There are many ways to improve your personal productivity, and the most effective of them require deep self-knowledge and good feedback processes. Self-knowledge asks you to be aware of your boundaries, resources, strengths and and limitations, and good feedback processes help you protect, respect, and reflect them. In a weirdly parallel way, you can say the same about your business.
Listen to your internal rhythms.
Some people are early birds – they wake up easy and early, and are ready to go first thing in the morning. Some people are night owls — they work best in the later hours. In between we get the bulk of humanity.
You’re busy. You’re swamped. You are terribly, terribly aware of all the responsibilities you have on your plate, and you push yourself to process the important and the urgent the best that you can. How are you doing?
It’s a serious question, and in this article it will be dissected several ways.
One: “How are you doing?” asks about you: your internal state of mind and external state of health.
Two: “How are you doing?” asks about how you accept, prioritize and process the various action items, tasks, and check-lists of running a business. This, in turn, gives you a baseline as to how (and where) you want to improve in terms of productivity. Let’s start with the first question. Continue reading How To Crack The Secret To Your Personal Productivity
One of the most effective practices to success in your business is encouraging a positive mindset in facing challenges. When you work on stretching and expanding your capabilities and skills, your potential for success can surprise you. These skills include the specific abilities you use in your work (for example: coding and design, data analysis and interpretation, planning ), but also extend to the so-called ‘fuzzy areas’ which include interpersonal relations, personal improvement, and risk-taking. When you strengthen your skills, you grow more confidence in your ability to handle difficult situations and adversity, and make a working relationship with discomfort.
See more here: Welcome To The Discomfort Zone, Part 1 and Part 2
Learning and growth is a life-long road, and taking it asks for active engagement and real labor, hitched to the relentless desire to become a better person in the time that we have. We are all mortal, and within mortal limitations we have only so much influence , and only so much time to exert it — we we better be frank with ourselves about where, why, and how we spend both.
Time won’t let you be the same person you were ten, five or even a year ago. Nor will you be able to say you’ll be the same person in another year’s time. That’s why you need to take the wheel and work on developing yourself and mastering the good habits you want to serve you. That means being able to accept that you will be facing challenges all your life. Continue reading Self-Improvement for The Entrepreneur
13 January 2013 by A.Cedilla
We of homo sapiens are a visual race. We evolved to be, and hardly anyone ever really notices we talk in images and metaphors, because that’s just how we were wired.
Here’s proof of what I mean:
When someone’s in trouble he can’t handle, he’s in over his head. When we’ve moved past a particular situation, we’re over it. Hot and cool mean the same thing when it comes to current trends in fashion and music; either you’re in, or you’re out.
So when we think of someone spending money like it was water, we get a very definite image. Something like someone throwing his money away, or throwing good money after bad –and is there really such a thing as bad money? Aren’t those things sunk costs? Or maybe what’s being referred to are things not worth a plugged nickel?
So when we think of money and time being the same thing — resources and things to guard zealously, the natural thing is to think of the two in the same terms, when they’re not. One is a non-renewable resource, the other we can print more of (and drive everyone nuts.) Continue reading When You Spend Time Like Money
26 July 2011, by A. Cedilla
Here’s what I want to say:
- Find concrete images of what you want to have, achieve or be in your lifetime, and distill them. For example, you want “a happy life.” That’s too vague. What does “a happy life” mean for you and to you? You want good work or a good job, and that means what? Making good money means what? Good health, good relationships…what images or scenarios do these things bring to your mind when you think of them?
- Once you have your answers, break them down to real events and real-world numbers. Both should be livable, achievable and fiercely alive in your visions.
- With those as clear goals, work your way back. Make a time-line and pretend you already achieved them:” If this is what I have, what did I do to get here where I have these things in my life, accomplished these things, am this content?” Focus on the answers that come up, and work your way backward in the time-line.
This exercise lets you see the life and lifestyle you want and shows you what you could do to get it, instead of letting your current circumstances dictate your future and your life for you.
Where did this come from?
For someone who often feels like a slave to the calendar, I missed out on more than a few important things because they’ve seemed so far off, I forgot about them until they were breathing down my neck, sending me scrambling.
I’ve also spent hours planning out and writing down my various fitness goals, financial goals and de-cluttering goals…then realizing weeks and months have passed by without me doing anything about them. Where did the time go?
Quick answer: it went on the same way it always has. It was my attention that kept wandering off.
Continue reading Make Your Time Count By Nailing It Down To Concrete Events
30 March 2011, by A. Cedilla
We all have projects. Goals are things we want to accomplish, projects are the plans we undertake to make these things happen. Big projects, little projects…Projects span from making a tree-house for the kids, to clearing up the garage, to writing a book. From mastering a hobby to testing it to see if can be a sideline to actually trying to make it a business.
Here are a few bits of advice to help you when it comes to drawing up your plans, determining your level of commitment, and managing the stress of undertaking projects.
When it comes to the planning stage — start at the end, work your way back and nail down the barest bones of what has to happen to get you there.
Once you get those bones locked down, commit to carrying out what they represent. Do them. Build on them. Flesh them out.
Don’t get too buzzed on initial success and add things that have no business being there (yet), like extra appendages. Build on the bones, keep them connected. You want to make something come into being, you have to do the work it takes to breathe life into your creation. Otherwise it’s just lip service.
Continue reading Project Management in 4 Minutes
02 February 2011, by A. Cedilla
When someone asks you this, you:
a) Refer to your handy Crackberry, Google Calendar, or old-school pen-and-planner.
b) Burst into tears and run out of the room.
c) Say nothing, but a muscle starts to tic right under your eye.
d) Say you’re overloaded —pleasedon’taskmeforanyfavorsrightnowpleaseohplease.
e) “It’s fine, I’m on top of things.” (And then you get hit by lightning.)
Schedules came out of the need to coordinate resources and manpower in the industrial age.
During that time, the obsession with efficiency and productivity led scientists to analyze motion studies, breaking down each step a brick-layer took, for example, to see how it could be done faster, better. Time-tables showed how much work and how long each stage of the production line took.
Today that obsession has contributed heavily to an always-on, better-faster-more-NOW culture with a short attention span and a bottomless appetite. Continue reading How’s Your Schedule?
21 January 2011, by A. Cedilla
We’re well into the first month of a new year, long enough for the holiday-glitter to fade, and for everyone to return to their regularly scheduled programming. But even after having settled in, it’s not uncommon to still have some parts of the old year taking the front-stage in your inner musings. After all, it’s a new year, right?
What’s more satisfying than to plan how to make this year better than last year, eh?
And how better than to do so by replaying the best and worst of 2010 in your mental movie-house?
Today’s article is about taking the pictures out from your mental reel and translating them into a workable plan with real-life accomplishments, and purposefully, consciously make this a better year for you.
Looking back from today’s perspective, were you satisfied with your last 12 months? Think about the year you just had. How was it? What stood out? What happened that you wish didn’t stand out? Shake it apart and see how it breaks down.
You can’t go forward with purpose if you don’t know where you want to go. If you want to move away from something you don’t want anymore, or towards something you want more of, you have to know what these things are.
In the same vein, if you can’t remember a lot of good or bad points, well, what do you want to do to make this year more memorable?
Continue reading Starting Small and Growing Slow In The New Year
29 September 2010, by A. Cedilla
In an uncertain world where it seems security should be the number one priority for everyone, it’s counter-intuitive thing to suggest the following, but it’s true. The things we most complain about can actually help develop our skills and tolerance. Things which in themselves also add to our sense of security.
Running with Nietzsche’s “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” it takes a deliberate, practiced change of perspective to see the hardship we’re living through today and use it to strengthen ourselves.
Mostly we practice evasive maneuvers: “Waaauugh, look out!” followed by, “Damn that was close.”
How many times have you ever actually dared to say, “It’s alright. I can handle it. I’ll be fine,” and mean it?
What do you commonly complain about in your daily workday, or most often strikes you as a Do Not Want in your work? What are the top three stressors you encounter on the most consistent basis?
- The long hours, and work life imbalance? The tedium of mindless drone-work?
- Unreal expectations of productivity and availability?
- The ever-present bogeyman of joblessness?
Continue reading How To Deal With The Daily Slog
27 September 2010, by A. Cedilla
If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s frighteningly easy to slip into the “one-man band” mind-set without noticing it, especially if you do run a one-man business. You got into it, you built it, you’re running it — of course you’ll feel it’s all on you.
It’s your baby, your show. No one knows it like you do. You’re the CEO, CFO, secretary, delivery man, technical support and IT, food-service provider and maintenance.
With so many roles to fill, if you don’t take precautions you will burn yourself out. What can you do to help yourself and survive your own business?
Know your priorities and build strong routines around and under them. Breaking things down into manageable chunks, this boils down to:
- Knowing your priorities.
- Establishing a strong routine.
- Building strong boundaries and enforcing them: two helpful articles explain the value of limits and how respecting them can help you.
Continue reading How To Survive Your Own Business
14 May 2010, by A. Cedilla
Have you ever thought about the meaning of your days?
Each day can have a symbolic meaning. For example, Wednesday may be Hump Day. It’s when the production reports go out and the new international orders for the past week get processed….one you get past Hump Day, the rest of the week is downhill.
Sunday means rest, or maybe Saturday. Friday is Date Night. Thursday is Laundry….It’s different for everybody. The day has about as much meaning as you put into it. So how do you make your days mean something?
You make them count by putting meaning into them. And to put meaning into them you have to know what you’re putting first on that day.
Establish the priorities of the day. Think of it as being handed a deck of cards and YOU are stacking them in your favor. It’s absolutely legal. You’re encouraged to do so, and it isn’t even cheating to do it. Deal out your best, most favorable hands each day by knowing what how you want to make the most out of that day.
Continue reading Establish The Priorities of the Day