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  1. How do you control online productivity suckers?

    February 17, 2015 by Jenna

    Technology has revolutionised the way we work and how we run business. We can obtain data faster, respond to the needs of customers and connect with others locally and globally. We have multiple avenues to source information and tools that help us to be more productive.

    However, with access to so many resources we can also get caught up with many distractions. Our eyes are easily drawn to flashes on the computer screen or mobile phone.

    Anyone can relate to the irritating sound of an alarm going off or the ‘pings’ and ‘zings’ of notifications on mobile phones.  You are not just distracting yourself, others around you are also affected. However, with some simple discipline, you can still be in control of your online networks, without letting it take control of you.

    Silencing Notifications

    There are multiple ways that technology can catch our attention. There are calendar reminders, instant messages, online notification updates on your social media pages, you name it!

    While it is important to keep calendar reminders for appointments chances are most of your other notifications can wait.

    Solution: You have the control to silence the notifications on your phone and disable pop ups on your laptop/PC. If you are receiving texts, chances are if the matter is urgent, the individual can call you directly. While calendar updates are important for reminders, you don’t need to set yourself up to receive every LinkedIn or Facebook notification.

    Sometimes it can be as simple as keeping your mobile off your desk if you feel yourself inadvertently checking it for no reason.

    You can even block sites completely from your PC if you know they will distract you from your work.

    Managing your time to access different resources

    Many emails will not require a direct response, but as the amount of emails increase in your mailbox, it can be easy to get caught up with trying to answer all of them at once. But you will normally find as soon as you finish that last email, all of a sudden, another email pops up.

    It can also be very distracting to be on the phone with a customer or colleague and see the notification come up on your computer screen advising you of a new email. You can find your eyes wander to the subject heading, and then immediately you are thrown off from your conversation.

    Solution: Block out an allocated amount of time to just action emails and nothing else. If any matters are urgent or you need an immediate response, avoid the email trail by making a direct phone call to the person.

    By managing your priorities for the day, you can then allocate time to check on LinkedIn requests, customer queries, and company social media statistics. This may require setting a disciplined routine to start off with so that it becomes a habit to manage your priorities before letting technology distract you.

    Unless Social Media is part of your job description, save your personal updates and group chats for personal time outside of the office or in your breaks.

    How do you deal with online distractions and notifications?


  2. What Resilient People Don’t Do

    January 27, 2015 by Jenna

    We all respond to change differently. For some of us it comes naturally and we can go with the flow, as for others, having that sense of security removed can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of which type of person you are, it is important to develop resilience so that we can continue to move towards our goals regardless of the situation.

    So what does it take to be an emotionally resilient person? Perhaps it is best to start by clarifying what they don’t do in order for us to understand what it takes to be resilient. An article by Brad Waters in Psychology Today will be my inspiration for this week and I have outlined ten of his points below:

    1. They don’t cross their own boundaries – Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary The stress/trauma might play a part in their current story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

    2.They don’t surround themselves with bad company– In any environment, your behaviour can be greatly affected by the people you surround yourself with. Resilient people surround themselves with other resilient people who give them space to grieve and work through their emotions. These supporters know when to listen and when to offer enough encouragement without trying to solve the problem, allowing the individual to remain in control of their decisions. Good company will help calm a situation as opposed to adding frustration to it.

    3. They don’t avoid self-awareness – Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long term strategy. Self-awareness helps resilient people to know what they need, what they don’t need and when it’s time to reach out for extra help.

    Prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers. While strong on the outside to stay afloat, you can get prone to massive stress fractures when experiencing unexpected changes in your environment.

    4. They don’t pretend there isn’t a problem – Pain is painful, stress is stressful and healing takes time. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth or pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it.

    5. They don’t ignore quiet time – Some of us find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety is to dull out with distractions such as television, eating, drinking too much etc. While not all distractions are bad, you still need to be mindful of the current situation you may be in and not use distractions as a means of avoiding problems. Somewhere in between shutting down or ramping up is mindfulness – being in the presence of the moment without judgement or avoidance. It takes practice, but finding a quiet space to reflect is well renowned for healing and resilience-building.

    6. They don’t presume to have all the answers – Sometimes we try too hard to find answers in the face of stressful or traumatic events, that activity can block the answers from naturally arising in their own due time. Resilient people can find strength in knowing they do not have it all figured out right now. They trust they will gradually find peace when their mind/body is ready.

    7. They don’t put self-care aside – Resilient people have a list of good habits that support them when they need them most. Anyone can build their own list by noticing those things that recharge their batteries and give them a boost.

    8. They don’t underestimate the importance of team input – Being resilient means knowing when to reach out for help from others. It also means knowing who will serve as a listening ear, and who won’t. A supporting team will help you reflect back on issues where you may have been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so at the time they occured.

    9. They don’t overlook other possibilities – Resilient people can train themselves to ask which parts of their current story are permanent and which parts can possibly change. This helps to maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation may be coloured by their current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature.

    10. They don’t dwell on issues – When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelmed, our thoughts can go at a hundred miles an hour. Resilient people can find reprieve accepting the situation and moving on. One technique that works for some people is the write down the issues causing the current stress.

    While writing is one resilience strategy you can keep in your back pocket, there are other ways that resilient people can get out of their head. Examples include healthy distractions like going to the gym or going for a walk, cooking or baking, volunteering or any self-care items as per point #7.

    How have you built resilience in times of change or difficult situations?


  3. Don’t forget your office etiquette!

    November 10, 2014 by Jenna

    When we think of the term ‘etiquette’, we often think of table manners or presenting ourselves professionally and politely in a social setting.

    Whether you are new to a role or have been working in the company for a long time, office etiquette is also an important factor that needs to be applied daily. You may be wondering, ‘What are some of the office etiquette factors that I need to be aware of?’ A recent article on Careerealism.com outlines the basics so that you don’t get caught out making these mistakes:

    That Text (Or Facebook Update) Can Wait

    While smartphones and tablets are advantageous in providing us with information instantly, setting reminders, etc. Be careful not to all them to become a hindrance when it comes to your meetings or presentations.

    How would you feel if you are trying to close a business deal with a client to observe them as they stare at their phone and answer a text during your pitch? The same would apply to an internal meeting with staff if you are sharing ideas with the group only to see that no one is paying attention because they are reading their Facebook updates.

    While we all believe we are great multi-taskers, if we lack engagement or connection with others it can be damaging to workplace relationships. You may also miss out on information relating to important tasks which in turn could affect your performance. So make sure to prepare in advance for your meeting. Advise management and others that you are attending meetings so that you will receive less distractions, and if need be, switch off any devices that may ‘beep’ or ‘ping’ during that allocated time frame.

    Engagement and human interaction is still a vital part of business and maintaining connections with others so make it count. Be present.

    Pretend There’s A Wall

    This needs to be considered in an open office space. While you have free reign to walk around and interact, it is still important to respect and consider others and their personal space. This includes:

    • Talking loudly or over someone else’s shoulder when they are on the phone
    • Keeping your paperwork and office items within your desk space and not allowing it to spill over onto someone else’s desk
    • Setting your phone to silent every time you receive a message or call

    If you are respectful of others and their space, they will be respectful towards you in return.

    For Workplace Fashion, Go With The Crowd

    This doesn’t mean that you need to wear the latest Cue dress or business suit, but obviously be aware of your office environment and how others present themselves. Different workplaces will allow different dress codes but you don’t want to appear like you have rolled out of bed when others are dressed in corporate attire. Find out from management what they expect from you in terms of attire, and remember that how you present yourself is showing a representation of your company image. So why not dress to impress?

    Gossip On Your Own Time

    Whether you are the source of it or partaking in it, office gossip (or gossip of any kind) should be conducted in your own time and not in the workplace. It’s not only a distraction, but it can also create tension in the workplace if the gossip is of negative nature. If someone else is trying to administer it, take your initiative to coordinate an appropriate time to discuss topics. For example your lunch break or at after work drinks. Don’t be afraid to tell someone that you are too busy at the time to join in the conversation, otherwise it could affect your workplace productivity too.

    Believe It Or Not, You Can Still Learn Some Things

    This involves paying respect to other employees’ ideas and contributions to tasks, even if you would do the job differently yourself. Take the time to listen to what they have to say, especially if they have new suggestions that could improve outcomes of tasks, because you would hope for the same respect in return.

    While you may have been hired as an expert in your field you should still be open to new suggestions, feedback and even changes within the workplace. It is never too early or too late to learn new things.

    Don’t Search For Jobs On The Job

    Believe it or not I have heard of employees doing this before, and to get caught doing so at your current place of work is quite embarrassing. It also demonstrates a lack of respect and loyalty to your current employer.

    The same thing applies to telling colleagues that you are looking for another role before bringing it up to management. As office gossip can go around, this may potentially damage your current position before you even find the potential new role. If you feel it is time to move on, keep your job search within your own time and conduct it with discretion.


  4. Steps to develop self-confidence when you are a new employee

    November 3, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to being new at any role, you can feel apprehensive and even a little bit overwhelmed with what you need to take in during the early days of training and development. You are also in a new environment with colleagues and associates to impress and that will naturally make you nervous. However, this isn’t an ongoing feeling and there are ways you can start building your self-confidence so that you can let yourself shine in the workplace.

    Jacqueline Smith from Forbes outlined ways to be more confident at work and I have chosen to outline nine key steps from this article below:

    Stay focused on you. “Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paul Coelho. Remember why you are here and what it is you want to achieve and don’t let distractions get in the way of pursuing your goals.

    Identify your strengths and capitalise on them. Be aware of what your strengths are and try and utilise them in your role as much as you can. By driving your best qualities, you can feel a greater sense of accomplishment and it helps you maintain engagement and stay energised. Don’t be afraid to outline these strengths with your manager. That way they can extend opportunities that will be beneficial to those skill sets when they arise.

    Identify weaknesses, and work on them. With your strengths there are also weaknesses and it is important to be aware of what they are. At the same time, judging yourself harshly or wallowing in self-pity over mistakes will not help you overcome them. The purpose of identifying weaknesses is to discover ways to improve on issues for the future or avoid repeating bad habits and mistakes.

    Believe in yourself. How will others start believing in you and what you are capable of if you don’t believe in yourself? While this may sound like common sense, doubt will hold you back from taking risks and pursuing opportunities. Set yourself achievable targets, mentally motivate yourself to keep moving forward and don’t be afraid to sell your personal brand to those around you in the right light.

    Closely monitor your successes. Keep track of your daily accomplishments from a to-do list or in writing. It helps you keep track of what you are achieving on a daily basis and as you progress whether you feel you would like to take on more responsibilities. This is also advantageous when reviews take place by management or even once the probationary period is reached to present your written accomplishments.

    Seek encouragement from others. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to seek constant praise. Ask people you trust or management to evaluate you on what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can also ask for feedback and direction on projects to see if you are meeting or exceeding expectations.

    Challenge yourself. As a new employee you will not need to rush this process as you can attempt this over time with baby steps. Accomplishing new challenges can be a great way to boost your confidence. Find projects and assignments that give you an opportunity to use your strengths and projects that stretch you once you feel further established in the role. Don’t be afraid to also raise your hand if colleagues or management need assistance on tasks as it shows initiative.

    Be a role model of positive attitude. By showing a positive attitude you will see how positivity will spread within your working environment. This doesn’t mean you always need to be smiling and acting cheerful. It can also be your attitude when you approach a challenging task and showing resilience at times of change. You need to be wary of how you react to situations as it can affect the outcome of assignments and relationships with colleagues or management.

    Don’t let failure or setbacks take away your self-confidence. Great successors didn’t get to where they are today without failing their first attempts and sometimes second or third attempts. It can bruise our confidence a little bit when things don’t go according to plan. However, the worst thing to do about it is to shrink away, hoping it all blows over and say to yourself, ‘Well I’m never doing that again!’ Admit that you have failed at the time, assess the situation and brainstorm areas for improvement. Taking a step back to review things is sometimes the best way you can move forward.

    How do you set yourself up in a new role? What are some of the struggles that you had to face and how did you overcome them?


  5. When it comes to setting goals, don’t let obstacles hold you back

    October 14, 2014 by Jenna

    We have all been guilty of setting a goal and getting side tracked. But when it comes to your career progression it is important to break through the barriers that may be preventing you from achieving success.

    So what are some of the main obstacles that could be holding you back from achieving your goals? Is there something that you can think of right now? More importantly, what can you do to overcome them?

    While conducting research on the topic, I sourced an article on the top obstacles to your goals and added my personal perspective on ways you can overcome the obstacles:

    1. Procrastination – Are there certain items that you have been avoiding and you notice the paperwork and emails are slowly piling up? Do you keep telling yourself – I’ll do it this afternoon, tomorrow or next week? Does it suddenly become urgent and you wish you had tackled it sooner?

    Try this instead:

    – Firstly, be aware of it, admit it to yourself, and take action to change it.

    – If it is a tedious task that you don’t enjoy doing, get it out of the way first and don’t keep putting it off.

    – Set up a list of tasks and put them in order of priority for the day.

    – Set a timeframe in which to complete it, this will give it a sense of urgency and a deadline for you to achieve the task.

    – Repeat this process for longer term goals as well

    2. Lack of time – Whether it is work, family commitments, the daily commute etc. Different commitments will pull at your attention and dedicating time to your goals can be difficult. However, it is important to make sure that you are managing time to balance everything on your plate before you add more to your to-do list.

    Try this instead: Firstly, establish what you currently have on your to-do list and narrow down your top three priorities of the day. By setting yourself three realistic priorities to accomplish you will feel a greater level of satisfaction completing those items as opposed to trying to tackle 54 items at once with no results.

    3. Lack of organisation/motivation – Sometimes when we let projects and paperwork build it can appear overwhelming and you often don’t know where to begin.

    Try this instead: Pick one project and work on a specific goal around it. Get clear on what you need to do to achieve this goal – do research, seek training, and then write out a time frame in which you need to achieve it by. And most importantly, hold yourself accountable for it so that you are continually driving yourself and not losing focus on the task at hand.

    4. Distractions – Meetings, phone calls, emails, reminders, social media connections or a colleague or manager asks you to drop what you are doing to complete and urgent task. Does this sound familiar? Wish you could block out the world long enough to complete that project? But how?

    Try this instead: Sometimes it can be as simple as advising your colleagues that you are working on an important assignment for the next hour or two and to approach you only if it is urgent.  You may need to divert your calls to voicemail for a period of time or put an out of office reply on your emails until you are done. And if your phone or other devices are set to make noises to remind you of appointments or when you receive a message, it may be best to set them to silent. Allocating the amount you wish to shut out distractions is up to you, as long as you can make the most of that time to be productive and achieve your desired results.

    What do you find are some of the major obstacles that you find come up with goal setting or pursuing a goal in your career? What steps have you taken previously to overcome them? What did you learn from the experience?


  6. How to make the most out of your working day

    June 2, 2014 by Jenna

    We can all create long term plans when it comes to personal growth and career progression. But how you approach your day-to-day routine also impacts your future path. So how are you making the most of your working day?

    Here are some suggestions that can get you back on track from an article that I found in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    Daily warm-up: Assess the important tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. Who do you need to speak to? What proposals/client requests do you need action? By doing this each day it will save you on letting yourself get carried away by distractions. Write down the points if you need to and keep them at your desk like a checklist.

    Tame Technology: Email pop-ups can be really distracting while you are on the phone or are in the middle of typing up a document. But you do not need to be checking your emails every time a new one pops up. If you have an urgent task to work on, limit your time to check those emails until you are done or at least in the right frame of mind to respond. If the emails do not require an immediate response, you can certainly put them on the back-burner until you have free time to address them.

    Compress meetings: This is important especially if you are the instigator of the meeting, to keep within the allocated time frame and to cover main points/outcomes and not get sided tracked. The longer you spend running the meeting, the more you will have to catch up on when you return to your current workload.

    Pick up the phone: If there is something that you need further clarification on, instead of discussing it over 4-5 emails, why not just pick up the phone and get a direct response? While it may be nice to have information in writing, don’t forget that emails can sometimes be misunderstood, and as they are not direct conversations, sometimes it can be hard to read tone etc. If you are also liaising with someone directly within your office, try to avoid emailing them when you can walk up to them and approach them directly. That will help you keep stronger working relationships.

    Forced isolation: Whether it’s once a day or week, turn off electronic devices, avoid distractions and even find a quite space if need be to work on those high-end tasks that need to be completed. It can also be an important way to clear your mind and establish fresh ideas if you are overwhelmed or just need a quiet space to think.

    Work in waves: Allow yourself times to cover urgent tasks at times of the day when you are reaching peak performance and make sure that you allow breaks and rest periods throughout the day. The body and mind need time to rest and repair otherwise you can become stressed and exhausted which can be bad for your health long term.

    Change expectations: Make sure communicate effectively your workload and what you are capable of doing so that you do not become a ‘yes’ man. By taking on too much and not having enough time to complete it all yourself, you will not be meeting your expectations or theirs. Manage your time and workload effectively so that you can bring the best results to the table.

    Have you applied any of the above options into your daily routine? What other methods do you follow to get the most out of each day?


  7. Stress: We all encounter it, so how do we overcome it?

    December 2, 2013 by Jenna

    I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is that once we start feeling the level of stress build in our daily lives, for various reasons, we tend to push the feelings aside believing that it will either ‘blow over’ or that it will sort itself out. But the problem is, if we don’t take actions to start managing our stress levels it creates in the longer term reduced morale and health problems and overall decreased productivity.

    Sometimes the idea of tackling your stress head on can seem like a much larger task than what it actually is. We are never going to live a life that is stress-free, but here are some tips below that you can start applying slowly and steadily to start getting your work/life balance back on track:

    1. One thing at a time.

    There can be many things piling up at once that seem overwhelming and create a lot of anxiety. But the fact of the matter is you need to pick one at a time in order to truly manage the task effectively. Of course you will be expected to be a multi-tasker, but prioritise your tasks in terms of timeframe and urgency, clear away anything that could be a potential distraction or obstacle, and tackle the task now! Even if it is something you don’t enjoy doing as much, you may as well get it out of the way, otherwise it can put more pressure on you by saving items to the last minute, especially when you know you have other pending tasks awaiting.

    2. Simplify your schedule.

    The more items you have back-to-back the more increased your stress levels will be. I too struggle with saying no but sometimes you need to focus on your priorities and if you have appointments space them out so that you are not rushing from one meeting to the next! This will allow you to be covered in the event of delays or meetings running over time. And for those not so urgent priorities, most people are flexible if you re-schedule to a more suitable time where you can perform at your best and be in the right head space.

    3. Get moving.

    Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga. And it can be for any timeframe that suits you and doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. But being healthy sometimes means stepping away from your desk and computer to let your mind relax and keep your body fit and healthy. I live by this, the healthier you are the more productive you will be, not to mention refreshed.

    4. Develop one healthy habit this month.

    This ties in with number 3, as stress tends to keep us at our desks we either limit our food intake or help ourselves to unhealthy, easily accessible snacks such as chocolate, soft drink etc. If you only get one day of the week to shop why not pre-buy nuts, fruit and vegetables, protein bars etc. This week one of the girls in our office introduced Kale Chips to share with one another as a healthy alternative. Keep your insides clean and you will feel less sluggish.

    5. Do something calming.

    What do you enjoy that calms you down? For those that may be less inclined to step out and try kite surfing like I did last weekend, finding a relaxation method like reading a book, painting, taking a nap, gardening, etc. it is important to find a bit of ‘me’ time to shut out distractions and do something that makes you feel good! Why not even try something new and creative that you haven’t tried before?

    6. Simplify your finances.

    Finances always tend to be a contributor to stress, whether it’s bills to pay, living expenses and transport costs, unexpected repayments etc. But do you currently set yourself a budget or a payment plan?

    For example, I get paid once a month so I set out ahead of time what my total cost of bill repayments will be for the following month. I also include gifts or personal purchases that I may know of ahead of time or events that I need to pay for. Then I allocate myself a set amount to spend per week to spend on food, transport etc., while allowing myself to save some additional money on the side for any unexpected payments so that I am not left unprepared. That may sound like a lot of work but if you set this up as a routine, you will find this to be quite manageable and a great way to reduce financial stress.

    7. Declutter.

    Many of my colleagues will agree that a good ‘spring clean’ or even a 10-20 minute tidy of your desk and surrounds not only makes you feel better but it also allows you to manage your paperwork and tasks when you have enough room and you can see the tasks clearly laid out in front of you! It can be a very easy habit to be a hoarder or get side-tracked but getting organised with little tasks like this will help you tackle the larger tasks. Keep a routine so that you are doing this regularly.

    8. Be early.

    How many times do you tend to stress out because you are running late for your next appointment or meeting? Too many. When you are late you are filled with anxiety, regret and often you are unfocused and it can make you unprepared and not appear at your best. Similar to what I have covered in my previous blog about interview preparation, allowing yourself that extra time to get to a location will leave you more alert, refreshed and at ease.

    My parents for example are great creatures of habit. They get up every morning at 6.00am to have time to walk the dogs, have breakfast and watch the morning news, water their garden and head to work. They have been doing that for years and have never looked back and again they have set this routine for themselves so that they can better manage their time and prepare themselves for the day ahead.

    Do you have any handy tips that you follow daily to help cope with stress? What has worked for you previously and what hasn’t?


  8. Resilience without discipline or perseverance achieves nothing

    October 29, 2013 by Jenna

    Anyone can say that they are flexible and adaptable when it comes to change, but when push comes to shove is it really true? When the going gets tough, do you hold yourself accountable and push forward?

    I follow a lot of people that I consider to be ‘inspirational’. I find that the quotes they post, the experiences and blogs that they share and what they have achieved continue to guide me in the direction of the goals that I would like to achieve.

    But it is not as simple as setting out the path and walking in that direction – there will be storms, there will be obstacles and there will be setbacks. And that is why when I reflect on the stories of those that have achieved great things; I am most inspired by the times when they faced trials, and what they had to do to overcome these.

    Anything that you are passionate about takes work, it’s inevitable, and that is what makes the experience worth it when you get to the finish line.

    This year alone has been an incredible journey for me personally. Just after new year’s day I was standing at the base of Mount Everest looking upon where some many other climbers and explorers have traveled before me and in August I encountered war history walking along the Kokoda Trail where many Australians fought and lost their lives. These were not only physical challenges but emotional, with experiences I have taken back with me that I will never forget.

    While this was all planned way in advance and I was as thorough as I could possibly be with my planning, this did not mean that I wasn’t going to face challenges along the way. I also had to discipline myself in the following areas:

    Financially – Preparing for vaccinations, travel insurance, flights, meals, guides, porter fees, emergency spending money, gear lists, training fees etc. I had to budget and arrange payment plans well in advance to make this work.

    Physically – Taking extra time out of my ‘personal time’ (mornings and evenings) to physically prepare myself for the journey. I had joined an altitude training gym, bushwalking groups and  regular gym appointments to make this happen, and sometimes the appointment locations were at least an hour away from where I lived. I also had to discipline myself to not turn down appointments for social plans or compromise my training goals or else I would have struggled when it came to doing these treks.

    Emotionally – Often the mind will not agree with what is beneficial for the body to prepare for these kinds of goals. Yes my body and mind were tired, yes I could create many convincing excuses as to why I shouldn’t do something, yes I could convince myself to eat that pepperoni pizza instead of salads or healthy foods. This was probably the biggest battle of all when it comes to changing your lifestyle for a goal is wanting to resort back to creature comforts!

    Time – Sometimes it is hard enough planning what you are going to achieve in a week let alone six months ahead or more! I had to diarise my time like you wouldn’t believe, and it made it so much easier to balance my work and personal life around this schedule leading up to my goals and also reminding myself of what was to come as there are often distractions or unpredictable situations that can temporarily take you off course.

    You are probably reading this and thinking, ‘How did she stay with it? How could she have not made mistakes or broken her routine along the way?’ Of course I made mistakes! I am human after all. I would sleep in, eat that pizza and even whine or cry my way out of doing something because I was frustrated and tired. The point of discipline however, was that it made me more aware of what I was doing and if I slipped up I would have to make up for it, plain and simple.

    But it took me practice to gain the right mindset in order to persevere with my goals. What I mean by that is, the natural response your mind will often have when you choose to follow those creature comforts instead of following your set out plan is to condemn yourself. That negativity then expands into feelings of doubt and your mind starts thinking, ‘What are you doing? If you screw up here how will you get to where you need to go? Give up now, there is no use…’ and so on. I become frustrated when I hear this being expressed from people that I care about because I know this mindset can be a hard one to shake, especially if you repeat it enough that you have convinced yourself that this negativity is true.

    You will regret more however by not seeing what you are truly capable of. You will start seeing results once you start changing and adapting yourself to achieve goals, otherwise if you were to quit and never look back you will never know what could have been.

    I recently looked up the definition of resilience: ‘the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched…’ Now isn’t that a great description of what change can do to us? It will place us outside of our comfort zone and put us in uncomfortable situations to the point where we sometimes think we can’t take it. But you will find more often than not that you can take it (with ups and downs along the way!), and you will know that you have grown once you have seen what you are capable of. I know I have.

    When have you experienced resilience in times of change? What methods did you follow to discipline yourself and to persevere to get ahead?


  9. When was the last time you did a ‘spring clean’ of your career?

    June 4, 2013 by Jenna

    Whether you are happy in your current role or currently looking for something new, it is always important to keep your job search and career development skills up-to-date.

    Not only that but cleaning out some of the distractions and bad habits that may be weighing you down instead of helping you move forward can only be a good thing, right?

    Refresh

    Have you reviewed your resume lately?

    We tend to only look at our resume when we need to look for work. But whether you are looking for work or not, your resume is your most important personal brand document. And we all know how time consuming writing a resume from scratch is.

    So pull out your resume for a spring clean:

    Update Information – Are your most recent achievements added? Is your employment history up-to-date? Have you identified who you references will be?
    Formatting – Is your resume easy to read? Is it set out in a way where the employer or recruiter can identify your key skills without having to do an investigative search? Does it look clean and neat? Is the language formal and professional? Would it grab your attention if you were an employer?

    Another thing to keep in mind, in the age of technology – is your online presence. What does Google say about you? What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Is it time for an update to list your most recent skills and experience? What other social media sites do you currently have a presence – do they represent the image you would like to portray?

    Update

    Do you know what level of skills you have? Do you know what skills you need to take the next step in your career?

    If you are not sure what level your computer skills are at, there are plenty of opportunities to assess your skills through online skills testing. For jobseekers you can keep a copy of the results to share with future employers.

    There is no time like the present to invest or consider additional training to update your skills. Perhaps your current employer offers training programs that you can sign-up for? If not, consider what training you need and ask at your next performance discussion with your manager.

    Set Goals

    What are your personal goals? Do they tie in with your career goals? What matters most for you?

    I’m most successful when I have a healthy body and mind. But I tend to find that my body and mind are more often in conflict rather than cooperating together!

    To get myself back on track, I set physical goals to reach the state of health and fitness I want. For me, being more active allows me to be more positive in my approach to life. Not to mention, knowing that I’m capable of achieving these physical goals helps build my confidence to push myself forward to achieve my career goals as well.

    Now I’m not saying go out and spend a lot of money to join a gym, sometimes simple things like going for a daily walk, having a yoga stretch in a park or going to a class with a friend, can really boost your overall well-being. And let’s be honest, when you are not healthy you tend to feel sluggish and demotivated. I know how difficult it is when I get caught in this rut, but once I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I definitely feel more motivated to achieve even more.

    Remove Obstacles

    Are there factors in your life that are making you stressed or holding you back from making the best decisions regarding your career?

    Too often we get busy just being busy. But are there tasks that are taking too much time that are stopping you from investing in what is important? Are there things that you could delegate, share or remove entirely to allow you the time you need to invest in what you really want to achieve?  The body cannot function without the mind, and if you are losing too much sleep because you have too much on your mind or have too many commitments on your plate this will not benefit you in the long run. In fact, if you are tired and unfocused it could potentially harm your decisions. So get rid of those negative factors that are holding you back, and if you can’t get rid of some factors try and find a way to find balance. Most likely you will know someone who has been in a similar situation and their advice could really help guide you.

    It can also be very easy to be comfortable in your current routine ‘bubble’. But every now and then we need to challenge ourselves outside of that bubble to examine if what we are currently doing is the best for us and our future career. What do you need to spring clean in your career?


  10. Do you need some help to just get started?

    October 9, 2012 by Jenna

    Do you find yourself battling with the art of procrastination? Have a to-do list that just does not appear to be getting any smaller? Want to just get started on that task that somehow keeps reappearing day after day on your to-do list?

    Unfortunately getting started can sometimes be easier said than done, especially if your schedule changes on a daily basis. But have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique?

    The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name. After each pomodoro you can take a 5 minute break time and after four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

    This technique not only keeps the mind fresh and focused, but also helps you to get through projects faster and enforces you to adhere to strict timing within your working day. It also helps you to overcome distractions. But most importantly it helps you to just get started. We all know that once we get started it is easier to get that task finally, finally off of our to-do list.

    Now this technique can be subject to personal preference, but if you are struggling to get started or meet deadlines and want to try something, anything to help you manage your time then what do you have to lose?

    And let’s face it, having better time management can:

    • reduce stress
    • give you a sense of achievement
    • increase energy
    • increase productivity’
    • stronger financial stability
    • more time for the things you love doing!

    What time management techniques do you use? Or perhaps you have used this technique before? Speaking of procrastination, don’t miss our newest monthly poll on Why do you put things off?




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