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Archive for April, 2015


Enthusiasm Is Contagious!

Today is life—the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.

Dale Carnegie, Author

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, enthusiasm is strong excitement about something. You know what it’s like when you’re around someone who is enthusiastic. They practically bubble over with eagerness to tackle life and work and have a positive attitude. Like positivity, enthusiasm is contagious. (See my post Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference?shutterstock_20301970

  • Take action. Enthusiastic people make things happen and inspire others to do so, too. Set goals for both your work and your life that excite you and that ignite your passion.
  • Believe that what you do is important. It’s easier to be enthusiastic when you know you are making a contribution to your job, your family, or your community.
  • Look for the positive in everything that happens. I’m not talking about being a Pollyanna! Enthusiastic people see reality, but refuse to let it derail them. Even if they don’t succeed or achieve what they set out to do, enthusiastic people view the result as a learning experience; it doesn’t stop them from trying again and again. See my post The Value of Reframing for more information.

Ramp up your enthusiasm and not only will others around you feel it, they will become more enthusiastic in turn—and enthusiasm leads to positive productivity!



Stress Busters

Stress is a part of life and work. Looming deadlines, limited resources, conflicts between team members, worry, and many other factors affect stress levels. Since too much stress or the wrong kind of stress negatively impacts productivity and health, it is important to find ways of handling and releasing stress throughout the day in order to stay healthy, focused, and positively productive! shutterstock_92470498

Here are some quick stress busters:

  • Take a mental time out. We often feel stress when we ruminate about something. Just like a cow chewing its cud, we chew and chew on the stressor, making it worse. When you find yourself doing this, stop! Take a few deep breaths and refuse to think about the situation for a while. Get busy and focus on something else.
  • Gain perspective. If you are too close to the situation that is stressing you, you can’t see it objectively. This prevents you from identifying what actions you might take to rectify or mitigate it. Stress often arises when we don’t feel in control; objectively evaluating the situation, possible outcomes, and actions that can be taken will give you perspective and help you feel more in control.
  • Get help. Some situations are easier to handle with help. Talk to someone you trust or seek help from a professional. Getting additional points of view or gaining insight from an expert may relieve some of the stress you feel.

Stress can be dangerous if you don’t learn to manage it. See my blog posts Finding Time for Yourself and Distress or Eustress? for more information.


The Right Way to Apologize

It takes courage to admit a mistake or failing and apologize for it, but that’s part of being a professional. Here are some quick tips to make it easier to apologize like a pro!OOPS road sign against  blue sky

  • Admit you made a mistake or committed something you shouldn’t have. For many people, this is the hardest part—taking responsibility and ownership.
  • Apologize as soon as you realize you have offended someone or a mistake has been made. Delaying just makes the apology harder.
  • State what happened and avoid defending yourself or making excuses since this diminishes the sincerity of the apology.
  • Be sincere and be brief.
  • State how you will fix the situation or how you will avoid it happening in the future. If you can offer any kind of reparation or alternatives, do so.

Don’t become offensive if your apology is not graciously received. If we have hurt someone or caused him or her harm, it may take time to rebuild trust. The best course of action is to be sincere and conscientious in the future.


Quick Energy Boosts for Productivity

According to experts, after about 60 to 90 minutes of focused work, your attention flags, you become weary, and your productivity suffers. So if you think that working through your lunch to finish a report is a good idea, think again.shutterstock_48797485

  • Stop working! Set an alert as a reminder to take a break every hour, step away from your desk, and move around. You will return refreshed and will be more productive than if you kept at it beyond the hour.
  • Clear the clutter off your desk. You are less productive when stacks of paper, open electronic files on your monitor, or open tabs on the Internet distract your focus. Close or file away what you aren’t working on. Afraid you’ll lose track of it? Set up a vertical file behind your desk for the paper documents you want to work on for the day and create a similar system for electronic files and e-mail. This way you won’t forget, and the document is off both your physical and electronic desktop. (Need help managing e-mail? Check out my new program Writing and Managing E-mail.)
  • Take a walk. Get outside and get some fresh air. No matter how environmentally friendly your workplace may be, nothing replaces fresh air as a productivity booster. Take a short walk, breathe deeply, and feel yourself becoming more alert.

Remember, productivity improves when you take a break, not when you skip a break! Make sure your employees take breaks, too. They will feel better and get more done!