Friday, October 24, 2008

Reducing Distractions

Concentration is like a laser; it can help you cut through distractions and be more productive. Energy flows where attention goes. When you concentrate on a task, you focus your attention on it and that, in turn, focuses your energy. You get more done, faster, and more efficiently.

The power is in the present moment. We cannot change the past, and we can only imagine the future, but we can take action in the present. NOW is the moment of power. Concentration keeps you in the now where you can act.

Your dominant sense may be your greatest source of distractions. For example, if sight is dominant, you are probably most susceptible to visual distractions. Positioning your desk by a window may not be a good idea. If hearing is your dominant sense, you need an environment that is quiet since sound will distract you. If feeling is your dominant sense, you need to create an environment that makes you feel safe and is conducive to concentration. For example, you may be distracted and unable to concentrate if the room temperature isn’t just right or the area doesn’t “feel right.”

When you know where distractions are likely to come from, you can take steps to reduce their impact or eliminate them. The key is to success is to do what works for you and not judge yourself.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Temper Your Temper

We've all been there. You know when certain people or situations push your limits and you blow. Later, you're embarrassed when you realize you let them get the best of you. Anger can drive us to act irrationally. Anger also can be a tool for bringing about change, if you can find away to release it constructively and turn it in to a positive force. Anger is often a response to feeling out of control and overwhelmed by having too much to do. While feeling angry is okay, how you respond can make or break you.

Let's say that you are upset because a deadline has been moved up and you'll have to cancel personal plans to meet the new demands placed on you, you need to handle your angry feelings without telling your boss to kiss off.

* TAKE A TIME OUT. When you feel anger rising, first try to step back. When you feel yourself ready to blow, remove yourself -- physically or mentally -- and give yourself a chance to cool off before you address the source of your anger. Take three deep breaths and pinpoint exactly what you're mad at before you speak or act. Be careful not to make any major decisions based in anger.

* LISTEN. When we're angry at someone, we often stop listening to others and form our own arguments in our heads while the other person is speaking. Try to listen. Ask questions instead of defending yourself, criticizing someone else, or blaming them. Do all you can to preserve your own and the other person's dignity. When possible, try to find the humor in the situation and even in you're reaction to it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Influence Others to Support You

Your ability to influence others contributes to how successful you can become. Your influence others when you convince them of your position and obtain their support for your decisions and actions. The following skills are needed to influence others:

- Listen. Effective listening is one of the most powerful forms of communication. When you listen to another person, you place your attention wholly on what that person is saying. Effective listening helps influence others because they are more inclined to listen to you, in turn, and to credit what you have to say.

- Show genuine respect for others. Respect for others means that you honor confidences, make reasonable allowances for others' faults, behave nonjudgmentally, expect others to act ethically and responsibly, and show consideration for another's feelings. When you demonstrate respect, you are respected in response.

- Act confidently. People tend to follow those whoa ct with confidence. If you trust yourself and believe in the rightness of your decisions and actions, others will follow you. Exuding confidence when you believe your decisions are sound, even if you feel anxious, will crate a positive model for others to follow.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pay Attention to Priorities

Developing as a professional means cultivating the ability to set priorities and doing what’s most important. Professionals understand how to priortize and easily move from task to task, staying on point.

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto first wrote about the 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle. According to Pareto, 20% of activities account for 80% of results. For example, 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. If you have 20 items on your To Do list, four of them will produce more and be worth more than the other 16 items on the list. The key to productivity is to do the 20% first.
To set priorities, ask yourself these questions:

- Does this task have value? If so, to whom does it have value?
- What is the value of doing this task?
- Does this task move you in the direction of your goals?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important, how important is this task for achieving your goals?
- Does the task have a deadline? If so, what is the deadline?
- Can the task be performed at one time or do you need to break it down into smaller tasks?

Prioritize tasks based on their importance to your goals. The most important tasks that contribute the most to your goals should be in the top 20% of activities.