Verb of the Week - Coordinate

Verb of the Week - Coordinate

By Donna Ambler on 8 March 2018

One of the most stressful things I have been involved in recently was the coordination of the diaries of four busy working mums so that we could find a suitable date for a weekend away. It was a task that took several days and even caused a few tears before somebody sacrificed an event that could be rescheduled. What a nightmare! I’m sure determining who brings the champagne and who is on cheese and cracker duty for the weekend will be a whole lot easier.

The Oxford Living Dictionary offers three definitions:

  1. Bring the different elements of (a complex activity or organisation) into a harmonious or efficient relationship.
  2. Negotiate with others in order to work together effectively.
  3. Match or harmonize attractively.

I love the example they pose when there is no object involved: ‘he had responsibility for coordinating London's transport services’. The effort it took to coordinate our diaries almost felt like we were trying to finalise the London Tube timetable. However, I am sure we will be an efficient and harmonious team on our weekend away. Part of the reason for that is that we are all similar and each has a good sense of humour. The harmony in a relationship is often because each part can fit with the others and that makes working together a lot easier. It’s a match so it works.

Our experience in coordinating our schedules was in sharp contrast to a video of the Italian national synchronised swimming team doing the rounds of social media recently. Their ability to coordinate is amazing and the video shows them walking on water. I guess you can improve on anything with practice. I'm just not so keen on too much more diary coordination.

Image from PiTribe

Category: General

Verb of the Week - Ramble

Verb of the Week - Ramble

By Donna Ambler on 26 February 2018

I received an email with a work proposal this week that contained what the author described as "some ramblings" - her thoughts documented on a page so she could tell me about a project she was trying to develop.

With the surname Ambler, I've been drawn to the idea of rambling. The name Ambler has Yorkshire origins, as does my husband's family. It is linked to the gait of a horse and relates to rambling in the sense that it is considered an unhurried or leisurely walk. I'm drawn to the Cambridge Dictionary definition of the verb ramble: to walk for pleasure, especially in the countryside. I aspire to rambling through the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales on some of our future travels - when we don't have complaining teens in tow.

When it comes to stringing words together, rambling has less of a sense of destination. It is defined as talking or writing in a confused way, often for a long time. And we all know people who are guilty of rambling and turning off their audience, either through their written work or in conversation or (worse still) as a speaker or presenter. 

Writing concisely is a skill and something that requires focus and attention. We all know the saying "less is more". It was first popularised by minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and has since been transformed and popularised by advertisers and others for a range of purposes. If you follow this belief, you will try not to ramble - in either the written or spoken word.

As for the ramblings that I received by email - they were actually quite concise and gave me a clear picture of what the company had in mind. While they were first written as a set of ramblings, that's often how a piece of writing, a report or a proposal starts out. That's part of the editing process - write, edit, maybe rewrite and edit again. So at that point, I need to stop rambling myself, or maybe just dream of that holiday in Tuscany where we could ramble in the morning, cook for the afternoon and then eat what we produce. That's my kind of rambling.

 Image originally shared on Linked In.

Category: General

Verb of the Week - pause

Verb of the Week - pause

By Donna Ambler on 21 February 2018

I've recently returned to my desk after a rather long pause in proceedings. Pauses happen sometimes when you are a contractor. In this case, a client that I had been working for on and off for about eight years presented me with an opportunity to work in-house, part-time for 12 months. As is often the case with contract work, 12 months became 18 and then 2 years and four days became five.

I loved the chance to go back into the office environment. It was great to work as part of a team and collaborate with my colleagues. I loved the chance to have water cooler conversation with somebody other than the dog and made some new friends.

But towards the end of last year I decided that the time had come to move on. So that brings me back to my own desk, with my own window to gaze out of when I am distracted. It also means my own IT and debt recovery issues, but that's a whole other story.

The Oxford Living Dictionaries' definitionfor the verb pause is: to interrupt an action or speech briefly; or to temporarily interrupt the operation of (a process or device). While my pause in proceedings was somewhat longer than a short break, it was temporary all the same.

Pause is both a noun and a verb and has origins dating back more than 600 years, including these beginnings:

  1. pausee - Old French for a pause or interruption
  2. pausa - Latin for a halt, stop or cessation
  3. pauein - Grreek word meaning to stop, to cause or to cease.

 In returning to the comfort of my own surroundings, I have taken some time to reflect on the benefits of pausing or taking time out every now and then. In doing so, I came across some advice from Lori Deschene, founder of Tiny Buddha. Lori has this advice about pausing:

Practice the pause
Pause before judging
Pause before assuming
Pause before accusing
Pause whenever you're about to react harshly and you'll avoid doing and saying things you'll regret later.

Sage advice indeed and something I need to continue reflecting on, as I did over a cup of tea when the first version of this blog didn't save! So now for another pause before I move on to the next task. 

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Category: General

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