Put Procrastination In Its Place

Put Procrastination In Its Place

 

Unless you’re some sort of mental warrior you’ve probably found yourself dealing the procrastination issues from time to time. (For some the problem runs more along the lines of – all the time.) Whether you’re a sometimes procrastinator or an always procrastinator there are a few things you can do to put procrastination in its place.

 

Start with the hard stuff

You may find that the hardest thing on your to-do list is the thing that gets pushed forward day after day. That hard thing is probably one of the things at the root of your current bout of procrastination, so get it out of the way first. Tackle the hardest thing first thing in the morning when you have the most energy and brain power. Meet the enemy head on so procrastination can’t hide behind it. Even if you don’t finish that’s okay. Getting started on it is important.

 

The Zeigarnik effect has shown that starting a task and leaving it unfinished causes your brain to keep on working on the task even after you’ve stopped giving it your full attention. That means when you get back to it (first thing the next day) you’ll have an easier time of it because your brain never completely let it go. You won’t even have to battle so hard against procrastination!

 

Remind yourself how capable you are

You have succeeded at many things before. Remind yourself how capable you truly are. Take a couple of minutes to sit with your breath. Full deep breaths where you feel past successes in your body.

 

Turn your phone off

Give yourself dedicated time without interruptions. Turn your phone off. Don’t check your email. Have a block of dedicated time where the only thing you are going to think about is the task at hand. (Our natural body rhythms work on 90 minute cycles that’s an deal amount of time to give yourself.)

 

Challenge yourself

It may sound crazy to make the task even harder than it is, but sometimes if you have to work harder at something it forces your attention and makes it easier to concentrate on what you’re doing and stick with it!

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Breaking The Bonds of Worry

Breaking The Bonds of Worry

 

Like so many other things, worry can be good in small amounts, but disastrous when left unchecked.

 

When you realize you’ve done something wrong or someone isn’t doing what they’re supposed to do, or something is going wrong, you might get worried on the way to getting the situation rectified. A little worry is good. It can get the ball rolling by spurring you into change mode.  Too much worry leads to sleepless nights, illness and can often be paralyzing.

 

In the words of Erma Bombeck, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere.”

 

When you’re stuck in a worry cycle things feel out of control. Once you take steps to change the situation you regain that control.

 

So, once worry has done its job, identifying that there is a problem, it’s time to move on to the words of the Dali Lama, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

 

Easy for the Dali Lama to say. Simply deciding to stop worrying isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’re conditioned to worry. We’re hit by worrying news day in and day out on our newsfeeds, on every screen we turn to, in the newspapers, on TV. It seems like there’s always one threat or another waiting around the corner, so when it comes to our personal and professional lives we’re already primed to worry about those too. However, as wise Erma points out, as occupying as worrying can be, it will never of itself solve anything. Here are a few tips to help you vacate that chair:

 

Identify the problem

Sometimes we simply feel a general sense of unease about a situation. If you don’t know what the problem is, work on identifying it. If you do know the cause of the problem, try and drill past generalities down to specifics. For example if you’re worried someone on your team isn’t pulling their weight try to figure out exactly why you feel that way. Write down examples of the problem. Shave it down to the core.

 

Take action

Now that you know precisely what’s bothering you, take tangible steps to change it. Worrying holds on to the problem. Taking steps to change it, helps you release it.

 

Worst case scenario

Our imaginations often jump from problem directly to worst case scenario outcomes. Since worst case is by definition the worst case, let yourself imagine it. Now come up with a contingency plan. You probably won’t need it, but having something in place can ally your worries.

 

Release it

Once you’ve done everything you can to change the situation, let it go. Things will unfold on their own from there whether you wear grooves into the floor with the constant rocking of your chair or whether you go out for a walk in the sun. So you might as well enjoy the sun! Remember, life isn’t made for sitting around worrying, it’s made for taking charge action!

 

Other ways to release worry can include meditating and staying hydrated. Here’s a list of helpful worry releasing ideas from tiny buddah

Have A Phenomenal Phone Interview

Have A Phenomenal Phone Interview

Through the years of your career you’re going to have all kinds of interviews. One-on-one in person interviews are the most common, but there will also be group interviews, Skype interviews, phone interviews, quick ones in a café, the list goes on and on.

 

Today we’re going to talk about phone interviews and what you can do to excel.

 

Treat it like a regular interview

Because the interview is on the phone, you may be inclined to treat it as less serious or more preliminary than a regular interview. If you have any intention of moving on to that next interview you’d better take this first one on the phone seriously. Which brings us to our next point.

 

Prepare

No matter whether the interview is on the phone, in person, on Skype or via satellite from the moon to Earth, your first priority is to prepare for it.  Research the industry and the specific company. Check out their website. See what they post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Which brings us to our next point.

 

Make a list of questions

All that homework may trigger questions on your part. Write them down. Have questions ready about the company, the job you’re applying for, the sort of future they envision for you. They will ask you if you have questions. Have some ready.

 

Use common sense

Don’t think it would be okay to have this interview on the go, in a coffee shop or during a commute or somewhere noisy. Find a quiet room and get yourself comfortable in there. Also make sure your phone is charged! The last thing you want is to suddenly notice you’re about to run out of power in the middle of the interview. Also if you expect the interview to take fifteen minutes leave yourself half an hour. If you expect it to run half an hour then leave yourself at least 45 minutes. Give yourself plenty of extra time.

 

Act like you are there in person

If this was an in-person interview you would have a smile on your face and you’d be sitting up all tall and attentive so do those things during the phone interview. You would be amazed how much body language and facial expression come across over the phone.

 

Take notes

Make sure you take notes of the sorts of questions you were asked during the interview. These are the sorts of things that will come up in the next interview. Use them to help you prepare.

 

Thank you

Finish the interview off by thanking the interviewer for their time and letting them know you look forward to meeting them in person.

 

Productivity Hacks

Productivity Hacks

Some people have a knack for getting things done. Productivity is no problem for them. They’re more organized than the rest of us and they don’t let themselves get distracted by whatever curveballs the day throws their way.

 

For those of us who have to work a little harder to achieve the same results here are a few productivity hacks to get you going.

 

Mornings

Did you know that morning people are generally more proactive? Here are a few small things you can do to get you going earlier. Set your alarm five minutes earlier each day until you achieve the new wake up time you’re looking for – about an hour earlier than usual.

 

Once you’re up don’t waste your newly acquired precious time scrolling through Facebook or looking for dinner recipes. Get yourself into productive mode. Start with a glass of water. Your body needs a dose of hydration (other than coffee) to get you going.

 

Exercise for 10 – 15 minutes, meditate – even a short 10 meditation is beneficial. If you can do both great. If not alternate or choose the one that means more to you.  Make yourself a good breakfast that includes protein. Protein is known to get you going.

 

Finally spend ten minutes writing. It can be a journal, it can be notes about the day, it can be related to long-term goals. Deliberately sitting down to write everyday lays down a path of productivity for the rest of the day.

 

Commute time

There are lots of things you can do during your commute. You can seethe at the other drivers or commuters. You can listen to music. You can daydream. Or you can use the time to your benefit. If you drive to work, podcasts are a great way to educate or entertain yourself. So are language apps.

 

If you’re on transit the commute is the perfect time to catch up on articles you’ve bookmarked for later, for goal setting or for online classes.

 

If work isn’t too far, the other thing you can do with your commute is use it to get in shape. Cycle, run or walk to work – it feels great and puts everything in forward motion!

 

First part of your day

Productive people have a routine. Start work at the same time each day. That puts your mind and body in work frame. Don’t check your emails first thing because they are a time and energy suck. Give yourself an hour to get settled and get your most important tasks underway first.

 

If you haven’t already prepared a to-do list for the day get that done. Prioritize it. Start with your top priority. Get that out of the way, them move down the list. Give yourself deadlines for each task.

 

You have probably heard that you have 90 minute sleep cycles at night. Well, those 90 minute cycles don’t suddenly stop once the sun rises. In general you can focus well for about 90 minutes at a time. After that you’re brain is tired and you lose productivity so you might as well break every 90 minutes. It doesn’t have to be long, but get up, stretch your legs, get a drink, break it up every 90 minutes. Switch tasks.

 

Do not multi-task. Even if you think you’re a good multi-tasker you are not. You are still doing one thing at a time then switching. If you want to do something well then give it your full attention then switch to something else.

 

After lunch

Some people work equally well in the afternoon as they do in the morning, but most have a little more trouble focusing in the latter part of the day. That’s why you want to get your most important tasks done early. Watch your posture in the afternoons. If you notice yourself slumping over sit up straight. If you can get yourself out for a sort walk in the afternoon. A quick walk around the block can do wonders to bring productivity back into the day.

 

Afternoons are a good time to do the work that doesn’t require as much concentration so save those for after lunch. It’s also a good time to let your mind wander a little to pursue a little creative thinking.

 

Evening

Although it might be tempting to take work home, the most productive people know there needs to be a cut off time. Your body and mind need a full stop to recoup from one day and rest up for the next.

What Exactly Does That Job Posting Mean

What Exactly Does That Job Posting Mean

“How can I get experience, when every job requires at least 3 years of experience.” This question is often asked with a hint of sarcasm by job seekers who are looking to apply for a new job. A job posting can seem filled with language that’s hard to understand and process. The truth is, a lot of companies, just like job seekers, make their jobs look as good as they can.

 

So how can you figure out exactly what employers are looking for? If the ad says must have 1-3 years experience, what does that mean?

Motivated Team-Player

Many job postings have terms you hear only in job ads and nowhere else. Terms like “Motivated team-player or “Customer-focused self-starter”. What do these things even mean? Careerealism has a funny look at what each of these mean. Here are a couple of  examples:

 

Resourceful, Independent Self-Starter

Since we have absolutely no time or resources to train you, we expect you to figure everything out for yourself… quickly.

Attentive To Details

We have strict policies and procedures and won’t hesitate to blame you for everything if you make a mistake.

 

While Careerealism is having some fun here, there’s a little bit of truth to it. Just like a lot of job seekers who come up with interesting ways to explain their skills, job ads also have a tendency to butter up what skills they are looking for. Most of these terms usually just mean the job posting is looking for a hard worker who is able to keep on task.

Opportunity for Growth

When reading the job description itself, pay careful attention to a variety of buzzwords like “Opportunity for growth.” While at the outset that sounds promising, make sure to take a moment and consider what else that might mean. Phrases like this can often have a deeper meaning.

 

Most of the time, a job is what you make of it. Every job has the opportunity for growth, in every position you’ll have to work with others and by yourself. Find the things that separate this job from the next one to get a better sense of whether this job is the right one for you.

The Requirements

This is where we’ll usually find that pesky “1-3 years of experience” line. CNN points out that the language used can help you better understand how serious you should take each one.

“When a job listing says ‘required,’ it’s a lot firmer. Employers are trying to narrow the field,” says Tom Allen, director of career services at DeVry University in Decatur, Georgia.

A skill that’s listed as “preferred” is not necessarily essential for a candidate to have.”

 

Allen also notes that if you have around 80% of the stated requirements you’re in an excellent position to apply for the position. Employers aren’t expecting someone who perfectly matches every requirement and description. They’re looking for someone close to that.

 

So even if you don’t have the 1-3 years of experience, but you do have a number of the other required skills, apply for the job!

Find Your Lost Motivation

Find Your Lost Motivation

All of us deal with stress sometimes and sometimes stress is good. It pushes us forward, in a way it can give us sustenance– but that’s only in short bursts. Prolonged stress is another thing altogether.  Lost motivation.

 

Prolonged stress leads to illness. It drains our motivation as effectively as a leak in a balloon. When you feel the heavy weight of stress bearing down on you, there are a few simple things you can do to bring yourself back to center.

 

Remember you are not meant to be “on” 24/7

With smart phones and texting and emails and the thousand other ways we have to stay in touch with each other, we sometimes forget about the importance of taking a break. If you don’t turn off regularly you will burn out.

 

Make time for things that make you happy. Maybe that’s volunteering in a pet shelter, maybe it’s spending a whole day with a good book, maybe it’s making a great dinner. Joyful times, whether they be moments or hours can help you fid your way back to lost motivation.

 

Acknowledge your worries

Sometimes we tell others what we’re worried about, but a lot of the time we keep our worries to ourselves. If you have someone you feel like you can confide in, that’s great, but even if you don’t you can still release some of your stresses by writing them down.

 

Once you’ve got them out in the open on a piece of paper, take them on, one at a time. Maybe there’s a project you’re procrastinating on. If that’s the case then give yourself defined steps for getting it done. Putting an action plan in motion is motivating.

 

If you realize there’s nothing you can do to alleviate the problem, for instance if you’re worrying about someone in your family and there’s nothing you can do then give yourself permission to let it go. Worry won’t change the situation. Letting go of worries you’ve been carrying around gives motivation space to return.

 

Remember the power of your breath

When we’re stressed out we forget how centering it is to simply stop what we’re doing and breath. Take one minute away from whatever it is that’s got you all wound up and take breathe deeply.

 

Get outside

Ever notice how a short walk can totally change your perception? The solution to a problem you’ve been mulling over for hours suddenly seems so crystal clear when you take it for a walk or a run. Sometimes the simplest things can be the greatest motivators.

Be A Motivating Manager

Be A Motivating Manager

Motivated coworkers will create and build a strong, successful organization.  A motivating manager does several things to create a positive, nourishing atmosphere.

 

Have clearly defined roles

Make sure people understand what’s expected of them. You can’t expect them to deliver a top performance if they’re unclear about any aspect of the position. Don’t try and keep them in a box, give them room to grow and innovate. But also don’t expect them to figure out the finer points of their job through osmosis or trial and error. Give them a solid foundation from which to build their career.

 

Company identity

Have a strong company identity. Bring your personality and aspirations into the company. Give people who work with you something to identify with. Motivating managers create an innovative, interesting core others want to be part of. Instead of feeling like another cog in a wheel they feel like part of something unique and vibrant.

 

Provide plenty of opportunities for training and improvement

Empower people by helping them empower themselves. Provide opportunities for training and mentoring. Bring experts into the office to share their experiences and knowledge, but also don’t forget about emerging experts.

 

Often some of the best people to train new people are others who have recently gone through the experience themselves. Trials and obstacles are still fresh in their minds. The excitement about having recently moved on to the next level of development is contagious and encouraging for people coming up the ranks.

 

Don’t skimp on compensation

Compensation isn’t only financial. It’s also verbal in terms of praise and demonstrative in terms of recognition through increased responsibilities. If someone’s doing a great job, a motivating manager will help them  to do an even greater job by acknowledging their accomplishments. People who feel valued and acknowledged will far and away outperform people who don’t.