Category Archives: Personal Development

Plan your personal development with a “To Be” list

How many of you begin your week by writing a to-do list to track the things you want to accomplish over the next seven days?

How about writing a weekly ‘To Be’ list capturing the kinds of personal characteristics you would like to exhibit in the upcoming week?

A ‘to-be’ list does not focus on scheduled activities, but rather, focuses on discovering or developing who we are. We are often defined by what we do. When asked about our lives, we’re more likely to respond, “I’m a student,” or “I’m a graphic designer,” than, “I’m compassionate, supportive, or hard-working.”

Similarly, it is easier to write your weekly to-dos. In some way doing seems more concrete and objective than being.

I’m not saying one is better than the other. In fact, these aspects of our lives have a kind of symbiotic relationship. The things we want to accomplish work best when they are aligned with what we what our lives to be.

I recognize this subject generates considerable philosophical discussion. Rather than revisit those arguments, I’ll give you quotes from greater minds:

  • “To do is to be” – Rene Descartes.
  • “To be is to do” – Voltaire.
  • “Do be do be do” – Frank Sinatra.

Leslie M. Bosserman shares her thoughts on this practice in an article posted at Holstee.

Why not make this a life experiment for the next 8 weeks?

This week, I want to:

  • be the best husband I can be;
  • be less critical of those with whom I disagree;
  • listen more and speak less;
  • be supportive of friends going through difficult times;
  • more responsive to the requests from the people I serve.

It’s about becoming the people we would like to be.

It’s about becoming the person I would like to be!

How to get the most from your journaling habit

I didn’t start keeping a journal until I was in my thirties. I’d grown up thinking only girls wrote in diaries. However, once I overcame that misconception and got started, I quickly discovered the benefit and pleasure that came from keeping a journal.

Journals can be effective tools in helping one get organized, in the creative process, or in developing a new habit or skill. However, keeping a journal is a habit in and of itself, and needs to be developed.

Here are 5 tips to help you keep momentum and get the most from your journaling habit:

  1. Do it your way – There is no “best way” to write in a journal. Correction: there is a best way to write in a journal and that is, what ever works for you. You are not striving for perfection, but for self-expression. Don’t worry about the spelling or the grammar. Turn off the internal editor.
  2. Be honest – This is the place to be honest with yourself. Write about the way you feel, not the way you think you should feel. This is not the place to worry about what others might think of you. Even if you have problems showing your true self to others, you owe it to yourself to be honest in your journal.
  3. Go deep – That is, let your feelings out. You can keep a journal which merely records the events of your life, and there’s nothing wrong with that, or you can add to its benefit by recording how you felt about what was going on. Your feelings can be symptoms of things not working well, which need to be corrected or adjusted. Your feelings can be celebrations of accomplishments, which motivate you forward to your next goal.
  4. Experiment – Find the format that suits you best: loose-leaf binder, cheap notebook, Moleskine (aff), leather-bound diary, all can work. Should you write first thing in the morning or last thing at night? Are you more comfortable in the quiet of your bedroom or in a public coffee shop? You can fill a page every day, or like Gretchen Rubin, in The Happiness Project (aff), keep a one-sentence journal. Experiment with the process to find what is best.
  5. Relax – Keeping a journal should not be a grim chore. If you see it that way, you’re not likely to keep it up for too long. Approach it in the spirit of creative play; an enjoyable, quiet-time gift to yourself.

Enjoy your journaling!

Quotes and Questions – Ignorance

Two quotes:

  • “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” —Benjamin Franklin
  • “The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” —Elbert Hubbard

Two questions:

  1. Are you hanging on to opinions and ideas that you haven’t tested and proved?
  2. What are you doing to open you mind to new knowledge and information?

How to be an Effective Employee

Sometimes being an effective employee is easy and sometimes it’s not —work responsibilities and circumstances vary, as do relationships with co-workers. One thing is certain: your attitude makes a big difference in how successful you are at work.

A positive attitude is a requirement of all of the following tips for improving your chances of succeeding at work.

Communicate positively and co-operate with others

  • Be friendly, supportive and co-operative. Develop a reputation for being easy to work with.
  • Contribute to the team. Everyone appreciates it when you help others who are swamped with work.
  • Treat everyone as your equal. The Golden Rule applies. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Compliment others when they deserve praise.
  • Don’t discus anything you would not want repeated; especially personal weaknesses or those of co-workers.
  • Ask for help when needed. People don’t mind explaining or demonstrating tasks if it is obvious that you have already tried to work the problem out on your own.
  • Be a good communicator. Give people your undivided attention during discussions, let them finish what they are saying and make sure you understand what has been said before you respond.
  • Be aware of your body language. Communication problems arise when what you say doesn’t match what your body is communicating.
  • Never criticize people in public. When you give feedback, do it in private, in an objective, constructive manner that helps people understand what they should do differently instead of just making them feel bad.
  • Communicate in a relaxed, patient and pleasant manner. People respond much better to calm discussion than to anger, sarcasm or commands.

Look and act the part of a responsible worker

  • Dress appropriately for the job. Consider the type of work you are doing, how your co-workers dress and the company image.
  • Look and act confident. Speak calmly, clearly and loudly enough to be heard. Look at people when they speak to you. Try not to appear flustered when things get very busy or when you are doing something for the first time.
  • Keep your work area neat and clean.
  • Be productive. Be on time for work. Don’t take extra-long coffee breaks, look after private business while you are on the job, or spend excessive amounts of time socializing. Let your employer know if you are going to be unavoidably late or absent, and use sick leave only when you are sick.
  • Finish important tasks even if it means working through breaks or occasionally staying past quitting time.
  • Use your time wisely. Plan ahead and do the most important tasks first. Organize your workspace and concentrate on one thing at a time, if you can. Take advantage of quiet times to do things you can see need to be done.

Set high work standards

  • Do good quality work of an appropriate quantity. Meeting work standards, quotas and deadlines goes a long way toward earning the approval of your supervisors and encouraging customers and clients to come back.
  • Make sure you understand the instructions before you start work on a new task. If there is a chance you will forget, write the instructions down.
  • The first few times you perform a task, follow instructions precisely. Ask your supervisor to check if you are doing things right before potential mistakes become a problem.
  • Be thorough. Do your work as correctly and carefully as possible. Check your work before handing it over. Don’t hesitate to do a job over if you think it might be unsatisfactory.
  • Work at a steady pace. Be a person who always gets things done.
  • Learn the “tricks of the trade” from senior staff and be open to new ideas about how you can improve your work.
  • Take responsibility for completing your work. When you have finished one task, move on to the next activity without waiting to be told.

Positive attitudes toward work and the people at work will help you to get your work done effectively and creatively and establish relationships that are pleasant and co-operative.

From ALIS

3 tips for a stress-free connected workplace

(NC) Does your workplace stress you out? It may not be the everyday tasks, projects and deadlines, but rather the physical environment.

Maybe your desk is too messy, or your colleagues are too loud. Perhaps your boss is always looking over your shoulder, the dated technology gives you anxiety, or you can’t stand the fluorescent lights.

If any of these resonate with you, there’s a good chance that your physical workplace is affecting your attitude and performance.

According to the recent Connected Workplace Report, commissioned by Rogers Communications and conducted by Harris-Decima, 76 per cent of Canadians believe technology helps them to be more efficient and productive at their job. And, 30 per cent of respondents report that staying connected to their work with mobile technology helps them to enjoy a healthier work/life balance.

Creating a stress free environment for you and your team can pay off big time. Whether you are an executive, manager, or team member, you can have an impact on the stress level of your co-workers by using technology and other techniques.

Here are three ways to do this every day of the week:

Keep your workspace clean and organized. Clear all the clutter around your desk. Put work in progress neatly in one location. File away completed projects, and do an assessment of what you really need to keep. Determine if you can digitize any of your printed documents. Recycle or shred anything that you do not need a copy of.

Ensure your office and desk set up is comfortable. Place your computer directly in front of you with your keyboard and mouse in a comfortable position – your lower arms should rest at a comfortable angle. Think ergonomics – you should have a desk chair that is adjustable and provides proper back support. This will alleviate both physical and mental stress.

Use technology. Modern technology has changed the way we do business. Smooth collaboration between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency while also reducing stress. There are numerous tools that allow people to collaborate and share from anywhere, like interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, Microsoft’s Office 365 and the Rogers One Number app are two examples.

Be a good communicator. Poor communication often causes confusion, leading to stress in the office. If those around you aren’t communicating well, ask questions, make suggestions and do whatever else you can to improve the situation.

Sixty per cent of those surveyed believe that smartphones and tablets have a positive effect on workplace communication. To stay productive on the move, workers need to be able to quickly and easily reach the people and information they need. With file sharing tools and mobile worker solutions and devices, it is easy to work outside the office and still enjoy safe access to the business network.More information is available at www.rogers.com.

Learn to Stop to Keep Going

Imagine getting behind the wheel of your car and driving continuously, without any thought to refueling or maintenance. It would run along for a while, but sooner or later something would bring the car to a halt.

To keep a car going, you need to stop it periodically. Frequent stops are needed to add fuel. Less frequent stops are needed for maintenance and repair. Neglecting these stops will soon turn a new car into a pile of scrap metal.

It’s amazing how many people don’t see that same principle at work in their life. There are limits to what anyone can accomplish without taking breaks. These stops are necessary on every level of capacity:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • psychological
  • spiritual

If you’re looking to keep moving forward in a focused and productive fashion, you need to have some space in your schedule.

Stop

  • Put aside a little time every day to plan what you’re going to do.
  • Put aside a little time every week to review your outstanding commitments and organize them for the following week.
  • Put aside time once or twice a year to review your goals and dreams, and why they are important to you.

Anticipate

  • Things are going to go wrong, or at least different than we anticipated. Knowing that you have a plan in place can help you pick up the pieces and keep moving forward.

Set your attitude

  • Our attitude is a result of deliberate action. We choose the ways we respond to difficulties in our lives. That’s not to say that some situations are going to be more difficult than others, but there are ways to maintain a positive mental attitude.

Focus

  • Discern what your skills and strengths are.
  • Say yes to those you are confident you can complete with excellence.
  • Say no to everything else.

Energize

Each person’s down time needs to suit themselves.

What are some of the things you do to refuel, re-charge and repair? Leave a comment.

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