Meetings – making them productive

Meetings are commonplace anywhere you work. For a quick catch up within the team, individuals, clients or whatever the case might be.

Grabbing “5 minutes” or “an hour” to meet. But what do you want to achieve? What should be the outcome?

From my experience there are a few key things you should consider when holding a meeting.

If there are regular meetings, you need to decide how often you want to meet. A weekly catch up with the team or the boss or bi-weekly with a mentor or fortnightly with your coach. It really depends on what you want to achieve and how often it makes sense to catch up.

Then, the next step is about the agenda. No meeting should ever have no agenda. No agenda = no outcome. Unless of course it is a brainstorming session. Don’t just meet for the sake of meeting. So when you send out an invite, add an agenda to the meeting. And, when sending out an invite, make sure to include everyone that should be involved in the meeting. Remember that sometimes it is good to invite the boss to a team meeting, sometimes it isn’t. It all depends on the agenda and desired outcome.

Whilst you might have already seen that with some calendar programmes, but instead of scheduling 60 minutes, schedule 45 minutes in order to keep the meeting on time. Ensure a timely start and if you present, prepare the equipment you need prior to the meeting. Make sure the projector and the sound are working.

Let’s assume this is a bigger meeting, like a company meeting. Decide on who is best to speak about the latest redundancies or the financial situation. Decide who is the best person to present and sum up? Maybe the CEO presents but hands certain topics to the CFO, the Sales Director and so on.

And last but not least it is important to remember where to meet. Can everyone get there on time and is the room available? Is it booked, do I need to make a reservation? Is it a lunch meeting and do we cater for vegetarians and vegans? All those little things matter when you want to have a successful meeting.

One last tip: write a follow up email with action points of the meetings to the invitees after the meeting. As a reminder of what has been decided and when to have a follow up meeting too.

Enjoy your meetings.

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Stress – not for me!

I like reading Mark and Angel (as mentioned last week) who came up with a list to combat stress. Wikipedia defines stress as:

Physiological or biological stress is an organism’s response to a stressor such as an environmental condition or a stimulus. Stress is a body’s method of reacting to a challenge. According to the stressful event, the body’s way to respond to stress is by sympathetic nervous system activation which results in the fight-or-flight response. The body cannot keep this state for long periods of time, afterwards the parasympathetic system returns the body’s physiological conditions to normal. In humans, stress typically describes a negative condition or a positive condition that can have an impact on a person’s mental and physical well-being.

Mark and Angel, who I seem to quote and refer to a lot, and please note that tidWOWs is about aggregating info on productivity, summarise the rules to combat stress in simple steps. Yet for in depth coverage of this or other info I quote Mark and Angel, please go to their own site. Subscribe to them if you haven’t yet.

So what about stress?

1) Often we are too busy doing things and don’t have any distance of what we need to look at. So it is important for us to get some distance to make things work. Like working on a project and realising that you come up against the same problem over again, then take a walk and get some distance. The answer might just fly to you afterwards.

2) Accept that what happens happens. You cannot turn back time or do things differently, once it is done: Accept it. Move on. Let go of what was and look forward to the future, don’t dwell on the past. Accept the truth, no matter how hard it might seem at the time.

3) When you are angry do only one thing: breathe in, breathe out. Keep your thoughts to yourself, go for a walk, clear your head or even meditate. If at work, just sit on the toilet for 5 minutes and chill. Maybe not the quietest place yet one that is guaranteed to be stress free and calm 😉

4) Forgive others for what they have done. Again, don’t waste your energy on other people’s fault and ideas.

5) Instead of focusing on what might be, focus solely on what you can change and improve. Try to look for improvements, positive thoughts and ideas that bring the project forward. Dwelling on the past, or on things that you cannot change will just stress you more 🙁

6) Live in the now and enjoy the moment. I wrote about that numerous times, just focus on the task at hand, one at a time and make sure that is the main focus. In the now, not the past and not (too much) in the future.

7) Embrace the ups and downs of life. However stressful life is going to be, accept life’s changes and that things, people and circumstances change whilst you are still yourself. Embrace change and don’t get stressed about it. Life is about change!

8) Don’t listen too much to others and trust your own and your friends’ judgement. You are worth a lot, be self-worth and don’t listen to others that try to tell you otherwise. This is your life, you need to be happy and if stress comes up, ignore it if you think it makes you feel worthless. Makes sense? What I would suggest is that you need to get on with life, no matter what others are thinking. Feel worthwhile because you are!

9) Appreciate the small things in life. The flower on the side of the road, the nice smelling food or the smile from the lady in the sandwich shop. Be kind to others and use your positive energy towards others. You will see that positive energy will return and your life will get more positive by the day. Try it!

 

So from my summary, just let go of things that try to throw you over and make sure you concentrate on the here and now. Appreciate the (however small) positive things in life and send positive energy to others. Make it work and forgive others, don’t stress about things you cannot change in the first place.

And if you still have problems, contact me to coach you.

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What successful people do!

Giving it is the new year, there are habits that successful people do. I read Marc and Angel’s blogpost a while back. Their blog is amazing and very useful, inspirational. If you haven’t subscribed to it yet, go and do it NOW.

So what is it what successful people do? There could be a whole list of things and I am coming to them post by post, but essentially there a lot of people that are so successful yet don’t show it at all.

It is not about working in one industry or another, or having money or possessions. Success means being a good human being and having rituals in place that allow you to just be good and make a difference, living a life you enjoy.

As I don’t want to copy the whole post from Marc and Angel, let me pick my favourite 5:

1. They have calm, consistent morning routines.

Successful people, often they get up when it is quiet like 5 am or so, have a calm and consistent routine. Meditation, writing, exercising, reading. Anything that prepares them for the day and doesn’t get them stressed or excited first thing.

2.  They eliminate all needless busy work – they prioritise.

You can get a lot done if you apply a few rules. Anything that can be done within two minutes, do it now. Then prioritise the rest. Don’t keep busy with unimportant stuff, like returning the annoying sales call or worry about the neighbours’ attitude to life. Don’t spend hours on Facebook or Twitter. Concentrate on the tasks at hand. Get done what needs to be done today!

3. Pushing limits.

Learning is a process where you push boundaries or learn from new experience. Stretching yourself and your boundaries daily, make you learn a lot quicker. Successful people do exactly that. To challenge the routine. To challenge the status quo. Venturing beyond what you thought was possible.

4. Visual reminders for goals.

This is one of my favourite ones. I find it astonishing for people to just go with the flow and not saying “I want to be xyz” or be at a place or something, e.g. having little ambition. But that might just be me and not you as otherwise you probably wouldn’t read this post. And where ever you want to be, whatever you want to achieve, visualise it. Make it visible, create a visual reminder of what you want to achieve. Look at your values daily. Look at what you want to achieve daily. Look at your roots and your branches, like a tree, and see where you can grow to. Back to no. 3: push boundaries!

Those tangible reminders for goals are very useful.

5. Mentors and Feedback. (I combined Marc and Angel’s 10 and 11 here!).

Personally I like to call it calibration. To have mentors, tutors or friends who can give you an honest feedback. People who you can trust, they can trust you and you can have a candid chat about your industry, your new job opportunity, your dreams or what really annoys you. They can teach you what they learned and share their experience. Having someone, internal or external to your organisation, who helps you understand what is happening with you and where you want to go, is priceless. Buying them lunch or dinner is just a small token of appreciation, they can help you change your life.

In line with that is to accept feedback and criticism. To accept that you have done things wrong or made a wrong decision but also for you to accept that you learned from it (as you were pushing boundaries). Creating a culture at work that encourages this, is key too!

 

I guess that summarises my top 5 reasons as of what successful people do. And more of course 😉

But essentiatlly they don’t accept the status quo and push the boundaries whilst keeping a clear head, accept feedback and can bounce ideas over a pint or glass of juice.

Simple really 😉

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How to increase #productivity throughout the day!

Salesforce recently published a nice graph on productivity. If I say graph, it is more of a work flow and routine chart, which I personally think is very helpful.

Hence, out of the ordinary, I post an additional post today to make up for the gap between Christmas and New Year.

Enjoy and have a good week!

Salesforce Productivity

 

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New Year Resolution

Happy New Year, may 2015 fulfil your dreams and may you achieve what you aspire to!

New year resolutions – what are they really?

They are nothing else or nothing more than goals. Things you want to achieve. Drink less or have a sober month in January and giving up smoking are top ones to achieve.

I used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day. I quit from one day to another. Just like that. Because I was mentally ready. I was physically ready and I was in the right mindset. But it wasn’t New Years Eve. Just because it is a new year, goals don’t get easier to achieve, they just get easier to be set.

You can do anything you set your mind to! Remember that. Once your mind is ready you can stop smoking, start exercising or get up at 5 am. You are in control of what you do!

New Year’s Eve is about having fun, a few drinks, good food and friends. Enjoy yourself and when you wake up in the morning, don’t think that all that fun (or association with that) has to stop. You get depressed and your resolutions are out of the window.

My advice? Choose your New Year’s Eve yourself. The day you want to change, quit or start something. The day you went back to the gym, smoked the last cigarette or drank your last beer. This can be today or 2 month from now, but for you to achieve those milestones, make sure you are mentally ready!

And when setting your goals….refer back to the previous post on goal setting.

– be specific
– make them measurable
– reward yourself, even for stepping stones
– achieve your goal

In the meantime, if you need help figuring out your goals and take steps to achieve them, please don’t hesitate to be in touch!

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