We interview Liz Makin, Founder and President of Makin It Happen, a UK based firm, founded in 2002, specializing in personalized business coaching, mentoring, and stress management training to business owners, directors, managers, and business professionals looking for peace-of-mind, and a bit of direction in the confusing world of business. She is also an MMC Instructor and has created six courses focused on stress management, time management, and communication.
Q: Liz, tell us a little about your experience with MMC and the courses you teach.
A: I recently started teaching on Michael Management when they introduced their personal development classes and have 6 courses on stress management, time management, and communication.
I have two courses on each topic, one aimed at people in a managerial position at work and the other aimed at anyone and covering both life and work.
The courses are practical, action-oriented, and relevant to real life. They provide lots of tips and strategies to improve your stress management, time management, and communication.
Q: With many working from home, the lines between one's personal life and work-life are becoming increasingly blurred. What advice do you give to your students in coping so that problems in their personal lives don’t affect their work-life and performance?
A: Problems in your personal life are likely to have an impact on your work life and performance whether you are working at home or in the workplace. The key is to accept that you have problems in your personal life and take action to address the problems. Also, while you are trying to resolve the problems it is good to set clear boundaries between your personal and work life. If this is proving difficult, maybe have a chat with your manager so that they are aware and can make allowances for you.
Q: When someone is challenged by having to manage multiple projects simultaneously, what strategies would you recommend they use to prioritize their work to minimize stress?
A: Managing multiple projects can be very stressful indeed. Good planning, organization, focus, and project management are critical here, alongside regular project meetings and good communication with all parties involved. On a day to day basis, it is good to have a clear plan and priorities, manage your mind, and to keep focused on taking action, alongside minimizing distractions and being flexible as change is inevitable.
Q: Managed chaos is a fair way to describe the working conditions of many, especially with those having to work from home for the first time in their professional lives and for those returning to the office. What recommendations or suggestions do you have to help ease those often stressful transitions?
A: Transition and change can be very stressful for many people as humans prefer the status quo. Consider your thinking and look at being more open to change. It is good to focus on what you can control in these situations rather than worrying about what you cannot control. Also, make a plan for the transition and if you are working from home consider building in new ways to achieve your work objectives.
Q: How do you make sure that problems in your personal life don't affect you?
A: If you have a problem in your personal life it will affect each of us in different ways and the same problem will impact you differently on different days or at different times. A good process to use for dealing with such problems is to accept that you have an issue, write down what is worrying you, try and understand the cause of the problem and then think of actions you can take to resolve the problem. Then quickly start to take action as this gets you out of the worrying and stressful phase, helps you feel better and more positive and hopefully, the action will start to reduce the problem.
Q: Many people are experiencing heightened stress now, how can we create a calm environment and reduce tension in our teams for those that we manage and our fellow coworkers?
A: Stress management includes incorporating stress management strategies in all areas of your life, including planning, time management, your thinking, your approach, how you view life, communication, looking after yourself, and asking for help and support.
There are many ways to create a calm environment and reduce stress in your teams. Good communication is critical, whether this be ad hoc conversations or more formal regular one to one and team meetings. Proactive management through goal setting, planning, keeping focused, regular reviews, performance management, and being decisive is also fundamental. Also, support the learning and development of your team and how they handle stress, so they feel able to perform their roles well, and don’t forget to keep team morale high.
Q: What are the best strategies for managing stressful work deadlines for those we manage, our co-workers, and ourselves?
A: The best strategies for managing stressful work deadlines for your team and yourselves include planning, prioritizing, taking timely action, being well organized, decisiveness, good communication, regular meetings, keeping 100% focused, and minimizing distractions and interruptions.
Q: How do you prevent a situation from becoming too stressful to manage?
A: Faced with a stressful situation it is easy to worry, be fearful, get stressed, and panic. My tips here are to be well prepared, look after yourself, calm yourself down, think positively, put things in perspective, trust your knowledge, experience, and intuition, make a plan, be decisive, take action, write things down and ask for help if needed. My stress management courses have a lecture on how to handle stressful situations.
Q: It is hard not to take criticism personally! How do you respond to constructive criticism?
A: This links to your mindset and how you see feedback from others. Try thinking about constructive criticism as a learning opportunity, rather than a personal attack. You will be surprised at how different you feel.
Q: What preparations do you make for reducing the stress of presenting to a group virtually and in-person?
A: Good preparation is a great starting point here including making sure your presentation meets the needs of your audience, is in good shape, practicing beforehand, and checking the technology is all working. Allow plenty of time before your presentation for preparation and also for making sure you are mentally ready and 100% focused on the presentation.
Q: What can you tell me about your most recent Stress Management Class on Michael Management? What am I going to learn? How do I enroll in this class?
A: I have two stress management classes ‘Stress Management for Business’ which is aimed at people in a managerial position at work and ‘Stress Management for Life’ which is for anyone who wants to learn more about stress management in their personal life and at work. These are in the new personal development section of courses on MMC and can be enrolled in the same way as the SAP courses.
The courses are practical action-oriented course designed to give you the tools to reduce your current stress and to enable you to manage stress positively going forward and to be more resilient to stress over time. They both include a straightforward stress management process for reducing and managing stress and lots of stress management tips and strategies that you can use.
Take a look at all Liz Makin's courses on MMC
Stress Management in Life - This course is a practical action-oriented course for anyone who wants to reduce and manage stress in their personal life. The course provides over 75 stress management tips and strategies.
Stress Management in Business - This course is a practical action-oriented course designed to give executives, managers, and business owners the tools, tips, and strategies needed to reduce and manage stress at work and in business.
Communication for Life - This course is a practical, action-oriented course designed to give you the tools, tips, and strategies that will improve your communication skills and the relationships in your life.
Communication in Business - This course is a practical, action-oriented course for business owners, directors, managers, and executives, which is designed to provide tools, tips, and strategies to improve your communication and relationships at work and in business.
Time Management for Your Personal Life - This course is a practical, action-oriented learning experience designed to give you time management and productivity tips, tools, and strategies to be more efficient, effective, and productive in your personal life.
Time Management in Business - This is a practical, action-oriented course designed to give you time management and productivity tools and strategies to be more efficient, effective, and productive.