How to Be Organized at Work

This post is an extract from my book How to Be Organized at Work – High Achiever Secrets to Taking Control, Saving Time and Achieving Goals Faster. Its available now at Amazon.com.

Finding Things Quickly

When everything has a place, you can find it quickly.  It’s a lot like organizing your luggage.  If you’re going to be living out of your suit case for a few days, you don’t want the clothes you are planning to wear on the first day, packed on the bottom of the suitcase.  Instead, you pack those clothes on top, then the clothes for the second day beneath that and so on.  That way, what you need is easy to find and easy to get to.

Organization doesn’t need to be difficult, the point is to make things easier.  You don’t have to use the Dewey Decimal system to arrange your books, instead arrange them by subject or frequency of use.  It doesn’t make much sense to keep open files that you are currently working on, down the hall in a filing room.  You’ll just end up wasting time running back and forth from your work space to the file room.

Instead, you should designate a place on or in your work station to keep open files.  Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to juggle old files at your work station.  If you haven’t used it recently, find a permanent place for it so that you don’t have to worry about it and it won’t clutter your work space.

Most carpenters understand this concept.  They may have a garage full of tools, but they only bring the tools they are likely to use to the job site.  And of those tools, they only put the ones they use most frequently in their tool belt.  They may need their hammer several times throughout the day and their cordless drill only once.  It doesn’t make sense to be weighted down with tools they won’t need very frequently.

Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to go back and forth between their work and their tool box every time they need to hammer something.  So they keep certain tools in their belt so it easy to find whenever they need it.  They keep some tools in their work truck so they’ll have them when they need them.  And they keep the rest of their tools at home until they have a job where those tools are needed.

Finding things quickly will make your life much more enjoyable.  You won’t be stressed trying to keep up with everything in your mind.  You won’t have to search through stacks and drawers and file cabinets every time you need something.  Just as you keep your kitchen organized and you know exactly where to look for a plate, you can organize your work space so that you find things quickly.

You’ll also look better when your superior needs something from you.  An employee who can find what they need quickly and easily project an image of success.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving the people who have influence over your career the impression that you are dependable and organized.

Organization That Works For You

Being organized shouldn’t be a burden.  It should fit like a glove.  It should make sense to you.  It should be natural, almost second nature.  When you discover an organizational system that fits you, it will be easy to implement and seem logical.  Organization isn’t about being rigid, or following rules.  It should be simple and helpful so that you can get things done.

We all have natural talents, preferences, skills and unique ways of doing things.  In this book we’ll call these things your strengths.  In most cases people buck against their strengths.  They think they should build up their weaknesses and end up neglecting the very things that can really help them get ahead in their career and life.

You need to embrace your strengths, those things that make you unique are the very things that make you valuable to your company, family and friends.  Your organizational system should fit your strengths.  If you’re the kind of person who works best through long periods of uninterrupted focus, you should have an organizational system that keeps everything you might need close at hand.

If on the other hand, you work best in short bursts, it might be better to keep the things you need in other places.  Or if you feel cramped with a lot of things on your desk, you’ll need a system that allows you to put things away.  Conversely, if you prefer to keep things you are working where you can see them, you might set up a system where the most current projects stay on your work station.

There is no wrong organization system, although many will be wrong for you.  Your goal is find the system that works for you and then work that system.  Organization is only as useful as you make it be.  For instance you can have a great system, but if you don’t utilize it you’ll be no better off.  On the other hand, if your system is too complicated or takes too much time to work, you’ll won’t be much better off.

The goal is to find the simplest way to keep track of all the things involved with your job, so that you can spend the maximum amount of time working and accomplish more than you could before the organizational system was put in place.

You can be organized.  Let me say that again, YOU can be organized.  Even if you have never been organized in any task or part of your life, you can learn to be organized.  I’m going to show you how.

We’ll cover organization from every angle, beginning with really understanding what organization is and what it isn’t.  We’ll explore the different types of organizational systems so that we find one that fits your strengths.  We’ll look at specific ways to organize your workspace and then cover how to keep up with your documents, how to organize your time and your digital content so that it all works together to make you more efficient.
We’ll also see how organization improves your communication.  And finally, we’ll learn how to adapt to changes so that you stay organized as you grow in your career.  It’s all at your fingertips, so what are you waiting for.  A new life that is organized and thriving can be yours.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my book on how to be organized at work. Take a look at its Amazon.com listing and see what you think.

 

How to Be Productive at Work

This post is an extract from my book Be Productive On Demand – High Achiever Secrets to Being Productive at Work which is available at Amazon.com.

Handling Problems

Problems are another part of everything we do.  I often tell people not to be surprised if things take twice as long as they expect, because most people don’t factor in problems.  It may be something relatively simple to do, but a problem can spring up and make the entire project a nightmare.

There are two ways to approach problems, the first is just to dive in headfirst and hope for the best.  This blind approach is reactive, it says we’ll do the job and if a problem arises we’ll deal with it then.  The problem with this approach is that it limits your options when it comes to handling the problem.

For instance, if you’ve already spent most of your budget developing a product that is suddenly obsolete or breaks easily, you have very few options left in overcoming the problem.  You may have months invested in a project only to be left with nothing to show for your hard work and superiors who only see your failure.

The other way to approach problems is to be proactive.  It means taking time at the beginning of a task and considering what you will do if things don’t go as planned.  This is especially important on projects that take a considerable amount of time.  Think of it as saving your work often on your computer.  You can’t avoid a power outage or system failure, but by saving your work frequently, you can avoid costly loses of vital work that can not only make you look bad, but totally crush your motivation for the job.

You need to think things through, use good judgment and avoid projects that are doomed to fail.  Look for the tasks where you can use your skills and talents, that way you’ll excel at what you’re doing and enjoy yourself while you’re at it.  Avoid tasks that while necessary, aren’t valued by the people who matter.

Don’t join teams with people you clash with or who you know don’t produce good work.  The last thing you want is to be saddled with a project and have virtually no help because your team members don’t care about their jobs.  Taking a proactive approach to problems doesn’t mean that you won’t have any, but that you’ll be ready for them when they occur.

Dealing With Setbacks

Setbacks come in all shapes and sizes, from a problem with a project, to a change in direction from Company executives.  Setbacks are when work we’ve done is either wasted or lost, it’s the other side of poorly handled problems.  They leave us feeling frustrated and angry.  No one wants to see their hard work wasted, but when it comes to poor productivity that is often the case.  Sometimes our work is time sensitive and we just don’t get it done in time so it can’t be used.  Sometimes, the company changes its approach to doing business and suddenly everything you’ve been working toward is lost.

Judy had spent weeks preparing to present a new deal to a client when the company suddenly sold a vital division and her entire presentation had to be scrapped.  Samuel had spent a year programming for his company when they upgraded to a new IT service and his work was lost.  Susan had been building a case for a promotion with her immediate supervisor when the company abruptly restructured and she was assigned to a new division with a manager who didn’t have the same values as her previous supervisor.

Setbacks have to be seen for what they are and the best way to deal with them is to work through the stress they create so that you can return to your work with a renewed sense of passion and creativity.  In most cases, set backs have the most devastating effect on our motivation and drive to work hard and be productive.  If you’re encountering setbacks on a regular basis you need to evaluate if there something you can do to prevent the setbacks.

It may be that you are not a good fit for your current situation and trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole will only make things worse.  Or it could be that you can make some small adjustments, such as backing up your work more frequently, or keeping a personal log of what you are doing so that you aren’t slammed with setbacks.

If you encounter a major setback be encouraged by the fact all successful people have struggled with them.  Steve Jobs was actually pushed out of Apple not long after the company started.  He later said the experience was painful medicine, but exactly what he needed to be able to deal with leading Apple to become the most recognized brand in the world.  Don’t give up, even if what you try doesn’t work.  Keep trying, use new methods and ideas.  And strive to stay positive, even in the worst of circumstances a positive attitude makes a great impression.

Overcome Roadblocks

Probably the biggest reason people get stuck in unproductive work cycles is either a perceived obstacle in their path or fear of facing a major roadblock.  Obstacles can seem overwhelming, but the truth is with a little perspective they can usually be overcome.  Plato, the classic Greek philosopher said, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”  In other words, roadblocks and obstacles to your success are often the biggest motivators for people to do great things.  You will probably hit roadblocks as you try to become more productive, but don’t let that stop you.

For instance, you may find that at first you are much more productive simply by changing some of your email or telephone habits.  But then you may find that you’re productivity hits a plateau, perhaps your supervisor will only give you the most difficult clients or projects that have very little chance of success.  It may make you feel like trying to be more productive is just a waste of time, but when this happens you must find a way to see your problem from a different perspective.

Perception is reality, the way we see and perceive things is how we accept that they really are, but if you can change your perspective you may begin to see things in a whole new way.  For instance, you may find that your superior isn’t trying to hold you back or perhaps your issue with staying focused is due to a skill you didn’t know you had.  Frank often had trouble keeping his mind focused on just one project.

Once he learned what he needed to do, he often lost interest in the task altogether.  He was becoming severely depressed but when he came across a book about scanning and how some people love to learn new things and initiate new tasks he realized that his problem wasn’t a problem at all.  Once he began to look at his job from his new perspective, he found that he could blaze new trails and then delegate the ongoing work to his colleagues who were thrilled to have new opportunities.  He stopped taking on long tasks and looked for projects where his short attention span and love for learning new things would be an asset.  Soon, he had not only overcome his roadblock, but had used his newfound skill to propel his career forward.

Don’t let problems or setbacks or obstacles keep you from being the most productive professional you can be.  We all face difficulties, the difference is that productive people deal with them in a positive way.  You can too, and you’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my book on how to be productive at work. Take a look at the Amazon.com listing and see what you think.

 

How to Get Promoted Fast

This post is an extract from my book How To Get Promoted Fast – Proven Ways To Be Recognized, Rewarded and More Successful which is available at Amazon.com.

Becoming a Career High Flyer

Elliot was what we will call a Career High Flyer.  Unlike most people, he understood exactly what he needed to do to move through the ranks of his company.  He had a focus on advancement and saw his current duties as a chance to get noticed by the decision makers in his organization.  He used his relationships with his peers and involvement in strategic meetings to highlight his ideas, ambition and talents.  He also focused on his strengths, taking the initiative to delegate tasks that he was weak at so that he could accomplish more work at a higher level of skill.

The people around Elliot saw him a valuable asset to the company and although he quickly bypassed people with greater seniority, he was rarely seen in a negative light.  People enjoyed working with Elliot on projects and even began going to him when they faced difficulties.  His positive attitude and ability to see things from a different perspective was encouraging and helpful.

Would you like to be a Career High Flyer like Elliot?  It is possible and by adopting a few key principles into your life you can have similar success.  It’s important to note however that a Career High Flyer isn’t tied to one company.  To move up quickly you have to be willing to embrace change as well as challenges.  Many people find themselves bumping against the glass ceiling or holding the highest position they can attain in their current company or even within their field.  Navigating your way through the changes can be difficult but if you have a solid grasp of your values you’ll know exactly what you need to do.  Let’s look at what it takes to become a Career High Flyer.

The point of this whole book is to help you advance in your career.  It may be that you simply want to get a promotion in your current job.  That’s a great goal and I’m going to help you attain it, but if you have lofty ambitions there are a few things you need to solidify if you want to move quickly through the ranks.

First, you simply must know what you value.  There are no right or wrong values, they are simply whatever is important to you.  It could be that prestige is important, or financial wealth, or time with your family, or even a flexible schedule.  For instance, if you value time with your family and a promotion would mean taking on more hours at the office or a lot of travel time, it might not be worth it to you.

On the other hand, if you have reached the highest level possible in your current organization, you need to know if increasing your salary by joining a bigger company, or getting additional training so that you can move into a new field, or simply staying put to avoid change is what you value most.  Your values will be your north star, guiding you through decisions you need to make to get ahead in you career.

Second, a Career High Flyer never stops learning.  Even a cursory examination of the lives of the most successful people will show they are constantly learning.  You should make a priority of keeping up with current world events and reading publications or books that relate specifically to your industry and personal strengths.  By challenging your mind and learning what others are doing, you’ll be not only able to talk about any work related topics with confidence and fresh ideas, but you’ll also strengthen your skills which will make you a more attractive candidate for promotion.

Career High Flyers also take building their network very seriously.  Relationships are the track that careers run on.  If you want to get a promotion or move quickly up the ladder of success in your field, you need to work diligently on building and maintaining your network of associates, business leaders and acquaintances in other fields.  Knowing the right person can get you ahead, close a deal or help you succeed.  Think of it as if you are marketing yourself and your network is your customer base.

You should spend time everyday building your network.  Keep an organized database updated at all times and spend time touching base with the people in your network regularly.  Twenty minutes a day connecting with other professionals will pay huge dividends down the road.

Career High Flyers also position themselves as experts in their field.  Almost every industry has publications which you should be reading to keep up with the latest trends and techniques in your field.  Career High Flyers do more than just read about other people, instead they submit their own work or articles to be published.  By getting your name out through articles, reports, blogs and interviews, you’ll not only bring your company prestige, but you’ll be seen as a huge asset to your company, one they’ll move mountains to hang onto.  Also, it gives you tremendous options within your field when you can point back to published work.

Finally, Career High Flyers focus on the future, not just their present work obligations.  There is a difference between knowing about possible promotions and focusing on them.  For many people, not giving their current work their primary focus is very hard.  Your workload may seem overwhelming, with problems and stress constantly popping up and crying for your full attention.  A Career High Flyer sees every task through the lens of their future goals.  They are constantly doing things that will maneuver them closer to where they want to go.  They take on tasks that will favor their goals and delegate the tasks that won’t.

They don’t get bogged down in the minutiae of their current roll because they see it as a minor stop along the way.  That’s not to say they don’t do good work.  Working hard and producing quality results is a constant trait of Career High Flyers, but they don’t take their eyes off the prize along the way.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my book on how to get promoted. Take a look at its Amazon.com listing and see what you think.

 

How to Improve Concentration at Work

This post is an extract from my recently released book How To Improve Concentration At Work – High Achiever Secrets to Staying Focused and Beating Distractions which is available at Amazon.com.

Separating Personal and Professional Life

Both personal and professional situations can create unhealthy stress. Just as it can be difficult to forget about the bad day you had at work, even after you have left the office, it can be also be difficult to forget about the troubles you have at home, when you are trying to focus on a work related project. Regardless of where or how they happen, stressful situations tend to preoccupy our thoughts, making it difficult to focus on something else.

An important aspect of handling stress is the ability to separate private life from professional life. While most employers have a policy about leaving personal problems at home, few offer suggestions or feedback on how to accomplish this. Likewise, once you get home from the office, family members may demand that you “forget about” what happened during work hours, and focus on them. You may find that no matter how hard you try, however, either the harsh lecture that you got from your boss, or the massive amount of papers piling up on your desk, keeps popping into your mind, even during your daughter’s ballet recital.

If you are like many people, you imagine that a key factor in achieving “success” on the job is a singular devotion to your career. Along with this notion, then, you might take on extra assignments, bring work home on the weekends, schedule appointments during your “off” hours and do a realm of other tasks, which you believe set you apart from others, by showing that you are willing to go “above and beyond the call of duty.”

If you have been operating under this assumption, and therefore have made it a priority to be available to your employer twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you are not only less likely to be successful on the job over the long run, but you are at a much higher risk for career burnout.

Since the effects of stress can compound over a period of time, it makes sense that the more your professional life invades your personal life, the more negative stress you will experience both at home and on the job. On the contrary, by taking time off from your work environment, and setting limits on the amount of “off time” you devote to your career, the better able you will be to deal with both personal and professional challenges when they arise.

Closing the Door

Use this technique to help you change your focus from work to home, or home to work. Incorporating the technique into your daily routine will help you establish clear boundaries in your mind, regarding your professional and personal life.

Visualize two doors in your mind. One should be clearly marked “home“, the other “work”. Each day when you arrive at work, take a moment to visualize yourself exiting the door marked “home”. Experts suggest that you also pinpoint a sound which you can associate with the closing of the door. Many people choose to “slam the door” behind them. Locking the door, and hearing the “click” that accompanies the image can also help solidify the separation. Visualize the events which occurred before leaving home, then make a mental effort to “close them in” behind you.

Next, take a moment to walk to the door marked “work”. As you walk, visualize yourself dropping or putting down any objects that linger in your mind from home. Your grocery list, the electric bill or the pair of slippers the dog ate during the night. Remember that it will all still be there when you come back, but for now make an effort to leave it outside, somewhere between the door marked “home” and the one marked “work”.

As you walk between the two doors, you will also be looking for objects that were left behind yesterday, when you walked out of the door marked “work”: the project that has to be completed this afternoon, the sticky note with a new client’s phone number, or your day planner, with meetings and appointments for the afternoon. After you have gathered all the items you left, open the door and walk inside. Close the door behind you.

When you leave work for the day, perform the same visualization exercise, only in reverse. When you leave work, leave behind all the frustrations, pressures and deadlines. Firmly close the door behind you.

Other Tips for Separating Personal and Professional Life

- Don’t accept business calls from home and don’t take personal calls at the office.

- Have separate business and personal email addresses.

- Keep social and personal apps off of business phones and computers.

- Set boundaries with family, friends, and your employer. Let everyone know that work time is for working and home time is for family, friends and self.

- Don’t vent about work at home, and don’t vent about home at work.

- If you go out with coworkers during your off time, make a rule regarding work related conversations.

- If you want to talk to your spouse about something that happened at work, don’t do it when you first come in the door. Wait until you are getting ready to leave for work again, before switching your own frame of mind from personal to business talk.

- Make it a point to focus on family and friends when you are with them, just as you make it a point to focus on work when you are in the office.

- Take extended vacations. Schedule weekends off. Allow yourself personal or sick time when you need it.

- Use your at home time to socialize, relax and take care of your own needs.

Keep in mind that to appropriately deal with stress, you need to be able to distance yourself from it. Down time should not be “flexible”. It should not be something that you put on the back burner, for when you get “all the important things done”. When our mind and body are overworked we are less productive, more prone to sickness and we run a greater risk of burnout.

Schedule time for pleasure. Laughter is the best therapy for dealing with the mental, emotional and physical effects of negative stress. When we are stressed our bodies undergo a wide range of physical changes. Chemical reactions within the brain trigger muscle tension, increased breathing and increased heart rate. Blood flow may be redirected away from the limbs to major body organs, interfering with digestion, bowel movements and other body processes. Laughter produces reactions which are essentially opposite of those produced by stress.

The chemicals produced in the brain when we are engaged in pleasurable activities can counterbalance the effects of negative stress on both the body and the mind. When we don’t have an adequate balance of pleasurable and stress related activities, however, the body often experiences acute symptoms. Stomach ulcers, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and other health problems, have been directly linked to the impact of negative stress. Stress can also weaken the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off viruses and infection. In fact, the harder and longer we work, the more prone we are to contract a variety of illnesses, which can range from mild to severe.

Minimizing negative stress can greatly improve your ability to concentrate and focus. Additionally, taking steps to reduce stress can improve your outlook and help you maintain physical and emotional health.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my book on how to improve concentration at work. Take a look at the Amazon.com listing for it and see what you think.

 

How to Improve Intelligence at Work

This post is an extract from my book Be Smarter, Faster & More Creative Under Pressure – How to Improve Intelligence at Work which is available at Amazon.com.

How to Solve Problems Quickly and Effectively

Problem solving skills are directly related to both professional success and success in other areas of life. Whether you need to be able to quickly fix problems that arise on an assembly line or simply identify the reason why your car has stalled out on the highway, the more effectively you are able to deal with personal and professional challenges, the more productive you will be in life.

Types of Problems

A problem is anything that interferes with your ability to obtain a current goal. While many types of problems can arise in every day work and life situations, most can be placed into the following groups:

External concrete: External problems are problems that occur in the world outside of ourselves. External problems generally require a physical solution. When something breaks, a piece doesn’t fit correctly or some other physical reality interferes with our desire to accomplish a given task, the problem falls into this category.

External abstract: External abstract problems also occur outside of ourselves, but this type of problem most commonly requires a mental solution. Mathematical equations, scientific formulas and other types of analytical problems fall into this category. While most external abstract problems have a solution which can be applied to the physical world, the process involved in finding that solution generally requires a mathematical or scientific approach.

Internal concrete: Physical disabilities, illness and other physical health related problems that interfere with our ability to meet certain goals, can be thought to be internal, concrete problems.

Internal abstract: These types of problems are emotionally based. The solutions to these types of problems are often found through introspection and increased self awareness. Internal abstract problems may include negative attitudes, mistaken beliefs, conflicting emotions and other abstract thoughts or ideas, which interfere with our ability to be successful either at work or in our personal lives.

Solving Problems

Problem solving and decision making abilities are closely linked to one another. Being able to effectively make decisions is instrumental to problem solving, since it requires the ability to choose the most appropriate solution and formulate a plan for implementing that solution. The opposite is also true, however, since the ability to identify and solve problems is instrumental to the decision making process as well.

Gathering Information

Regardless of the type of problem you need to solve, the first step is to gather as much information about the problem as possible, in the shortest amount of time.

Improving Problem Solving – Speed Thinking Basics

In many cases problem solving must be done quickly, sometimes in a matter of only minutes. In a work situation, the faster you can effectively solve a problem the more productive you will be.

The concept of speed thinking was first conceived in the 1970s, and many have since expounded on the idea. The principle idea behind the concept of speed thinking is that many people work best in high pressure situations. It was hypothesized that by limiting the amount of time available for problem solving, most people will find an effective solution to a given problem within the designated time.

Overview of Accelerated Problem Solving

Using accelerated thinking techniques you can solve most problems within a time span of three to five minutes. To use this approach you must be familiar with the basic techniques applied in problem-solving and be prepared to streamline your own thought process.

The technique requires you to move quickly through each step in the problem solving process. You are required to set time limits for each phase and stick to those limits.

1. Information gathering phase:

a. Identify the problem

b. Identify the causes or possible causes of the problem

2. Processing/Organizing/Formulating phase

a. Questioning

b. Clarifying

c. Redefining

3. Brainstorming

What are all the possible solutions?

4. Planning for Implementation of Solutions

a. How?

b. Who?

c. When?

d. Where?

e. To what extent?

To move quickly through the steps, it is best to set a time limit of 60 to 90 seconds per phase. When one phase is completed, move to the next phase.

Considerations

Regardless of whether you are attempting to solve a problem using the speed thinking method or more traditional methods, failure to quickly and effectively solve a problem usually results from one of the following:

Information Gathering Phase

1. Missing information: Are you certain you have all the information necessary to obtain a workable solution to your problem?

2. Misinterpreted information: When gathering information always make a point to clarify what you heard, saw or read about the problem. Double check information, to make sure it is accurate.

3. Assumed information: Many times when we approach a problem we assume information about one or more ideas pertaining to it. If our assumptions are incorrect, any solution we arrive at is likely to be ineffective.

Processing/Formulating/Redefining Phase

1. Poorly defining the problem

2. Misinterpreting the problem

3. False assumptions about the problem

The more familiar we are with a given situation, the more likely we may be to assume we already know what the problem is and how we can solve it. While applying practical knowledge and experience in this way can work in many situations, in some situations our preconceived ideas interfere with our ability to find an effective solution.

Brainstorming Phase

1. Assuming the first solution is correct

2. Narrowing options for possible solutions

3. Ruling out possible solutions based on assumptions

Planning and Implementation Phase

1. Overlooking one or more steps necessary to implementation

2. Overstating the importance of a single part of the process, i.e. identifying what will be done, but not who, how or when.

3. Assuming information about one or more parts of the implementation process, i.e. “It normally takes 3 days to receive an order” or “it usually takes me an hour to make all my calls”.

When working on a plan for implementation of a solution, consider all aspects of the process as well as any possible variables which may arise during the implementation process.

Other Things to Do to Improve Problem solving Skills

At Work

1. Experiment with different problem solving methods.

2. Memorize the steps to effective problem solving and practice applying them in a variety of situations.

3. Use visual aids for problem solving.

4. Hold group sessions and implement a speed thinking technique for problem solving.

Outside of Work

1. Put together 3-D puzzles.

2. Solve the nine dots problem.

3. Try building your own robots or experimenting with simple robotics.

4. Work through complex mathematical problems.

5. Visit playwithyourmind.com. Check out Tripples, Pochle, Circular Logic and other games designed to improve your problem solving skills (free games, with no download required).

6. Explore scientific ideas. Make an effort to identify the theories and principles that govern everyday situations, products or events.

7. Explore lateral thinking problems.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my book with practical strategies on how to improve intelligence at work. Take a look at the Amazon.com book listing and see what you think.

 

Motivation On Demand

This post is an extract from my new book – Motivation On Demand which is available at Amazon.com. Enjoy this post and ask yourself how you can apply what you learn right away…

You are not Lazy – You Have Goals that Do Not Inspire You

Do you ever give yourself a hard time for being lazy? Do other people ever comment that you are lazy? Laziness is rarely due to a lack of ability – the problem is typically one of a lack of inspiration.

In other words you do not have a good enough reason to get psyched up about giving everything you have to making something happen. Goals that inspire other people do nothing for you. Where they see a reason to give 100% you see a reason to look the other way to check the TV schedule to find something more stimulating.

When you were in school did you ever notice that many of the lazy students were actually either very intelligent or highly creative? And many of the other “lazy students” just did not thrive well in such a structured environment. In other words the system did not suit them and as a result they felt unmotivated.

A friend of mine had very little interest in learning when he attended school but later on when he went to University he thrived and he even won a very prestigious scholarship. His intelligence and motivation did not suddenly appear out of nowhere instead these latent qualities were dormant and waiting for the right conditions before they emerged.

Are you starting to see a pattern emerging here? Could laziness mean that someone has impotent goals? i.e. goals that do not inspire them. Think about you own life for a moment. There are times when you are highly motivated and other times when you can hardly be bothered to get out of bed in the morning yet you are the same person. How does this happen?

It really is just a matter of strategy. When you choose goals that inspire you and you believe you can achieve them nothing will get in your way whereas when the goal in front of you does not excite you or you suspect you will not achieve it you slip into inaction. This makes sense! Why exert yourself to get something that you don’t want or can’t achieve? The “lazy people” are clever enough not to waste their time.

If you get stuck into a pattern of not caring enough about anything to pursue it then all you need to do is to learn how to take charge of your motivation strategy – the way you use your brain. We will cover this in detail in subsequent chapters.

For the moment just remember that you need inspiring goals not impotent goals.

Certainty and Success

One fascinating hallmark of all highly motivated people is their strongly held conviction that they will succeed whatever it takes and despite any challenges that crop up.

People who are inspired by their dreams believe with certainty they will achieve their goals even if they do not know how all the details will work out. This sense of certainty is due in part to their empowering belief system and also to the way they represent their goals to themselves inside their minds.

Have you ever got excited about your goals and then slowly over time lost your enthusiasm? Most people do. The difference is that the winners in life are able to relight that passion and desire to keep on going until they get what they want.

What are these successful people doing differently to everyone else? They know how to build an internal state of certainty that they will succeed despite any short-term challenges.

You can have this same sense of certainty by visualizing your top five goals as already achieved at least once a day.

Picture your goals as already achieved and enjoy the feelings of satisfaction. Hear people complimenting you on your success and really soak up the feelings of success. Make the pictures, sounds and feelings as lifelike as possible. Keep going until you feel with certainty that you will achieve this goal – as sure as the sun will rise in the morning!

If the success of the goal seems uncertain play with the picture in your mind until it does feel certain. Compare how you picture, hear and see your goal with your expectation that the sun will rise tomorrow. Making the picture bigger, closer, brighter and more colorful usually helps to make it seem more realistic.

When you do this each day you are telling your unconscious mind to keep searching for ways to achieve your goal and you will consistently be motivated. You will also find that your intuition guides you and presents you with ideas that will help you to move ahead.

It used to bother me picturing my goals as already achieved to the point of certainty. I feared that it would make me lazy since my brain would believe the goal would just turn up. And I used to think if I thought of the goal as certain I would be fooling myself into believing I would achieve it despite immediate evidence to the contrary.

However the opposite is true. That sense of certainty propels you forward to create what you are imagining. Plus when you are off target it stands out a mile because your results are so inconsistent with your expectations. You are then compelled to get back on track.

Like an artist expressing himself with paints you can become an artist creating your goals in the world around you from the inspiration inside your mind.

You will never have a 100% guarantee that you will succeed however the more certain you feel about your future the more energy you will invest in achieving your goals. And the corresponding actions you take will naturally improve your chances of success.

A number of years ago I saw Donald Trump, the New York property developer, getting interviewed on TV. I paid close attention to the way he communicated as well as to what he said. He positively exuded certainty when he spoke about his next big development. Every fiber of his being proclaimed that the new venture would be a huge success.

Trump exudes certainty and this success aura attracts investors and encourages other people to believe in his vision. You can be sure that when he pictures his goals he does so with certainty.

Start small if you like and as your confidence grows build up to bigger goals. Remember to make this a daily habit and you will be able to keep on going even at times when you face setbacks.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my new book Motivation On Demand. Take a look at Amazon.com to find out more.

 

 


How To Stay Focused On Your Goals

Distracted, finding it hard to concentrate and always stopping and starting. Sound like you? And of course this can negatively impact our ability to achieve our goals and play havoc with our ability to make any real progress because our minds are often elsewhere.

This is the way it is for most people because we live in the age of distraction. Text messages, phone calls, emails, FaceBook, instant messaging and on and on….

Not everyone though.

You see a special few have a secret way to stay focused even when its absolute chaos all around them. They float through life and wonder why everyone else is struggling and failing, while they just keep on winning and enjoying a full and happy life.

Copy What Highly Successful People Do

High achievers are different in one special way. They have the ability to focus and get things done even when they are bombarded by distractions and interruptions. They`re like a dog with a bone - they have a Super Focus state of mind that makes them unstoppable.

If you could focus like this and maintain deep concentration you`d become much more successful – its inevitable because you`d be very, very productive day in and day out.

The Easy Way

For me, I use the Super Focus state of mind, to get what I want. In fact I used it just before writing this message to you. It`ll help me stay focused and enjoy a productive day. And best of all its easy to do. You can do it too. Be like highly successful people and focus like never before and you`ll have more fun and zest for life.

I explain how at this new page:

http://www.peterwmurphy.com/superfocus.html

Staying Motivated The Easy Way

There is a simple way to stay motivated that few people know about. In fact it so easy you may feel that it is unfair to be so energetic and motivated with no effort while others struggle and fail to get into action.

I`ll tell you about this simple way to stay motivated as long as you take full responsibility for the inspiration and drive you experience as a result. Do we have a deal?

Here is the secret: http://www.peterwmurphy.com/motivationfire.html

The One Step To Lasting Motivation

While there are many great and even simple techniques that can empower you to live with the motivation of a champion, when it comes down to it, staying motivated can be much simpler than you`ve ever guessed.

Take a look at highly driven yet happy people – what do they have in common? How do they manage to keep going in the face of one problem after another and still enjoy the challenge? So many of them are happy and clearly enjoying themselves. Can we all copy whatever it is they are doing?

Yes, we can copy one essential outlook that happily driven people share. In a nutshell we simply need to decide what is the important positive difference we make in the world. There is tremendous power in dedicating ourselves to a purpose that is meaningful for us. It gives us a good feeling about getting up in the morning, it keeps us on track all day long and at the end of each day we can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing we made a difference for others and for ourself during the day.

Purpose is all about how you live your life and it goes far beyond achieving goals. It goes beyond your occupation. There will always be more goals to aim for and there will always be activities and events to prepare for and deal with. Purpose is the theme song for your life. Its what really matters deeply to you. Its the playing field on which the games of work and play take place.

Let`s look at a few examples of meaningful purpose in specific situations…

- telephone engineer: keeping people in touch with each other

- convenience store employee: saving people time and aggravation

- friendly neighbour: the glue that keeps the community together

How to discover your purpose in life

Take a piece of paper and just write as quickly as you can the answer to the question – what is the purpose of my life? Then put your scribbled thoughts away. The next day read what you wrote and you`ll notice a few ideas really stand out for you. Some ideas move you emotionally. Look for a common theme e.g. justice, teaching, leading, supporting. Then, notice which quality describes what you have been about so far in your life. If nothing stands out right away keep asking the question: what is my purpose? Do so again and again over the next few days when you have time to reflect. The answer will pop up if you persist.

You`ll already be living your purpose in life but may not have noticed it. Pay attention to those strong feelings about what really matters and you will see that whatever has been a dominant theme in your life is in fact your purpose.

Your purpose gives you energy and inspiration. It matters deeply to you and gives you a very important reason to make your life count. Once you become consciously aware of this purpose you`ll see how it is behind everything you do, everything you say and its intrinsic to your true nature.

What`s great about knowing your purpose is that you can now turnaround all those activities you are unmotivated to do. All you do is decide to make being in alignment with your purpose more important than any dislike you have for a particular activity.

Let`s say you hate your job but your purpose is being a great parent. Keep your focus on how that job facilitates your purpose and you`ll be more energetic and positive about work because it enables your purpose to be fulfilled. This will completely change your attitude about work so it will never again be such a source of dissatisfaction for you. And, in time, your new more positive attitude could lead to better career opportunities.

Consider another routine chore you dislike doing and procrastinate on until the job gets bigger and more daunting. Let`s say you always put off the yard work until the grass is so high you don`t know where the dog is! Again, put your attention on your purpose for a moment. Let`s say your purpose is to create a happy and relaxed family life. Well, feeling why that matters so much to you is enough to get you started on clearing the yard and clearing the air when it comes to completing the chores you agreed to finish.

You can have a purpose in life and also a purpose at work, a purpose at home and so on. Your purpose in life is the big one that covers every aspect of your life. If you find it useful go ahead and get clear about your purpose in specific parts of your life but be careful about making this more complicated than it needs to be.

Lasting motivation is simple when you stay in touch with what matters most to you in life.

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