Employment Law – Excessive Working Hours – Breach of Duty of Care

In the case of Mark Hone v Six Continents Retail Limited (2005), a pub landlord having collapsed due to overwork successfully sued his former employers in the County Court for breach of duty of care.

Mr Hone, the claimant, started working for Bass (now Six Continents) as a pub manager in 1995 and in 1998 was awarded “Pub Manager of the Year”. However, in 1999 he started working at The Old Moat House where he found himself working 13 hour days.

He repeatedly complained to his employers that he was overworked but the employers took no action. He had no assistant manager and other staff members, who left, including two chefs and an administrative worker, were never replaced.

Mr Hone, who had refused to sign a clause opting out of EU legislation that limits the number of hours an employee works, began suffering from headaches and insomnia. In May 2000, he collapsed at work suffering from an anxiety disorder. In 2004, Mr Hone sued Bass for breaching the duty of care owed to him as an employee.

The first instance court ( Swansea County Court ) held that:

Bass had not taken reasonable steps to ensure that Mr Hone did not work over 48 hours, which was likely to cause injury to his health, and that resources were available to employ more support staff for him; and

Bass should pay Mr Hone £21,000 in damages.

Six Continents (formerly Bass) appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal who upheld the Swansea County Court’s judgment.

Comment: This case highlights the importance of not imposing excessive working hours on employees and ensuring that employees have sufficient staff support.

If you require further information contact us at enquiries@rtcoopers.com

© RT COOPERS, 2005. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The 3 Questions You Need to Answer Before Working With a Career Coach

1. What types of clients does the career coach usually work with?

If you’re a recent college graduate, although it may be tempting to meet with an executive coach because you want to be an executive, it may not be the best advice for this point in your career. If you’re coming out of the military and entering the private sector, you should look for a coach who specializes in military-to-civilian or military-to-contractor transitions. Finding someone who “speaks your language” and has helped others in similar situations is key to developing a productive relationship with a career coach.

2. Does the career coach offer a free consultation?

A free consultation will help you get a better sense of your chemistry with a career coach. It’s not all about qualifications (though they’re certainly important, too!) – it’s also about finding someone who you feel comfortable talking to… After you have a consult, you should come away with some clear ideas on the types of things you would work on with the coach and an idea of that coach’s methodologies. Some coaches rely heavily on assessments and tests, while others focus more on building a rapport. Do you want a coach who thinks spirituality is an important part of your career path? Do you want a coach who is more of a listener than an advice-giver? Do you want a coach who is the same gender or age as you are? There are no “right” answers – it’s about finding a fit.

3. What are the coach’s credentials?

Career coaching is still an unregulated field – and having a certification is no guarantee of competence, but a committed career coach isn’t just winging it – this is a profession that requires a lot of study and practice. Having studied with a well-respected institution such as the Career Planning & Adult Development Network is a good sign that a coach has been exposed to well-accepted methodologies in the industry. An established career coach should have no problems telling you what her credentials are and where they are from. Again, different clients are looking for different things from their career coach – if your main concern is conducting a job search, finding someone with expertise in recruiting, resumes, and interviewing might be a good idea. If your main goal is to move up within your current place of employment, you may want to find someone who has a strong background in human resources and staff development.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Earn Money Online Without Working For It

Today I want to talk to you about how you can make sure that you never have to work another day in your life.

The whole school-work-retire cycle (in my humble, yet always spookily accurate opinion) really sucks.

You have to study for years at school, then go out and finally work for about 50 years and retire when you’re too old to enjoy it.

And let’s face it, no one really wants to go through all those years of working just to end up where you really wanted to be all along, which is having the time to do whatever you want.

Well what if I told you that you don’t have to wait to have what you want? You can have the time to do whatever you want right now and not have to work for years on end.

Sound impossible? Well it’s not and I’ll prove it.

Let me ask you something.

What do these 3 people have in common?

  • Stephen King
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Steve Jobs

None of them worked for a living

Yes they all had careers, but they didn’t have to work.

Why?

Because they loved what they did. And if you love what you do, then it isn’t work, it’s a pleasure.

Stephen King is a novelist. He writes books. Many of his books have been made into movies.

He also writes short stories (although they are more like short novels). Many of his short stories have been made into movies too (think Shawshank Redemption)

Why have so many of his books and stories been made into movies?

Because they’re good.

Why are they Good?

Because he loves writing. He’s passionate about writing. That’s why he’s been writing novels for all his adult life, even though he’s so rich he doesn’t need to write anymore.

But he loves writing so much that he doesn’t want to stop.

Will he retire?

No.

You don’t retire from something you love doing because it’s not work.

It’s passion.

Likewise the late Isaac Asimov was passionate about writing. He wrote over 400 books during his writing life which equated to about one book a month.

How did he write so much and for so long?

He just loved to write. He was passionate about writing.

And what about Steve Jobs?

We all know he was CEO of Apple Computers.

He too was passionate about what he did and he did it until he became too ill to carry on.

Why?

Again, because he loved what he did. To him his job was his life. Everyone said he was a perfectionist at what he did. That’s because he was so passionate about his work.

Steve Jobs was rich. He didn’t need money.

He kept going to “work” everyday because to him, it wasn’t work.

What if you could do the same too? What if you could find a way to set up your own online business, quickly, simply, and for free and start earning money without having to ‘work’ for it?

Working this way means you can work from anywhere, choose your own hours to work, and your income can be limitless, because it all depends entirely on you. You will be in control of everything working for yourself with no commuting and no boss to answer to.

And that’s what Living the Laptop Lifestyle is all about.

It’s about choosing something you’re passionate about and building an online business around it.

That way, you’ll wake up excited every morning and look forward to sitting down with your laptop computer for a few hours and doing what you love.

Can you imagine how great it’s going to be when you’re living your dream?

And today is the day that you’re going to start creating. Your own Laptop Lifestyle and start living life on your terms.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Working With Thunderbird Message Filters

Email can be a bit of a problem especially when you have an account that gets quite a bit of spam and junk email. At times it’s easy to just make a new account and inform your contacts about your new email, but at other times you really need to continue using that email account. The only way to do so when you get hundreds of spam and junk email a day is using filters.

Thunderbird is a free open source email client. One feature that Thunderbird has is email filtering. This allows you to set some parameters and the program will follow those and do exactly what you tell it to do.

Go to Tools then Message Filters to bring up the options. Start a new filter to begin. Basically you have a couple options. If the top section’s conditions are met, it will do what you want in the bottom section. For example, if you get the word Mercury in the body of an email, you can set a filter so that it goes into your Junk folder or anywhere else on your account. This can be set for words in the subject, body, email accounts, and many other options giving you full control.

If you have an account where you are getting twenty pieces of junk for every real email, it might be time to start also filtering out messages you want. Set up a filter for certain email addresses to go into a certain folder. This way you can filter out what you want and won’t have to deal with the spam and junk as much making using your email a bit easier.

If you get creative, you can get to the point where even a junked email account that gets hundreds of spam messages a day is still usable under Thunderbird with the proper filters.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Understanding the Masonic Working Tools

A stonemason has his own set of tools that he uses to complete any form of stonework. But this does not mean that Freemasons do not have tools of their own. Just because they do not lay bricks or work on stone inside their lodges does not mean that they do not need anything else. In fact, aside from the different Mason regalia used in rituals, there are also tools associated with each degree that a Mason lands on.

Entered Apprentice

  • 24-inch Gauge

A gauge (or a ruler) is used to measure the hours of each day. At this degree, Masons are taught to divide their day into three, spending 3 hours on sleep or refreshment, 8 hours on the service of God and others in need, and 8 hours on work and the usual vocations.

  • Common Gavel

The common gavel, unlike other gavels, has one end that comes to a point. For normal stonemasons, this is used to chip away edges on bricks and stones. But for Freemasons, it symbolizes the art of chipping away the different vices and other superficial desires of the heart.

  • Chisel

In the US, this is often left out. In the UK however, this continues to be an important symbolism in the Entered Apprentice degree. In real life, stonemasons use the chisel to remove flaws from a gem. In this Masonic degree, it symbolizes how the human mind can become more beautiful through the endless journey towards more knowledge.

Fellowcraft

  • Square

A 90-degree ruler, it asks Masons to make sure that they square their actions through their morals and values.

  • Level

The level has become a symbol of equality among Masonic brothers. It also shows that every Masonic brother shares the same goal and will be judged by the same laws.

  • Plumb

Also called as a plumb line (for stonemasons), it reminds Masons to stay just, honest and upright.

Master Mason

  • Trowel

The trowel symbolizes the need to spread brotherly love, with the theoretical cement it is spreading symbolizing the strong unity or bond among brothers.

  • Pencil

Although the pencil seems to be a common tool in an actual stonemason’s job, in Freemasonry, it symbolizes how God has everything that people do written down. On the judgment day, this list will be consulted and will be the basis for how one will be judged.

  • Skirrit

The skirrit, in stonework, is used to draw a perfect line on the ground. In Freemasonry, it is a reminder to stick to the goal of perfection that the brotherhood has set.

  • Compass

The compasses are among the most popular symbols of Freemasonry, and also proves to be one of the most important tools. It reminds Freemasons to know the limits between good and evil based on the rules of the Great Architect of the Universe.

Seeing how these tools help in every degree of Freemasonry, it is no wonder that they are also among the most common symbols that appear on important Masonic regalia.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Social Security Benefits and Working With Autism

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition of the brain which is marked by an unusual preoccupation of oneself, leading to difficulty in communication, inability to interact socially, and the inability to imagine. Adults with autism, for obvious reasons, face challenges in performing any kind of work that calls for attention or paying undivided attention for an extended period of time.

But in some cases, people with autism spectrum disorder, may adjust to the work environment. This happens only if the person has Asperger’s syndrome of high-functioning autism. However, statistically speaking, most adults with autism are not able to work full-time or land gainful employment to live independently. Despite significant attempts by several companies to create an environment where adults with autism spectrum disorder will be able to work, only about 5% of such people have been able to land proper employment globally.

The cause behind autism spectrum disorder is unknown. Early detection is the key for autism treatment, when it can be treated both therapeutically and medically. A child with autism has a much better chance to live independently when he/she grows up, than an adult.

The US Social Security Administration (SSA), fortunately, recognizes autism spectrum disorder as a full disability among both adults and children. To get social security benefits as an adult, the person must prove to be incapable of performing any work that’s available to a neuro-typical individual having the same level of education and capabilities.

Autism and physical work

Autism spectrum doesn’t directly affect the ability to carry out physical tasks. However, it does affect the ability to concentrate and receive instructions to execute those tasks. People with a milder form of autism spectrum disorder may overcome challenges to employment in offices where supervisors are trained to deal with autistic employees. But elsewhere, adults with autism are usually unable to carry out any proper gainful activity.

To be considered as fully disabled by the SSA, a person must have significant and obvious social function impairment, face difficulty to concentrate and communicate and in cognitive functions.

Receiving social security benefits as an autistic child doesn’t mean that he/she will continue to get the benefits as an adult. The social security disability (SSD) diary is opened when the autistic child turns 18. It’s advisable to be represented by a SSD lawyer, if the young adult wants to continue getting the social security benefits. There are appeals and proceedings and reconsideration is much more than just a cakewalk.

Autism and the ability to perform sedentary work

In several cases, it’s often simpler to prove that adults with autism spectrum disorder are unable to perform any sedentary work. This is because such work typically involves a great degree of concentration and interaction with other people. An autistic adult, by definition, usually has great difficulty to perform such type of work.

Adult with autism spectrum disorder may always require legal assistance to apply for SSD benefits, particularly when their first claim is denied and an appeal becomes necessary. Try to hire an SSD lawyer who is experienced to win SSD claims for autistic adults.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Managing Your Working Day in Inside Sales

To CRM or not to CRM – that’s the question

Most organisations I work with have some form of customer database or CRM – customer relationship management – system in place. If you do, then you should learn every aspect of it and use it to run your working life. Simple.

A good CRM will allow you to track every contact with a customer, what you said, what they said and the progress you made along your company’s sales process. CRMs can be useful in curating data such as key performance indicators – KPIs and many of them have calendars and email management built in.

If you don’t have a CRM system either buy one, lease one that’s in the cloud such as Salesforce or use the latest version of Microsoft Outlook with the CRM add-on. Better still, obtain Office 365 for yourself and your team, add the CRM bolt on and you’re cooking on gas. If you’re familiar with Outlook and the Office suite of products then your learning curve for Office 365 will be negligible. I’m going to show you how you can do this and finally get to grips with time and email management.

Office 365 is an Inside Salesperson’s dream. Add on Dynamics CRM Online and you have the perfect intuitive solution. Your emails, tasks and appointments from Outlook can automatically be synchronised into the database. Your Word docs and Excel files can be stored there too. Your conversations will be noted and saved. And not just for you – but for your whole company.

There’s nothing worse for a customer than when he or she calls a company and they’re treated like a stranger. That doesn’t happen with a good CRM system. You and your employees are sharing all interactions with your community in the system. You have the system integrated with social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. You have emails, activities, notes, conversations and documents linked to every contact and account. Let’s get into Office 365.

Use the Cloud

Office 365 sits in the cloud, in other words, it can be accessed from any device via the internet. It doesn’t sit on an old fashioned hard-drive. This means you can pull data from any device, so set them all up first. Your phone, laptop, PC, tablet. Whenever an entry is made on any device, the database is updated in the cloud in real time so anyone can see the information from their devices.

365 Contacts

The best feature here is the merge option where you can link your social media accounts to your contacts. So when you link in with a new contact, their details automatically transfer into your contacts, with a picture too.

If you get into the habit of photographing people you meet with your phone, incorporate this into the contact details. So when they phone your mobile, their name flashes up and a photograph too. A picture brings back memories far quicker than text.

Emails from new contacts can be dragged into the contacts box and a contact entry is automatically made with all the details harvested from the email.

365 Calendar

Firstly set the options so your calendar looks like you want it to. Decide you working week, which may include Saturday, mine does. Sort out the default view for your calendar.

Now decide colours for differing items. Here’s my suggestion:

  • Red – making money
  • Blue – marketing activities
  • Yellow – administration
  • Green – self development
  • Orange – personal activities

You can then see at a glance whether you’re being productive or not.

Microsoft provides an enterprise quality web meeting software platform called Skype for Business. It uses the Skype engine but it’s not connected to your personal Skype. It allows you to run a web meeting with anyone or any group at the click of a button. Make sure you obtain this and link it into Office 365. It’s far better than GoToWebinar and more cost effective too.

365 Tasks

Office 365 comes with a stable task management engine which is underused. Many people just list all their tasks into one giant “to do” list and this can be very bewildering.

There’s a couple of ways you can convert your tasks into something more digestible. The first manner is to put dates on each task – start and end dates – so they appear at the bottom of your calendar for the relevant day. Handy if they must be done on that day.

I do it differently. I categorise each task so I can group them on my calendar. I believe I’m more productive when I’m doing similar tasks in clusters rather than free-wheeling.

Firstly, I’m crystal clear as to my objectives, supporting projects and goals I need to achieve. I’m sure you are too. With that in mind you should be choosy whether you add an item into tasks. You should only do this if it moves you forward in your objectives. If it does, it’s known as a Tactical Next Action – an TNA.

I have TNAs for:

  • TNA: Calls
  • TNA: Online
  • TNA: Do
  • TNA: Write
  • TNA: Someday maybe

The last one is true; I have 35 items in that category at the moment but none are deal breakers, but the first four are what my calendar carries most.

When a new task comes into your task list, put it in as unassigned – it will automatically find its way to the top, so when you do your task management, you can allocate an TNA to it. Use your phone to add tasks whenever you think of something or someone gives you a job to do. Don’t rely on the brain to remember, it won’t, but the phone will. The task will whiz into the cloud and synchronise across all devices.

365 Email

The foundation of all communications and one of your collection points. I’ll talk about collection points shortly. But let’s tame your email once and for all; I’ve known salespeople to drown in it. Here’s how.

Before we go any further, turn off your email alert feature. This has to be one of the worst distractions known to the Inside Salesperson.

You are allowed to check email regularly for important items but it’s best to do this every couple of hours – say 9am, 12 noon, 3pm and 5pm. But only to deal with urgent ones, leave the rest till later when you clear your inbox. For a quick reminder of urgent versus important you won’t do worse than Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid. You can see below that he creates four boxes which determine whether a task should be done or delayed or even ignored.

If you really do need to keep tabs of urgent email as they come in, buy yourself a smartwatch and Bluetooth your inbox. I have a Microsoft Band which does this for me, it vibrates and you glance at the tiny screen without accessing email.

And you must clear your inbox every day. Here’s how.

Choose a 60 minute window every day at some time, best before the close of play. Start with the first email. Can you handle it in less than 2 minutes? If so, handle it. If it’s going to take longer than 2 minutes, then put it into a task to be dealt with at another time. You can simply drag the email into the task area on Office 365 and it will automatically populate a task, which remains unassigned to be assigned an SNA later.

If it’s something you don’t want such as a subscription, see if you can unsubscribe. Be ruthless with these.

If it just needs filing somewhere, just drag it into the folder on your PC where it belongs.

Work your way through your emails in this manner and you will clear your inbox. And you must do this every day. Believe me, you’ll feel good when you do.

Collection Points

This is my term for where information and communications come into your business. Have a quick think about what collection points you have. Here’s mine when I first did this exercise:

  • Texts
  • Email
  • Post
  • In tray on my desk
  • Desk
  • Car dashboard
  • Post-it notes on my computer screen
  • Unassigned tasks on my phone
  • Mobile voicemail
  • Land-line voicemail
  • Social Media direct messaging
  • WhatsApp communications
  • Ideas stored in my brain

The aim is to reduce them, I was ruthless because the more collection points you have, the more difficult it all becomes to keep in control and you’ll soon be overwhelmed. Here’s my culled list:

  • Texts
  • Office 365 Email
  • Unassigned tasks for ideas etc.
  • In tray on my desk for all paperwork including post
  • Plastic folder in brief case for receipts etc.

Email is king for me, so I channel everything through to my email inbox and because I can access this on my phone, I don’t miss a thing. All social media messages come through to email, eBay notifications everything. It does mean I have a full inbox every day but I do clear this each day.

Do all these things and you too will manage your time really effectively so you can concentrate on selling. I do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Tips for Eye Safety When Working in the Garden / On the Farm

Every year, people lose an eye or suffer very severe damage to one or both eyes due to accidents in the garden or on the farm.

The problem is, it’s easy to see the dangers of eye injuries in an industrial context. For example, few people would consider for a moment, machining steel on a lathe without a guard or eye protection. Yet somehow, when it comes to chores outside, all too often that caution gets forgotten.

Yet the typical garden or farm can involve dangers for the eyes. So, here are a few top tips to help recognise dangers and in all these cases you should protect your eyes by wearing suitable safety goggles or a full face protector.

  • Using ‘strimmer’ type machinery. Don’t be fooled by the machine’s simplicity, as stones and sticks can fly up easily.
  • Although perhaps slightly less of a risk than with a strimmer, even so, walk-behind lawnmowers can also at times throw up a splinter of wood or a stone at a freakish angle. It’s also NEVER a good idea to remove the grass box or lift up the guard flap while the engine is running.
  • Walking alongside or near a sit-on mower or tractor while it’s cutting, is potentially dangerous for your eyes due to splinters shooting off at strange angles. Don’t just trust to on-machine guards to protect you.
  • If you’re driving a tractor without a cab, again it might be a smart idea to wear face, eye and ear protection. Most responsible providers of agricultural machinery will usually have a stock of safety accessories too.
  • Be careful when cutting branches from trees. If you’re looking up and cutting with an extendable saw or shears, then branches or twigs can easily come down directly into your eye. On a related subject, it can be even riskier for the eyes if you’re working in a tree or dense bush. ‘Snap-backs’ with branches can easily blind and people regularly suffer serious eye injuries in exactly this fashion even if it sounds unlikely.
  • Hedge-trimmers can also be a serious risk. That’s because they’re often used at or near face-height.
  • Tensioners have also been known to cause problems. Tensioning can put a lot of force into wire and the tool and snapping’s not unknown.
  • Power saws and drills can both throw off splinters, whether you’re working on wood or metal. Don’t overlook also the seemingly harmless hammer. Giving something a good ‘whack’ might be therapeutic but yet again, splinters can fly off.
  • Finally, think about liquids too. Many substances used in the garden or around the farm can be very dangerous for the eyes. Drips can happen easily and if you’re painting or spraying above head-height, then that could spell danger.

It’s true that you can’t spend your entire life refusing to leave your bedroom for fear of an accident damaging your eyes. However, protective eyewear is available for a tiny price and getting into the habit of using while you’re working just might end up saving your eyesight.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What to Do When Pilates Isn’t Working

Often when speaking to potential new participants for my Pilates classes, I will often hear the line “My GP/Osteopath/Physiotherapist recommended I take up Pilates to help improve my back pain”. These days it is great that Pilates has a good reputation of improving participant’s lower back pain symptoms (as well as a lot of other benefits).

But what happens when Pilates doesn’t get the results that we expect?

What happens when Pilates doesn’t help our back pain, and even in some cases makes it worse?

Another line I hear a lot of the time, more so in my therapy sessions is “I have done Pilates a few times before but it didn’t help”. I also use to hear this quite regularly when I was working in a health club environment.

So why is it Pilates is not giving some of us the results that we desire?

Here are just a few potential reasons:

Is the bar too high?

If we have heard lots of success stories from friends and family about how successful Pilates has been for them or been recommended Pilates by our healthcare, we can be hopeful that Pilates will correct and resolve all our aches & pains we have been going through. However it doesn’t work like this. Remember that everyone will be different and whilst we may have similar symptoms to others, the underlying causes maybe completely different. It is also worth noting that Pilates is not a form of corrective therapy. It is an exercise system rather than an exercise class, and a lot of people have found that by completing a Pilates classes, their symptoms have improved as by product of learning the correct Pilates method. Another reason worth remembering is that people react differently to everything. For example from working in Pilates and Therapy setting for a few years, I have found some people react really well to deep tissue massage but some people react better to a MET (muscle energy technique) instead for example. My advice would be to find out what the underlying issue could potentially be and also find out what works best for you and decide on a course of action from there.

What’s happening on the inside

Let’s say for example someone attends a Pilates class in the hope of improving their lower back pain symptoms. As a Bodymaster method¬© practitioner, my initial thought is what’s causing the lower back pain? In the past I have seen rotations in the Pelvis, Rotations in the sacrum, A difference in leg length as being potential causes of ones back pain symptoms. Sometimes it has even been further up the body which has caused one’s lower back pain (thoracic mobility and even shoulder alignment). In a one to one therapy session, I would have the opportunity to carry out a full screening to identify any potential underlying issues. However in a small group class environment we don’t have this luxury. Now sometimes Pilates can successfully help reduce the symptoms of lower back pain and give the participant the opportunity to manage their symptoms. However if you are finding back pain (or other symptoms) are continuing despite starting Pilates, it may be a good idea to have further investigation to see which potential issues could by resulting in lower back pain symptoms, and then create a programme to try to correct the underlying issues. Ones these underlying issues have been correcting you may find your Pilates class then can become a lot more beneficial.

Method of Pilates

With the wide choices and variety of Pilates on offer these days, we are now seeing a big difference in what is delivered in classes. In my opinion, the most important element of a good Pilates class is the method rather than the choice of exercises. Let me take a moment to explain. To me what makes Pilates most beneficial is the actual method of Pilates rather than the exercises themselves. Don’t get me wrong, choosing the most correct and appropriate exercise is integral to the success of any class, however if they are not performed to the Pilates method then I find the success is very much limited. What do I mean by method? Well I am referring to the Pilates principles. These principles vary from training school to training school, class to class or book to book. Whilst these principles vary, I consider the following principles most important:

  • Alignment
  • Breathing
  • Connections (Also known as centering)
  • Concentration
  • Relaxation
  • Precision

Whilst I would consider these 6 to be the most important, there are others which should not be disregarded as well. I always knew these principles where important to the success of a Pilates class, however it wasn’t until I became a bodymaster method¬© practitioner that I really understood why these principles and the Pilates method were key. I won’t go until the full details of how these principles are beneficial, but you can read my other articles to get this information, in particular the article ‘core stability – why there is so much more to it than planks and sit ups’.

If I’m honest the method/principles of Pilates is the hardest part to get right but in my opinion it is the most beneficial when completed with the exercises. I’m sure we could all pick up a book or watch the latest online video’s for a range of different Pilates exercises, however without adhering the method the success is going to be very limited, in my opinion. I also believe there to be no such thing as a ‘Pilates exercise’ as it is the method rather than move which gives a Pilates class its name.

How big is your class?

One of the main principles listed above and what I consider to be very important ‘precision’. Why? Well to make any exercise effective (and principles for that matter) it has to be done correctly, using the correct targeted muscles and also ensuring which muscles are not intended to be used stay switched off. If an exercise is not done correctly or using the wrong muscles it will more than likely be counterproductive and could result in pain or imbalance.

What’s this got to do with the size of the class? Well getting everything correct in a class can be quite challenging, and participants will need hands on correction from the instructor, however experienced they are. Even in my small group Pilates classes, which I have a maximum of 7 people, it can be a challenge to ensure safe and effective exercise with such a small number (hence the limit of 7 people). I remember attending classes at Leisure Centres such as Virgin Active & Everyone Active, where the classes had an average of between 25-35 people, it was impossible for even the most talented instructors to ensure safety and correctness when delivering a class, because of the sheer volume of people there. One of the main reasons I have people join my classes these days are based on their previous classes being too big and being sure whether they were doing it correctly.

What’s being done in-between classes

Now this is one of biggest things which determine success in my one to one sessions. In a one to one setting I always give the participants a corrective exercise programme to be carried out, usually around twice a day for two weeks minimum. Now from experience when I use to receive any form of therapy, it can be quite challenging initially to carry out the corrective exercise programme, however it is one of the most important sections to achieve optimal results. Looking back all my participant that have carried out the corrective exercise programme in-between sessions (in a one to one setting) they have always received far more effective results, it has also reduced the amount of sessions required to achieve their desired results. Obviously this will be slightly different to classes, as in a class we are unable to carry out a biomechanics screen which can tell us which areas we need to concentrate on setting the corrective exercise programme for, however what I have found beneficial for a lot of participants, is to carry out and practice the Pilates principles in-between classes, such as breathing, alignment & connections. I won’t go into the exact details of why these will be beneficial (I have other blogs on this) but practising these skills in-between can not only help improve results but they will also help you pick up a better understanding of these principles better, therefore making your classes more beneficial and also achieving desired results quicker. Its worth remembering that there are 167 hours between classes each week (if we do one class a week), so it makes sense to practice these principles in-between as.

These are just a few things to consider to achieve the optimal results from our Pilates class. As always there can also be other factors, but these ones I would consider to be most important and effective.

Thanks for reading.

Alex

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Single & Alone – How’s That Working Out for You?

Would you agree that there are few places lonelier than being in a loveless relationship? Spending time with someone who’s clearly bored, disinterested, perhaps even angry at your mere presence slowly destroys your confidence, self-esteem and faith in yourself. You may even question your ability to sustain future relationships.

Then there are those who’ve had long, successful relationships which perhaps ended naturally through health issues or unexpectedly out of the blue, so leaving them lost, desolate and grief-stricken. They’re faced with doubts as to how they’ll heal, recover and start anew. Being single and alone never really featured as an option for them.

Some people are on a constant mission to find partners for their single friends, seeming to feel that they’ve something missing from their lives. They want everyone comfortably settled in happy relationships so that they’re not alone at social events or holiday times. But are their own relationships so fantastic or are they always compromising and rarely doing what they’d like to do?

Let’s look at being single and alone and ask how that’s working out for you.

Being single and alone doesn’t automatically equate to being lonely, but equally let’s reflect on the dangers of being on your own for too long.

– Have previous relationship(s) left you feeling alone and somehow lacking or unsure as to what to say or do? Are you fearful that being alone means ‘everyone’ will look at you in a negative way? If that’s the case you may find yourself feeling apprehensive at the prospect of even walking into a room by yourself, filled with self-doubt, low in confidence and constantly reinforcing a negative mindset.

– Maybe you’re becoming increasingly insular, self-protective and defensive. Being vulnerable, exposing too much of yourself can feel counter-intuitive. Whilst the need to take care of ourselves is understandable we should also appreciate that forming relationships means being open and receptive to others. It’s an important part of life and a valuable skill when we’re wanting to have any kind of successful, interactive relationship with others.

– Some newly single people prefer not to live alone at first. A house share can be a good stepping-stone as it’s a means of having both private space as well as knowing there’s some company nearby. It can be a less expensive option and not as binding as buying or renting, giving breathing space in which to consider which next steps are best to take.

– Being on our own can become a habit. How often do we hear someone say they’re too set in their ways to change or commit to a new relationship! But if they met someone and were really attracted I doubt they’d think twice about adapting their routine or habit patterns. They’d be prepared to have a go, try something new, enjoy the excitement and look forward to being more flexible in their outlook.

– A comfort zone tends to become smaller the longer we spend in it. Over time doing what we’ve always done becomes easier, whilst making changes or effort can become less and less appealing. Staying there for too long can ultimately become boring and unsatisfying. But eventually, it becomes second-nature to settle into an, ‘I’m too old to change’, ‘I’ve had my life’ mindset, even though some adjustments and a little effort could reinvigorate the present and the future for you.

– Are childcare responsibilities a deterrent to you finding a new partner? Making the time to go online or go out and negotiate the dynamics of a new relationship can seem like an unnecessary hassle, but small steps can make a difference to easing yourself back into a new social scene. Could you alternate childcare with another single parent; you have their kids one afternoon, evening or maybe an occasional sleepover and they then return the favour. Doing that might free you both up for a few hours and give time to go shopping, have a leisurely lunch or an evening out.

– Booking a different hairdresser to style your hair can introduce a whole new look and reinvigorate your confidence levels. Making a few modifications to your wardrobe can put a spring in your step and inspire you to get out and about, to make new friends. Even if you’re happy being single, are not looking for romance and a new partner, a few simple steps can add some zest into life so you feel even more positive about being single and alone.

– What to talk about can be a serious issue if we’ve been single and alone for a while. Casual chat doesn’t come easily to everyone, especially if recent interactions have tended to be more formal, work-related and purpose-driven. But we can make an effort to remedy that by keeping up-to-date with local news, popular TV, interesting shows and events, so ensuring that we’re equipped to join conversations about topics of interest.

Being single and alone can be fine and is certainly better than settling for a wrong or second-best relationship. But also remember the importance of maintaining a balanced approach to life and ensuring your relationship choices are positive for you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment