcohol consumption is excessive, and is affecting your world, then making a commitment to reduce the amount, frequency and alcohol content will often work for most people.

You could say, “I shall have one glass of wine at night with dinner”, as opposed to your usual 3-4 glasses. You may need to vary this depending on your circumstances of course…

The “Giving Up Should” will dissipate, as you are actually working on this change effectively.

What about “I should spend more time with my family instead of always being at work”?

How would it be if you said, “I shall spend more time with my kids/partner instead of watching mindless sitcoms or whatever on TV…?

It’s about balancing what needs to happen now to get what you ultimately want.

So this New Year’s Eve, as you make your way to that big event all suited or frocked up in your finest, take a moment to reflect on your desired New Year’s Resolution.

Make it a realistic plan for small steady incremental successes and praise yourself for those small wins. You’re going to have some setbacks, guaranteed, but those can be turned into momentum to continue.

So at midnight when the champagne corks pop, revel in the knowledge that your “should” will turn into a New Years Resolution “shall do”!

Chuck out the “all or nothing mindset” – remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Do Manners Matter for Motivating your Staff?

Manners maketh the Manager?

Manners-Cost-Nothing-card-with-78301094_BSP

Can you remember the last time someone genuinely said to you “thanks for doing that, good job!’?

I bet it felt good.

Even though you had to do whatever that task was, it was great getting that feedback.

I’ll double the wager and say that you thought something positive about that manager and then went about the rest of your day with a little more energy and positivity.

Which is what any good company wants…happy productive people!

Do you encourage your supervisors to be polite and respectful?

Too Soft or Too Friendly?

Are you worried about them being “too soft and friendly” and thinking that the workers will take advantage of them and “goof off”.

Your staff are people, and people at the most basic “human level”, want to feel safe and belong to a group they trust and respect.

And when that happens at the office or on the warehouse floor your business or company are onto a winner!

Those people, be it forklift drivers, pickers, packers or team leaders will be more engaged with their workplace.

I have yet to read a leadership book, or seen it in action, where manners cause sick leave, lower productivity or increase work cover claims.

So the lesson…give big genuine smiles, throw in some please and thank yous, and watch your staff transform.

It doesn’t have to be complicated!

Watch more video content from Productive Minds here!

10 Sleep Tips for Supply Chain Managers

Reduce your daily work pains by getting to know your bed better…!

10 tips to help you sleep better

It’s 7.46 am and you’re sitting at your desk, your daily planner is chockers and your admin support have already started doubling-up your “must do today… or else” meetings.

Your phone is constantly vibrating like it’s having an epic seizure… because people want to dump their problems on you as quick as they can handpass the footy before getting crash tackled by a 180 kg centre-half back!

And you feel like crap… tired, grumpy, irritable.

Jay, your operations manager walks in and starts going on and on about the latest stuff up on the warehouse floor last night and wants you to deal with it – like… why me?

Your “primitive “part of your brain kicks in and…  you explode!

How’s ya sleep going, want some tips?

  1.  Your body loves a good routine

Start an evening ritual so that your brain recognises you are getting ready to sleep, get your PJ’s on, clean your teeth at a particular time.

Get up at the same time; even on the weekends… yeah I know that one sucks!

Heard of Jet Lag? You don’t even have to leave home.

Stay up late Friday night, sleep in Saturday morning, Do a “Real” late one Saturday night “coz you’re an 18 yr. old again,

Sleep in till Sunday lunch, then struggle big time when that 5.45am alarm screams at you to get your butt outta bed Monday morning! Fun hey!

  1. Turn you damn TV, Smartphone and Tablet OFF hours before bed!

You know that social media doesn’t stop… there’s always your cousins first born child’s monumental first-steps on YouTube that ya gotta look at. Or your LinkedIn group chatter about ‘the best bully busting tactics”.

Read some fiction, look at a travel brochure, talk to the person next to you… then go to sleep.

  1. Get rid of the Floodlight!

If you read in bed, bung in a 20 watt lightbulb, or better still a fridge lightbulb anything that mimics the power output of a caveman candle.

Lights over 40 watts stimulate our brains and that’s what we don’t want when trying to induce sleep – same reason why electronic blue light-emitting things suck before bedtime.

4.  Caffeine – yeah we love it… so just leave it alone!

That’s right… in the mornings only! Especially if you are sensitive to it.

This stuff is wonderful for creating short bursts of energy, but like any drug “what goes up… must come down”. It also messes up stress hormones, so ease up on the late arvo double shots.

This drug can hang around your system for 6-12 hours, so if you like listening to your partner snore, get another short black into you after dinner!

  1. The stuff fish swim in…

Yup, that’s right good ole fashioned water… minimum of 2-3 litres a day depending on what you’re up to.

  1. Liquid in fancy bottles and cans

You know what I’m talking about… it’s the stuff that humankind has taken a shine to over thousands of years – Alcohol.

Yeah sure it can help put you to sleep, but plays havoc big time with the quality and quantity of your sleep. I mean really… have you ever woken up refreshed after drinking?

Do I need to say more… well unless you’re an alcoholic, and that then becomes a whole different conversation?

  1. Who you sleepin’ with?

So your partner is HOT, well lucky you, or maybe you poor thing!

Did they buy the 15 tog duvet and memory foam mattress that slowly roasts you all night long? Waking up sweating, tossing and turning?

Well here’s an easy fix: Buy 2 king singles stick ‘em together, they get the Arctic-proof duvet and “basting” mattress while you happily get a good firm bed with “sensible” cotton blankets.

8.  An occupied mind

So this one is a biggy to deal with, because it’s different for everyone and dependent on what’s going on in your life at any given time.

Be it: Marriage probs
Wayward teenage kids
Mortgage payments
And…
Your Job!

There are lots of techniques around managing thoughts and stress which I’ll cover in a future article.

  1. Unsticking the Velcro from your butt and chair

It’s called exercise, walking, swimming, riding, chasing the kids around the house.

Or trying to put your teenage son down in a classic UFC submission hold on the back yard lawn…. why not, he probably deserved it! This is good for the brain – free feel-good endorphins and it’s legal. Get some today!

  1.  Be wary of the big bad wolf…

Think twice about long term use of sleeping medication, be it the stuff your GP prescribes, or your friend’s sister gets from somewhere.

… Or even the nicely packaged bottles from your health products store or local pharmacy. They can make things worse.

So have a think about these tips, try them out, and it will have to be longer than a week or two, and yeah it means changing some parts of your life. But if its help you, then your work colleagues and subordinates will love you a just little bit more and your stress levels will drop like a thermometer in a blast freezer!