Category Archives for "Productivity"

How to Gain Work-Life Balance Without Sacrificing Your Career

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.

Productivity Time

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.

Two Projects and a Baby

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.

More Work, Less Time

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:

  • Close your Outlook/emails – Having notifications pop up each time we have an email come through (and some of us have easily 70+ emails coming in daily!) can be distracting. Each one of those is screaming at you: “LOOK AT ME I’M THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD!” Except you know it is not. Unless you are expecting an email which will help you with your current task, close the email program completely. Put on an Out of Office reply stating that you’re not available by email and if it’s anything urgent, to call you or come find you. You will find that most people will be happy to wait for a reply from you.
  • Cut out the chatter – We’ve touched on this earlier. People have a habit of wanting to kill time (yours and theirs) by having casual conversations with you. Eliminate these by telling people you’ll be happy to talk at lunch time or during a break. And as mentioned above, start conversations with “How can I help you?” and advise people you are working on a task with a very tight deadline. They will understand, I promise you.
  • Mobile phone on silent – This might sound like an obvious one, but as busy parents, we often feel the need to keep our mobile devices near us “just in case”. Very rarely does an actual emergency present itself. However you can prepare for these by giving the important people in your life (spouse, childminder, kids’ school) the number for your workplace so they can contact you in case an emergency does happen. Now you can put the distraction machine away.
  • Apply the 80/20 rule. When you have to choose between several important tasks, figure out which task will help you the most. What can you do now that will have an impact on other tasks, other projects or other people the most? What is the hardest task to do? Usually this is also the most important or will yield the biggest return for your time invested.

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.

Your Recipe for Task Management Rainbow Cake

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!

layered cake

Ingredients:

1 List as long as your arm

1 Notepad

1 Thinking cap (or turban in my case)

1 cup of tea

Multi-coloured Pens/highlighters to taste

Method:

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:

  • Red Layer: ‘A’ tasks
  • Orange Layer: ‘B’ tasks
  • Yellow Layer: ‘C’ tasks
  • Green Layer: ‘D’ tasks
  • Blue Layer: ‘E’ tasks

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.

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‘A’ Tasks

‘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

‘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

‘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.

‘D’ Tasks

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.

‘E’ Tasks

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.

Hold the Oven!

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“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.

The Icing on the Cake

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!

The Slight Edge (Revised) – Jeff Olson Book Review

slight edge

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.

Slight Edge Experience

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.

Negative Edge

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.

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Positive Edge

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.

Easy To Do and Easy Not To Do

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.

What I like

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.

What I dislike

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.

How to Zen Your Life

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.

Long Term Goals

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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. 

The Process

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:

  • 10 years
  • 5 years
  • 3 years
  • 2 years
  • 1 year
  • 6 months
  • 3 months
  • 1 month

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.

Attitude

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.

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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.

 

Productivity

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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.

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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.

 

From Admin to Project Lead – A Case Study

From admin to project lead

When you’re a coach, it’s easy to get used to setting goals and long term plans. It forms an integral part on my coaching programme, hence I do it more often than most.

But just because we do it day in, day out, it is easy to forget that not everyone is doing this. So it is both refreshing and rewarding working with a client who hasn’t done long-term goal setting before.

Though the Housing Diversity Network for whom I’ve delivered a talk on Long-Term Goal Setting, I was paired up to mentor Shauna who works for a Housing Association.

Consultation

At the start of the mentoring programme, which was intended to be a year-long programme, I noticed that Shauna was a little apprehensive of the situation and wasn’t sure what to expect. During our initial consultation, I discovered that Shauna wanted to grow her confidence and assertiveness in situations with senior managers, directors and board members. Her goal was to have more firm long term goals for herself. In order to make this happen, she needed to come out of her comfort zone a lot more!

Confidence in 15 minutes

Shauna and I clicked straight away. Having gone through similar situations in the past myself, I understood what she needed to do. During the first session, we took care of the confidence and assertiveness. Using a NLP technique, I had Shauna visualise her success in a situation that she currently would feel out of her depth. Having practiced this and anchored the positive feeling to this situation, I told Shauna to try it out in a real situation. I also armed her with a couple of techniques to disarm any confrontational situations – particularly when egos were at stake.

It worked a charm! At our second meeting, Shauna was delighted to tell me that she had shown an instant boost in confidence and was able to speak her mind at a key meeting. I knew that this positive experience would reinforce the learning and also give her further confidence to be able to speak up at key meetings and make sure her ideas were heard. I talked Shauna through some other techniques and visualisations she could use. We also looked at her DISC profile which was an output from the mentoring programme with the HDN.

Long Term Goals

At our third meeting, we spoke about Long Term Goal-Setting. Shauna was showing great progress in her ability to speak her mind, and was being seconded to a project team.

I walked Shauna through her career goals starting with 15 years from now. She was taken aback like most of my clients when I mention this. We took a serious look at her options and projected into the future. What would she want to achieve 15 years from now? This took some time to really get the imagination going, but once you do get started, it’s not hard at all and the ideas keep flowing. In fact, I often time this part of the session as it is easy to get carried away and lose track of time.

We then worked backwards from 10 years, 5 years, etc. all the way to 3 months and 1 month to determine what would need to happen before the next milestone was achieved.

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Shauna found this exercise to be an eye-opener. She was amused to think that what seemed distant and frightful now seems very real and the timeline creates the urgency for present-day actions. As this was a mentoring session and not just a coaching session, I suggested some areas Shauna can explore professionally.

Shauna’s secondment was coming to an end by the fourth session we had. But it gave her great insight into working on large projects developing new ways of working and new systems. I was impressed with her work ethic as she found that when she returned to her Complaints Admin role, her workload had not been actioned and she took it upon herself to ensure she would bring all the cases up to date, often working long hours into the evening.

Work-Life Imbalance

At this point we spoke specifically about how she can handle her work-life balance and I shared what she found to be invaluable advice as she was beginning to neglect her health.

By the time we had our fifth session, Shauna was visibly a lot more confident. She found herself in a leading role with this project, and not only actively taking part in meetings, but also delivering in-house consultations and training for the new system.

She had much greater balance in her life. She has started to change her daily habits to match those of people she admires and hopes to emulate. Her health is improving on an ongoing basis.

 

15 year goals

Not only that, but she is carving up the future that she thought at the start that she could never have. She has ambition for herself going forward in her career. She now sees herself as not only being on a project team, but leading one. I dare say her 15 year goals which used to scare her, now seem as though most will be achieved well ahead of time.

Here’s Shauna describing how her confidence improved due to working with me:

You see, achieving goals themselves are not what creates your future. It’s the person you have to become along the way. And as Shauna puts it herself, she’s not in competition with anyone else but her future self!

If you’d like to see how you can create some inspirational long-term goals and improve your work-life balance like Shauna did, pick up the phone and call me now on +447988630004 so that we can talk about your situation in a no obligation consultation.

 

CJ Sohal

5 Easy Habits That Make A Huge Impact

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5 Easy Habits That Make A Huge Impact

With our busy lives, it seems to be a constant struggle against the clock and against your willpower to change your habits and form new ones. I found this to be the case for myself because I found that I was so caught up in my day-to-day activity, that I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

This bought me to book called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olsen which changed my perspective on how habits are formed and more importantly, how they affect us.

On a day by day basis, we don’t see the immediate effect of what our eating habits or work habits are doing to us. Just like a smoker doesn’t smoke 1 cigarette and realise the damage to their lungs. This happen as a result of compounding the small changes over time. A person with poor eating habits doesn’t realise the impact until the 1000th burger and fries. Similarly, the person who goes into the gym for the first time doesn’t get a 6-pack figure after that one workout.

There are some habits that you can start forming today that won’t take you too far from your comfort zone and will create a big impact over time

1. Change One Dietary Item A Week

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So you want to have a healthy diet but switching from a carnivore to a vegan seems to big a jump? (It should, and you shouldn’t make that change overnight, trust me it’s not good) The ideal action is to list down everything you eat over a week. Then change one item per week. So if you realise that after lunch, you feel a slump in energy so you see yourself reaching for a chocolate bar, then switch out the chocolate for a banana or carrot sticks. You do this for one week. Then you look at your list again and change another item or remove it completely. As time goes on, you will slowly see yourself challenging yourself to come up with new things to try or change out for even healthier items.

2. Work During Your Breaks and Lunches

This habit is for those of us who with to excel in our careers and get the edge over others in the workplace – not to say that we’re better than them, but to be truly excellent in your field, you must be willing to give something up in order to gain something else; such as a promotion.

So your new habit should be to work through your breaks while everyone else is sitting around sipping coffee or talking by the photocopier. Get in a few extra calls, arrange a few meetings or respond to your customers in order to get ahead of schedule. You’ll soon find that you can easily eat a sandwich between phone calls and get an extra hour of productivity out of your day. People will start wondering where you’re getting all this extra time from.

3. Work While You Work

Another one relating to work but not limited to a job. Even in your business, make it a habit to work all the time you should be working. Fully 50% of work time (in an office) is spent in chit-chat with colleagues, making teas and coffees, answering useless emails and being distracted by the internet and by others. If you’re working for yourself, switch off your phone if you’re working on your laptop. Turn off all distractions.

Any time you find yourself slipping out of this habit, say to yourself “Back to work. Back to work” And if you have colleagues interrupting you at work, don’t greet them with “Hi, How are you?” Start with “Hi, how can I help you?” If the discussion is not a work one, they’ll reply “Oh, I just wanted to say hi/chat”. To which you will reply, “Great, can we catch up at lunch/after work, I’ve really got to get this in.” Then they will usually walk away, and ruin someone else’s career lol.

4. Take Your Best Affirmations With You

You’ve probably come across affirmations before. Positive statements that you repeat, with feeling and actions, to align your subconscious mind to those statements and make them reality. An easy step – Take 5 or 6 affirmations and create a background for your mobile phone so that each time you look at your phone, you see them and read them. For bonus points, have 5 Affirmations and then your #1 goal on there too. Did anyone say FOCUS? This small tip will give you tons! But do remember to follow through and actually use the affirmations.

5. Model One Successful Person You Admire

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This is a constantly evolving habit because it relates to the goal you are working on at the time. For example, if you’re working on your sporting achievements and you want to be great at Tennis, you might want to learn what Andy Murray does in his game to improve yours. It won’t help you to emulate the same person for your business goals, however.

Find an appropriate person who you admire in that area. Find out what makes them tick. Make it your mission to start copying some of their best behaviours, attitudes, and habits. Another thing that you can do in this area is to ensure you have a coach. Someone who can push you and hold you accountable. A good coach can also help you discover which attitudes and behaviours to adopt to bring you close to your goals quickly!

If you’d like to find out more about our coaching packages, do contact me via the Contact Us form and sign up for offers.

Long Term Goal Setting Part 4 of 4

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Long Term Goal-Setting Part 4 of 4

Welcome to the last in the series on Long Term Goal Setting. So far we have covered Why we need Long Term Goals, How to Visualise Long Term Goals, and also how to work back from the future to the present so we know what actions we need to take.

In this post, we will tie in our daily actions to our long-term goals. This is a system borrowed from my own coach Simone Vincenzi from GTeX (Growing Together exponentially). This is the daily planner I use which has helped me grow a successful coaching business alongside a full time job and an extended family to look after. Using this system will keep you focused and keep your short term actions relevant.

In order to do this, you will need a small notepad. Ideally a pocket size jotter pad will suffice as it’s best to be able to carry around with you daily. You will need to divide the page up into the portions shown below. A detailed explanation is below.

Daily planner guide

This planner is best used the night before to plan actions for the next day. The top left section is where you list 3-4 actions for the next day. Ideally you should not have more than 4 actions.

In the sections on the right, you draw pictorial representations of your long term goals. And don’t worry, they don’t need to be stunning masterpieces. Mine are simple stick-figures, but these do demonstrate the point.

You can choose to draw arrows from your daily actions to show you which bigger goals they work towards.

The last section on the bottom-left is for exactly what it says – bonus items so that if you do get everything in your top list done, you can move on to these. But I’ll give you a big hint – when you link your actions to your big goals, your motivation level goes through the roof. I often find myself getting a lot more done and have to add items to my bonus list throughout the day!

I’d love to hear how you found using this Daily Planner, please leave a comment below. If you’ve enjoyed this post, remember to sign up for updates so you don’t miss the latest posts!

Inspirational Quote

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Inspirational Quote!

We all get stuck with analysis paralysis at times. I’ve found that every time I’ve over-analysed something, I’ve stopped dead in my tracks, and instead of being productive, I’ve gotten lost in the woods trying to figure out what I need to be doing and when.

Analysis paralysis occurs due to two main reasons.

1 – Not having a clear direction or goal in mind. Even if you know what your goal is, you need to know what the next step is. This will help you decide what actions you need to take.

2 – Information overload. This is linked to the first because if you’re clear on the next thing you need to achieve in order to get closer to your goal, you can narrow down your actions. Information overload can still occur because if your immediate goal is to set up a website, you’ll often hear about a bajillion things you need to do: Responsive website, opt-in pages, lead magnets, header images, one-pager or multiple, auto-responders, etc. etc. The list goes on. It can be a nightmare to decide which you need to focus on first (or even figure out what everything means if you’re anything like me).

The solution here is to firstly be very clear on the goal or mini goal you’re going after. Then chunk up the knowledge into sections – Okay you need a website, so the first thing is not to worry about auto-responders, but the purpose of your website, what you want it to achieve for you and then decide on a layout for the website. Perhaps decide on what theme to go for if you’re building on WordPress. THEN when you’re clear on this, you can start to focus on more intricate details like setting up opt-in pages and creating lead magnets.

Begin with the end in mind.

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April 11, 2016

Will it Make The Boat Go Faster?

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Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?

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You already know that you should have some long term goals planned. You will also be aware that in order to make them happen, you need to ensure you take daily actions towards those goals. So what do you do when those other “urgent” things come up when you are in the middle of doing your important tasks, or just randomly throughout the day? What do you do when those distractions come up or you have the urge to do something else?

For each activity you need to embark on, you need to ask yourself the following question: Will it make the boat go faster? What do I mean by this?

A professional rowing team needs to get in a lot of practice to get to the level they need to be to compete in races and even the Olympics. Much like yourself, they have things come up that they need to decide whether they need to do or dismiss. The question they are trained to ask themselves, is “Is what I’m about to do going to make me a better rower or make the boat go faster?”

So using this, if someone asks them to order pizza for dinner, they think, will that make the boat go faster or slower? And the answer of course is that it will make the boat go slower. So they decide against it. If their friends are going out for a night on the town, they ask the same question and will conclude that it will not make the boat go faster. If they decide to go for a run, they will know that going for a run will make the boat go faster.

If they have to decide whether to have a big chunk of apple pie or a smoothie, they know which one is going to make the boat go faster.

So think to yourself, is the action you’re about to take going to get you closer to your goals? Is it going to make you more skilled at doing what you need to in order to achieve that higher level in sill? Someone comes to talk to you at work making small talk. Is that going to make the boat go faster?

Each of these daily actions compound to make significant changes in your life. What seemed to look like watching grass grow, will show up as mountains in your life.

If you enjoyed reading this, remember to sign up for our weekly updates and special offers at the top of this page. It will certainly make the boat go faster!

April 6, 2016

3 Steps to Doubling Your Productivity

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3 Steps to Doubling Your Productivity

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we wan to do. From the moment you wake up, you’re wishing you had more time to get up at your own pace, you get to work and wish you had longer on the project you’re working on, and you wish the evenings would be longer so you could spend more leisure time.

We can’t slow down the Earth’s rotation for you, but we can give you 3 great ways to boost your productivity.

Create a Task List

Create a list of the tasks you need to do, and do it the night before. Having a clearly prioritised list gives you a sense of purpose. You know exactly what you will need to do and when to do it. Here its important to ensure you don’t overwhelm yourself and create a list of 10,000 items. Try to visualise your larger goals and write down 3-5 actions that you can take tomorrow that will get you closer to your bigger goals.

The other benefit of doing this in the evening is that your subconscious mind will start working on those goals for you. If you know you want to get something done but you’re not quite sure how you’ll do it, your brain will work on those things for you while you sleep.

Use the 80/20 Pareto Principle

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle is the concept that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. This applies to practically every area of life. 80% of your productivity and results will come from the top 20% of tasks that you do at work or in your business. 80% of the growth will come from 20% of stocks in a portfolio. 20% of your more challenging customers will take up 80% of the resources to service those customers.

With this in mind, you can have the Pareto Principle work in your favour. From your task list, think about the 20% item or items, which will give you 80% of the results in terms of getting closer to completing a goal or task. Highlight that task and make sure it’s the one you do first.

This will not only give you great results as you get more done, but also give you that sense of fulfillment which comes from accomplishing our goals and tasks. Having a “win” at the start of your day will set the wheels in motion for other successes and create the momentum you need to keep on going even if you get stuck on one task.

Set SMART Long Term Goals

You may already have heard of SMART goals and may already have used them at work. Now is the time to take this home with you and apply the same to all areas of your life. Get long term goals. We’re talking 5, 10 or even 15 years into the future. There are many benefits to doing this including clearer vision, more drive towards your goals, certainty in the future and greater use of your imagination to visualise the future you.

In setting a SMART goal, you need to ensure that the goal you set is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely – i.e. It has a deadline. Ensuring your goal is specific and measurable means that you will know for sure when you have achieved it. Making your goal realistic means that you believe that it can be achieved within the timescale you set.

Another benefit to having long term goals is that you can link these to the daily actions you take so you constantly know that you are on the right track.

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