Kill the Compulsive Phone-Grab: Regaining Control & Clarity

4 04 2014

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Just read this article by Greg McKeown, a business writer, consultant and researcher specialising in leadership, strategy and social behaviour. Greg is the author of the newly published book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, available here on Amazon: http://goo.gl/JKLel9.

As a busy and connected “Gen Y” professional, I am one of the worst when it comes to following the urge to check that smartphone every time it buzzes or beeps. A new email? What if it’s important??

While I don’t think realistically I will ever be one to keep a journal every day, this article put some things in perspective for me. It’s a good reminder of the importance of setting your own priorities and your own pace. In a world overflowing with (mostly trivial) information, demands and things to do, too often we try to attendtoeverythingatonce, and we end up getting nothing done well.

ImageA habit I am developing slowly is to spend 20 minutes every morning in my favourite café, take out a notebook and plan what I want to get done for the day. Amazing how when you set the framework of your day before you enter the office, it is that much easier to stick to the plan and avoid reacting to everything that comes across your desk (or screen). As someone once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Step back, give yourself the time to think. The more PROactive and less REactive we are, the more we are in control of our days and lives. And that, I find, is one of the single largest factors in personal satisfaction and happiness.

Enjoy the article.

Quinton

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One Thing Productive People Do Before Reaching for their Phones

Greg McKeown

In a recent study reported in TIME magazine, people check their phone on average 110 times a day. Some people checked it as much as 900 times a day; that’s once every minute of every waking hour of the day. Given those extremes, I don’t believe it makes me a Luddite to suggest it may be more productive – and certainly more Essentialist – to reach for a pocket notebook or journal before your phone. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Checking your phone forces you to be reactive than pro-active; it creates pressure to respond to texts and emails when other people want you to, rather than when it’s convenient for you. Writing in your notebook puts you back in control of your communication; it gives you the chance to craft your reply instead of shooting it off reactively, and respond on your schedule, not someone else’s.
  2. Checking your phone fills you with that frenetic, compulsive feeling that you might be missing out. Writing in your notebook has a calming influence.
  3. Checking your phone tricks you with the trivial; it fools you into thinking that news and updates from the virtual world are more important than what’s right in from of you in the actual world right now. Writing in your notebook reminds you of what’s important right now.
  4. Checking your phone fills every spare moment with noise. Writing in your notebook provides you time to think and reflect.

Of course, the benefits of writing in a notebook or journal go beyond the realm of productivity. One of my grandfathers died a few years ago. Upon going through his things, I was struck by what I found, or rather what I didn’t find: not a single journal or notebook or any kind of written record about the life he had lived. Contrast this with my other Grandfather in England who wrote a single line in his journal every couple of days for some fifty years.

What I am saying is that if we want to leave a legacy to those who come after us one powerful way to do it is to write a journal. David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian has said if you want to become the voice of your generation, write a journal entry every day and then gift it to your local university library at the end of your life. Voice of your generation or not, I believe that a journal is one of the most precious gifts you can give to those you leave behind.

If journaling sounds too daunting a task for you, I suggest the following simple way to get started:

Write One Sentence Every Day. If you want to create this new Essentialist habit, use this counter- intuitive yet effective method: write less than you feel like writing. Typically, when people start to keep a journal they write pages the first day. Then by the second day the prospect of writing so much is daunting, and they procrastinate or abandon the exercise. So instead, even if you feel like writing more, force yourself to write no more than one sentence a day. Apply the disciplined pursuit of “less but better” to your journal.

In an article called, “If You Don’t Design Your Career, Someone Else Will” I suggest a step by step process for making sure you are using your life for what really matters. When you have a year’s worth of journal entries to look back on, it will broaden your perspective and greatly enhance your ability to more clearly see the difference between the many things in your life that are mere distractions and the few things that are truly vital.

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Keep Pushing the Envelope!

29 03 2014

Keep Pushing the Envelope!

“See your life as a giant adventure. Keep pushing the envelope, and remember that every dream starts off small.”





The Differences Between Successful People vs Unsuccessful People

20 03 2014

The Differences Between Successful People vs Unsuccessful People

Brilliant poster from Andy Bailey, CEO of US-based business coaching firm Petra Coach (petracoach.com).

Their mission? To work with entrepreneurs, business leaders, and teams to create the driving forces of tomorrow’s business community.

This is a great start!

Quinton





Perseverance & Unrewarded Genius

11 10 2011

Here is an inspiring short thought from business and leadership guru Robin Sharma. Ever had a time when it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into doing something (and doing it well), obstacles constantly blocked your path? Has life – personal or business – ever simply seemed too difficult? Maybe for you that time is now. “Why me?” we ask. “After all I’ve done, now this?” Here’s some encouragement and inspiration to get back to a perspective of perseverance.

–          Quinton

Guts. Boldness. Bravery. Perseverance. Big, beautiful words. That any great person+leader+entrepreneur needs to tattoo onto their brain cells.

Success is much more about staying true to your vision in the face of challenges/obstructions than being gifted or expressing some kind of Genius.

I’d rather have average talent with a fierce heart that inspires me to be unstoppable versus being brilliant – but frightened to do anything with it.

Here’s a quote from Calvin Coolidge that makes my point 1000X better than I could. I hope it helps you Be Great:

“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; there is nothing more common in the world than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Make Today Awesome.





Would you rather be rich or happy?

11 10 2011

Here is an interesting article on the relationship between wealth and happiness, by the Happiness Institute (you can read more of their articles on www.thehappinessinstitute.com). It is written by Dr. Timothy Sharp, who is certainly well-qualified to write about such a subject: he has three degrees in psychology (including a Ph.D.) and an impressive record as an academic, clinician and coach.  He set up one of Sydney’s largest clinical psychology practices (www.makingchanges.com.au), a highly regarded Executive Coaching practice (www.positiveld.com), and is the founder of Australia’s first organisation devoted solely to enhancing happiness in individuals, families and organisations. Have a read, and let it make you think!

–          Quinton

 

Would you rather be rich or happy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Money and wealth or happiness and health? Do you really need to choose? Are they dichotomous or mutually exclusive constructs? I’ve written before and I’m sure I’ll write again about the relationship between money and happiness. Why? Because people keep asking me about it and there are still many myths and misconceptions out there on this topic that are crying out to be busted!

Today, however, I want to focus on just one aspect of this interesting (and necessary) debate…and that’s the ridiculous and false dichotomy that’s often created or assumed within this discussion. To what am I referring? Well, the belief that seems to be held by some that this is an “either – or” decision…that is, I need to choose either money OR happiness!

But even just a few minutes thought should allow anyone to realise this is not a real issue; it’s a false choice and an unhelpful, even absurd question. Because the reality is we can have both, or neither, or a bit of each…

You see money and happiness are barely related. They are related for those at the very lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum. That is, for those struggling to pay their bills and/or put food on the table, for those (for want of a better phrase) who’re below the “poverty” line, then more money will ease their stress and worries and allow for more happiness.

Above and beyond this, however, the relationship becomes minimal. It is there; there is some relationship; and that is that more money doesn’t hurt and may even allow for access to opportunities and health care and education and more, all of which can be good for our health and well being. But the “return on investment” gained from pursuing more and more wealth, once we have “enough” is minimal. And yet we know that so much more can be gained if we pursue or seek other variables such as good quality relationships or physical flourishing (just to cite two examples).

But this is not what many who ask the aforementioned question are thinking. What they seem to be thinking is I must make a choice! Well, yes, we all need to make choices in life and many of these choices are fundamentally important for our happiness and health but the choice is not really between being rich OR being happy! We can have both…if we want. But the point I want to try to make here is that chosing happiness is a separate and different choice altogether…it may or may not lead to or be associated with wealth. It will probably have nothing to do with it because financial choices will require completely different decisions.

So let’s not get these two issues confused; they’re both important issues but they’re both separate issues so let’s give them both the respect they deserve without forcing ourselves to miss out on either. What do you think?





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 Amazon.com. 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.





Be Responsive, Be Successful

13 09 2010

– Adapted from an article on Get Rich Slowly

I found a piece last week that addresses an important facet of personal relationships. Michael Hyatt is often asked, “What’s the secret of your success?” His answer: “Responsiveness.”

So many people I meet are unresponsive. They don’t return their phone calls promptly. They don’t answer their emails quickly. They don’t complete their assignments on time. They promise to do something and never follow through. They have to be reminded, prodded, and nagged. This behaviour creates work for everyone else and eats into their own productivity. Hyatt is describing the good old-fashioned procrastinator. Procrastination springs from many sources — stress, over-commitment, depression, fear of failure — but ultimately it hurts both the procrastinator and those around him.

 Reality is that we live in an “instant world.” People want instant results. They don’t want to wait. And if they have to wait on you, their frustration and resentment grows. They begin to see you as an obstacle to getting their work done. If that happens, it will begin to impact your reputation. Your actions affect how other people see you. If you’re unresponsive, people will look for other ways to get their job done. If you’re an unresponsive salesman, your customers will call somebody else. If you’re an unresponsive manager, your employees will work around you, not with you. But if people know they can count on you, they’ll seek your assistance in the future, and you’ll be rewarded with increased reputation and responsibility.

Not sure how others see you? Ask them to tell you the things you never hear. The truth is, you are building your reputation — your brand — one response at a time…You can’t afford to be unresponsive. It is a career-killer. My basic rule is this: respond immediately unless there is a good reason to wait. Free Money Finance often states “your career is your most valuable financial asset.” It’s true. Responsiveness will help you to succeed at work; lack of responsiveness will lead you to fail.

The great thing about being responsive is that it will quickly differentiate you from your peers. People love doing business with responsive people. Nothing will advance your career faster than this. Here are some ways to become more responsive:

•Develop a positive attitude.

•Modify your environment to eliminate distractions.

•Learn to put others’ needs before your own, especially on the job.

•Think creatively — reach your goal through any means necessary.

•Compare your actions with your personal values: are they in line with each other?

•Implement a system to assist you in Getting Things Done.

•Don’t be a slavish adherent to rules and procedures — be flexible.

•Don’t put things off — take care of them now.

Just do it!

– Quinton