Tuesday, 24 January 2017

5 Tips for Using Your Time Wisely

Anything is possible in the 24 hours we’re given each day.

Let me give you some thoughts on time management. Here is a list of things you should consider to make the most of your time:

1. Run the day or it will run you.

Part of the key to time management is just staying in charge. Here’s what usually happens: We start something and we’re in control, but as the day starts to unfold, we start losing it. It’s like running a business. If you don’t stay on top of things, the business will run you before long. You have to stop every once in a while and say, “Wait! Who’s in charge here?”

“Some will master and some will serve.”

Here’s a good phrase to remember: “Some will master and some will serve.” That’s the nature of life, and you have to make sure you become the master. You have to run the day. You have to stay in charge.

What is the key to staying in charge? You must have your written set of goals with you at all times. Prioritize your goals and decide which are important. Constantly review your goals, then make them a part of a good written game plan.
With your game plan in hand, try to separate the majors from the minors, the really important things from the things that you just have to do. And prioritize. A little thought will save you a lot of time.
Is this a major day or a minor day? Adjust your time accordingly. Is this a major conversation or a minor conversation? A lot of people don’t do well in this area, and here’s why: They major in minor things. They spend too much time on things that don’t count and too little time on things that should count.

2. Don’t mistake movement for achievement.

You probably know some people around you who are just plain busy being busy. You have got to be busy being productive.
Consider this: A man comes home at night and flops down on the couch. He says, “I’ve been going, going, going.” But the real question is, “Doing what?” Some people are going, going, going, but they’re doing figure eights. They’re not making much progress.

Don’t mistake movement for achievement. Evaluate the hours in your days, and see if there's a lot of wasted time that you could manage better.

3. Concentrate on where you are.

You've just got to zero in on the job on hand. Don’t start your business day until you get to the business. I used to start my business day in the shower. I’m trying to compose a letter in the shower. I’m not awake yet, and I’m trying to compose a letter. I found out that it doesn’t work that way. Wait to get to the office to start your work. Don’t start your business day at the breakfast table. It’s not good for the family, and it’s not very productive.

So here’s what you’ve got to do. On the way to work, concentrate on your driving. In the shower, concentrate on the shower. At the breakfast table, concentrate on the family. Wherever you are, be there. Don’t be somewhere else. Give whatever you’re doing the gift of attention. Give people the gift of attention. Concentrate on where you are.

4. Learn to say no.

Boy, it’s easy in a society like ours to just say yes too much, to over-obligate yourself. Then it takes all that time to back out of it. Don’t say yes too quickly. It’s better to say, “I don’t know if I can make it, but I’ll give you a call.” It’s nicer to say that than to back out later.

Being too eager to please can be dangerous. You need to appreciate yourself, your time, your limits.

One of my colleagues has a good saying: “Don’t let your mouth overload your back.” Being too eager to please can be dangerous. You need to appreciate yourself, your time, your limits. Know when your commitment to someone else will end up taking time away from yourself and your family. Appreciate your special time alone. And appreciate your time with those you love and those who love you.
This is especially important when it comes to charity work. A group of entrepreneurs I know have been very successful in their own business. They get a lot of press. And they’ve been swamped with requests to do pro bono work. They must get a couple offers a month to sit on one charity board or another. Here’s how they handle it: They take all requests, weigh them for time commitments and evaluate them for opportunities. Then they take a collective vote on which two they’ll accept during the next year.
You can’t immediately say yes to offers that sound prestigious. You can’t immediately say yes to social functions, even if they sound like a lot of fun. You’ve got to say maybe and take time to evaluate what's truly important to you and what will just take time away from your ambitions and your family.
Be eager to please yourself and your family. Don’t be so eager to please everybody else. Appreciate your own limits. You don’t have to fill up every second of the day; take time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

5. Appreciate the little details.   

Your success should be a pleasure. Appreciating what you’ve acquired and what you’ve done and who you've become is important. It’s an important component in fueling your future achievements. Just knowing that you finished all you started out to do that day… that’s encouraging! It’s these little daily gains that continue to fuel your achievement.
Let’s say you’re figuring out tomorrow’s game plan tonight, and tomorrow looks pretty light. So all you write down for tomorrow is “cleanup day.” Clean up all the little notes on your desk. Write all the thank you notes you haven’t gotten around to writing all week. Take care of a few phone calls that keep getting shuffled from one day to the next. It’s just minor stuff. Nonetheless, it’s the little stuff that keeps weighing you down until you get it done.
So you spend your day in cleanup mode. You file the notes, write the thank-you cards, make the phone calls. It’s not a major day. But at the end of the day, you feel you’ve accomplished so much. Why? Because you’ve taken care of so many little details. It's the little details that can make a major difference. You feel like you’ve really achieved something during a day that started out to be so minor.
Little achievements are just as important as big achievements. Success is the constant process of working toward your goals, little achievement by little achievement. Little achievements produce big results. Anything is possible in those 24 hours we’re given each day.
It is up to you to decide. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to increase your odds of growing and increasing your contentment levels, I’m going to help you in every steps. 
Don't forget to follow me to Keep Learning and Keep Growing.

Be the best version of Yourself!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

5 Things You Need for a Successful Mindset

Change The Game By Changing The Way You Think.

What’s the biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don’t? Mindset. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference and is the primary catalyst driving your feelings of self-worth, competence and confidence.
Make no mistake, the most successful people have it.And if you intend to ascend to those coveted ranks, you’re going to need it, too. Are you willing to do the work and elevate your mindset to achieve uncommon success?
Consider the following five elements to help you develop a successful mindset:

1. Self-Talk

Ever think the only conversations that matter are the ones you have with someone else? Not quite. The conversations you have with yourself are the most important ones you will ever have. To be clear, we talk to ourselves all day, every day. Eventually, all that robust data adds up to create our individual self-concepts. Be careful what you say to yourself. Plat seeds of positivity  and inspiration, rather than criticism and doubt.

2. Intentions

Your intentions set the tone for how skillfully you navigate personal and professional success. Have you set yours high enough to challenge the status quo? If not, think bigger and push past your comfort zone. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because that’s where the real growth happens. Setting your sights high and believing in the most remarkable outcomes you can attain changes the way you show up in the world. Believe me, no one has ever regretted embracing the power to think big.

3. Grit

When it comes to success, world-renowned psychologist Angela Duckworth says, “Talent counts, but effort counts twice.” Got grit?  If not, know this: Both passion and preseverance are vital to your long-term success. Experiencing initial excitement when deciding to pursue a New Year’s resolution is quite common. Less common and far more difficult is the sustained focus and drive—throughout long periods of time—needed to achieve it. Grit helps us push past the desire to give up, especially when things get rough. Fortunately, it can be learned and continually developed over time.

4. Strategy

Declaring a goal, without more, will do little to ensure its success. Only substance and structure will successfully ignite and move it forward. Begin by chunking your goal into smaller segments to organize it, making it more manageable. Then create a strategic plan with scheduled activities and outcomes that will help to assure its success. Notice what works and be proactive about tweaking key elements where necessary. Be open to feedback and embrace innovation along the way.

5. Execution

Creating a strategy is one thing, but executing it is another. Decide in advance that taking strong action will be the litmus test for your success. Sure, there will be days when you won’t feel like working or perhaps even be discouraged. No matter. Your goal is to take bite-sized pieces of the apple until it is finally consumed. Whether making a phone call, sending an email or physically maneuvering to achieve the next steps, dig deep and take action. Execution helps you build trust in yourself, as well as reflects successful past performance, bringing you one step closer to your desired outcome.
Are you ready to stack the odds in your favor by mastering a successful mindset?
It is up to you to decide. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to increase your odds of growing and increasing your contentment levels, I’m going to help you in every steps. 
Don't forget to follow me to Keep Learning and Keep Growing.

Be the best version of Yourself!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

5 Things You Must Do In The First Hour Of Your Day

Believe it or not, how you spend the first hour of your day can have significant effect on your mood, motivation, mental energy and health. In all cultures, it is dictated that the day must be started with a mild stretch, a walk, a bath and praying. This inculcates a good metabolism, mood and clarity of mind. There is a reason this protocol has been followed over centuries and after scientific analysis and research we are back to square one. Let us elaborate on the activities a day must start with and why:

  1. Mild Exercise and Stretches: The body acts in a way where you need to stretch. This is due to the reason that stretching improves circulation, relieves tension and increases flexibility that the body needs before doing any activity.
Lying in the same position for an elongated period of time causes the body to develop stiffness, hence it must be ‘warmed up’ before you start a task. Similarly, this also translates to joint flexibility. Stretching makes the blood move faster and bring circulation to the extremities. Try doing the stretches for 30 seconds to relieve any mental or physical stress carried forward from the previous day.
You can start by a normal arms stretch, slight back twist, stretching upwards and toe touching. For a proper stretching routine try the yoga asana Suryanamaskar.
  1. Avoid any tech contact: Stop making your phone the first point of contact in your life. Research suggests checking your phone first thing in the morning has a negative effect on your mental health as notifications from the previous day make you feel like you have cloud over your head, leaving you hesitant to get up.
According to Sid Savara, an expert in time management and personal development, says that the minute you check your email in the morning, “you risk doing what someone else wants you to do.”
If it’s the alarm clock you worry about, buy a traditional one as a bedside object and it will work wonders for you. The rays from electronic display can make you in fact more lazy and put your right back towards oversleeping.
  1. Freshen yourself up:
Drink a small glass of water to get your system running and avoiding any dehydration from the previous night.
A splash of cold water on your face improves mood, brings blood circulation to the face and relieves any tension you might have stocked up. Taking care of personal hygiene gives a sense of freshness and optimism.
Now the most significant part – a cold shower. A cold shower (you can adjust the temperature a little bit in winters but not too much) provides immune-friendly changes and increases your body’s lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems to initiate a healthy effect on your body.
It can also help decrease symptoms of depression so you know it is a feel good activity. If nothing else, it will activate you and what’s as good as a little screaming in the morning?
  1. Do your chores and make your bed – These are not to increase the quality of your life but make you avoid stress in the morning and clear your mind.
Cleaning up, organizing, packing yourself lunch, brewing coffee, disposing your dirty clothes from the previous day are some activities. Also, you will have a small sense of achievement right in the morning and come back to a tidy environment after a stressful day as well. It surely does not mean the ones who make their bed are any less busy but instead most of the times, are productive.
71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy. Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested, whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.
  1. Visualize & plan your day ahead: There is strength in the power of visualization. When you see yourself doing something, you will have the will to go ahead and do them as well.
This does not mean checking your email and start working. These are the goals you have set for yourself and want to achieve. Think about them, plan how you will go about them and add a few things in your weekly planner or todo list if anything pops in your head.
You will be one step ahead already. Before doing anything, you have started to achieve your goals.
Essentially, you have to avoid a stressful motivation of something left incomplete or something you need to complete. Do not confuse accomplishment with negativity towards tasks you do not want to think about, but do them instead.
Keeping your head clear for the first hour of your day will increase your overall productivity throughout the day.
It is up to you to decide. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to increase your odds of growing and increasing your contentment levels, I’m going to help you in every steps. 
Don't forget to follow me to Keep Learning and Keep Growing.

Be the best version of Yourself!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Importance of Being Emotional

Have you ever been criticized for being “too emotional”? And told that this may be hindering your chances of enhancing your career, or advised that “great leaders know how to keep their emotions at bay”? I have. And for a while there, it made me think that, to succeed, I need to strip myself of feelings, or at least to become an A-list actor at hiding them well. Unsurprisingly, this was not an easy task.
But then, I started wondering. Why? Why emotions have to be so bad? And do I have any chances at all to thrive in life then, but to reserve my softness and compassion?
Well, let’s see what wise men have unearthed.
Emotions and decision-making don’t bond well together, we are often told. In fact, to reach good-quality outcomes—ones that we won’t later regret—we’d better take our feelings out of the equation. That is, we have to “keep our heads cool.” Same is true in business dealings—logic, hard facts and data are often the winners when it comes to strategy, negotiations or planning.
Emotions make us appear too human, too warm, perhaps even weak, “irrational” or defocused.
They are good for things as romance, parenting, friendships, but not when we need to make the real, big life choices—as regarding what to go to college for, or what salary to accept to work for, or whether to buy the house or the car we want. These, we tend to believe, are decisions that require the whole logic we can summon—our own, our family’s, our friends’.
We certainly can’t let how we feel get in the way of successfully closing off an important personal or professional deal. The “real” world, for most part, is driven by things as reason, logic, and interests—be it personal, financial or political. We surely can’t, for instance, expect the bank to lend us money just because we really need it, or because we are a really nice and honest fella. We need a solid case, based on tangible and provable facts.
That is, we’ve been historically conditioned to think, emotionality (compared to cognition) doesn’t make for strong convincer, nor is a negotiation-winner, nor a part of the lending criteria of our bank for that matter.
More importantly, however, emotions and respect from others tend to be perceived as rather polar notions. They, more often than not, get in our way of arriving at good decisions; may devalue our brand, or make us come across as the “too mushy” or the “teddy-bear”-ish type. To be respected, one has to be reserved, in control of their feelings, serious, focused, and even egotistical.
Admittedly, the above revelations sound quite trivial and too apparent even. “Tell me something I don’t know,” many are probably thinking here.
Well, here it is.
On the surface, common wisdom dictates that we have to keep our feelings locked away when we face serious choices, have to make important decisions, or want a successful outcome. Who doesn’t know that, right?
In fact, though, it’s quite the opposite.

Emotions are part of the decision-making process, want it or not

In 1994, a Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Southern California— Antonio Damasio, came up with a rather stimulating theory, which he called The Somatic Marker Hypothesis (1994). It’s based on what some deem a revolutionary idea—that emotions are helpful and needed for us to make rational decisions, especially in situations when we must make a snap choice, or under high uncertainty.
Generally, science tells us, when we attempt to reach a resolution, we rely on either cognition (reasoning, logic) or emotions. When we navigate in a complex environment, however, our cognitive capacity may reach its limit and overheat. In such situations, emotions are the one that take over and guide our decision-making process and our behavior.
Emotions are not the same as feelings, though, prof. Damasio claims, although in everyday life, they are used synonymously. Emotions are signals in our bodies, as elevated pulse and heartrate, contracting muscles, for instance, which are sent to our brains for interpretation, and based on past stored information in our minds, we experience the subsequent feeling (fear). In this sense, feelings actually follow emotions.
What’s rather intriguing, however, is that prof. Damasio’s research is based on observation of patients with damage to the frontal part of the brain, responsible for emotions (called ventromedial prefrontal cortex, VMPFC). Such individuals, although many high in intelligence, had serious problems functioning normally in their everyday lives. They couldn’t make good and suitable decisions, especially when it came to avoiding risks—a condition, which adversely affected their finances and relationships and many other aspects of their lives.
Therefore, it appears that emotions are not the bad influencer in our reasoning process. On the contrary, they are the ones, which let us to make the right choices, to distinguish between good and bad (not only in the abstract), and help us accumulate wisdom over time, which comes from “cultivating knowledge about how our emotions behaved and what we learned from it.”

Acting out “on emotion”

Thin-slicing is a term, which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” in 2005. But the original idea goes back to 1992 when two professors of psychology—Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal published a paper, documenting how quick observations—usually under 5 minutes (some of the later tests were done for 2,5 or 10 seconds), yielded high-accuracy outcomes. That is, higher than 50%– the rate, which can be attributed to chance.
Such “predictions” or opinions about the characters of people we meet, are not necessarily logical. They are based on our “intuition” and cues we read about others—mostly visual, as gesture, posture, facial expressions. But the “thin slicing,” or the limited and fast evaluations we draw on others, has been shown to correctly reveal information about their personality, sexuality, inner states and moral behaviors (as confidence, honestly, professionalism or optimism). The technique has been recognized to work in various settings and circumstances—from first impressions, to speed-dating, to the choices, which medical professionals, firefighters, policemen have to make in splits of a second.
Labelled “gut feelings” or “sixth sense,” the phenomenon confirms what each of us largely suspects to be true—that our “feeling”-side of the brain is more important that just as a manifestation of our artisticity. It is actually a snap compass to aid us in navigating in the world, in getting to know others, or in making on-the-spot decisions when needed. All this, with a scarily great dose of accuracy too.
Not bad for a mushy inner sensation, which generally contradicts all the logic and cognition we frequently equate with the great decision-making—the ones that are supposed to leads us to success and riches.

Warmth vs Strength

Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy, along with fellows Susan Fiske and Peter Glick, has pondered on this question for a while—that is, to be a good leader, should one come across as warm, empathetic, humane, or as competent, authoritative and perhaps even cold?
When we meet people for the first time. prof. Cuddy claims, there are two things that we quickly weigh on—can we trust the person and can we respect them? The former is the so-called “warmth” dimension, while the latter is linked to competence. And although many of us consider that gaining others’ respect is the first step for a new leader to establish authority, it’s not quite the case.
The most important thing in relationships, including business, is to build trust. It is warmth, not competence that does this. Warmth, prof. Cuddy tells us, can be demonstrated as being empathetic, understanding, listening to others, or smiling. Hence, it is based on creating a personal and emotional connection to others.
To be a successful leader, a person must ensure that they come across as warm first before they demonstrate their competence. “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative,” prof. Cuddy elaborates.
Therefore, to thrive best in our personal and professional arenas, we should become more “feeling” individuals, rather than less. Being temperamental and sentimental are not signs of weakness but of smarts; it means we are perceptive enough to realize that showing emotions and warmth toward others is the right path to building trust and lasting connections, and is also an integral part of being a role model others want to follow.
So, next time, when faced with a big decision to make, or have a “feeling” about someone you just met, or if you want to earn respect from colleagues and friends, just remember—don’t try to reign in your emotions.
Instead, feel away, I tell myself every day now.
It is up to you to decide. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to increase your odds of growing and increasing your contentment levels, I’m going to help you in every steps. 
Don't forget to follow me to Keep Learning and Keep Growing.

Be the best version of Yourself!