Author Archives: Charanjit
Author Archives: Charanjit
“We must find a way to keep people more accountable!” screamed the management. “We must hold that athlete accountable for drug misuse!” exclaimed the ruling body. No wonder we have a bad relationship with the word “accountability”.
The last time I relied on someone else to keep myself committed to taking certain actions, I wasn’t able to keep my promise. I wasn’t as committed as I would have been if I had the willingness to accomplish that task.
Accountability is often seen as something passive and external to us. People feel that they need someone else to hold them accountable.
I believe that you can hold a baby, hold a door open, even hold a position in your company, but you can’t hold someone accountable. To be great at what we do, we need to make a commitment to ourselves and not need others to do the same.
Being accountable is making a promise to ourselves to achieve what we need to and do what we mean to. It’s making a personal promise that builds trust, character and self-esteem as well as the esteem that others have for us.
So what can we do to ensure we take the actions and hold ourselves accountable?
Often we fail to consider what we need to do, or sacrifice in order to make our goals happen. As with most goals, there has to be a clear benefit to putting in the effort to making completing this task or achieving this goal. Whilst we do sometimes consider why we want to do something, we rarely consider up front what costs are involved. There is always a cost; whether it’s financial, emotional, spiritual, time or otherwise.
This is called the art of Self-Discipline. It is being able to do something whether you feel like it or not. Sometimes you will not feel like getting out of the warm duvet to go for a run in the winter morning.
You’ve just come home from a long day at work where you’ve had to discipline some people who think they own the place, having dealt with a resistant HR department, and have been told to improve efficiency and reduce costs further. Your team already think they’re doing the job of 2 people.
It’s easy to become acutely stressed at this point. Dealing with these pressures over an extended period of time, can take a toll on the best of us. It’s also easy to take these issues home with you. It’s also natural to want to share these things with your family, your partner and friends.
Perhaps you’ve also been supporting your friends with their challenges and issues. There’s that old saying “misery loves company” and is the cause of us having “pity parties”. The thing is, most of us are not aware that we’re doing it. You’re smart enough to know that constantly moaning or whining is not going to get you results.
The first step is observation. Take time to observe the conversations between you and your closest peers and family. Is the conversation positive or negative? Are people complaining about their problems constantly? Remember, it is normal for us to share our problems, but not if it becomes a constant stream of negativity about the same thing without any change over time.
Next observe whether you are contributing to this with your own issues, in a manner where the problem is discussed but not the solution. Are the others giving you solutions to your problem or reacting in a “poor you” manner? Are you offering solutions to their problems? Are they even looking for solutions or are they just letting off steam (either intentionally or unintentionally)?
Of course it’s entirely possible that you’re just in the company of too much whine and not the person doing the whining. Unfortunately, people rub off on us, so we must be careful to not become part of the same mentality.
A Mental Shift
Sometimes it’s easier to help others than ourselves. But sometimes it’s best to try and set an example. Next time you catch yourself complaining about something, ask yourself the question – Is this something you have a solution to? Can you come up with a solution? Can you adapt to the situation or change it?
Professional Parents who I’ve worked with frequently struggle to find balance in their life where they don’t have to sacrifice success at work for success at home. We know that it takes a certain amount of time and effort to achieve a high level of success at work. After all, if you’ve found that working 12 hour days gets the job done best, you’ll always continue to work 12 hours.
If you’re now forced to work 10 hour days or less, you will feel you were not getting as much done, and therefore not likely to get as much work done.
This leads to a feeling I call guilt-guilt. You feel guilty if you don’t put in the hours. You feel guilty if you continue the way you have been going as you’re neglecting other areas of your life.
Often times, in my clients at least, this leads to in-action and stagnation. Often I’ve found that people will neither progress as fast in their career nor gain that Holy Grail of work-life balance. Your attention is split between work and non-work. And when this happens, neither task gets the focus it deserves.
We’ve spoken about the power of focus in a few other blog posts, so I will not dwell on it here. However, we will look at how this balance can be achieved without feeling guilty and without losing out on either account.
A recent study has shown that most people are only productive less than 30% of the time as work. Productivity time here being describes as time which is spent fully focused on one task. The study found one software firm where productive focused work accounted for an average of only 20 minutes per employee per day!
Another term I use, optimum productive time is time which is spent doing one task and being in a state of “flow” where you literally zone in on that task at the expense of other things happening around you. Have you ever been so focused on something that someone has come up to you, started talking to you, and you weren’t even aware that they were talking until they raised their voice: “Hello?!”Or we’ve responded with verbal nods and then thought to ourselves: “What did Sarah just say?” We’ve all been there! Fortunately for us (and not Sarah), this is valuable time and the amount of work we get done is huge compared to when our attention is split.
It has widely been documented that it takes time for us to get into that “flow” state and this ranges from 10-15 minutes per instance of focus. So if you have two projects on the go, you may have booked in some time in the morning to work on both projects and then have meetings relating to both of these in the afternoon.
Your day might go like this: Project 1 is scheduled in from 9am – 10:30am. You switch to Project 2. Before you can do this, you check your emails. It takes 15 minutes to get through them. You move on to Project 2 and it takes another 15 minutes to get into flow. You’re half way through and someone comes over to ask you about plans for lunch. As you’re going into flow, its time for lunch.
When you come back a little early from lunch, it takes you 15 minutes to get back into flow, and 10 minutes of your meeting is spent in pleasantries with the project team and the director of the other department. It takes another 4 minutes before you feel like you’re falling asleep. You find yourself with 3 more tasks to do for the project and as soon as you finish with that meeting, your boss adds on another task – though not before asking you about your recent trip to Malta with the family. You try to get emails cleared before the next meeting and the phone rings. Your partner wants you to come home on time so that you can pick up your toddler from the childminder’s as you’re invited to dinner with a family friend. Before you can get into flow, it’s time for your second meeting. You barely make it on time to the childminder’s place, and all you want to do at this point is sit down in front of the TV with a large glass of wine.
The above is a fairly generous account of how much time can be lost to switching between tasks. And although you managed to get some work done, it was nowhere near as much as you pictured yourself doing when you were planning the day the previous night.
Now let’s chunk together the related tasks so that there is less time lost and rerun that scenario.
You realise you have some natural breaks in your day and decide to plan around that. In the morning, you start work on Project 1. You made a few phone calls yesterday and got the meeting for Project 1 moved to the morning citing other meetings and tasks from your director. No one wants to take it up with your director as to why they’ve given you tasks which overlap with your meeting, so they graciously accept. You’re in flow soon after starting working on the project and you stop by your friend’s desk on your way to the meeting to plan lunch. When you’re in the meeting, you’re already clear on what you need to do so you don’t take on too many more tasks and push back on another department’s requests and ask them to discuss with your manager where necessary. That buys you more time.
You clear and respond to some emails before lunch. When you come back from lunch, your partner calls to ask you to pick up your child on you way home. You start working on project 2. It takes you 15 minutes to get into flow, but your focus hasn’t shifted when you go into the meeting. Someone tries to interrupt your state and when they come and talk to you, you start the conversation with “How can I help you?” instead of “Hey, how are you?” which is an open invitation for more conversation. They swiftly move on to bother someone else and waste their time instead. Your meeting goes well and you go straight home from the meeting. You stop off at the childminder’s place and have plenty of time to have a chat before you have to get home and be ready for that wonderful dinner with great company, absolutely stress free.
As you can see, having fewer transition times leads to better work flow and productivity. As your state is not interrupted, you’ll get a lot more done and be ahead of schedule on a few things without making many other adjustments.
Of course there are other things you can do to make sure you have squeezing the juice out of each day and making sure you have more time for your family on a daily basis. In order to maximise the benefits of the time you save from switching tasks, you must also eliminate distractions from your productive time. Here’s a few things you can do which will save you those precious moments and claw back more time for you:
There are other ways to get the most out of your time too. Of course your mind-set and psychology is a big part of this.
You can find out more by checking out my online video programme: Close the GAP. It’s a short course packed with actionable advice on how you can add up to 2 hours more free time to your day, and how you can double your productivity so that you can excel both in your career, and your non-work life.
This course is guaranteed to free up more time for you to spend with your loved ones.
So you recognise the fact that you need more balance in your life. You need to focus on other areas including spending more time with your loved ones, on your leisure time and also in improving your health.
You spend endless hours at work or in the office or in your business. Trouble is, you actually enjoy what you do! You’ve spent years refining your craft and you are damn good at it! Many of my clients tell me that they love their job, and although they spend an unhealthy amount of time doing it, they don’t really mind it.
So what do you do when you love your job but you need more balance and more time for you?
What I encourage my clients to do is to create a compelling future for themselves – not just in their career but also other areas of their life. We do this by creating long term goals in all areas of their life that are important to them.
When you have some exciting goals pulling you in their direction, no matter how interesting or familiar your job is, you will be drawn to that future. Your vision will excite you and you will look for opportunities to do all those other things.
An important part of creating your compelling future us to visualise you in that space. You can start by creating a vision board. Vision board are visual representations of all the things you would like to be, do or have. I enjoy taking cuttings from magazines, newspapers, online images and other articles I find which represent what I want from the future.
You can also spend some time actively visualising the future where you are achieved all these long term goals. This can be done while meditating by can be done on it’s own. Picture yourself in that scene. See who you are – the type of person you have become. See what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you would feel in that future, now that you have met all your long term goals and they are a very real 10/10 in each area.
Someone might say to you, perhaps that little voice in your head – “Surely you can’t have everything perfect, everything 10/10?”
Tell that voice or person to shut up. This is your future dammit, and you’ll make it as perfect as you’d like! This is why they call it imagination.
Now that you can clearly visualise the future you would like to create, it’s time to make a plan of action. Write down 5 things that you can do to get close to achieving your goals. Make these fairly small action steps – not entire projects. Now you know what needs doing, but you may not know how! As you know, these are some of the areas you’ve been neglecting, so we need to evaluate how we go about making this vision a reality.
Now write down what knowledge or skills you need to develop in order to achieve these goals and complete these actions. Chances are, there are some areas you can work on which will give you better results once you polish up on some of the skills required. As Dr. Stephen Covey said, it always helps to sharpen the saw!
By doing the above, you will begin to take action on all the areas of your life which you have been neglecting. You will start to fall in love with the other areas of your life as much as you love your work or business! Loving doing other activities mean that you will not have the guilt associated with not giving enough time to those areas of your life. You’ll be able to do it without compromising the quality of your work or your career as a whole.
Make it a habit to visualise your compelling future in all areas of your life, and you will be driven to do more in those areas. This in turn will give you more balance in your life. Hashtag: #missionaccomplished!
If after following these steps, you feel that your mission is still not being accomplished, and that you are not achieving the balance you were hoping for, let’s hop on the phone. Book a 20 minutes consultation with me and we will find a way of working together which will help you get there faster, and enjoy the process![buttonibt title=”Book My Consultation” url=”https://www.unwrapyoursuccess.com/appointment-calendar/30-mins-qa-with-cj/” size=”lg” style=”default” bgcolor=”orange” fontcolor=”white”]Book My Consultation![/buttonibt]
There’s a compulsion among many of my friends and family at this time of year to set some sort of major, life-changing goal for the year. There’s also the common trend that within the next 3-4 weeks, most of them will have given up on their goals.
Naturally we’re not alone. Yearly hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) pay homage to this long-held tradition of making and (sadly) breaking their resolutions for the new year. The general statistic for people keeping their resolution is so pitifully low that there are not TV programs dedicated to showcasing people keeping and breaking their resolutions.
There are fortunately a handful of people who do make their resolutions come true. Around 4% according to some studies.
As well as amusing TV shows, there are studies around people who do actually often keep their resolutions.
So where I’m not actually a big fan of New Years’ Resolutions per se, I am of course an avid student of goal-setting and achieving. I am a fan of finding ways of achieving our goals that do not rely on the commencement of a new year in the generally accepted Georgian calendar.
This year, although I am not setting myself a resolution, I will be doing a trial run of a lifestyle change. I will be going Vegan for January – something they’re calling “#Veganuary”. In the meantime, let’s talk about why people do not keep to their goals.
Before we explore how to impress our loves ones with our uncanny ability to keep and achieve our goals, here’s a couple of reasons why people do not keep their resolutions.
Many people have grand ideas of what they would like to achieve in the coming year. Some want to lose 30lbs of weight in a short amount of time. Or go from being overweight to becoming a bodybuilder. Some people want to become fluent in a new hobby, for example learning to play the piano.
As we know with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals, any unrealistic goals are unlikely to come to fruition. Though it’s not entirely impossible to become a bodybuilder or master playing the piano in a year, this usually relies on an incredible amount of time dedicated to the task at the expense of many other.
Another major reason why we don’t achieve our goals is if the goal is not very specific. For example, someone might decide to simply “lose weight” but not say how much. Another point of inaccuracy is exactly when they might want to achieve this goal by. It is implied with New Years’ Resolutions that we will achieve this goal by 31st December of the new year. Often this is not an accurate analysis of how long it would take to achieve our goals. Some goals require a lot less time, while for others (our bodybuilder), a year may be woefully short.
We do however have a great adrenaline rush and feeling of euphoria associated with achieving goals. And the bigger the goal, the better we expect we will feel when we achieve this goal. Our expectations need to be cushioned with a layer of delayed gratification and expectancy that not all the traffic lights will be green when we move off towards our goal…
…Which leads me to the expectation of some that there will be smooth sailing on their voyage to weight-loss utopia or business windfalls.
We will face hurdles. Many of those predictable if we really take the time out to plan for them. When we set goals outside of the new year, we usually factor in that there may be some setbacks. However when we’re between glasses of bubbly and stories from Uncle James about how much he missed you all this year but couldn’t for the life of him locate your phone number to call (though he did friend you on Facebook in March), we make ourselves promises that are somewhat unrealistic and not tempered with due caution.
Naturally the first step in achieving any goal is to choose a goal which will work for you. This means a SMART goal. Having a goal that fits this will mean that you will not be setting yourself up for failure. By all means the goal should be a stretch – It’s no use having a goal to walk 500 steps daily when you know you’ll do that anyway. A goal that is too easy, is just as bad as a goal that is too hard to achieve. Unless used as a stepping stone to build up to a bigger goal – e.g. building a workout routine knowing that you can do 3 sets of 10 with a comfortable weight before upping the ante. By writing down your goal in this format, you’ll also do what almost all goal-setting experts will tell you – that is writing down your goal. Studies show that if you write your goal down, you are 10x more likely to achieve the goal. Your chances go up from 4% to 44% just by writing down your goal. So by all means write it down somewhere you will see it daily.
There’s a lot to be said for accountability. If you keep the goal to yourself, you are far less likely to achieve it. Why? Because sadly, you’re the easiest person to lie to, and the best at forgiving yourself by justifying why you couldn’t take the actions you needed to.
Share your goal with some close friends or family. If you must limit the reach, at least a few people who you know can tap you on the shoulder and bug you about whether you’ve done what you said you’d do, by the time you said you’d do it.
If a friend has the same or a similar goal to you, it is an extra motivator to each person. If you want to go all out, tell the world! Stick it on your LinkedIn profile and Facebook. Tell specific people to hold you accountable, and that will give you the extra push to make things happen!
This isn’t the same as having someone tap you on the shoulder and make you nervous about your 7pm accountability call, this is about specifically seeking out people who can help you achieve your goal. Are there experts, coaches, or friends you can turn to, to make things happen faster? Can you learn something from these people or from a mentor so that achieving your goal becomes more realistic.
As mentioned above, getting a coach can really help. I’m not just saying this so you can hire me as your coach (which I highly recommend to the point that I think the NHS should work me into their food pyramid somehow) but also because I am a living testament to coaching. I wouldn’t be where I am today without coaches helping me. I wouldn’t have a business and wouldn’t even be a coach myself. If you want results, accountability and a faster growth curve, consider a coach to help you get there.
If you found this post useful, I’d love to hear from you!
If you wish to accelerate your growth this year, so that you do not become part of the 96%, and truly take charge of your life and your time, book a free consultation here.
This special blog post is in honour of #WorldValuesDay 2016.
Values are like our internal compass through life. Why are they important and how do you make sure you’re heading in the right direction?
What we do and what we experience in life will either be aligned with our values or against them. When we do something that is aligned with our values, it makes us feel fulfilled and we are living life authentically. When we don’t we go on a discourse which leaves us unfulfilled and can lead to unhappiness and even depression.
Values are subconsciously held and sometimes we may not even know consciously what they are. But they’re always there, like the Wizard of Oz, pulling levers and playing a silent role in guiding our daily actions. Our values lead to beliefs. Our beliefs lead to our thoughts. Our thoughts lead to our actions, which lead to the results we get in life.
Any time we experience or do things that go against our values, we have a horrible gut feeling – like something isn’t quite right; sometimes we might not even know why! But it is important to be aware of what our values are in each area of our life. Once we know what they are, we can make sure we act them out fully in our daily lives.
Ask yourself the following question: What do I value the most about life? Write down as many thoughts which come to mind. Remember that values are generally single words or short phrases which represent you, e.g. “Valuing others,” “diversity,” and “faith”.
Take an account of what you’ve done over the last few days. In which situations did have an opportunity to exhibit those values? Did you make the most of those situations? What more could you have done to exhibit your values or make sure your values were met?
For example, let’s say you met some friends for dinner. One of your friends offered to pay for your meal and that of others. You knew this friend didn’t have a lot of money. Did you let them pay? Did you stop them? Did you make a decision as to how the bill would be split? How you handled this situation would depend on your values (and your beliefs which we’ll cover elsewhere on this blog).
Now think about the top 3 values you have for your life. How can you live these more each day? Set them as reminders on your phone for the next few days or a week. Set them as backgrounds on your mobile so that it acts as a constant reminder.
Lastly, check back on yourself in another week’s time. How have you progressed? Have you lived your values fully? What did you learn? How did you feel? What would you do differently? Write these questions down or bookmark this post so you can come back to it later.
And if you enjoyed this exercise, then sign up on the right for our free weekly planner which will help you free up more of your time so that you can live one of my favourite values a lot more: FUN! Also, it’ll act as a good reminder to check back on this post in a week’s time.
It is crucial to having work-life balance to have a handle on what needs to happen when. More specifically: which of our tasks should be done now, and which can be done later – if at all. Below is the task management system I use when I feel that I have lots going on and I am in danger of going into overwhelm. Below is a simple recipe I use to avoid overwhelm and make task management a doddle!
1 List as long as your arm
1 Thinking cap (or turban in my case)
1 cup of tea
Multi-coloured Pens/highlighters to taste
First and foremost, grab yourself a cup of tea. As I’m British, this is a requirement. I already have my Earl Grey, therefore I will wait.
If you haven’t already, create a list of all tasks you need to complete. These could be all related to one area or multiple areas of your life or multiple projects.
These tasks now need to be divided up into categories – or layers as follows:
Let’s explore these a little more and define what goes into each section. Feel free to use some highlighters or coloured pens to mark up your list.
‘A’ tasks are tasks that you Absolutely Must do right away. These tasks cannot wait another few days or a week. Go through your list and put an A next to each of the tasks which fall into this category.
‘B’ tasks are those which are Best to do soon, such as within the next day or two. These tasks won’t ruin your day if you don’t get them done, however they cannot be left for long before they become ‘A’ tasks.
‘C’ tasks are those which you can Choose to do now or leave to later. Typically you need to do these from 2-5+ days from now, but you do need them done.
Tasks which fall into this category are those which much be Delegated. They need to be done, but it doesn’t need to be YOU who does them. You may also notice as you go through some of your other tasks, that some of these – although being both important and urgent, can be delegated. In this case, they become ‘BD’ or ‘CD’ tasks etc.
This is my favourite layer as it involves tasks which you can Eliminate. These tasks are a distraction from what is important right now. They are of low importance, and if you spend time doing these, you’re taking time away from doing you’re A-C tasks.
Reviewing your ‘big list’ of tasks should be done weekly, although you will probably review it throughout the week as you will hopefully be referring to it rather often.
“But CJ, what if I have too many ‘A’ tasks? Which one do I do first?” I hear you ask! Very good question and thank you for asking. You win the prize for best question asked all blog post. Here’s where our old friend Pareto comes in to help us sort the wheat from the chaff. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, comes into play here to help you decide which task should be first. Decide by looking through your ‘A’ tasks, which one would have the biggest impact on your goal right now. Mark this task A1. Ask yourself the same question again, excluding that first one. This next one becomes A2, and so on…
Now you have a nice layered list of tasks. You may well write them out again in the new order you have placed them in.
Here’s some icing for your layered cake. You can speed up this whole process by using an app which I thoroughly recommend and use for all my to-do lists (among other things) – and that’s Evernote.
Evernote is one of my favourite productivity tools and it can synchronise across all your devices.
I’d love to hear from you and know now your Task Management Cake turned out! And if you’re still having trouble juggling all the hats, call me now on 07988630004 and get your time back once and for all!
Close the GAP Home Study Course vs. Close the GAP Coaching program
One of the problems with some of the coaching packages out there is that you are usually tied down to a specific method of delivery. However we all have different learning modalities and many of us professional parents prefer to consume content at our own pace, and in our own time.
At Unwrap Your Success, we recognise that our clients have busy lives. The last thing you would want is to be tied down to an 8pm webinar based conference call every Thursday evening when you have things to get on with (or sleep to catch up on!) Below I have conducted a comparison of our two signature programs. Both of these will help you get your time back, but each has its own merits, and one of these will likely be a better fit than the other.
Our Close the GAP Home Study Course (coming later this month) is a short video-based course which you can purchase and make use of at your leisure. Following this course and completing the workbooks for each module will help you get a lot more time for yourself and help you do more in less time. The end result experienced by those who have tested this course is that they are able to cultivate the habits which will serve them long into the future and in multiple areas of their life.
The course comprises of 3 modules which are split into short 5-10 minute videos. This means you can watch them on the go, and will not miss anything if you go underground and your smartphone stops buffering.
Sometimes changing various aspects of your life can be overwhelming. The Home Study Course delivers actionable steps in manageable chunks. This makes them easy to follow.
We understand that not every peg fits every hole therefore it is natural that you will have questions. This course comes with a complimentary two hour 1:1 skype session which you can book once you have completed the course, to answer any questions you may have.
This Course can be pre-booked by contacting me here: Contact
A Home Study course is great for getting to grips with some of those challenges which are currently holding you back from having more time for yourself and greater work-life balance.
Some of my clients prefer a 1 to 1 approach where they work closer with me to help achieve their goals over the longer term. In the Close the GAP Coaching Program, we work together for three months and have one coaching session approximately every 2 weeks. Each coaching session is 90 minutes long and we delve deeply into the issues which are currently affecting your work-life balance.
Further to this, as your personal coach, I will hold you accountable to the actions which we agree upon. I have found that many of my 1:1 clients know some of the things they should be doing, and need a coach to hold them accountable. Some clients prefer a more mentor style relationship which means that they request some ideas from me to aid them on their journey. In these sessions, I can be entirely flexible to the approach taken and can tailor it to your needs specifically.
Book your first session by contacting me here: Contact
Both these courses come with lifetime membership of our Private Facebook Group and a guarantee that you will see measurable results in your work-life balance!
If you’re serious about taking control of your life and taking your time back, so that you can spend more of it with doing the things that matter to you, make a choice from one of the above programs. One of these is perfect for you if you are willing to take action and invest in yourself. Apply now to Close that GAP NOW!
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson was one of those books that formed an integral part of my own journey. It is a book that focuses on the power of daily actions and habits – something I’m a huge advocate for.
I remember distinctly my own Slight Edge experience with becoming a public speaker. My own coach will tell you how terrible and nervous I was when I first started speaking. After spending 30 minutes every day and also coaching and holding my own seminars, I slowly became better at my craft. Now I can deliver multi-day seminars with the support of a good crew.
Many times, our daily habits go unchecked. We do not equate the daily action to the long-term effect. But taking the time to master a craft has great results over time.
Many of the things we do – either consciously or subconsciously, have an impact on our life which becomes greater and greater over time. For example, Jeff refers to eating a single burger – which we know is not going to give you immediately visible results in terms of weight gain. A single cigarette will likely not cause serious health problems. However, over time, the results of these habits or daily actions will compound on each other and the effects will surely be visible, months and years down the line.
Similarly, the effects of positive habits will not show up right away. a single session at the gym is not going to give you a 6-pack. A single dance lesson will not see you being in the finals in “Strictly” (to my disappointment).
Each of these effects, if observed on a chart, would show very little movement at the start – it would be like watching grass grow. However as time goes on, those indicators on the chart will move faster and farther along, showing up eventually as mountains! This is akin to the compound effect on a bank account left to grow over time.
Another great distinction from this book is that when forming positive habits, such as healthy eating, it can seem like it is hard to do. However negative habits, are easy to do. However this law reverses after some time – what’s easy to do now (e.g. eating burgers and fried) becomes uncomfortable later. What’s difficult now (e.g. healthy eating) becomes comfortable and easier later.
You can apply these principles to your own life and examine, and change your own daily habits. This book gives a solid foundation on how to go about doing this.
This book is an easy read at just over 160 pages and is well laid out. Jeff Olson uses some great and practical examples such as the water Hyacinths. It also has great goal-planning exercises which underlay some of the principles in my Daily Planner which I use with clients.
Another refreshing thought was that I was already applying some of the positive habits mentioned in the book, though at the time there was much room for improvement – especially in the areas where I found the positive habits hard to do consistently.
This revised edition also has checklists at the end of each chapter to help aid the learning.
To be honest there isn’t much about this book that I didn’t like. Perhaps going deeper into some of the habits and time management – however I understand that the scope of the book isn’t really to teach time management.
I seriously recommend giving it a read.
Peace, Serenity, Balance and Fulfillment are some of the words that pop to mind when we think about being in a state of Zen. And when I think about what most of my clients want – REALLY what they want and need, it all points back to these things. Being in a state where you have piece of mind. You aren’t being pulled into a million directions. The one direction you’re happy with is the direction your life is headed. Not just within your career or business, but all aspects of life.
With this in mind, I decided to write this post for you. I have decided to give you everything in this post, which you can put into practice over the next few days and weeks, and it will deliver you exactly that. Put the kettle on, I’ll wait.
Often when we lack balance in our life, it is due to us putting most of our energy into one area of our life. This usually tends to be our job, practice or business. Sometimes we have our goals and plans set out for what we want out of our career and where we want to be in a few years time.
We rarely take the time to set goals in other areas of our life. This is the first module of my Close the GAP coaching program. Setting long term goals for most people stops with New Years’ Resolutions – The goal we set on 1st January and dismiss by 1st February, only to repeat them again the following year. I’m sure we all know someone who has had the same Resolution for several years. And the only reason they change it, is when they get bored with failing at that goal, so they then pick a new one to fail at lol.
Clients who book on the Close the GAP program with me set goals for multiple areas of their life. This includes health, wealth, relationships, spiritual goals, travel/leisure goals… 20+ years into the future. “WHAAAT?!” I hear you scream (they all do too)! That’s not a typo. we work systematically to set goals and checkpoints for very long term goals.
Let’s get our hands dirty. I’l go easy on you and stick to 15 year goals for this exercise.
Pick one area of your life to work on right now. Spend 5 minutes thinking and writing where exactly you’d like to be in that area of your life in the next 15 years. Time yourself here as it is easy to lose track of time. Write a short paragraph, 4-5 lines max.
Next, you are going to write down what you would need to achieve in the following intervals of time, in order for the next milestone to be reachable. For example, if it is a personal goal to be the best-selling author of 3 books in 15 years for me, then I may say that I need to ensure I’m a published author of at least 4 or 5 books by the 10 year milestone to be within a chance of having 3 best sellers by 15 years (random example but work with me here!)
Give yourself a maximum of 5 minutes for each one – again we don’t want to still be on the first milestone an hour from now!
So you now need to write down – ideally in bullet point form what you would need to achieve for the following:
Once you go through this exercise, you will most likely feel that the distant goals now do not feel so distant! And the goals and actions for the next 1 to 6 months mean that there are tangible actions you can take to keep you on track for those longer term goals.
Once we have our goals in place, we need to have the right attitudes. In other words, we need to become the type of person who has achieved all of the things we wish to achieve in 15 years. Take some time to reflect on this. Look to your future self in all the areas of your life. What have you accomplished? Who are you surrounded by? What kind of house do you live in? What are your daily habits? Immerse yourself in that environment and step into that person. Now think of the qualities this person has. From this point forward, this is the person you are in competition with. No one else.
Now that you have taken the time to picture your ideal future, write down 3 top qualities of your future self which you currently have not mastered.
It is now your duty to start doing things which you would do with these qualities handled. For example, if your future self is a fantastic negotiator, you will need to find out how you can master this area. Look for opportunities to negotiate and see how many win-win situations you can create. You may feel you need to take a course to improve in this area. This is absolutely fine, as long as you make sure it happens sooner rather than later. Set a deadline and stick to it. Think SMART.
The final step is to ensure when you are working, you are doing the most effective things in the most effective way.
This is where you can use some fantastic productivity tools which will ensure you get more done in a week than most do in a month.
First, you need to ensure you have an effective action list. This is better than a to-do list in that it ONLY has 3 items. Decide what you can do tomorrow to get you closer towards your long term goals. Having items to tick off is one thing, but ensuring that there are only 3 items on there means that you do not enter into a state of overwhelm.
Second, use the 80/20 rule – also known as the Pareto Principle. This applies in all areas of life. For example, 80% of growth comes from 20% of the stocks in any given portfolio. 80% of your team’s productivity is from 20% of their actions. If you feel that there is an abundance of tasks to get done, then you must apply this rule. 80% of your results in any area will come from 20% of your actions. Therefore pick out the ones which will create the biggest impact. You can apply this to the second module above – list down all the qualities of your future self, and use the 80/20 rule to pick out those qualities or traits which will give you 80% of the results.
Third, and this one will take practice, eliminate distractions throughout your day. If you have colleagues coming up to you at work, instead of asking how they are, and opening a can of worms, ask “How can I help you?” This way, you are being polite and keeping the conversation work-based. If they wish to chat to you socially, it is best done at lunch or at a social setting. Work all the time you’re at work. However when you are off work, be off work! Turn off the work mobile and do not let emails distract you. Your time is important and if you’re taking work home with you, are you likely to become the person who has all those things you’d like 15 years from now?
On my Close the GAP coaching program, I work with professionals like you and we explore many other ways to boost your productivity, get more done, and achieve the freedom the desire in their life. As a result, they often have a deeper connection with their family and children as they’re no longer tied to their desks!! To find out more, call me on 07988630004 for a consultation.