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Working Smarter

productivemindset

We’re all looking for clever ways to work smarter and get more done, hoping the next new productivity app will be the one that helps us get things done faster and with less effort.

Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, when you think about it, some of the steps you can take to work smarter don’t involve apps at all.

Some of the most effective things you can do to increase your productivity are as simple as getting more sleep, drinking less booze, changing your diet and getting more exercise.

These are all things you can do. They don’t cost anything and you can safely do them at home. They do, however, require the application of an ingredient known to all successful people: self-discipline.

The big challenge with self-discipline is you can’t buy it and you can’t fake it. Trouble is though, you can’t be successful at anything without it.

The opposite of self-discipline is self-indulgence, and we’re all pretty good at that.

If you can’t exercise the self-control required to get your act together, so that you’re alert and focused before you turn up for work, what makes you think you’ll have what it takes to lift your game once you’re there?

In Everyday Productivity, I share the mindset that helped me deliver forty years of productive work in education, banking and government.

But, be warned. The ideas I share will only be of any use to you if you can apply self-discipline, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time reading information you’ll never use.

Everyday Productivity will be available through online book retailers in early 2017.


Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

So What?

So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience by Mark Magnacca.

sowhatcover

According to Magnacca, if your memos, speeches or presentations are not getting the results you want, it’s probably because they don’t pass the ‘So what?’ test. In other words, your words are about you and not what your audience needs or wants to hear.

In this book, Magnacca introduces a technique called the So What Matrix, which is based on answering three questions as part of preparing a presentation:

  • For what? For what reason am I giving the presentation?
  • So what? Why is this important to my audience?
  • Now what? What do I want to have happen as a result of this presentation?

According to Magnacca, using this matrix will help you organise your ideas so that you address your audience’s needs, which is the secret to communication success.

The audience wants to hear what’s in it for them. Not what’s in it for you.

You can check out the book and other ‘So What?’ resources on sowhatbook.com.


Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Manage your day to day

manage-your-dayManage your day to day: build your routine, find your focus & sharpen your creative mind. (99U Book series) Edited by Jocelyn K Glei.

According to 99U, they are on a mission to empower the creative community. That’s all of us, because, in one way or another, every one of us is creative. Yes, even you.

This is one of the resources I’ll be recommending in the pages of Everyday Productivity for readers interested in exploring and exploiting their habits to increase their productivity.

But you don’t have to wait until I finish writing the book to take advantage of the help available from 99U.

Skip over to their website and check it out.


Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Liminal Thinking

‘Liminal thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, shaping, and reframing beliefs.’

Ever wondered how you ended up with the belief set that’s controlling your view of the world?  I have and, fortunately, so has Dave Gray.

liminal-thinking

 

Dave’s written a book about it: Liminal Thinking.

He uses six principles to explain how beliefs shape everything, and gives us nine practices we can  use to do something about it.

The book is easy to read and understand. I love his illustrations – they might inspire me to try a few myself.

If you want to create some change in your life, do yourself a favour and get a copy of Dave’s book.

You can get an overview of its content and Dave’s philosophy of liminal thinking at liminalthinking.com.


Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle Action Plan – part 3

outofbalancewheelRebalancing priorities

Write down the steps you intend to take to get your life into balance.

It’s not uncommon for people focused on productivity in the workplace to find, when they look at the way they are allocating their time, that their lives are out of balance. Usually the problem is too great a focus on work at the expense of other areas in their lives.

If you picture the aspects of your life as making up the components of a wheel, the aim is to get all things into alignment so that your wheel will turn smoothly. Interestingly, getting things into balance actually makes it easier to be more productive at work.

Relationships

Think about this as you consider how you’re going to rebalance things in your life.

Significant other

Write down the steps you intend to take to maintain or improve the quality of your relationship with your significant other.

If you’re at the point where ending the relationship is your best option, then research the steps you need to take to do that and seek appropriate legal advice, especially if you’re ending a long term relationship or there are children involved.

If you’re looking to attract a significant other into your life, remember to consider Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas.

Children

If applicable, write down the steps you intend to take to maintain or improve the quality of your relationship with your children.

Family responsibilities

Write down your plan of action for dealing with any family responsibilities that need to be balanced with working.


Now that you’ve drawn up your Lifestyle Action Plan make a commitment to act on it. Go to your calendar and set up a monthly review date, just like you would for any other project, and regularly review your progress and update your plan.


I hope you have enjoyed reading and working with of the content planned for the opening chapters of Everyday Productivity.

Subscribe to Everyday Business Skills to download a FREE copy of the Lifestyle Self-Audit and Lifestyle Action Plan worksheets from the Everyday Productivity Workbook, and be the first to know when Everyday Productivity is available for purchase.

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Lifestyle Action Plan – part 2

slide2Money 

Write down the steps you intend to take to get your cash flow under control. At the very least, draw up a budget and decide what you will be spending your money on before you spend it. This is the reverse of the cash flow exercise you did.

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Spending 

If you live in a two income household, this step cannot be done alone. Before you start, discuss your money situation with your partner and work towards an agreed outcome. Once you have agreement, focus on reducing your discretionary spending to free up the cash required to reduce outstanding credit card debts.

When you have cleared your credit cards, start on a savings plan so that you’ll have the cash to pay for those discretionary items when you want to buy them.

Changing your eating habits might also help you save money, especially if you have been eating out a lot. Going home instead of going to those after work happy hours will also contribute some extra dollars to your bottom line.

Getting control of your cash flow requires self-discipline, and a preparedness to start over if you slip up. And, be realistic; allocate yourself or each partner an allowance to spend without having to account for it.

Income 

The other side of the money equation is income. Can you get a better paying job? Can you earn more in your current job by being more productive?

Is there a way you could earn some extra income on the side? If you have skills to share, consider offering a course on a site like Skillshare.com. The opportunities are out there.


Subscribe to Everyday Business Skills to download a FREE copy of the Lifestyle Self-Audit and Lifestyle Action Plan worksheets from the Everyday Productivity Workbook, and be the first to know when Everyday Productivity is available for purchase.

Subscribe


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle Action Plan – part 1

slide2An action plan is a list of steps designed to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

The most important part of any action plan comes after you compile it. It will be no more than a piece of paper with words on it unless you actually take action on the things you list in the plan.

Use a piece of paper, a journal or the template available in the Everyday Productivity Workbook to draw up your Lifestyle Action Plan, using the findings from your Lifestyle Self-Audit.


Subscribe to Everyday Business Skills to download a FREE copy of the Lifestyle Self-Audit and Lifestyle Action Plan worksheets from the Everyday Productivity Workbook, and be the first to know when Everyday Productivity is available for purchase.

Subscribe


Health and fitness

Write down the steps you intend to take to either maintain or improve your current level of health and fitness.

  • Exercise 

Be as realistic as possible. If you need to lose some weight, by all means set yourself a weight goal but don’t kid yourself you can do it in a few weeks. Go back and read some of those sites you found searching online for ‘body weight’ to help you work out a realistic time frame. If it’s a long time since you exercised regularly, start with walking for ten minutes a day instead of rushing off and joining the gym. We’re talking about establishing new habits. They take time.

  • Eating

If you don’t do the cooking in your household, discuss your plans with the cook. If you eat out or buy take away all the time, consider learning to cook or reverting to home cooked meals. Do some research online to get an understanding of what healthy eating looks like. Hint: fresh food figures in it a lot. If you have no idea when it comes to cooking, let me suggest a little book I wrote for guys living alone: Cooking 4 One. It’s about the basic processes. Cooking is not that difficult but, again, it’s a choice.

Looking after your brain chemistry

  • Alcohol
  • Recreational drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Medicines

If you want to be productive and to lead a healthy life, you’re not going to make it while you’re abusing your brain.

If you need to take action to address substance abuse, it will not be easy, and you will need to be honest enough with yourself to seek help.

  • Cigarettes 

If you want to give up smoking, type ‘smoking consciously’ into your search engine of choice for information on how you can quit.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books.  Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.