Planners’ Picks — June 20, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

Juneteenth reminds us to take a different perspective and open our minds to more possibilities than just our own view (Check out a brief video on Juneteenth available on the Office of University Staff website for a different perspective). We will also discover the remarkable effects of observing moving water, be the best mess possible, and discover more gratitude in our daily lives.


:: Image of the Week

Things that are actually productive infographic by @positivelypresent

What does productivity look like? Consider some of the versions listed above when thinking about you or your staff and how you are defining what being productive looks like. Following this list will result in more output!


:: Summer of Gratitude Resources

Lessons in Gratitude

In her classroom in Los Alamos, New Mexico, UW alum and high school psychology teacher Lynn Ovaska ’96 creates a “sacred space” in which her students are comfortable being vulnerable and studying topics like genuine happiness and how to achieve it. One way she does this is by having students write gratitude letters to individuals who have had an impact on their lives.

“The letters are more than thank-you notes,” Ovaska says. “They’re letters of gratitude, but they’re also letters of apology, forgiveness, and honesty.” Read the OnWisconsin story here:

“Gratitude” Music Video by Mantragold

It’s time for a 5-minute break! Enjoy this music video for the song “Gratitude” by Mantragold, as heard in the movie “Gratitude Revealed.” Many scenes from the feature film that CSN hosted in May are shown in this video.

“It’s hard to remember that this day will never come again. That the time is now and the place is here and that there are no second chances at a single moment.” –  Jeanette Winterson

The Secret to Happiness: Discovering Gratitude

In this video, That Gratitude Guy talks about the power of gratitude and how it can help you be happier in every aspect of your life. Gratitude is key to happiness, and if you can start practicing gratitude in your life, you’ll be on your way to a happier you. He discusses the benefits of gratitude and how to develop a gratitude mindset.

UW-Madison Employee Appreciation Ice Cream Social

All employees are invited to an Employee Appreciation Ice Cream Social on Tuesday, June 27. UW‒Madison leaders will be handing out free Babcock ice cream on Bascom Hill (weather permitting) from 1–2:30 p.m., or until supplies run out. A dairy-free option will be available. Ice cream will be served in cups in two areas of Bascom Hill, including one area with flat or gentle surface slopes for greater accessibility. In case of rain or severe weather, the event will move to Birge Hall; any change in location will be announced by 10 a.m. on June 27. Additional details, including parking and transportation tips, can be found at


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

You’re Not Powerless in the Face of Imposter Syndrome

Research shows that high achievers from underrepresented backgrounds often find themselves confronting imposter syndrome or feeling they don’t fit in, are not welcome, or don’t belong. But understanding imposter syndrome does little to end it. The author, who studied underrepresented board members for his Ph.D. and who interacts with hundreds of aspiring and existing board directors in his role at an executive search firm, has found that attributes of moxie — the strength of will, self-discipline, and the ability to persist despite challenges — were vital to underrepresented directors’ success. He recommends four tactics to help make moxie your own superpower.

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. —Ayn Rand

Coaching Circles: An Innovative Way to Connect and Learn

We all need connection, support, and colleagues we can count on to help us work through our challenges. Coaching circles are a tool for that. Coaching circles are not intended for giving advice, they are places of deep listening and understanding. They provide you with an opportunity to create strong connections while practicing your listening and empathy skills.

Coaching circles join 5-6 people from different areas across campus and meet virtually once per month to share current challenges. The pods are self-directed with one person serving as the anchor to help guide things along the way. Does this sound like something you might be interested in? Attend a Coaching Circles Intro session and learn more!


:: Resources on Battling Perfectionism

Get closer to the people in your life — by being the best mess possible

It’s time to give up on chasing perfection and embrace our uniquely individual quirks and imperfections, says author Chidera Eggerue.

We humans are pretty excellent at telling other people what to do — but not so excellent at following our own advice. Case in point: When friends and family confide they’re anxious about what to say or do at a party, most of us tell them, “Just be yourself! People will love you.”

Yet while we urge them to be authentic, we sand away our own rough edges, worried that if we’re not perfect, no one will like us.

“In a world where information is abundant and easy to access, the real advantage is knowing where to focus.” – James Clear


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

The Science of Kindness

Kelli Harding, MD, MPH, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, researches the science of kindness and the social dimensions of health.

In her book, she points out that kind, supportive relationships are essential for good health and help us navigate life’s inevitable challenges. Kindness is incredible because it costs nothing and benefits the doer, receiver, and anyone watching. Even small acts of kindness can boost our mood, make us feel more connected to others, and want to pay it forward.

Check out this article on some of the concepts from the book The Rabbit Effect.

The Transformative Power of Water: How Seeing Moving Water Impacts Your Brain and Well-being

Discover the remarkable effects of observing moving water on your brain and overall well-being. From reducing stress to enhancing creativity, learn all about the science-backed benefits. Freeman Beals points out the many benefits in this recent article.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

6 Clues That Will Confirm Your Workplace Is Downright Toxic

Ever feel like you’re walking on eggshells at work? Your opinions don’t matter, you’re afraid of making mistakes, and the culture is one of fear and intimidation.

Most likely, if you’re coming home complaining to your loved ones about work almost daily, and you’re beginning to feel physical symptoms of stress (perhaps unbeknownst to you because you think, “no big deal”), it may be time to admit that your work is a terrible, toxic, place to be.

Not sure? Here are six sure ways of knowing if your workplace is undeniably toxic. Hopefully, you are not seeing many of these signs in your workplace.

15 Ways To Boost Productivity Using Mental Health Benefits In The Workplace

As more companies prioritize employee well-being and mental health, many are wondering if these programs are actually making a difference in the workplace. Does offering mental health benefits or programs really improve productivity and team morale, or is it just a trendy perk?

Research suggests that the impact of employee mental health benefits and programs is not just hype. In fact, employees who feel supported and valued by their employers when it comes to mental health report higher job satisfaction, better productivity and lower rates of absenteeism. These benefits also have positive ripple effects on team morale, as colleagues feel more connected and supported by each other.

Forbes members share the research behind the impact of employee mental health benefits and programs on productivity and team morale.


:: Resources on Being More Present

Your Phone is Ruining Your Vacation

Many of us have been there: sitting in the middle of some beautiful destination on a much-anticipated getaway, on the beach or in the mountains or wherever strikes our fancy, and … staring at our phones. The little screen so often trumps the giant screen that is real life, even in moments when the intention is to take a break from the little screen and the day-to-day stress it brings with it.

There are plenty of ways our phones make travel easier. But there are many ways in which it degrades the experience you can have with family and friends. Using your phone more can make you feel more anxious and, perhaps more surprisingly, more bored — the opposite of what one sets out to accomplish when vacationing.


:: Upcoming Events

Student Employment Summer Summit

The 4th annual Student Employment Summer Summit will take place on Wednesday, July 12, 12:30‒4:30 p.m., at Gordon Dining and Event Center. This in-person event brings together supervisors, hiring managers, and others who support student employment at UW‒Madison and beyond. The event is hosted by the Student Employment team in the Office of Student Financial Aid and is offered at no cost.