Relax at work & boost your productivity 500%!

15 12 2010

I read a fantastic post on Time Management Ninja this morning, about relaxing at work. It has some very good points which, if we all did them more often, would make a massive difference to our work days! Have a read, and think about what YOU can do to break the cycle of high-pressure and stress in the workplace. One thing I know I am guilty of (and statistically you probably are too), is feeling like you SHOULD be stressed or look ‘frantically busy’ at work, because everyone who gets recognition seems to be working very OBVIOUSLY hard. In best-selling book The 4 Hour Working Week, author Tim Ferriss writes:

“ Doing less meaningless work, so you can focus on things of greater importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity. Few people choose to (or are able to) measure the results of their actions, and thus measure their contribution in time [and stress experienced or effort expended – Quinton]. More time [or effort/stress] equals more self-worth and more reinforcement [recognition] from those above and around them…. [we need to] focus on being PRODUCTIVE instead of just BUSY.”

Makes you think, huh? Enjoy this article.



When you thinking of relaxing, you probably don’t think of your workplace. In fact, most work environments are far from relaxing, instead being a mass of negativity, stress, hurriedness, and self-inflicted time management. However, just because everyone in your workplace is running around like their hair is on fire, doesn’t mean that you have to do the same.

Want to stay one step ahead at work? Today we have 20 tips to make your work life a little less stressful and just a little more relaxing.

20 Ways to Relax at Work:

1. Prepare for your day by doing your homework the night before.

2. Take the stairs while everyone else is waiting on the elevator.

3. Cut back on collateral duties if they are keeping you from getting your real job done.

4. Decline meetings that you do not need to attend.

5. Arrive 30 minutes before your team, you will get more done in that time than all day. (Try an hour early!)

6. Have a positive attitude even when those around you do not.

7. Do not respond to that email until tomorrow.

8. Park a little further from the door instead of desperately seeking a spot.

9. Finish that project 5 days before its deadline.

10. Be early to meetings by 10 minutes.

11. Review your calendar for the next week to avoid any surprises.

12. Keep your phone on silent and turn off your email notifications.

13. Don’t do what everyone else is doing.

14. Go for a walk if you need a productivity boost.

15. Once a week, skip lunch and do something that is important to advancing your goals.

16. Don’t schedule back-to-back meetings.

17. Turn off your phone when you are doing creative work.

18. Shut your door when you are uninterruptible.

19. Go see people in person when possible, a conversation is worth 20 emails.

20. Go out of your way to praise people for their hard work.

What’s on your list of ways to reduce stress in the workplace? Please share below 🙂


Why Too Quiet Can Be a Bad Thing

8 12 2010

In our busy world we are constantly trying to achieve balance and peace. It seems we are always trying to find shelter from the busyness and noise of the workplace. However, what if things were totally quiet in our lives? What if there were no distractions? No competing priorities? No background noise? Total silence is not necessarily a good thing. Can your life be too quiet?

As any parent of small kids can tell you, when things suddenly get quiet is usually not a good sign. It usually means that “something” that you are not aware of… is going on. Something that needs to be discovered.“Quiet can be a sign that something is wrong or that we are stagnant.”

A quick story…

Back when my dad was in the Navy, he learned to get sleep whenever he could. (Some believe that military life is really a secret government experiment in sleep deprivation.) He could sleep through anything. Loud equipment, drills, engines. However, the one thing that could wake him instantly from a deep sleep was… silence. Why? When everything is suddenly silent on a ship at sea, it usually means that you have lost power. Not good. The deafening silence was louder than any alarm. Silence represented something that was amiss.

What Silence Means…

Silence can be peaceful. But, it does not always mean that you are at peace. If your life is too quiet… it could mean…

· You Are Too Comfortable – Too comfortable in your comfort zone. Too comfortable with the status quo. This is dangerous because you will miss opportunities, often without knowing.

· You Are Stagnant – Quiet can result from lack of activity. You are not getting anything done or making progress. Not good if this is happening in your job.

· You Are Not Growing – You are not learning things or experiencing new things.

· Something is Not Working – Quiet can mean something is not working correctly. I recently stopped getting messages via one of my networks. For a few days, I did not think much of it. Finally, I realized that the silence was due to a breakage. Oops. How long did it take for me to notice the silence?

· People Are Not Telling You Things – If you are a leader or boss, silence can mean that your team has stopped communicating with you. This can be a critical issue. Find out why the flow of information has stopped. (This can also be a big sign in personal relationships!)

· You Are Not On Task – If things are too quiet, you are probably not on task or target. You will get attention, and sometimes friction, when you are doing important work. Of course, that noise is often coming from those that are sitting quietly doing nothing.

Make (Some) Noise

What would happen if we attained total quiet? Would we be happy? Would we be productive? Would we still be doing anything?

If you find things are too quiet in your life, maybe you need to take a look around.

And ask yourself why things suddenly got so quiet… Then get out there and make some noise!

Are YOU a craftsman?

2 12 2010

Here is an excellent article by Josh Kaufman over at The Personal MBA. Joshua’s groundbreaking new book on how to master the art of business (without spending $100k on a formal education) is due for release this month – pre-order it at Enjoy.

– Quinton

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity recently. Who we think we are, and how we think we fit into the world has a massive impact on how we behave. Clanning and Convergence / Divergence are two of the greatest influences on our behavior, whether we realize it or not.

One of the reasons people perceive credentials as valuable is that they impart a sense of identity: “who I am.” Notice how people who have attended top business schools describe themselves: “I’m a Harvard MBA” or “I’m a Stanford MBA.” It’s not a statement of skill – it’s a statement of identity. Getting the certificate is a confirmation of group identity, which has a powerful influence on behavior. Enroll in business school, and you “become” an MBA.

As it turns out, education is not who we are; it’s what we do in the pursuit of something far more important. It’s a means to an end, not an end itself. It’s not really about what most businesspeople say they want: getting more money, getting promoted, becoming famous, etc. Sure, studying business can lead to these things, but that’s not really why we do it. Our studies are about something deeper: the joy of developing yourself and mastering new skills that you can use to live a productive and satisfying life. Perfecting the art, and improving the quality of your life as you pursue it, in an end in itself. In short, we’re craftsmen.

Our crafts may be very different – programming, engineering, design, marketing, sales, financial analysis, systems design, writing, manufacture, or teaching. Even so, we’re all on the same path: doing everything we can to perfect our craft, using every tool at our disposal. We are craftsmen.

I put together a statement of my personal philosophy, to better define for myself what I’m after. It ended up being a very clear statement of what craftsmanship is all about, so I’d like to share it with you:

The Craftsman’s Creed 

I am a craftsman. I am dedicated to perfecting the art and science of my craft, which I have chosen freely.

I am constantly, relentlessly searching for ways to improve my craft. I am dedicated to learning from the masters who have preceded me in every way I am able.

I create valuable things that other people want or need. I generously offer my work as a gift when it is wise, but my purpose is to help those who value my work enough to pay for what I have to offer. No one has an unlimited claim on my craft, knowledge, or the fruits of my effort. I work for people who value and support me.

I honestly promote what I have to offer, consistently and to the limit of my capabilities. I make no apologies for promoting my craft. I am proud of my work, and it is my duty and responsibility to reach people who may benefit from my craft. I can help them no other way.

I do my best to ensure that every single person who trusts me with their time, attention, or money is happy with their investment. If they are not, I will do whatever is in my power to do right by them without delay.

Skills are a craftsman’s credentials. I care more about a person’s character, what they know, and what they can do than where they grew up, where they went to school, or how many letters they have after their name. I choose to work with other craftsmen: people who are skilled, not simply schooled.

I respect other craftsmen, and I generously assist them however I’m able. I have no respect for the fool who searches for a way to enjoy the fruits of labor without effort, or the scoundrel who seeks to enrich himself by deluding others. Value, not wealth or fame, is the true measure of every craftsman.

I take good care of myself. My mind and body are the tools I use to advance my craft, so I take care of them. Rest and recovery are essential to my life: a worn-down tool is of no use at all.

I never stop pushing my limits. I am constantly testing and experimenting with new ways to expand my capabilities. It is my way of life.

I refuse to waste precious time and energy on trivial matters, trivial problems, and trivial people. I choose to focus only on the most important of demands: those that help me advance my craft or take care of the people who depend on me.

The world is an uncertain place, which I can not fully predict or control. Regardless, I will do everything in my power to prepare for every challenge and weather every storm. Nothing in this world is powerful enough to stop me from continuing to practice my craft.

Anything that I can do to improve my craft, I will do. This will keep me busy until the end of my days: a challenge I gladly accept. I am a craftsman, and always shall be.

Are you a Craftsman? If you’re not – if your goal is to amass some type of hedonistic pleasure using every shortcut available to you, you won’t find what you seek.

A life lesson

2 12 2010


First, I was dying to turn thirteen and be a teenager.
Then I was dying to finish high school and start university.
And then I was dying to finish university and start working.
Then I was dying to marry and have kids.
And then I was dying for my kids to grow up and leave home.
And then I was dying to retire and live in Byron Bay.
And now I am dying … and suddenly I realised that I forgot to live.

Don’t let this be the story of your life.

Make the most of every NOW.