Category Archives: 7 Tips

7 Tips to Help Overcome Procrastination

I was planning to write this post last week, but I put it off. 

Okay, now that the obligatory bad joke is out of the way, we can look at another internal time waster, procrastination.

We all put things off. We hope to avoid tasks that are boring, difficult, unpleasant, etc. When faced with something we don’t want to do, we can find a dozen tasks of no consequence to fill our time.

We secretly hope that, by procrastinating, the unpleasant task will shrink and go away. Unfortunately, the reverse is often true; the deferred job just gets bigger and more difficult.

Overcoming procrastination requires strategy. The next time you’re tempted to put off something you don’t want to do, try some of these tips:

  1. Set a deadline – a task without a deadline can be put off indefinitely. Set a date and stick to it.
  2. Set up a reward system – make it commensurate with the task. An afternoon cleaning out the garage is worth dinner out, while a 14 month software roll-out might warrant a tropical vacation.
  3. Arrange for a follow-up – assign someone to be a “nag-buddy”. Give them permission to check in periodically to make sure you’re staying on track.
  4. Do it first – tackle difficult jobs early in the day, when you have the most energy.
  5. Break the task into small pieces – if the whole seems too big to tackle, break it into manageable sub-tasks.
  6. Avoid over-thinking – Doubts will arise for even the most confident of people and doubt can lead to procrastination. Try doubting your doubts.
  7. Do it now – don’t put if off any longer. Sometimes you just have to jump in and get it done.

Procrastination Quotations

  • Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James
  • Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. ~Don Marquis
  • There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back. ~Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
  • You may delay, but time will not. ~Benjamin Franklin
  • Someday is not a day of the week. ~Author Unknown
  • Don’t fool yourself that important things can be put off till tomorrow; they can be put off forever, or not at all. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
  • Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin. ~Victor Kiam
  • The best way to get something done is to begin. ~Author Unknown
  • Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. ~Spanish Proverb
  • Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible. ~George Claude Lorimer
  • Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man. ~Jimmy Lyons
  • A year from now you may wish you had started today. ~Karen Lamb
  • Procrastination is the thief of time. ~Edward Young

7 Ways to Get More Done

  1. Work with a clean desk – A study on productivity found that, “The average desk worker has 36 hours worth of work on their desk and wastes up to 3 hours a week just ‘looking’ for STUFF!” Clean your desk to work more effectively.
  2. Keep a time log – It is a good idea to analyze your use of time. Periodically select a typical week and gather data on your daily routine. Look at the data for areas where you could improve your use of time and develop an action plan to make the improvements.
  3. Use a to-do list – Some people use a To-Do list which they complete last thing in the day or first thing in the morning. Some people combine a To-Do list with a calendar or schedule. Others prefer a “running” To-Do list which is continuously being updated. There are a number of ways to keep a To-Do list. Pick the method that works best for you.
  4. Set your priorities – When you have to choose which task on your to-do list to address next, compare the relevant importance of the tasks. For example, “Which is more important for me to do right now? Maintaining client relationships or marketing the business?”
  5. Delegate effectively – You can’t do everything yourself. Even Superman needed Jimmy Olsen. Learn to discern those things that you must do from those that can be done more effectively by someone else; both in the office and at home.
  6. Use the 80:20 Rule – The 80-20 Rule was originally postulated by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. He noted that 80 percent of the reward comes from 20 percent of the effort. The trick is to isolate and identify the 20 percent. Once identified, prioritise time to concentrate your work on those items with the greatest reward.
  7. Relax – You don’t have an endless supply of energy and drive. Now and again you need to take some time to re-charge your batteries.

7 Energy-Saving Ideas for Summer

Non-profit organizations face the same challenges and costs, when it comes to operating their facilities. Rent, taxes, insurance, utilities are all part of the cost of doing business.

Some of these costs are out of the control of the organization. For example, taxes are set by the municipality, and not many of them have exemptions for non-profits. On the other hand, utility costs can be managed.

Here are seven tips to help you manage your energy costs in the summer.

  1. Consider installing an automated thermostat that turns off your air conditioner at night.
  2. Open windows in the summer. It costs nothing, but it saves energy and money. Keep your windows open in the evening and overnight to allow cooler air into your home, and turn off your air conditioner. Close the windows during the day to keep the cool air in and the warm air out.
  3. Ceiling fans use less electricity than air conditioners or furnaces. For example, a ceiling fan costs about five cents an hour to operate, which is much less than an air conditioner.
  4. Did you know that you use three to five percent more energy for each degree that your air conditioner is set below 24 degrees Celsius or 75 degrees Fahrenheit? So, set your thermostat to 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit to provide the most comfort at the least cost.
  5. Use awnings and overhangs to keep the sun out of south-facing windows in the summers. Take them down the awnings to let the sun shine in during the winter.
  6. Installing high efficiency windows with low-e coatings, argon gas fill and insulated spacers have made a difference to the amount of heat in the house.
  7. A reflective roof can reduce the roof surface temperature by up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your climate. A reflective roof prevents the sun’s heat from transferring into the building.

7 Leadership Tips From Leaders

What is a leader?

A leader is a person who guides others toward a common goal, showing the way by example, creating an environment in which other team members feel actively involved in the entire process. A leader is not the boss of the team, but the person that is committed to carrying out the mission of the venture.

Leaders exist to get things done. Leadership is needed beyond the bounds of politics and business. Leadership is needed in families; schools and universities need leadership; charitable organizations need leadership. In fact, whenever there is an opportunity for two or more people to collaborate to get something done, leadership is a key ingredient.

Here are 7 tips on the subject of leadership from those who have demonstrated themselves to be leaders:

1. “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.” Edwin H. Friedman – Leaders have vision. They share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. The leadership vision goes beyond your mission and vision statements. A leader’s vision permeates the workplace and is manifested in their actions, beliefs, values and goals.

2. “Most important, leaders can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.” John Gardner – Leadership is proactive rather than reactive. Leaders are good in crises – but they don’t sit around letting crises develop. Leaders identify potential problems and solve them before they reach crisis proportions. Leaders have an ability to identify and reap potential windfalls. Good leaders analyze and plan, then adapt their plans to changing circumstances and opportunities.

3. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” John Quincy Adams – Actions still speak louder than words, particularly when your philosophies and behavior motivate people to do their best work. Nothing builds and sustains credibility like someone who leads by example.

4. “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.” Walter Lipmann – John Maxwell calls it The Law of Legacy – A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. Leaders develop and grow people, people who will help to build and lead the future of the enterprise.

5. “The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.” Peter F. Drucker – Developing the confidence and capability of your people will raise their self-belief. Show them you believe in their potential. Encourage them to take risks. Help them to learn when things go wrong . A leader who boosts the self-esteem of people will always be more successful in retaining people.

6. “Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.” Rosabeth Moss Kantor – Great leaders have the ability to gain knowledge, acquire skills and adapt behaviours to achieve their goals. They always improve their skills and learn. They study people and learn how to effectively interact with them. They understand the importance of continuous learning. Leaders have the ability to ‘unlearn’ old behaviours and develop new ones.

7. “Whatever happens, take responsibility.” Anthony Robbins – It’s easy take credit when things go right, and shift the blame when things go wrong. It’s particularly tempting for a leader. A leader is positioned to blame just about anyone and anything when things go wrong. However, as a leader, you must take responsibility. When things go wrong, if your first instinct is to look for someone to blame, stop. Ask instead, “what can I do to help fix this?” You’ll only get better at what’s under your control.

In summary, a leader:

  1. Has a vision
  2. Has a plan
  3. Leads by example
  4. Develops people
  5. Builds confidence in people
  6. Keeps learning
  7. Takes responsibility

Look at this list above and ask, how well do I stack up against these seven points? What ONE thing could I start doing that will enhance my skills as a leader?

7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking

It takes a lot of preparation to craft the kind of speech or presentation that is going to grab your listener’s attention. Once the speech is crafted, you need to spend a lot of time practising, so as to make sure you keep their attention.

Listeners don’t give their attention lightly and it doesn’t take much for it to wander. Here are seven bad speaking habits that will guarantee your listeners will be focusing on other things, instead of what you’re presenting.

  1. Rambling – if you don’t know where you’re going, the audience is not going to follow. If you do not have anything to say, sit down! No one has ever complained about a speech that ended early.
  2. Speaking in a monotone – not only are you at risk of losing their attention, you might even put them to sleep. Speaking in a monotonous voice is a real communication killer. When you don’t vary the pitch of your voice, it is difficult for the listener to maintain any interest in what you’re saying.
  3. Appearing to have limited topic knowledge – people come to listen because they expect you know what you’re talking about. You need to know your topic backwards and forwards. Research your topic thoroughly while preparing your speech.
  4. Poor eye contact – lack of eye contact creates a barrier between you and the audience. Make a connection to the listener; they want to know you’re speaking to them.
  5. Pacing, wandering or fidgeting – often a sign of nerves, it can be distracting to the audience. You may not eliminate the nerves, but preparation and practice can reduce the appearance of nerves.
  6. Lack of preparation – if you haven’t made the effort to prepare, why should the audience make the effort to listen?
  7. Poor storytelling skills – nothing communicates concepts better than stories. If you want to hold on to the listener’s attention, learn to tell stories well.

7 Steps You Can Take When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

Traditionally, Canada does not place well in the Olympic Summer Games. (The winter games is a better story.) Canadian athletes competing often surpass “personal best” results or break Canadian records for their sport. However, that’s not always good enough on the world stage.

You’ve trained and prepared, you’re motivated and ready, but you end up fourth, fifth or even last. What do you do when your personal best is not good enough?

Here are some steps you can take when you find yourself in that position. This is not a all-or-nothing or sequential list. This is a list of options to consider, to help you decide what your next step will be.

Don’t quit

This seems obvious. If you feel you have potential to improve, you need to keep working toward that objective. A surprising number of people quit the moment they hit their first setback. Those who want to push their personal best to new levels keep working to improve.

Know when to quit

I once knew a woman who had a desire to lead a music group, despite the fact that she was not much of a musician. She never did anything to improve her musical ability and she was so focused on this impractical goal that she missed opportunities to engage and develop her genuine skills.

Sometimes you have to acknowledge that your personal best is not going to lead to success in an endeavour. Take a hard and honest look at your skills inventory and determine if you should be pursuing a different passion.

Know when to switch gears

Similar to knowing when to quit, sometimes you need to know when to take your current skills and passion in a different direction. For example, your painting skills may never get you into the National Gallery, but you may have the ability to be the next Bob Ross. By paring up two skills, you might be able to create something bigger than either of them.

Evaluate your pond size

There’s an expression that speaks of being a big fish in a small pond. This refers to people who are important within their circle of influence. You need to know what kind of pond you’re swimming in to determine the outcome of your efforts.

You may be the best swimmer in Canada, but competing on the world stage, at the Olympic Summer Games, brings a different standard of success. If you are content with being a big fish in a small pond, continue to enjoy what you’re doing.

Reduce the unnecessary

You may feel you have a novel in you just waiting to burst out and become a bestseller. However, you spend three or four hours per day camped in front of the television. That novel is likely to sit and perhaps get written by someone else.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve in life, you’ve got to take action if you’re going to succeed. A fool waits for opportunity to knock; a wise man searches out opportunity and wrestles with it until it gives in.

Learn, learn, learn

Whatever your goals and ambitions, you need to develop a personal plan for continuous improvement. You may aspire to be the next Michael Phelps, the best corn farmer in Taber, or the best math teacher in California. Success comes when you pursue learning opportunities. This is not merely signing up for a course at your local college. This is evaluating your abilities, reading, watching, practicing and so on.

Enjoy yourself and the Journey

Not every success is measured in medals, money or fame. Success is the completion of anything intended. Just because you pull out your camera everyday to take pictures doesn’t mean you want to be the next Clive Arrowsmith or Joe McNally. You may be looking through the lens for personal enjoyment, preserving family history or any number of things. If you’re enjoying the journey, you are one large step towards success.

Enhanced by Zemanta