MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. NOT.

The majority of that headline originates from an iconic movie. However, there is a totally different type of force lurking in all our lives.

The force to be reckoned with many times /quite often, is that of delaying or postponing a task or tasks. In other words, to procrastinate.  Hands up if you know anyone who has fallen prey to this particular act. 

THE WHAT 

Pinpointing the what is most likely the easy part: it is the process of convincing ourselves that doing something else rather than what we are meant to do, is acceptable. Loosely translated: a lack of self-control

Procrastination is not a 21-century phenomena. It can be traced back all the way to the ancient Greeks. In particular philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were aware of it. They actually called it Akrasia: acting against your better judgement. 

Whether we want to be Greek or modern about it, at the end of the day it’s the same: “it is a force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do” to quote James Clear from this article of his which is an eye opener. After reading it I was fascinated even more than before by this occurrence. So I felt the need to put pen to paper (so to speak) and delve deeper into such a situation.

THE WHY

When it comes to why us as humans tend to succumb to this force of delaying, there is much more to it than being described as lazy. In actual fact, our life’s control centre, the brain, has the answer. 

The basics are that 2 parts are involved in the action. One being us in the Present and the other being us in the Future. Think of yourself as the Future You which is the person that creates longterm targets to aim for. Then, visualise yourself as the Present You which is the one that needs to take the action.  And to take action is not a future decision, right? It is something you have to do now - and that’s the moment you automatically start an argument (for want of a better word) with the Future You. 

The here and now requires and enjoys immediate results. No need to wonder about tomorrow. So even though you have set a target to complete a task in the near future, if the end result is not instant, the question arises “why do it now then?” We basically over-ride the good intentions of the Future You. 

THE NEXT MOVE

Now that we have a better understanding of what is going on when we put off what we were supposed to do, we need a solution. Some kind of method is required for us to overcome the stress and worry of not actually get going

Let’s face it, we do really want to complete or achieve the task in hand. After all, it will cause great satisfaction and in general we will feel quite proud of ourselves to reach the goal set out by the Future You. My suggestion is a simple, yet very effective recipe to reap the fruits of our labour.

I would like to share 8 steps that personally works for yours truly. They are neither outrageously difficult nor are they impossible. The crux of the matter is that only manageable steps will do the trick - or so I believe. 

  • Book A Time 

    As we make appointments for business meetings, to see a doctor, to attend an event, etc., do the same for your tasks. Literally mark your diary with a block of time to complete what needs to be done. Even set a reminder to notify you when you need to start. 

  • Time Yourself

    Linking this step to the above, set an alarm to go off when you are almost at the end of the allotted time you set out in your diary. The notification will remind you that your should be close to completing the task. 

  • Do it. Now.

    Many times we remind ourselves via a To Do List that something needs to be sorted out. Such a list, on many occasions, gets as long as an arm - which causes even more stress.  If at all possible, start that reminder now and get it over and done with. See it as one less thing to do tomorrow.

  • One At A Time

    The amount of humans in life that can multitask are few and far in between. If you’re one of the lucky ones, good on you. Most of us struggle with the concept leave alone mastering it. Therefore, focus on one thing at a time. 

  • No Diversions

    Distractions are quite possibly procrastination dressed up as a saint. Get rid of anything that will hinder you and make you loose concentration (i.e. mobile devices, etc.). Even if your environment (like working from a coffee shop) causes problems, change it. 

  • It’s Up To You

    It is a good idea to keep your daily (and long term) goals to yourself. Shouting them from the rooftops will trick your brain into believing you’v already accomplished them - hence reducing your motivation to actually work towards them. 

  • Be Aware Of Thieves

    Watch out for your mind as it will play tricks on you.  Many times it may feel much more attractive to quickly put a washing cycle on, do some hoovering or even allow yourself a 5 min break on your sofa. Don’t Fall Into The Trap!

  • Get Pumped

    Not referring to your muscles at this moment in time, but rather to your mind. Seek and inject your brain with uplifting images, positive people and nourishing, healthy foods. You will need energy for both body and mind to keep going. 

CONCLUSION

Of course, as with so many issues in life, battling procrastination is far easier said than done. However, it is honestly not impossible. Apart from the guidance above (which I hope helped you), the ultimate ingredient for bashing any signs of delaying tasks, is a Positive Mindset

As a human you may think or even believe, you haven’t got much going in life, or, even if you do think you have quite a bit going for, there could be a time when your whole being is not entirely happy about anything - leave alone not finishing some tasks. Such moments require strength and determination. Both these ingredients can be obtained by telling yourself Your Are Enough and You Are Worth it. If you focus on a brighter outlook everyday the better you will become about feeling positive in general.

Once you have a strong positivity going on in your mind, the easier it becomes to achieve whatever you want to achieve. And we can only achieve milestones if we set them up for ourselves and we get going and do whatever it takes to reach our targets.

Take a confident first step. Don’t put off those important tasks, conversations or projects any longer. Give doing them an immediate go. The only way to get there in the end is to put your best foot forward. One. Step. At. A. Time.

And lastly, but very importantly, Forgive Yourself. To procrastinate is a common experience. Most will say it’s unavoidable. So don’t beat yourself up over it. Be kind to yourself especially after you've gotten through a bout of delayed tasks. Trust yourself to learn from the experience and do better next time.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY vs YOUR HEALTH

There is that sound again… the indication of another notification from one of your Social Media platforms. Question is: what do you do?

Are you one of the 60+% of people in the world who immediately and impulsively grab your mobile and check that notification? If so, your dependency on automatically looking what the notification is about, may be an indication that you are suffering from what is called Social Media Addiction.

It is always easy to slap a label onto something, so even though it may seems straight forward, let’s dive deep into the what and why of this human matter.

WHAT IS ADDICTION

To kick start this article, let’s see how dictionary.com explains the word, or symptom (as it is often called): “Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity”. 

Take note, that the word activity is included in the explanation. After all, attending to your social feeds is an activity - something that are done fairly regular. 

WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS 

Being spurred on by a post I read on It’s Time To Log Off it is clear that an overwhelming amount of people in the world are suffering from SMA (social media addiction). You may read this and think “oh well, this is not me”, but please take note: if you find it (rather) difficult not to respond to notifications by checking your feeds immediately or constantly recording/typing content for your sites, then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. It is very possible that you are one of the 60+% in the world.

Let’s look at such a scenario from a different angle: how do you feel when you discover you have no signal to receive incoming alerts on your mobile device? That anxious feeling, together with not being able to post any content, can have a negative effect on your wellbeing. For instance, you may end up feeling down in the dumps, frustrated (to say the least) and/or even get really angry. These emotions, due to the lack of not being able to connect as such, spells danger. 

HOW TO COMBAT YOUR HABIT

There is a possibility one can argue that the existence of social sites are created to get you hooked. Albeit this being a very strong suggestion, take a minute and think clearly about it. One could easily find some truth in that statement. Going back to the explanation of addiction, hooked is exactly how people end up if they can’t leave their devices alone.  

Time, within the technology world, luckily moves at a speed almost as fast as light. Nowadays applications (Apps) are created to help people curb the time they spend on electronic devices. Assisted by those within the medical environments, these helpers are there to do exactly that. The crux lies within ones own decision to turn them on

The mere fact that institutions are making decisions to create electronic help, can be a clear indication that the statement about sites vs deliberate, obsessive behaviour may not be as far fetched as we want to believe. 

Changing the screen time  applications’ settings to on is one way to minimise your activities online. Another very simple, and effective, solution is to take a firm stand and cancel all notification alerts. Of course this can be seen by many as a drastic measure, but let’s keep our eyes on the longterm effects. There are clear indications that your health will improve when one exercise less negative emotions in life. Specially when it comes to the dependency on feedback such as likes from followers. 

Obviously, when one cancels a certain daily ritual, a gap is created and therefore the need to fill it is inevitable. Why not get back to good, ol’ natural remedies such as go outside and breathe in fresh air? Pick up a book, read and turn pages with your fingers (instead of swiping) and better still… talk to someone face to face. Let’s be honest, the possibilities are endless. It is only a matter of looking around and not focussing on a small screen in front of you. 

CONCLUSION

“I am going to take a hiatus from social media” is a line very often used in social media posts. However, are many of those really sticking to their words?

But that is exactly what you want them to do, you may say pointing your finger at me. Yes, that is what I’m on about - however, my questions still remains: Do They Really Do That?

My believe is that many online influencers/activists, etc. are confused by the words taking a break. Time and time again I witness regulars on social sites claiming the proverbial gone fishing scenario only to discover a few minutes/hours later they are in full glory, camera front facing and happily chatting away live to the world. And where do I see this happening? On various social media platforms that offers a stories or live function, where else! 

That  hiatus didn’t last long, right? “No, no, no, Evan, I am taking a break from publishing any work related content. I am away with my family at a beach resort. I am teasing your taste buds with the delicious food we’re eating?” Or the other classic: “I am building my personal brand on social platforms! Presence is what it is all about”.

I am afraid such individuals need to stop kidding themselves. That kind of behaviour is not leaving social media alone for a period of time. Purely because you change your content does not make it less of a habit.  Publishing your absence loud and clear is exactly what it should be. Stick to your guns - most importantly, show your audience you’re a sincere human focussed on many other opportunities than the matter in your hand

Content on platforms are important, don’t get me wrong. However, the content  is not what causes the addiction. The inability to see the wrong doing, is the underlining cause for concern, in my opinion. The bottom line is to first realise the habit and how damaging it is - and only then serious change can take place. 

I will leave you with some honest advice: Take A Well Deserved Break from Social Media and do Your Future Self a favour. Ultimately, enjoy the sunset views… taste the delicious food… have a great, fun time away from normality. It will do you the world of good. 

And finally a cheeky suggestion: share those taking-a-break-memories with us all by creating and publishing a digital album on your return. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS IN BEING AN OCEANHOLIC?

For many of us summer is making way for another season. Have you dipped your toes into the big, blue Water World this year?  In other words, did you have the pleasure of soaking up the sun’s rays at the seaside?

The ocean holds a fascination for me. From an early age growing up in South African I was fortunate to spend many days enjoying life on a beach. As a youngster my hometown wasn’t by the ocean. So, come summer holidays, my parents would pack everything, but the kitchen sink, and we would set off for our annual 6-week caravan camping holiday. 

The be blunt, it was honestly The Best Times Ever.

PASSION FOR THE OCEAN 

I am honestly not exaggerating when I claim that summer breaks were out of this world. The sight and smell of the sea has always been a great love of mine. That feeling of direct contact with sand beneath your feet and the waves against your body, always evokes a feeling of total happiness.

One thing that has always been incredible about the ocean was the vastness that goes most of the time on and on into (almost) infinity. Standing in front of such a huge, open space immediately calls for calmness. Yes, I am aware that she can be dangerous, angry and brutal many a times. However, there are so many times that she is calm, cool and collected. Whatever her mood for the time of day, the energy I absorb is beyond incredible. Is it really somehow abnormal to feel this way?

METHOD IN MADNESS

For many years visiting and spending time at the seaside meant only one reason and that was getting away from school or work and to be on holiday. Nothing in particular wrong with that, but did I ever think more of it? No, not really. 

It wasn’t until I delved deeper into the possibilities that the ocean can provide more than just a superb holiday destination that I realised what really happened to the mind, body and soul during every trip. 

These new-found facts were confirmed when I found a couple of articles that support my findings. Anne Gherini wrote an article in Inc. about the benefits of the beach for our brains. Complimenting Anne’s post I stumbled across another article upon further research in Exploring Your Mind which confirms similar facts. 

All in all, that big, vast open space of water can do wonders for us humans. All we need to do is take on board her free offer of help and reap the benefits. 

NOW IT MAKE SENSE  

After all the years of basking in the hot sun (with protection lotion though!) and inhaling some fresh air, the penny dropped for me. Let’s take a look at the science behind the euphoria of spending time on the beach. 

Waves crushing against rocks or gently washing forwards and back over sandy shores, have an immense effect on our being. This does not only have an impact on our physical bodies, it goes way beyond that. Our mental state is affected more than we can ever imagine. 

To have a balanced existence we have to work at creating it within ourselves first. It is here where the ocean can play a tremendous part to bring a 50/50 state of mind and body. As our physical outer being is enjoying the warmth and soaking up some much-needed vitamin D, our mind is soothed by calming noises without us even taking much notice of it. 

When we then add witnessing the visual of a huge blue space in front of us plus tasting the sea air we are actually taking in the full package on offer by mother nature. Expressing ‘this is exactly what the doctor ordered’ to those around you, we may think we’re being a bit fictitious, although we are nailing the thought 100%. 

DIG YOUR HEELS IN DEEP 

Our time spending on the beach is not only about the sound and smell of the ocean. There are much more to chilling out on a lounger than you can imagine. 

Particles within the sea air and the sand get absorbed into our human system. It may sound very profound, however don’t dismiss the facts in an instance. 

These non-visible bits (aka ions/atoms) are known to elevate our mood tremendously. It is been proved that inhaling sea air and walking barefoot/grounding on the sand can have a very positive effect on your emotions. The possibility exist that you can go from feeling down in the dumps to cheerful and happy purely by spending time on the beach.  

CONCLUSION

When I discovered all these amazing facts about the ocean and it’s remedies it not only caused much happiness within, it also made me understand why I enjoy visiting the sea so much. There I thought it was only to have a break from my usual regime, to experience different cultures, enjoy unusual foods, drink exotic wines, etc... It also makes total sense to me now why one is so much more creative and relaxed on a beach-break. Recalling why I actually get so much out of being by the seaside, it urges me even more to pack a bag and set off to the sandy shores of the Mediterranean asap. 

Waking up refreshed is vital to me. My mindset is a very important part of my life. I constantly work at giving it attention to stay positive and focussed. Therefore, falling asleep to the calming sounds of waves not only set me up for an awesome sleep, it also does wonders for the day ahead when I rouse. 

Not surprising then that my fall-asleep alarm at night is set to Ocean Waves. Even though the duration is set for 20 minutes, most of the time I’m off to slumberland way before it ends. In general, I have great sleeps and I am convinced the ocean sounds plays a part in that. It’s common knowledge that sleep is needed for the body and mind to recuperate after our hectic schedules every day. 

It will be great if you can take a leaf out of my book and be a bit more aware of the effects your visits to the seaside have on you. I urge you to head over to the beach whenever you can. Yes, I am aware your first instinct is that you are on a deserving break. That is totally acceptable and of course, correct. But take a second and add to that the good input from mother nature, and savour that moment. I bet you will then enjoy your break even more. And that, ladies and gentlemen, to be honest, will make my day (or beach break!).

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

BECOME A MENTAL NINJA

How would you describe the phrase being successful? So many times, from the top of our heads, we go with having no financial worries or being famous or living in a mansion, etc. etc... Funny thing is, those connotations may not always be exact. What is exact though, is the by-product of success which all successful people have – and that is: a mental toughness. 

TOUGHIN’ UP

The one thing that drives a person to reach a level that refers to be a success, is their minds. At the end of the day, it’s truly about what is going on in their minds that make them reach levels others can only admire from afar.

That said, you may ask… "are you saying I should adjust my mind and then I can reach a level of success?". Great question, and here’s a great answer for you: YES! That is what I, and many others, are saying. Basically, get tough with your mind.

START SWEATING

It’s rather common knowledge that working our bodies is good for our health. Adding to that eating right and we are on our way to build a physique that not only is admired by others but cause great satisfaction to ourselves when we look in the mirror. Hence the reason so many of us take to working up a sweat at home or in the gym.

Guess what? The same goes for your mind. To give your mind a vigorous workout on a regular basis will contribute to you being happy with yourself as a person inside as well. You can become a ninja of your own mental world. The amazing thing about it all is that it’s not at all that difficult to do.

Being an avid believer in the power of the mind, I have been working out my mind for many years. Actually, for far more years than working on my body. I honestly believe I am where I am today because of the attention I constantly give to my thought process every day.

CONQUER FROM WITHIN.001.jpeg

CREATE A ROUTINE

Like many physical trainers will tell you, a routine is of the essence when it comes to working out. The same goes for mental stimulation. Let’s dive into 4 sets of exercises to get you going:

  • BANISH THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER

How often does it not happen that you find yourself in an unpleasant situation which leads to you feeling inferior and beating yourself up about it? The solution is to get body physical as soon as you feel negativity swamping you. 

Do any kind of physical movements. And I do mean, any kind. However, use your favourite exercise. That could be jumping up and down, running on the spot or even push-ups if that’s your thing. As long as you push your mind to focus on something other than the feeling of self-doubt. More to the point… Get Moving! This will break the cycle of negativity and reinforce stability in your mind. 

  • BULK UP YOUR EYESIGHT

Having the ability to see your future is a fascinating attribute. If you currently think you don’t have this, hang in there. You may be able to surprise yourself when you adopt the following exercise which is: put on glasses. Well, not reading glasses, but Success Glasses. 

Part and parcel of wearing your new-found glasses are to look at experiences through a different lens. For instance, take the issue you had which made you feel upset and unhappy. Embrace your emotions by looking at it from a new perspective and start to learn from your experiences. Realise that what you did or how you managed that opportunity wrongly, is a great step forward to having a strong mental attitude. Remember to take notes so as not to repeat your actions. 

Personally, I see setbacks as motivation to move on. So can you. Work on facing a setback with the mental awareness of solving a problem. 

  • PROTECT WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Now it’s time to get really physical. Yes, I am referring to your body. The link between a healthy body and a healthy mind is a statistic we cannot get away from or ignore. The two goes hand in hand.

I am by now means saying that you should become a gym fanatic. If you’re already regularly working out, then that’s great. My point is to take care of your body by what you put into it. Since we are starting to fill our minds with healthy, nutritious thoughts, the same should go for your body. 

Saturate your body with water and steer away from processed foods. Get to sleep as early as possible and stay in that state for at least 6 hours if not more (whatever works for your body clock). It’s common knowledge that lack of sleep has a terrible effect on your cognitive abilities. 

  • COOL DOWN

After physical exercise, it is recommended that you should perform some sort of exercise (like stretching) to get your muscles to relax after you have given them a bashing. The same goes for a mental workout.

Learn the art of meditation. As per the dictionary, it is "a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state". The emphasis is on calm.  Basically, you have to slow down your thinking. After all, you have been working hard in your head to move into a positive state of mind so to speak. 

If meditation is unknown territory for you, seek help to get your head around it (no pun intended!). There are many applications (apps) on your mobile device that can teach you various techniques. Also, ask your family, friends or work colleagues for advice. Mediation takes on various forms. It is important that you find a way that works for you. It may be a trial and error situation at the start but persevere. 

CONCLUSION

I mentioned before that I am a very positive person. I find it much easier to be positive than negative in life. Since I live in the real world, it is obvious that I will come across situations in life that create a negative environment. These are the moments I apply the above exercises to keep moving forward. 

You may say that I make it sound so easy. To put you at ease, it took consistent attempts and a lot of determination to get to the level where I find myself nowadays. Remember that saying… Rome wasn’t built in a day? That is true of my mental workouts. As I had to get used to exercising my body, the same is said for mental workouts. Once you have experienced how pumped your mind feels afterwards, you will begin to get into it in a big way. 

One last note of advice: Keep Practising. Remember why you started – to be a Success. Once your mindset is your boss, the rest will fall into place. The Power of Positive Thinking can and will ultimately be a Force To Be Reckon With. Be patient with yourself and soon You will also find it easy to do. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

PUT YOUR THINKING CAP ON

How often do the words ‘what a bad day!’ comes out of your mouth? It is an exclamation that is often uttered when one slumps on the sofa after another day is done. However, have you ever thought why it’s been so tough? Or far more importantly, why another bad day again?

When you live life like groundhog day the repetitiousness can cause huge frustration. Rightly so too. Having to deal with the same issue/s time and time again will most certainly drive you to a standstill. 

Don’t despair. Or give up hope. All is not lost.

FIGURING IT OUT

There is a simple explanation for having to struggle day in and day out with the same disappointment in ones’ life: little, if any, personal growth.

A recent post by Coaching Positive Performance made it very clear that moving forward in life can be tricky. It is a very valuable article that within a few steps gives the perfect advice how to overcome such an issue.

The short answer is Reflection. One has to sit back and analyse why your day has been so unsuccessful. Also figure out what has made the day so tough and most of all prepare yourself for future incidents like it. 

TAKING STOCK

Kicking back after a hard day is sometimes easier said than done. Specially after a day’s work you then have to deal with family or loved ones. Don’t get me wrong – having a home life is very important. It keeps your feet on the ground and put a lot in perspective. 

However, you may have to deal with even bigger issues when you get home. Whether that is attention to dish out, lending a helping hand or giving someone a shoulder to cry on. All such natural behaviours can cause you to forget about your bad day. It unfortunately also let you forget to reflect about and think what really caused your day to end up so stressful.

It’s here where having some me time is essential. Make time to look back and address the issues surrounding your day - those moments that caused you to end up miserable, irritable and stressed out. 

ONE STEP AT A TIME

To rush the thinking or let us call it the analysing process, could make matters even worse.  In other words, easy does it. 

The article discusses 5 points that can steer you into successfully working on your Growth:

  • MISTAKES

It hopefully won’t be too difficult to recall the moments where it all went pear shaped for you. Cast your mind back to the situation/s that trigger your negative mood. 

The keyword here is judging. Don’t tell yourself off for failing. It is important to look objectively at what went wrong. Only then you can work on how to deal with a similar situation differently next time.

  • IMPROVE

Running the incident through your mind again with the knowledge of what went wrong, you can then establish how to act better and upstand the part you played. 

The outcome not only will be more positive for you, but will enhance the experience for everyone else that was with you. In general, next time you can create a much more pleasant atmosphere all round.   

  • EMPATHY

Showing that you care doesn’t mean you should always bow down and agree with others. In reality it means you should stand your ground. However, how you do that is of essence. 

To grow as a person, it is important to be able to put your hand up and admit your actions were not in the best interest of others. Accepting your behaviour as negative is a very strong attribute to who you are. 

  • SELF ASSURED

Being confident can easily come across as arrogant. There is a very fine line between the two. Self-confidence is essential for personal growth, but definitely without being aggressive. 

Let us remind ourselves that there is nothing worse to step on or look down on others around us. At the end of the day there is a huge possibility that you will need their support & help to accomplish your goals. 

  • HUMAN TOOL

This is the most important part when you undertake this exercise of how to grow into a better human being

It all boils down to this priceless piece of equipment we all have: the ability to REFLECT. Stop, ponder & look back. Listen, Learn & Move On. 

CONCLUSION

Combining all the pointers mentioned above and you are on your way to banish those words in my opening sentence at the top. It is at this point in life where we all need to be.

All of us are human. We all make mistakes and we all feel unhappy about it. It is natural and I myself fall victim to it. Therefore, let us not sink deeper into the hole a so called bad day created. Armed and guarded with the knowledge we now have we can attack not only our days to come, but every situation that life throws at us. 

This can only have a positive outcome to our lives. Let it not be said that we succumbed and accepted the world we live in as we most certainly do not want to be seen as weak – no, we only are tackling life’s little issues and turn them around to benefit ourselves and those around us. 

At the end of the day we will endeavour Personal Growth to the highest standards. By the way… You Can Do It. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?

What do you excel at? No matter the environment you find yourself in, there is a big possibility that you have very strong attributes, but do you have the opportunity to put them to actual good use every day?

From our everyday walk through life, we can most likely name a couple of things that we know we are good at. And vice versa. However, have you ever wondered why you can do certain things better than others?

Perhaps you are one of many who has been going along everyday performing your duties without thinking about it much. Maybe the time is right for you to find out exactly the who and what about yourself.

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR TALENTS

There is a very good chance that you do not get to use your natural talents to its best on a daily basis. Mostly, we use our time and abilities to fix our faults rather than developing that what we are good at.

If you are in position to apply your talents to your best every day, then you are extremely lucky. Most people will state that they don’t have such an opportunity and therefore don’t engage much with their work and life in general.

Those that do focus on their strengths are 6 times more likely to enjoy the work positions they hold at work. They are also 3 times more likely to have a great life.

With those statistics in mind, the most obvious question is: what do I do to figure out what my strengths are? 

WHERE TO FIGURE OUT YOUR STRENGTHS

A few years back, whilst still in permanent employment, I was lucky to be introduced to a system called Strengths Finder 2.0

It is an online assessment programme that was originally created in 1998. Then, in 2004, Tom Rath & Gallup scientists updated their first version (which had the help of Donald O. Clifton PH.D.) hence it being called 2.0 now. 

The programme is not FOC, however for a mere £17 / $20 from Amazon, it will be a tiny price to pay for what you will learn. Your knowledge after the assessment can easily be put to use in some form so that you get back far more than what you forked out originally.

In case you’re thinking that you will have to spend ages completing the evaluation, rest assure – it will only take about 30 minutes of your time. In the end you will find areas where you can develop your strengths.

WHAT IS THERE TO LEARN

The outcome will be 5 Themes where you have the greatest potential to develop your strengths. You will find Ideas for Action and Tips on How To Collaborate with others.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned from this exercise. To say it was an eye opener, is an understatement. It clearly defined to me my strong points in being the human I am. Here are my 5 Top Strengths:

  • Achiever

  • Consistency

  • Deliberative

  • Discipline

  • Relator

To give you a better insight, let’s break them down 1 by 1:

As an ACHIEVER there is the constant need for achievement. Every day (all days, not only working days) starts at zero and by the end of the day I must’ve achieved something tangible in order to feel good about myself.

Having balance, to me, in life is vital to living. The believe is that we function best in an environment that is CONSISTENT, i.e. where everyone knows what to expect. I therefore create a place where each person has an even chance to show his or her worth.

Personally, being careful, vigilant and private are daily functions. Living in an unpredictable world, it is important to identify, assess and reduced risks. Planning ahead is everything. I figure out dangers, weight up their relative impact and then place my feet DELIBERATELY firmly on the ground.

A world that is ordered and planned is heaven to me, thus, instinctively I impose structure and set up routines. Via this assessment one learned that not everybody agrees on the front of being DISCIPLINED. Everyone has their own way of getting things done. However, most people (luckily!) realises that I behave in this way only to maintain my progress and productivity.

Even though it is uplifting to meet new people, the greatest pleasure is in being with familiar faces. As a REALTOR one cherishes how people operates in their everyday existence. Relationships to me have value only if it is genuine - even if it means there’s a risk of being taken advantage of. A risk I am willing to accept. 

CONCLUSION

If you feel your life in a work environment or even within relationships are not going as smooth as you would like it, take this assessment. If you don’t really have the money to spend on it, save up or even borrow it. There is a huge possibility that the outcome will have a profound effect on your life. That in itself is surely worth doing it.

It was the best 30 minutes I spend online ever. The fact that so many pieces of the puzzle I call Life slotted in together was amazing. When I mentioned earlier that it was an eye opener, I honestly meant it. So many situations I went through or issues I stumbled across, made perfect sense all of a sudden. I don’t carry any regrets, however, if I have to point out one thing in life that I’m not too happy about is the fact that I didn't take the assessment much earlier on in my life. I am sure it would’ve saved me a lot disappointment, anger and pain.

We are granted only one life. Many times, we get only the one chance at something or someone. We need to grab those moments with both hands and make the most of it. Like I said, I am not a person who favours regrets, hence I suggest instead of one day looking back at what could’ve been, do something now to prevent looking back in disappointment.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

STOP. BEING NEGATIVE IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU.

What are you thinking right now? Is it what this post will be all about or something more personal? Whatever your answer, thinking is what we do. All the time. 

The important factor is not that we think, but how we think. Very often one finds oneself in a more negative state of thinking than a positive one. Self-defeating thoughts can cause havoc in ones life. So, can we do something about it? And if we can, what or better still, how can we be more positive.

DISTORTED THOUGHTS

Ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Well, the same goes for …what you think. That is definitely true. We tend to believe that what goes on in our minds are the truth. In general many of us sway towards the negative issues and not the positive ones. It’s utterly and completely normal. 

However, such thoughts easily can be fake. So, to put it into relevant context, we believe in Fake News. Shocking revelation, if you ask me.  You may right now sit up and think (!) 'what the hell? How dare he says I believe in fake news!' If you focus on your distorted thoughts then you do trust and believe in such news. 

GET INSIDE YOUR OWN HEAD

General distorted thoughts are called cognitive distortions and are categorised into 3 groups:

  • Filtering

  • Polarized Thinking

  • Overgeneralizing

Each of these 3 convinces us that what we are thinking, at a specific moment, is the truth. However, they are inaccurate and reinforce our mind to think in a negative manner spurred on by negative emotions. 

Don’t feel disappointed right now. Trust me, all is not lost - You can Be Your Own Best Friend.

MAKE A START NOW

To achieve having power over our thought process, we need to start deconstruct our mind. We don’t only need to get control back, we need to be in control all the time.

Let’s take each distortion group one by one.

1. Filtering

Firstly, what is filtering? I am sure that within seconds of me giving you a rundown of it, you will recognise it. 

Have you ever been complimented on a handful of things you were great at? Perhaps in work, by your partner or family member? They praised you for being amazing and then this happens: ‘Pity you didn’t master that so well. Maybe you should  take time out and learn more about it’. Boom. All hell breaks loose in your head. Gone are the heap of things you're good at. They vanished in nano seconds. All that’s left is how bad/horrible/etc. you were at the one thing they told you to learn more about. There you have it: you filtered out all the positives and now only focus on the negative. 

To alter this thought process the focus should stay on your strengths - the things you did well. In return, the one thing you didn’t do that well will improve. The more you use words to emphasise your compliments, the more you will build yourself up. As they say, words matter, so use them well. 

2. Polarized Thinking

Secondly, what do we do when we polarize something? We divide it into two halves - i.e. black & white or right & wrong. 

Basically, we tend to focus only on the utmost opposites. There are no middle ground as far as we are concerned. No grey area at all. We believe we either do something fully or don’t do it at all. Let's say you tried your hand at something new, i.e. a craft - it didn’t work out so you immediately believe you failed and you will never be able to do it. 

To be successful we need to focus on progress and gratitude - not perfection. Reminding yourself consistently of your winnings in life and work will have a far better influence over yourself. It will also give you the incentive to continue striving towards your goals. 

3. Overgeneralization

Lastly, what happens when we overgeneralize situations? We apply one negative result to all other similar instances. 

If a certain activity or experiment disappointed us, all others likewise will disappoint too, we believe. Therefore we don’t attempt it ever again.

When this happens we need to zoom in onto the fact that one bad moment doesn’t apply to every other one out there. Note that one bad egg doesn’t spoil the whole dozen. We need to get back on track and try again. There is a big possibility that if you attack something similar by leaving the bad experience behind and progress with a positive attitude, the outcome will be far more rewarding. You will most likely succeed and start to enjoy whatever it is you’re giving a second chance.

CONCLUSION

Watch out for What You Think. The secret is to investigate your thoughts before you make a decision about it. Best way to accomplish this is to: 

  • analyse into which group that thought falls

  • figure out why you are thinking in a certain way

  • then focus on the positive side of the situation

This way of managing our thought process should become part and parcel of our natural thinking behaviour. If you Think Positive, you will Be Positive. And guess what? If you think negative, you will end up being negative. Fact!

Tackle the Fake News in your head and banish it. Now and Forever. Don’t take any BS from yourself from now on.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

HAVING A PLAN IS EVERYTHING

How many topics are there on your to-do list for 2018? Far too many? ‘Of course!’, I hear you say. It is common knowledge that all of us struggle with tasks at some point within our busy schedules.

Having a list of tasks as long as your arm means that we easily feel overwhelmed, stressed and even depressed about getting things done. Again, it is common knowledge.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Since it is the beginning of a new year, I reckon we all have some plans for the next 12 months. However, the question is, how will those plans turn out? It will be a miracle if some, leave alone all, of our good intentions actually manifest into reality, right?

There is a solution at hand. You can create your own miracle. Not wanting to sound patronising, it’s an easy one. What you need is a Structure. Also known as a Plan - a Plan of Action. 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR PLAN

I came across a blog entry by one of the world’s best leaders, Tony Robbins. He has put together a post outlining the top actions to follow for creating, what I call, your winning plan. How Can I Create A Compelling Future is a short and very powerful article about how you can achieve what you want.

Before you think ‘oh, here we go again with goals’ do yourself a favour and click on the link to that post. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. It truly is short, sharp and to the point. In other words, easy-peasy!

I am in absolute agreement with Tony. The secret also for me lies within writing down what you want to achieve. Start by asking yourself:

  • What Do You Want?

  • Why Do You Want It?

Once you see your aims in black on white, it will be much easier to remember and accomplish them. Many people think they will keep it in their minds only to find a few days down the line, they can’t remember some, if any, of it. 

WHERE TO BEGIN

Either grab a pen and paper or let your fingers do the walking on a keyboard. The best way to start is with the word SMART. Yes, you have to be smart about it all, but that is not exactly what I mean in this case. SMART is short for a 5-set Law Of Principles.

Each letter should be used as the starting point of one principal. In short it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeframe. Tackle your aims and apply these 5 principals to each and every one of them.

Once done, you will have a clear vision of where you are heading. It will also help you to maintain a strong flow once you start to take action with what you want.

Next up is a brilliant suggestion by Tony. You may find that you have quite a few things in mind so your list could be a bit lengthy. Now is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. Follow Tony’s 3 Steps and you will end up with a concise and very definite version of what you’re aiming for. 

CONCLUSION

When done, pat yourself on the back since You Have Done It. Yes, you have put shoulder to the wheel and created a set of realistic desires for the next year. Massive Kudos from me to you! Congratulations.

Even though you have not started the race and is by no means close to the finishing line, you are in your starting blocks. You are Ready to kick off in a major way. You can see the track all lined out in front of you with your very own eyes.  Basically, You Are Set.

Now is the time to shoot out of your starting blocks and start running like hell. So, let’s Go. It’s all action from here on.

I personally wish you the best for the road ahead. Even if you slow down somewhere along your journey, the main point to remember is to Keep Going.

You. Can. Do. It.

Feel free to share / comment / send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

SO HERE IT IS – DECEMBER AGAIN

Another Festive Season (for some not all) is upon us which means the End of Another Year. How does that make you feel? Are you happy with the progress you’ve made over the past 12 months? Or are you rather frustrated and disappointed with yourself?

REACHING THE FINISH LINE

When we kick off the race at the beginning of a year, we usually are full of beans and very excited. Our motivation is on high alert and many times we hardly lack any confidence. After all, it is the beginning of something new.

Then time flies by quickly and before we know it, we are staring the finishing line in the face. All of a sudden it is time to Take Stock and Evaluate the 12 months gone by. This situation can cause as much stress as delivering all the food, at the right temperature, to the table for Christmas Lunch.

Like it is in the world of cooking, I believe the proof lies in the eating. Therefore, may I invite you to my 2017-Lunch?

MY 2017 ACHIEVEMENTS

As you may know, I am a great believer in Setting Goals at the start of a new year. Seeing them in black on white is much better than visualising them in one’s mind. Of course, this year has been no exception. Here is a breakdown of my Goals (set within 3 sections) achieved:

  • Entrepreneurship Development
  1. Mentoring Startup Business owners locally proved successful and very satisfying.
  2. Education continued via Online Courses and reading 5+ Inspirational Books.
  3. Landed a Work Opportunity abroad.
  4. Completed my detailed Research successfully for another Business Venture.
  5. Accumulated suppliers via local Business Exhibitions. 

  • Business Development
  1. Social Media sites received a mini Re-brand.
  2. New Updated Logo was implemented.
  3. Branding completed for the new Business Venture.
  4. Social Media activities and engagement increased as set out.
  5. Strategies for Online Reputation was adhered and stuck to.
  • Personal Development
  1. Creativity increased via Design and Photography.
  2. Health and Fitness increased dramatically.
  3. Managing my Thought Process was tough, but I kept it positive 90% of the time.
  4. Building New Relationships took a massive Positive turn.
  5. Even though not all locations on my Travel List were visited, a brand new summer location, El Masnou, was discovered; a repeat weeklong visit to my favourite Balearic Island, Menorca, took place and, of course, Barcelona (a top favourite city) was visited again for a week.
  6. Learning a new foreign language and adding a tattoo to my collection were unfortunately not achieved.

MY 2017 SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

As mentioned, I set out to connect and engaged more with people via Social Media platforms. This has turned out to have an incredible Impact on both my Business and Personal Development.

Reaching out to other likeminded individuals has not only provided me with stimulating Mentoring Advice, but also cause my Confidence to rise quite a few levels. Conversing with people like Ryan Foland, Clinton Senkow, Cherie Aimée, Dennis Brown, Zach McArthur, Harry Petsanis, John Lim, Winnie Sun, Susie Ippolito, Jeremy Slate to mention a few, is proof that Social Media is a great platform if used appropriately. All it takes is to be social – after all, these sites are exactly what it says on the tin.

MY 2017 GRATITUDE

It is with great Happiness and Thanks that I end this year. I am fortunate to have received many audience responses on my sites and blogposts. At the end of the day the proof really lies within the eating. Many Thanks to all of you for your likes and comments. You have made my year!

MY 2018 OUTLOOK

Ending the year on such a high, has already given me energy to start thinking about next year. My thinking cap is on and quite a few Goals are already being set out to tackle another 12 months.

Nothing beats having a structure in life, work and beyond. Once you have set out what you want to achieve, all that is left is to Focus on your Future.

Here’s to another year, another set of Goals and another bunch of Achievements. And to be honest, I cannot wait to tackle 2018 by the horns and Get Going.

Here’s wishing those that celebrate the end of the year with a Festive Season, a Very Merry Christmas

THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR LIFE

Here’s a question of you: how happy are you? Not only at this exact moment in time, but overall and in general. Now, there are as many people that can answer in a positive manner than what there are who are totally taken aback by the question.  

If you have to think about the answer, then that says a lot. It doesn’t necessarily mean your life is bad, but hesitating most likely suggests there are certain parts that may not be as you would prefer it to be.

ONE’S HAPPINESS LEVEL

Maybe you think why fix it if it’s not broken and to a degree I agree. But, if you then think about it, in all seriousness, and then be brave enough to admit that the negatives overshadow the positives, something should be done, I believe.

We all have so many tasks to do per day that when I came across an article by Dennis Brown in HUFFPOST it made me stop for a moment and make an inventory check. Dennis points out 7 ways for us to get back on the happy trail of life. 

HAPPINESS CHECKLIST

The article highlights points in life that are very easy to overlook in today’s world. Since I can resonate with all the points in the article I am happy to share with you:

Firstly, my version of the checklist…

  • Look After Number 1
  • Take A Break
  • Practise Gratitude
  • Communicate
  • Return The Favour
  • Take a Friendventory
  • Be Positive

… and secondly, my suggestions of dealing with the tasks:

You are the most important person in your life. So Take Care of Yourself by allocating a few minutes a day to learning, improving your mindset and do some exercising.

With electronic platforms being such a predominant feature in our lives, I do myself a favour and literally Ignore My Devices for a period of time each day. Give it a try, you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel.

Take note of what you have in life and Be Thankful for it all. Even if I think I don’t have that much, I remind myself that millions out there have far less than me.

Make time on a regular basis to Be In Touch with the people in your life. Even a small gesture will be much appreciated – plus I enjoy the act of selflessness within me for remembering others.

Share With Others your time, knowledge and love. Even though it can be tough, I work hard to do it unconditionally.  That way you will most likely get it back tenfold. 

Leave The Haters behind and stick to those who show compassion and love for you. Negative people obviously drains me from energy and joy in life.

Stand Firm when self-doubt rears its head.  Believe you are a great human and that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.  Practising self-belief is a daily exercise for my mind. 

CONCLUSION

Life is much, much shorter than what we think and believe it is. Therefore, make the most of it. Don’t just count every single day, but count every single second. We have no idea what lies around the corner, so don’t let Life gives you a nasty surprise.

Set out on a daily basis to take full advantage of what you are being given. Yes, that is a tall order, but do it in any case. I guarantee you will be more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome of your actions.

Do not wait for others to grant you happiness and fulfilment. Do it for yourself. What will happen is that those around you will be affected in such a positive manner that they will look up to you for inspiration and motivation.

The bottom line is… Make. Every. Day. Counts. Fall asleep every night knowing that you did the best you possibly can today. And most of all, that You Are Happy.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

HOW BEING A CREATURE OF HABITS MAY COST YOU

It’s so easy. Over time you adopted certain ways here and there that you feel comfortable with. It seems it is making life just that bit easier, right? Well, apologies to burst your bubble, but have I got news for you.  

When one of your goals is to become a successful Entrepreneur, please spare me a moment to explain. For starters, don’t feel offended. You are not the only human on earth that has got not such good habits. Trust me, apart from millions of others, I have them too. Or actually, I am daily working hard on chancing them.

Success.com opened my eyes when I read their article on Harmless Habits. They got 10 Successful Business Owners to point out one habit each that can stand between You and Success.

THE WHAT & WHY

So, why do we have habits? As mentioned at the beginning, together with the explanation in the dictionary, it is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. As humans it is easy for us to fall into a rut. Especially if people constantly advice you to have a structure in work and life. You can argue that a habit is part of your structure – you’re doing something in a certain way consistently.

That sounds like it could work, but we fool ourselves. So what should we do? The bit that is not easy to see is that a habitual work ethic works only in the short term. What we should be focussing on is the long term effect - specially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Carving our path to success should be built around longevity. We should not put in all the effort, time and energy for it to be over and done with after a few months from now. Definitely not. We should be in it for the long haul.

THE CHANGE

As I said earlier, to reshape habits is a daily exercise. Adapting to new rituals doesn’t come easily and most of all is not at all easy to stick to. The main part of making changes is the determination to be better at it today than yesterday. Let’s look at those habits that need to be adhere to for the better:

This article is also available as an eBook Download (Free Of Charge) via the link after the final paragraph.

  • The Yes-Man Scenario

Gaining or Keeping a Client is essential – however, at a cost to your own business it is not going to work in the long run.

Especially at Startup I thought one should never say No. Big mistake.  Make sure to weigh up the pros and cons before making a commitment. Saying No can work in your favour. Clients hire you for a reason: they usually don’t know what they want and are therefore are indecisive on many occasions. 

  • Sticking with The Crowd

Your First Employee/Freelancer has been with you for yonks. He/She is being with you through thick and thin. They have to stay put.

Nope. No Way. Unless they have The Vision you have. If they don’t they will become like a bad smell. Clear the air and find appropriate help.

  • Lunch at The Desk

Time is of essence, of course. Your To-Do list is as long as your arm. Better knuckle down and have a bite whilst you’re typing away like crazy. Emails, messages, social networking, busy, busy, busy.

If you don’t want to do Yourself a favour, please do Your Mind a favour. Give your brain a break. Actually, Give Yourself a Break. Trust me, you’ll have much better focus after having your lunch away from the keyboard and monitor.

  • Too Busy to Workout

Definitely haven’t got a minute to spare or as the saying goes to scratch my backside (to put it politely) leave alone doing exercise. No efficient business owner has got time for that malarkey.

Wrong on both accounts. For the busy Entrepreneur exercise is more about the Mind than the Body. Luckily the body gains a lot by letting the Mind take most of the focus. I can’t stress enough how regular exercise will elevate your energy levels, mindset and wellbeing. You’ll be supercharged and ready to take on any issue.

  • Doing Everything at Once

Many in particular are like: "I can multitask. Check me out".

Yes, we will look at you being: all over the place… making mistakes everywhere… not in much control of any project or team… lacking a lot of information… missing deadlines, etcetera. Concentrate on one task at a time. Complete it in full and then move to the next. Your productivity level will go through the roof.

  • Touching Base

The need to quickly drop your favourite client a "Hi. You OK?" email. It is good practice to stay in touch, right?

Yes, but only when you have a reason. A flimsy email for no rhyme or reason is just clogging your client’s inbox even more than what it is already. At the end of the last project you both left on good speaking terms. Trying the buddy-buddy approach is not only old fashioned it is plain irritating for your client.

  • Flawless Execution

It can’t be send out in its current form. The logo is 0.5 mm to far left. 

And there by fixing the minute error you miss the deadline. Oh dear. Many times only You see that error, if we can call it that. It took me a long time to realise that a tiny mistake in my eyes, are not even visible to others. Save yourself the stress. If you really insist, fix something tiny later when no one is looking. 

  • Take Time Out

Clients, your team, the canteen worker, etc. must always come first. That’s how you operate and living your life. Your needs always are second.

Nothing spells Burn Out like this attitude. You may think it makes you an amazing person. Believe me, when you’re sitting in a corner sobbing because your world has crumbled beneath your feet, You Will Be Sitting Alone. Learn to be positively selfish. Everyone will admire you more for being like that. There is a time and a place for everyone.

  • Reply Now

Ping! Yes, another notification. You’ve Got Mail.

Dropping whatever you’re doing to start typing a reply ferociously is a waste of time and energy. You, the client, everyone is busy. No one expects an immediate reply – unless it’s a matter of life or death which most of the time it isn’t. Rank first and reply in due course.

  • The Daily Schedule

Nothing is much more impressive than a laid out To-Do List with tasks and times. Perhaps even colour coded for necessity. Only to reach the end of the day and 75% of Today’s Tasks are copied and pasted in tomorrow’s list.

One word is order of the day, Prioritize. We all have different methods to complete tasks. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Personally, the mundane tasks have to be eliminated asap. Then the focus and energy can be spent on important issues. Others find it the other way round. Whatever Makes Your Day do it Your Way. 

THE CONCLUSION

Sometimes we’re too stubborn to make changes, leave alone realise we need changes. It took me a long time to discard the 10 commandments above and adapt to a better work regime. The focus should be on the outcome of your actions.

Don’t get me wrong. Having habits can be a very good attribute in one’s life. The secret is to learn and maintain healthy habits. Having a new found attitude to being productive in a positive manner cause such pleasure it honestly is worth it.

Make time and have a good look at how you operate within both Life and Work specially if you feel you’re not achieving as much as you would like to. Working your fingers to the bone, will in the long run, only give you bony-fingers. Not much else.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or if you felt some affinity towards this topic.

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You very much for reading.

If interested in having this article as an eBook, you can Download it Free Of Charge here.

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD

To quote writer JK Rowling… ‘A Good First Impression can Work Wonders’. 

That says it all. Have you ever wondered why a networking event wasn’t as successful as you anticipated it will be? Perhaps a meeting didn’t work out as well as you wanted it to? These questions and many more related to the outcome can be directly associated with You presenting Yourself to Your audience. 

As a great believer in the importance of looking after numero uno (You!) in one’s life, the article http://bit.ly/Great1stImpression by Rhydian Fairfax echoes my sentiments exactly. If you do not like and love yourself, how is it possible that others will show you such empathy. The 4 techniques Rhydian highlights on how you can better yourself so your audience can experience the real, authentic you are: 

  • Elevator Pitch
  • Speak for Yourself
  • Treat Everyone like the Gatekeeper to Your Destiny
  • Body Language and Attitude

With these in mind let’s take a closer look and find a way to implement them in your life.

YOUR 30 SECONDS

Make time to sit down and write down who you are and what your business is all about. Once you are happy with the content, edit it to around 30 seconds in total. Not much shorter and most certainly not much longer. This important speech should become your verbal business card - in other words the next step after any initial business introduction. Within this short period of time any new person you meet will be able to get a good understanding of you.  Therefore it is very important to be short, sharp and to the point. No mucking about.

YOUR VOICE

Most introductions to other people in life are via someone else. Thanks heavens for that though. Just take note that it’s not up to that person to tell others about you. Take control immediately and let your own words do the talking. Others may think they know you well, but at the end of the day you are the best megaphone for yourself.  At this point your new acquaintance will be able to sense who is the boss - and it is (and should be) you. 

YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND

Don’t ever brush a new person aside for whatever reason. We never know how they and their minds work. It also isn’t fair on that person if you make assumptions and then decide to walk away without any rhyme or reason. For all you know this person could be exactly what your business needs. Give them the benefit of the doubt. What if they are at that point in time where they need someone like you to propel their business to the next level? Just imagine how disappointing it will be if a few weeks later you hear that they hired a competitor of yours (which they also met at the same event you met each other) only because you never ended up having a proper conversation with them - but your competitor did. A few minutes of conversing won’t kill you. In any case, that’s why you’re there, right?

YOUR IMAGE

You are what you wear. We hear that a lot - and it’s very true. The way you look and feel when you meet people for the first time is utterly important. Of course your environment counts so be sure to do a bit of research if you are going to attend a meeting with clients from a genre you’re not au fait with. Looking your best says a lot about yourself. Taking care of yourself will give you confidence and that in turn will make someone remembers you. Stand, walk and talk with authority. After all you are part of your business so the selling of your business includes yourself. You have put in a lot of hard work to get where you are now so Be Proud Of Yourself

CONCLUSION

I am fully aware it is not always as easy as it sounds. Still, to this day, events like networking is not a preferred favourite of mine. Meeting new people can still be daunting. Luckily I am much better at it now than years ago. My elevator pitch is engraved on my mind. I have always taken care of how I look so that (fortunately) comes natural to me. However, when I started out the points above were tough. It was actually very hard work, but I learned that in the end it pays off. 

However daunting it may sound to you right now, remember that It Is Possible to accomplish this. Many, many people have adopted these rules and are very victorious today. All of us have to start somewhere. So go on, take action and Make That First Impression Lasts

As always, get in touch to share your experiences and/or thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, together we can help someone today. On the other hand, simply just ask if help is what you need right now.  

WHAT IS THE KEY TO BE PRODUCTIVE?

Perhaps you have an idea of what being productive is about - or maybe you are right in the midst of trying to figure it out. Either way, I came across a very informative blogpost that can be of benefit to all. After reading the article by Dan Kennedy on Work Smarter Not Harder my thoughts, believes and attitude were confirmed: it comes down to one word and one word only… Discipline

I strongly recommend reading this post. In it Dan covers the following qualities that will strike a cord with likeminded Entrepreneurs: 

  • Start Early
  • Don’t Multi-task
  • Be Fearless
  • Business means Business
  • Focus on Your Business
  • Delegate
  • Streamline Your Time

A CREATURE OF HABIT

Ever since I made the decision to start doing what I am doing for a living my focus point was to be Productive - and (hopefully) successful in the end. To get to the end of a day and many boxes have been ticked makes for a great feeling of satisfaction. This causes even more drive for the next day, the next task and the next milestone. As I related to this post so much I want to give you an insight into how it works for me. 

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Hitting that snooze button and turning over was my downfall. Even though this could be a temptation at the best of times, I deliberately choose not to fall into this trap anymore. Nothing beats catching the sunrise when the day smells fresh and clean. I can’t bear missing the best part of the day.

ONE STEP AT A TIME

My daily to-do list is as long as my arm hence I tackle them one by one. For me getting the most mundane/tedious tasks out of the way is best. Then the concentration can be implemented to the tough and serious topics on the list.

KEEP THE FAITH

It happens quite often. I planned it all and then boom! the goal posts are moved. I learned a lesson ages ago not to despair and get negative. As a matter of fact when a brick wall faces me it’s best to take time out and walk away (literally) from the issue. After a few minutes I will have a new perspective on the situation. Many times I find the positive within a negative situation. Not much beats the feeling of content when I overturn the moment to my advantage and walk away as the winner.

GET ORGANISED

As incredible as it is to be your own boss there is nothing more frustrating to end up feeling you are working all the hours god send and still not accomplish much due to distractions. It is bound to happen so I plan and manage people’s expectations constantly.  As the saying goes: there is a time and place for everything which I apply to all aspects of work. Once clients (and family/friends) are aware what I do and when I find myself to be far more productive than ever before. 

ME TIME

Every working day I schedule time for myself.  I take time out to tune into webinars, read inspirational books, find images/settings to photograph, etc. or just sit down, have a coffee and contemplate my next move.  I found that if I run around all the time everyone but me gets the attention. Take Note: the most important person in your life is You. Once you have taken care of yourself it is much easier to look after others. 

WATCH OUT

At the startup stage it is inevitable that you end up doing almost everything yourself. Within my environment it was obvious that I will source the best website platform and template, be instrumental in creating the logo, seeking the colours etc. etc. Money is not always in abundance so I got my hands dirty and got on with it - and still do from time to time!

However, I take great caution not to get use to such a regime. Burnout is not an option for me. I don’t want to end up with my face flat on the ground. Wherever I can I seek help with smaller tasks at hand. Then I can concentrate on the bigger picture that will improve the state of my venture.

BE CLEVER

This brings me right back to the title of Dan’s post: Work Smarter not Harder. I constantly take a good look at what needs to be done to create a successful brand. I then zoom into that and tunnel my energy towards it. Only when all the ground work was done and I started to look months ahead, instead of days, I got the taste of what Entrepreneurship is all about.

THE CONCLUSION

I am happy to be content with discipline in my work and life. I know it pays off each and every time. It is a thrill to focus on, be positive about what lies ahead and what needs to be done to get there. It is all too exciting to mess it up.

I am convinced you can experience such excitement too. Best solution is to give it a go, work at it and end up feeling happy. My daily motto is I can. And I will. Watch Me - why not give it a go yourself!

Please share your work ethnics and/or struggles. If any questions are hanging around then let me know. As always, who knows, maybe I have a suggestion that can be of help.

GOODBYE 2016

Can you believe it? 12 months are almost done and dusted. How time flies. There is the saying… time flies when you’re having fun. Can you describe the past year as fun? 

THE ACHIEVEMENT

We are all aware fun comes in all shapes and sizes. Yes, maybe it has been an excellent year within your business so the fun could well be your business’ Christmas party. On the other hand, maybe you’re sitting right now wishing it could’ve been so much better - not being able to convince yourself there were much fun this year. Whichever way we look at it the mere fact that you and your business have lived through the last 12 months should be seen as a great achievement. The level of your survival is of course important, but whatever that level ended up to be should in some way be celebrated. 

THE ASSESSMENT

The important fact is that steps were taken. It is always very beneficial if the steps were moving you forward and ahead of where you were last year this time, but if you moved backwards, one should address the situation in the same positive manner. Getting to this point in a year it is good to asses both sides of your story. There are reasons for you being where you are right now. Look at where you’re standing today and question yourself on how you got here. Through detangling the hows and whys you are able to learn and gain information. Only then the situation will make sense - a lot of sense.

THE OUTCOME

Personally, this year could really have been much better financially. On the other hand, it was a great year filled with education and experience. Even though the money didn’t roll in there is a distinct feeling that one is much richer this time round than last year. Even though on paper it doesn’t look that great, honestly, there is a feeling of being far better off now then last year which is causing a tremendous emotion of achievement. The information gathered over the past few months alone can only be good for the mind, body and soul.  The time has come to draw the curtain on this year and get ready for a brand, new chapter in life and work. 

So there will be celebrations and the joining in of the festivities. The immediate surroundings have been decorated with true Christmas spirit and a feast is being planned for Christmas day. Even a few gifts have been obtained which is about to be wrapped and will be handed over with a smile.  

Goals that were set up 11 months and 17 days ago has been revisited and one can confirm that 99% have been reached. That 99% refers to the very important ones. The odd goal not completely achieved is not the end of the world. Plans are already in place for next year. So all that is left to say is…

THE CONCLUSION 

Thanks for the support received this year. Thank You for reading. Thank You for commenting and ‘liking’ on social sites. Thank You for the reassurance that the chosen path is the right choice made. One feels Blessed and Fortunate. And very Happy and Excited.

YOU CAN DO IT. WHOEVER YOU ARE.

Does that feeling of I won’t be able to be my own boss. It’s not for me ever crosses your mind? Do you think you’re not bold enough? Think again and read this blogspot - it truly is an eyeopener. I promise you.

THE THOUGHT

On face value it is more than often believed that one needs that special personality to start a company or business. We look around us and see many people that made an executive decision in their lives and branched out on their own. One easily admire them from afar with a touch of jealousy and envy thinking: if only I could. And then the doubt and insecurity steps in and poof! the dream is over (even before it really began). 

THE DREAM

Yes, it is true that many owners of businesses are bold, brass and brave. They tackle clients and work ethnics without hesitation. They grab opportunities with both hands and nail yet another successful deal in a flash. However, there is a surprise install for many that look up to entrepreneurs and self made millionaires dreaming that they wish they were one of those… Reading that blogpost by Kim Wills was a revelation. In astonishment one sat there going really? seriously? I don’t believe this!

Starting out on your own is daunting. Of course self doubt will rises it’s head many times. So if you’re not the world’s most outspoken and brassy person it is even easier to give up long, long before you really start out. The good news is that it does not matter if you’re an introvert. From the post you’ll see that a huge amount of successful people (in business and entertainment sectors) are just that: introverts. We may not know the exact ins and outs of being one, but in general we are au fait with that kind of personality. So there you sit knowingly that you fall into that category - hence the I can’t or I won’t be able to crosses your mind. To be totally brutal here with you: stop right there. Because you are wrong. You. Really. Are. Wrong! 

THE GET GOING

From a personal point of view I can tell you that deciding to take the redundancy money and run (out of the building… out of the corporate environment) was first easy, then worrying and finally exciting. Still being very much at a start up level, reading confirmations like this from Kim cement believes within oneself. This post will be a mantra to return to whenever the feeling of failure comes to the surface in the future. The link has been saved to my home screen for easy access. Certain sections are highlighted for quick reference. At the end of the day one is not going to live life without it anymore. Ok, so it sounds quite dramatic, granted. And whilst in this mode, let’s share with you that the contents of the post will not only be applied within a work environment - oh no. It will be taken to a total different level: life in general. 

From this read we can see that whatever type of personality you have, you can do it. You can be who you want to be. You can do what you want to do. From now on when you read about influential people who are successful and branching out more and more everyday, count yourself amongst them. Tackle the proverbial bull by the horns and get going. Stop being held a prisoner by negativity. At the end of the day it’s all only in your mind. So what if you perhaps need to do some extra work or input. The guarantee is there that even those that find business ideas come easily, will have something somewhere within them that will throw a spanner in the wheels. All of us can benefit from Kim’s advice. 

CONCLUSION

So let’s take his words onboard. Start building the who you want to be. Today is as a good day as any other day. Upwards and Forwards. With so many news bulletins about people being taken away from life it’s obvious time is of essence. We need to Take Action. It’s not a situation of now or never. There is only ONE situation: NOW.

Please share, comment and get in touch if there is anything you can contribute. Perhaps there are even issues we can work out together. 

DOn’t quIT

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where is your business heading? Now that you’ve started what are you going to do with it all? Here is some guidance from Bob Proctor: “A proper Goal provides the necessary incentive to grow in awareness - and every aspect of your life is a reflection of your level of awareness”.

What strikes me within these wise words are: Goal, Grow and Awareness. 3 very powerful points to take note of to make progress.

Personally, a lot has been picked up from working in a corporate environment for many years. One that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is Goal Setting. It was great to be introduced to it years ago. Something that comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. Taking a couple of days for the New Years celebrations to wear of and by January 3rd thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Trading, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

SET UP GOALS

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months at least is one of the most satisfying exercises one can do. It puts the future into perspective and creates a track that encourage the mindset to work systematically forward. 

A golden rule to follow is that of creating SMART Goals. Setting massive, almost out-of-bound Goals are, from a personal point of view, not that productive. It is good to be ambitious, however being realistic is a much better route to follow. Over-the-top Goals can easily lead to disappointment and discouragement. One can feel a failure and that easily leads to negativity in thought and mind - something that should be avoided at all costs since being positive is a much easier way to live life and being successful. So, be SMART about your Goals. 

No need to agree on a huge list of Goals either. The list can rather be short and sweet than long, tedious and impossible. Aim for around 3 to 5 per section.

CREATE GOALS

Here we are talking literal as in creating the document which will lay out each Goal that will encourage you over the next 12 months to move forward and make progress - in both business and personal growth. 

Keep it plain and simple. A 3-pager landscape-layout with 4 columns each should do the trick. Give each page a heading that clearly describes what your plans are. Then head up each column too. The following column headers makes a lot of sense: Goal, Actions, Timescale and Result. 

Take each page at a time. Write a Goal and follow on to the 2nd column and then the 3rd. The 4th will be visited throughout the year and completed by the end of your 12 month period. Do this for each page you created and very soon you will look at a great lots of words that stare you in the face. It is so much easier to visualise what needs to be done by when once you see it with your own eyes. People do tend to say why should I create a document? It’s all in my head in any case - trust me, seeing it in black on white cement it in your head and give your mindset a real good boost. 

To finish off this very important document it is imperative to Brand it. Add your logo. Use your company colours. Definitely use your company font. Make it your own. It is YOUR Goals for YOUR company. Once again, each time you visit this document it will give you a sense of ownership. After all, it belongs to you! 

VISIT GOALS

There are people who (unfortunately) think that once they created their Goals it can stay in a folder somewhere on their computer. Their attitude of I am going to complete it only in 12 months from now is defeating the purpose. A regular visit to this document will not only refresh your memory it will also make it clear where you are with those Goals as the year go by.

A healthy suggestion is to add at least 4 reminder dates to your calendar. Every 3 months is good timing. This will give you enough time to get on with business in general and easily let you cast your mind back to what you have achieved and where you are in making progress. Here is where column 4 gets the action. Note down the date your visit takes place and next to it whether you have already accomplished, slightly progressed or still have to start on the particular goal. Quarterly visits will also help a lot at the end of your 12 month cycle to see the full picture with no need to open your diary searching for accomplishments or wreck your mind when you actually demolished a goal. 

FINALIZE GOALS

Time flies by so quickly and before you know it a year would’ve past. The moment of truth will be facing you. The last Goal visit of the year will be upon you and you will need to be honest about what you wrote months ago. 

The possibility exists that certain sections of your Goal Setting document will still not be completed. Don’t stress about this. Circumstances change all the time. There could be a very good reason (lets hope so) for a Goal to be still outstanding. If it is still relevant to your development don’t feel ashamed to add it to the next bunch for the year to come.

CONCLUSION

All of this may sound easy, but it is not always like that. Every year Goals’ intensity will increase. Your aim will be higher than before. You will most likely put a bigger demand on yourself and your business. Don’t let it deter you. As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. Nothing prohibits you from setting the bar a notch higher than last year (actually, it is a very healthy approach). The important thing is to continue to set Goals. Continue to visit them regularly and be strict about them. At the end of the day it’s up to you, but having these milestones set out loud and clear will help you with you strategy towards success.

Even though we are in the middle of the year right now and you may realise there is no such document called Goal Setting 2016 don’t wait until the start of 2017. Get going right now and set out milestones for the next few months at least. Or if you prefer, start a 12 month cycle now. No one but yourself can decide when to start. Now is as a good time as any other time.

Good luck with your Goals! It will be worth it every time - promise you that! 

 

MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION WELL AND KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS

‘It’s an endless struggle to keep clients. What do I do wrong?’ is often mentioned to me. In a market saturated with companies and services the need to hold on to clients that invest in you, your business and your services, is vital.

The help you’re looking for is at hand and guess what… it’s staring you right in the eye! In today’s world relationships can be fickle - it can make or break the relationship. Whether it’s personal or business orientated, the solution is in your hands.

Jacqueline Whitmore outlined the most important attributes a business and/or entrepreneur can have. One will be surprised to see that the 7 positivities she highlights are actually very simple - you only need to look at yourself.

Clients are after value for their money. What else! So we should take note that the moment you deliver the end result / product they expected the work as such is not at all over and done with. In fact, the most difficult part is only starting to take shape then. Of course it matters what you deliver, but HOW you deliver will have a lasting impact - and that’s a fact! Just look at what it took from you to cement the project: the time, energy and input from your side. I bet it was quite a lot. So why dump all that in one go with a ‘goodbye’ handshake? Make good use of this moment where the client is in the palm of your hand - all smiles and happy with what they’ve got. In other words… ‘strike while the iron is hot’! 

Continue to build on the foundation you so meticulously cemented. Show your clients you’re not a robot even though you have mechanisms and work like a well-oiled machine. I’m convinced many people will be pleasantly surprise with you ‘after care’ service. The focus point for companies is the project in hand. Before the current one is ‘ticked off’ they are already onto the next one. Therefore is you can provide them with a ‘human touch’ and make them sit up and see what your are about outside the execution environment my guess is they will take note - and THAT is what you want. 

Like I said earlier, the parts you have to provide are not that difficult. They are everyday parts of our life as humans that our parents most likely made sure we are aware of. I want to push the envelope here and say they are like the words ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Now you tell me how often were you told as a kid to use those 2 words, hey?!

Jacqueline’s article is a quick read with a massive impact. Do your clients a favour today and have a read - they, and most importantly YOU, will benefit from it!

READ. THINK. ACT.

Have you ever felt like just sitting back and do whatever it is you’re suppose to do, later? Do you get that feeling of ‘I really can’t be bothered to do this now’? Most of all, are you irritated with yourself for having these feelings and the fact that you then not get on with the task in hand?

It may come as a surprise to you, but the truth is you’re not alone in the world with this kind of emotion. Procrastination, or as the dictionary puts it ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’ is more common that you imagine.

It took me a really long time to realise that it’s a everyday recurrence for many – and that when it happens it’s not the end of the world! Time after time when this happens to me now I come out of the moment much richer and more focussed. Honestly, that really happens. There is a reason for your mind to slip into this kind of mode.

The general believe is that it’s not healthy to spend time with your own thoughts. Luckily, there are many more that believes the complete opposite. And I am one of the latter. Taking time out creates clarity in my mind and head. I reflect on issues and figure out how to address them and work through them.

Therefore I believe no one should feel uncomfortable and upset when this happens in their lives. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If you work out what the procrastination is about you’ll realise and see you needed a moment to make sure something is either right, wrong or can wait till later.

Reading the post by Ric Edelman on How Procrastination Can Help You Accomplish More confirms my believes. In this article Ric puts it very simply and to the point that it actually is ‘one of your most useful tools in the workplace’ – and I can’t agree more. I’ve commented before that ‘taking a step back’ or ‘get up and do something else’ more than often solves the problem. It was quite late within my career working in offices that having such an attitude became clear to me. Many, many times I felt that I need to address an email – or follow up on a voicemail – immediately. For example… a client makes a change to a delivery date bringing it forward with the notion it is now crucial to be completed sooner rather than later. Jumping in head first and start making the changes in your teams’ diaries, increase the pressure on suppliers, etc. in general cause havoc for everyone. Then 10 mins later, the client is back on the phone and now the deadline has changed again – only this time it’s pushed back with days! You go back to everyone, luckily with some good news, however the stress levels have already risen. On top of all, you interrupted that important piece of work you were doing and now you have lost your focus. Was it all necessary? No, not at all. If you only left the new instructions for a bit to ‘simmer’ on the back burner, none of the stress would’ve happened.

Don’t get me wrong, we can’t put everything ‘off till later’, but this is where the ‘focus and concentration’ comes in – and perhaps a bit of procrastination? Of course you need to address the issue and figure out if it is as important as they make out or not. I just found that most of the time it’s not needed to storm ahead and ‘fix’ problems immediately. The amazing thing about ‘problems’ is that they do have a habit of fixing themselves – specially if you give it a bit of ‘breathing space’.