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Archive for September, 2015


Never Do This in the Morning

How you start the day has a lot to do with how positively productive you are throughout the day. Here are five morning habits to break.shutterstock_300942680

  1. Hitting the snooze button over and over. It’s tempting to do this, especially when the days grow shorter and colder, but it is a bad start to the day. Often it leads to your having to rush around to get out the door on time, which makes you feel frazzled and stressed before you even arrive at the office.
  2. Skipping breakfast. Yes, you know it’s the most important meal of the day, but do you know why? It refuels your body when your energy is at its lowest—after a night with no nourishment. Without a good breakfast, you are running on empty! You need food to turn on your engine and keep it going. The key is eating the right food.
  3. Filling up on fast food. Breakfast on the go is often laden with fat and sugar. Instead of hitting the drive-thru or donut shop, give yourself time for a nutritious meal that will rev your energy and keep it going without a sugar crash.
  4. Choosing coffee over water. Yes, most of us need that cup of coffee in the morning, but while it’s brewing, take a big drink of fresh water. Water replenishes your dehydrated body and boosts your energy. You may decide you don’t need that coffee after all.
  5. Decide what to wear. Some of us can stand in front of a packed closet for an hour before making a decision about what to wear. Don’t wait until morning to figure it out. The night before set out what you want to wear, choose any accessories, and put everything you need to take to the office in your briefcase or tote.

See my blog post An Easy Morning Starts the Night Before for more information.


Getting the Right Things Done

Have you ever gotten to the end of the workweek and discovered that nothing important was accomplished? Despite this, you’re exhausted! Maybe you spent most of the week fighting fires, were stuck in meetings, or were constantly interrupted. Being positively productive requires you to spend time on the right things. Here are some tips for getting the right things done.After

  • Prioritize. You can’t get the right things done if you haven’t identified what they are. According to the Pareto Principle, you need to focus on the 20% of your activities that produce 80% of your results. Review your performance plan and job description. What are the deliverables you are responsible for achieving? That’s the 20% you need to move toward.
  • Plan your time. Nothing important is accomplished without a plan. When U.S. President John Kennedy promised to put a man on the moon by the end of the century, it took a plan to make it happen. Take out your calendar each week and schedule time to focus on your most important goals. You are more likely to accomplish them than if you leave it to chance.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin, American statesman.

  • Stop multi-tasking. Study after study has shown that multi-tasking is not productive. In most cases, you aren’t truly multi-tasking; you’re serial tasking. Your attention is switching on and off activities, which can make you less productive! Focus on one task until it is completed, or you have taken it as far as you can. 

Stop being busy and just getting things done; get the right things done! See my blog posts Focus to be More Positively Productive and How to Use the Pareto Principle for Productivity at Work.


Five Tips for Better Workplace Relationships

The ability to create authentic relationships with your colleagues and team is a key factor in career advancement. In addition to personal and professional success, having good relationships with others at work gives you a network you can call on for information and help when you need it. Here are five tips for strengthening those relationships.Hands in a circle

  1. Get to know people as individuals. It is easier to forge lasting relationships with people when you relate to them as individuals with lives and interests outside work. Take time to get to know people apart from the job.
  2. Find out how you can help others. Make sure you let people know how you can help them. If you see someone struggling, ask if there is anything you can do for him or her. Be generous with what you know.
  3. Be positive. When you have a positive attitude, people want to be around you and work with you. Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t take it out on someone else. Negativity spreads faster than a cold through an office. See my blog post Enthusiasm Is Contagious.
  4. Be reliable. Having a reputation for doing what you say you will do and meeting deadlines is important for long-term relationships. When others know they can rely on you, you strengthen your ties with them.
  5. Be considerate. Basic business etiquette keeps relationships on solid ground. Use words like please and thank you, make polite requests, and hold on to your temper when you feel like blowing up.

We spend a huge part of our lives at work, so building and nurturing good workplace relationships can make the job easier and more pleasant. Be your best every day and with everyone, be quick to apologize for mistakes, and even quicker with praise for others.

Need more information on this important topic? See my blog posts Tips for Building Effective Workplace Networks and Network within Your Own Organization.


Does Your Confidence Need a Boost?

No matter how good we are at our jobs, sometimes we question our ability. This often happens when we are faced with new, difficult tasks. Just characterizing something as “difficult” can harm your self-confidence, so avoid the word. Instead, think of it as a challenge. Here are some tips for giving yourself a boost when you need it.fear-e1333466826228

  • Remember past successes. This seems simple, but it can be hard for some of us. However, taking your attention off what you see as “difficulties” and putting it on what you have handled successfully in the past will boost your confidence. Give yourself credit!
  • Focus on the opportunity. Every new assignment is an opportunity to learn and grow. Take time to figure out what you need to do and what you need to learn, and then take action to get the resources and training you need.
  • Fake it until you feel it. Put on a show of self-confidence. It can be tempting to huddle down and worry about your ability to succeed, but this leads directly to procrastination. Hold your head up and move ahead. You may not feel confident right away, but faking it will help you feel more confident sooner rather than later.

Confidence comes from facing and meeting challenges. It requires us to stretch and grow and to step out from our comfort zones. Check out my blog post What’s Stopping You? for more information.