Looking to shake up your life at work in the new year and see the world differently?
"You Don't Have To Go Home From Work Exhausted!" by Ann McGee-Cooper is one of several new books that offer prescriptions for business blues in the 1990s as yuppies fade from fashion after a decade of greed and middle-aged baby boomers look anew at their values and direction.Patsy Fulton, president of Brookhaven College in Dallas, has a toybox with an assortment of "energy toys" in her office - a bola paddle, a dart board, sunglasses with pop-out eyes, and a kazoo.
"Whenever I finish with a frustrating meeting or situation, I close my door and get out that paddle to relieve stress and recover my energy," she says in McGee-Cooper's book.
"I also believe in spreading playfulness and creative thinking throughout the office," Fulton says. "For example, I have given all my staff a kaleidoscope, asking them to shake it up . . . whenever they feel stuck . . . and to see the world and their problems differently."
"The Consultant's Calling," by Geoffrey M. Bellman, is about "responding to the voice within, the voice that calls us to pursue meaning in our lives," the author writes.
Bellman looks at ways of achieving meaning through work as a consultant, examining practical aspects of the profession along with moral and spiritual concerns.
"My search for meaning in my work goes beyond the numbers that are so readily available," Bellman says. "I want to help people work on what is important in their lives and particularly on those issues that involve work."
Dina Glouberman, author of "Life Choices and Life Changes Through Imagework," offers a range of imagery exercises to probe personal and work-related problems and find satisfaction in both areas.
"I never used to know that I had a right to rest," says Glouberman. "I always took for granted the fact that I was not living a worthwhile life unless I was working, or, if not actually working, at least worrying about not working. I suspected that it was dangerous, boring, useless and highly immoral to stop before I dropped."
McGee-Cooper believes that balancing the "top line" (concerns with people and quality of life) with the "bottom line" (concerns with things, productivity and profit) is essential for energy and vitality.
"The key is to learn ways to constantly be refueling and adding energy as other behaviors use up energy," she said.
In addition to getting adequate sleep - a few hours for some people, eight or more for others - time spent exercising, having fun, relaxing, meditating and doing something artistic can also revive momentum.
"As you age, your energy need not burn out like a flame on a candlestick," she says. "Having a strong purpose in life and feeling passionately about something will fill you with youthful vigor and will maintain your enthusiasm for life."
She emphasizes the importance of feeling that work is contributing to making the world a better place.
Jerry Farrington, chairman and chief executive of Texas Utilities in Dallas, is quoted on part of his work philosophy.
"It is important to genuinely like what you do - to enjoy your work, your home life, your lifestyle," he says. "It is important to feel that you are a part of a team at work, to enjoy accomplishing something together."
Children provide a good role model for adults seeking to boost energy levels, McGee-Cooper says.
Kids characteristically seek out things that are fun to do, or else find a way to have fun at what they're doing. They spontaneously jump from one interest to another, are curious and eager to try anything once.
"Unfortunately, most of us learned to `act our age' as we grew up," she says.