Worker stress is at its highest leading into Xmas

"A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work” - John Lubbock

Xmas for many workers is the start of the holiday period. Are you looking forward to the break or is your head mired in all the work that needs to be completed before Xmas? Besides work, there might be gifts to buy, functions to attend, a holiday to organise and so on. That sinking feeling of having too much to do could be a case of Déjà vu. But you soldier on convinced you’ll be more organised next year. The reality is you won’t unless you take specific action to break the cycle.

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Why some workers suck at getting their work done

"You are not your resume, you are your work" – Seth Godin

The difference between effective and ineffective workers is like night and day. If 2 workers in identical roles both have positive attitudes, how is it that 1 can drive outcomes and exceed targets, whereas the other frequently fails to reach expected outcomes or targets? The answer is work methods.

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The ONE thing to unlocking potential

The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it” –Gary Keller

In the book The ONE Thing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan talk about it’s always the ONE Thing that delivers extraordinary results: “What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Workers usually have ONE Thing that constrains productivity to the extent they would be more effective if they were able to do this ONE Thing better.

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How ineffective are you?

“Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential” –  Stephen Covey

Not all workers are effective. The reality is some lose sight of focusing on the key aspects of their role that are important to success. Instead, they get caught up wasting time and effort on lesser important tasks. What can be done to break the cycle for ineffective workers?

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What are the limiting beliefs that are holding you back?

"You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights" - Brian Tracy

We don’t reach our potential if we’re unable or unwilling to let go of our limiting beliefs. This is often the difference between the people who continue to learn and evolve versus those who don’t. Mindset can be just as important as ability.

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Is it procrastination or a lack of values?

Good values are like a magnet. They attract good people – John Wooden

There’s a difference between delaying or postponing something that should be done today (procrastination) versus committing to do something but not intending to do it (values). In either case letting ourselves or others down should never be tolerated as acceptable behaviour. Upholding values is central to the culture of high performing teams.

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Are productive people born or made?

“We were all born with a certain degree of power. The key to success is discovering this innate power and using it daily to deal with whatever challenges come our way” –  Les Brown

Workers are unique due to their respective strengths, weaknesses and preferences. For instance, someone who’s organised and busy doesn’t necessarily translate into a productive person. It could be that they’re tidy but focused on the wrong priorities. Whereas a worker who just makes deadlines could be quite productive due to the high workload they take on and deliver. How we interact with our work influences the level of output. Are productive people born or made? The answer isn’t straightforward but I think it’s a combination of both.

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Why personal productivity defines our brand

“Great acts are made up of small deeds” – Lao Tzu

Recently I caught up with an ex-colleague who lives by the adage of making every effort to do what he said he’ll do. It’s not surprising he’s a highly successful senior manager in his chosen field. It got me thinking how much I prefer to be around achievers more so than the people who overpromise and underdeliver.

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Organised for success or successfully disorganised?

“A place for everything, and everything in its place” – Mrs Beeton

Recently a friend frustratingly said to me “you’ve got to write a blog on organisation because I’m sick of wasting time looking for things.” Although it’s not always recognised, disorganisation is often the Achilles heel hampering progress for many at home and at work.

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4 overarching productivity principles

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before" - Franz Kafka

Unless you’ve strategically designed your productivity eco system then output can be quite inconsistent. Some days you’ll feel you’re making tremendous progress and other days you’ll seem to be going backwards. Recently while attending an event a CEO asked me for what I consider to be the 3 most important overarching productivity principles. Before I could answer he added “don’t give me 100 different detailed techniques, just 3 overarching principles. I responded I didn’t have 3 but I had 4 if he was interested. Today’s article has the 4 principles I shared with the CEO.

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The key to unlocking potential is productivity

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort” - Paul J. Meyer

What happens when capable staff aren’t as effective as they need to be? When they become somewhat stuck, when they stop progressing and seem to be just treading water. Layer in not reaching goals or targets and the result is the disillusioned employee. Companies who ignore employees in these situations do so at their own peril because there’s untapped potential with an opportunity to increase profit for those who can unlock it. Productivity is the key to unleashing this potential.

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Do too many choices cause you to choose nothing?

“Indecision and delays are the parents of failure" - George Canning

Productivity in its simplest form is about making progress. While there are numerous variables that can restrict output, there’s also plenty of strategies that can be applied to drive efficiencies and outcomes. A common impediment to achievement is when we’re unable to decide. Do too many choices cause you to choose nothing?

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The workers who just don't do it

“When you make a commitment, you build hope. When you keep it, you build trust” - Stephen Covey

For my first office job, I was employed by Modern Printing Company (famous for the Spirax notebook) who at the time had been around for 100 years. It was a great place to learn fundamentals because most systems were processed manually so understanding interdependencies between processes and having an attention for detail were necessary skills. Modern Printing Company was the first time I encountered a colleague who had absolute clarity about what needed to be done but happened to be ineffective. I was young and thought the person had too much work to do (that’s because he repeatedly told me so). I was sympathetic to his situation but as I gained more experience I discovered the real issue was he didn't execute well.

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Productivity not a priority?

“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people” – John D. Rockefeller

Recently I was talking to a friend who shared with me how his company wasn’t meeting their sales targets. This in turn put pressure on cash flow. What he was really frustrated about was his new boss had communicated the need for increased productivity. My friend explained how the focus was all wrong, the new boss just doesn’t get it, the real issue is they just need to sell more. He said: “That makes sense, doesn’t it?”

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Are you maximising or minimising your potential?

"We are anxious to improve our circumstances but unwilling to improve ourselves. We therefore remain bound" –  James Allen

What I enjoy about my job is I get to help people and the organisations they work for be more effective at what they do. I find those who are committed to improving embrace the opportunity to perform better and more efficiently. Whereas those who don’t take action merely spectate. It’s consistently revealed that a superior technique combined with an appropriate level of effort enables individuals to maximise their potential and prosper in even challenging environments. It all starts with a decision to improve.

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Is your job bad for your health?

What is a typical workday like for you? Do you work between 7 to 12 hours a day? If you do this consistently then during the weekdays you’re working between 29% to 50% of the total available hours. Did you know that working more than 11 hours a day increases the risk of heart disease by 67%? (Source: University College London). We might think we’re invincible or are just too busy to contemplate anything different, but maybe it’s not our job that’s bad for our health. Instead, we just might need to rethink our approach to work.

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5 tips for any team

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. - Henry Ford

Teams come in all shapes and sizes. Over the years I’ve been a member of many teams at work and in sport. Essentially, I’ve been involved in both high performing teams and teams who have struggled to function cohesively. I know that business and sporting teams cannot be treated the same way because there are particular aspects where they’re uniquely different ie. passion, a sense of belonging to a tribe etc. However, there are also principles that can apply to both.

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Good time management is a habit worth building

When I was a child my mother introduced me to the phrase “we’re a creature of our habits.” I’m not sure whether she would say it to explain a situation or use as an excuse when something happened. Most of us tend to have a mixture of good and bad habits. The first step in kicking a habit is to recognise what it is and then make a firm commitment to do something about it. It sounds easy in theory but proves to be difficult in practice for many.

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What the top CEO expects from employees

Ever experienced working with the full spectrum of bosses – a great boss at some point and a terrible boss at another time? I know I have and the difference is night and day. What if you had the opportunity to work for the best CEO? On face value you’d be crazy not to consider it. However, let’s flip it and ask whether you have what it takes to measure up as an employee?

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The 7 traits of an ineffective team

Tug of war is a contest where 2 teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until 1 drags the other over a central line. It’s not always the biggest or strongest team that wins but the team who works better together while pulling in the same direction. Being part of a team at work provides a similar experience. You’re either a member of a high performing team or you’re not.

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