Tag Archives: mind-set

What To Do When You’re Having A Bad Day At Work

You can generally depend your business to have a particular rhythm to it, once you’ve been at it long enough. Sure, there are the kinds of businesses where you can’t really have the same day-in, day-out predictability of so-called desk-jobs, but even then, when  you’ve gotten the hang of stuff, you develop the kind of insight and mind-set, and prepper skills that helps you handle the ups and downs that come with your chosen field.

In emergency situations, you may even had the foresight to have laid out back-ups and alternative, just in case. In the immediacy of things when surprises, mix-ups, or emergencies happen, you’d do well to practice on-field triage: attending to the salvageable and savable while assessing the ‘least injured’ — and checking the irrecoverable just to make sure.

Triage helps when you’re in the crunch. In non-crunch time, disciplined ‘triage’ is simple prioritization skills:  You do the important and helpful, and drop the unimportant and seductive. This lighter-hearted ‘triage’ can help you especially when bad days happen. Continue reading What To Do When You’re Having A Bad Day At Work

Deep Thinking And Your Chosen Path

Think of the following sexy, sexy business phrases: positive leverage, maximize gains, optimized performance, superior ROI, positive strides, minimized risk and overhead. Guaranteed returns.

Have they sparked excitement? Did they perk up your interest? Are you willing to do the real work of thinking out the best possible future reality for yourself and then do the work necessary for  these events to come true for your business?

Or have you been turned off by hitting Business Buzzword Bingo with all these arguably hackneyed corporate cliches?

Your reaction depends on  the emotions that you felt in response to these words.  If you’re interest, you stay on the page. If you’re not, you probably just close the tab. Right?

If you automatically brush things away because ‘everyone knows they’re all BS anyway‘, then maybe you’re letting old habits and patterns of thinking steer you in a direction you don’t really want to go. As  someone who runs a business, that kind of automatic brush-off can blind you to possibilities. There’s a big difference between filtering information and rejecting information right off the bat.

It all starts from the inside, so you need to go deep. Continue reading Deep Thinking And Your Chosen Path

Putting In Deep Time

When it comes to getting things done, don’t just think contemplate.

  • The essence of time-saving productivity tips generally boils down to putting in the time now to save time ahead.
  • The core of the GTD mind-set is getting the right things done in the time given — “right” varying with the criteria you use.

While no one can actually save time as if it were money in the bank, we can use time towards our own advantage — especially when we’re prepared to go up against our own selves.

Here’s the way it usually goes:

  • You block off time to think about certain important matters. In that time,  you make your assessments, assigning certain weights and priorities to certain activities.
  • You weigh, you prioritize, then you start weeding.
  • You lay out the plan over a  certain time period to make order out of these various obligations and responsibilities.
  • You clear the way to a good work-week ahead, or break down a n important project over a month so you won’t tax yourself too much.

Helpful articles: Start Early and Finish Early

Come go-time, something comes up that you just have to attend to, and other things fall off the radar — important but not urgent things.
The action seems to have lost its importance.
You can’t see the point in attending to them. Or you don’t feel like it right now.
And so on.

Helpful article:  Make It Easy on Yourself

You put in the time to do less of the non-important things, so you do the more (and most) important things first, even if it means chipping at these things a little at a time, day by day. You think ahead so you can arrange how to spend yourself  — your energy, your presence, and  your focus — on the high-value targets in your scope.

And then you get bored. You get distracted. You wander off-course.

In the aftermath of the things you did and did not do, you ask yourself. “What was I thinking?” So here’s a tip to help you away from asking that question so much.
Continue reading Putting In Deep Time

Entrepreneurs: How Many People Are You?

Entrepreneurs have often been called jacks-of-all trades, and, seeing the many roles they can enact in the pursuit of their goals, it’s a given that the ones who succeed are the ones who, pushed beyond their normal comfort zones, have grow adept at being able to move in and out of various roles easily.

Nobody plays only one role in their life. It’s just not possible not to be a multi-faceted individual–our relationships won’t really let that happen. We’re being of many hats– someone’s child, a student, maybe a burger-flipper, maybe a spouse, or a dungeon master,  a coder, a parent, a friend, as well as a business owner — and  our amazing minds are such that we can recall all the ‘hats’ we’ve ever worn.

As a plus,  being wired for imagination means we can play around with different hats at the same time. This is actually a large part of how we learn, and this is also how we gain strength and belief in our own capabilities. And the more we intentionally practice this ability, the more we can use it to our advantage, in business as well as our personal lives.

Playing around with being different characters isn’t just for kids and day-dreams. This kind of ‘play’ is actually an important component of developing deeper perspective and flexibility, things which are of incredible help for anyone.

  • Knowledge acquired from different fields of study can be used for ‘cross-pollinating’ skills. You carry them over into different areas.
  • Knowledge acquired from examining different viewpoints helps in negotiations by giving you a starting point in discussions, and create goals toward compromise. This is important in all relationships.
  • Knowledge earned from wearing different hats in an organization — say, working your way up from being a waitress to being the VP of a restaurant chain (see links below)– forms an incredible matrix of intimate, first-hand experience that can be carried over into other fields,  and just plain carried as a built-in repository of valuable skill-sets.

SUCCESS STORY:  Katrina Cole

As a business owner, you will always have the inevitable issues and problems to solve. When you practice developing flexibility and entertaining multiple perspectives, you in fact train your brain to be more adept at re-framing, and approaching challenges, and then being able to break them down into actionable bits and phases.

Entrepreneurs must execute to keep moving forward, and it is in the execution that they learn and refine their approach. When you have problems breaking down a problem or resolving a hairy issue, taking yourself out of the fix-it-NOW mindset and going into a different one can help you take the stress off, for one.  You see things in a different light, and that may help you find a better approach. And this also applies to service businesses– not for nothing is it common advice to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

When you learn to use different perspectives, this affects the mind-set you use in order to frame an idea.

Related article: Is It A Problem Or A Challenge?

Execution is part of learning as much as play, and both are important factors in succeeding at your goals. Here are the basic steps:

  • You identify the issue from a head-on approach.
  • You examine the issue from different angles to develop perspective.
  • Different angles of approach can mean different solutions, and there may even be overlap.
  • You mull things around in your head and come up with a set of solutions, judgements, or observations, which you use to take the next step.

To jump-start the process into action, you need a defined statement to describe the issue, and be able to identify the key players and processes involved. As a business owner, what do you want? As a customer, what would you want? As someone who partners with other people towards a common goal, what do you guys want? Take out the ‘hats’ involved and try to see things ‘as-if’ to help you see the system as a whole. When you understand the system, you can start modifying it and see how it improves and evolves.

“It never hurts to get a different perspective.” Another way of seeing it is that “It never hurts to get a second opinion.” Think again of the word ‘perspective ‘itself, and how that word association can play out. Perspective can cover short-sightedness and long-sightedness; you can take actions that answers issues and resolve them in the short run, and yet fail to look ahead far enough to see the ramifications  and far-reaching consequences of your actions. You can also plan so far into the future that day-to-day and short-term activities can be restricted unnecessarily because you planned too rigidly and didn’t make allowances for change to happen to meet the unexpected.

What are the benefits of ‘going over to the other side’, so to speak?
One, you get jolted out of thinking you know best — a fatal flaw in a world that changes so rapidly and where knowledge can rapidly go outdated. Two, it gives you dimensionality, a more developed vision of the situation — it looks different from the vantage points at 10, 500, 100, 5000 feet — and the higher (deeper) you go, the more links and connections you can parse and the more opportunities present themselves. Three, you learn to see the world in a deeper light.

Sometimes, we find it easier to see what we don’t like, and use that information to make things better.  Customer complaints are a rich resource for examining your business. You can use those as starting points and branch out.

It isn’t easy, of course, because we’re also hard-wired towards taking the most energy-efficient way to approaching life,  and that’s an area where procrastination, short-sighted or short-term thinking, and having problems with execution can start.  But then again, nothing worthwhile really comes easy.  Practice using multiple perspectives and you’ll find that you’re also expanding the way you view the world, and learning how to get along better with the people who live, work in, and share it with you.

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How To Power Through Unpleasant Tasks

Being an online entrepreneur is never a walk in the park.

Entrepreneurship is a tough calling. In a world still struggling with the rapid shift brought by the internet revolution, finding your way in the new  landscape being formed isn’t always done with a map, especially with the ongoing flux within mainstream thinking, plus a business culture that was formed in the industrial age . You have to make your own choices, some of which may go against what you were taught by your family, what you learned from school,  and the cultural values you absorbed growing up.

To be a successful business-owner means you need  an unflinching self acknowledgement of your  capabilities.  You are human, you have human limits, and in spite of all the tech at your fingertips you cannot do everything or know everything. Knowing what you are good at, and knowing the true value of time versus money, you can plan to optimize your strengths and have counter-balances in place to check your weak spots.  You can then outsource lower-value activities and be freed to focus on mission-critical and mission-essential issues. Continue reading How To Power Through Unpleasant Tasks

7 Rules To Ward Off Information Overload

Everyone, individuals and organizations, is struggling to keep pace with the accelerated rate of change today. While in many cases the speed of communication in things like data  delivery, acquisition, and dissemination has helped us make great strides in many areas, the rate of comprehension is where which bottlenecks have jammed up and pose as a huge source of stress and anxiety. There is so much information out there and it comes in so fast, how do we keep our heads and stay clear-headed when we get so much conflicting, compelling, and even alarming data?

Check your sources.
Facebook is the most popular social media  site in the world. Anyone off the street and on their mobile can  make a post and have it go viral. The key word being ‘social’, unconfirmed or even  false information can then trend and spread like wildfire.   While you rely on your Facebook account to keep in touch with friends, family and your other social circles, don’t count on it to be an utterly reliable source of information about the world.

You need information to make a decision, to tell you more about something you’re working on, or interested in. When you  find sources of information, you need to know you can trust your sources not to let you down with the information you get from them.  Don’t just take anyone’s word for it. Do  your research.  Verify your source’s reliability and experience.  Make sure you can trust your sources of information. Continue reading 7 Rules To Ward Off Information Overload

YOU: Taking Care Of Your Biggest Asset

Aside from the daily operations that business-owners and entrepreneurs need to handle, there are a lot of things that can interfere with the overall health and stability of your enterprise.  What this post will focus on are the business-related things that can affect you —you— personally: these are things like stress, balance, health, burn-out, and time-management.  We’ll also discuss support strategies that can help you handle these issues you and your business will gain from the positive effects.

Take care of your health.
In the start-up stage of a new business, you can easily be  pulled into a whirlwind of planning, adjusting and execution. It’s exciting. It’s challenging, and it definitely stretches your boundaries.  Once you get used to it, it can become a habit , even when the business has stabilized and is doing well.

This habit  can also let you lose sight of taking care of your own physical health as you spend the majority of your time and energy focusing on the business, and that’s a mistake you cannot afford to let slide.

If you don’t take care to rest, encourage, and replenish your reserves, the stress and exhaustion can affect your reaction time, your judgment, and the clarity you need to make good decisions. If you keep tiring yourself out, you will eventually run yourself down, and that’s not good for anyone.

Being and keeping in robust physical health enables you to stay sharp and focused, able to bear the strain longer and recover from stressful events faster, and gives you the  stamina to keep running the business. You need a clear head and a healthy attitude to lead, to work, and to carry out your vision. A healthy body helps you in keeping both. Without health, your business will be a poor consolation, and an even poorer substitute.

You are, ultimately, your best investment. The business is  an extension of you, but it’s not you, understand? Take care of  your health.

Don’t let business demands turn you into a pod-person.
It’s very easy to slide into workaholism without really noticing. A small emergency here, a  little dispute there…from putting out small fires you can slip into the mindset of 24/7 vigilance, and let the business take over all of your time. What happens next? Continue reading YOU: Taking Care Of Your Biggest Asset

The Difference Between Professionals And Amateurs

The question is old, and the answers are too, just varying with time and culture. The Greeks preferred to live a life of leisurely exploration of the mind, looking down on labor as necessary but beneath them, while in Indian culture work belonged to the first half of life, the next half meant for pursuing generosity and enlightenment.

In the hard-hitting Western culture, work is mostly about money: earning it, going after it and making more of it. That’s why when you ask what the difference is between a pro and an amateur, the most obvious answer in America is: “One gets paid, the other works for free.”

Aside from getting paid, what else marks the difference?

  • Pros do the ground work long before they need to roll things out. They keep their skills fresh, updated and relevant to the times.
  • They focus on the bottom line because they know it’s an important marker of their effectiveness, and as the result of their labor, they want it to count for something, in both financial reward for themselves and its utility for the people it’s meant for.
  • They know the value of their work and set its price accordingly

Pros and amateurs can possess the same basic knowledge in how to do what they do, but knowledge of the process does not equate to doing the work.

Professionals do the work, which includes reading the fine print, delivering what they promised, and keeping business relationships cordial, respectful and strong.

 

The uncertain economic climate has driven hundreds of thousands into a near-permanent state of anxiety and faith in a bleak future. While we’re told to “Keep going! Take charge!” going full-steam ahead won’t take us anywhere good without a definite direction, the experience to weigh choices under stress, and the discipline to handle the unknown.

Taking control helps alleviate anxiety because this time you are choosing the consequences of your actions. It’s no longer a question of If-this, Then-maybe. It’s “I choose this, this is what I’m going for.” Professionals go for it. They take calculated risks.

 

Everybody starts out as a novice. The fastest and most basic ways to learn is to copy someone who already succeeded at doing what you want to do. When you can do that well enough and understand the reasoning (the how’s and why’s) behind the process (the skill), you push yourself to go beyond the basics.

You go beyond the guided learning stages to develop a riff of your own. That development process asks you to accept that you’ll make mistakes, and that those mistakes will grow your experience more than rote study.

The biggest difference between amateurs and people who are good at what they do is that amateurs primarily think of what’s in it for them. The professionals go beyond that simple mindset and push themselves to provide things that are unique, valuable and useful for the people and the market they’ve put themselves to serve. Professionals get out of the way of The Work. Continue reading The Difference Between Professionals And Amateurs

Keep Your Work Satisfaction Up With Small Daily Victories

Have you ever watched “Office Space”? What about “The Office”, in either its British or American incarnation? Popular movies and television shows like these source a lot of their material from real-life workforce experiences and complaints, and in the very best human tradition, what we can’t change, we make jokes about. After all, laughing beats crying any day.

In real-life however, using just humor to survive working in a less-than-stellar environment can only take you so far.

Two big factors in that contributes to dissatisfaction in the work place is happiness and productivity, and they’re linked. It’s easy to admit to an idle fantasy of being paid to do nothing, but from many accounts shared online, jobs where you finish early and then spend the best part of the working day staring at the walls (or playing Solitaire), or being drowned in relentless waves of paperwork, or working on projects that get nowhere, are wearing on the soul.

As seductive as the fantasy is, the truth is that we’re not really made for scut-work. Past a certain age, our own development pushes us to find meaning in the work we do, pride in it, and no small sense of satisfaction in work done well.

When you are proud of and satisfied in the work you do, you are driven to keep that streak going. And continuing this happy event contributes to your own success:  we all want to know that our time, our efforts and our energy were well spent.

One of the ways we can get in the way of our own steady string of accomplishments is the lack of commitment. Sure, it’s nice to to be appreciated. Recognition and respect are great extrinsic (that is, external) motivators, but where it counts is the inner driving of our hearts. That’s where intrinsic factors come into play.

Things get stale. You do the same things over and over, getting the same acceptable results, but, and say it with me, ” [your] heart’s just not in it anymore.”

You just do the work on autopilot and your mind wanders onto other things, the way it’s wired to do when it it doesn’t find new stimulation. Our brains do that…and this phenomenon can work against your progress if you don’t fight it.

Given that the enemy lies right in your own head, finding the reserves to commit to daily skirmishes with work-connected boredom can be quite hard. What can you do? Continue reading Keep Your Work Satisfaction Up With Small Daily Victories

Throw The Dice

30 March 2013, by A. Cedilla

I’ve been in a rather grey funk lately. A family member had to be hospitalized earlier in the year, a big bill just came in (it was expected, actually, and we’d saved up for it, but it still bites, you know?), that damn ache in my knee came back, the politicians are still pointing fingers….I mean, all at once would have been overwhelming, but over time?

Over time, things can just just grind you down. Your field of vision gets narrower, until it’s all you can do on some days to put on foot in front of the other and just keep moving.

Then there are the days when it takes everything you have just to stay and not say, “That’s it. I give up.” At those times, I think I’d rather throw the dice than throw in the towel. I give up, things stop. Nothing changes.

I throw the dice, I make an opening for something else to happen. Continue reading Throw The Dice