January 2, 2018No Comments

3 Tips How to ensure your next day will be productive?

How many times have you thought about the next day ‘’it’s going to be difficult’’? I do have that sometimes, but there are 3 tricks that help me keeping such a day intact.

 

  1. Plan your day the night before.

I cannot stress that one more. Especially when you know there are important or stressful things to be done the following day. By making the plan the night before, you will not only sleep better but also wake up with focus and save all that time you’d waste on getting yourself together in the morning. A simple to do list in a correct order would do. However, you may want to wait for the next post on how to use your calendar most effectively, coming soon. (follow us on social media to stay updated)

 

  1. Develop a morning routine.

It may seem trivial but morning routine helps us minimize reactivity and set our minds on productive mode. Remember that our cognitive functions of the brain are scarce and depleting with every decision we have to make. Knowing how the first 60min of your day looks like will help you avoid small decision-making and therefore avoid decision fatigue. Every choice you give yourself in the morning – what to wear, what to eat, drink juice of coffee, makes your brain more tired.

 

Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. (Roy F. Baumeister)

 

You do not need to follow a minute-by-minute plan and beat yourself up every time you skip a thing. I, for instance, keep a habit tracker. I do not plan my routine in time so that if I sleep 5 or 10 min longer sometimes, I do not get up with a thought of already being delayed. We all know it’s hardly possible to have mornings like in movies where a parent has enough time in the morning to read a book, go for a run, take a nice shower and then eat and chat over the breakfast with the whole family STILL BEFORE leaving for work.

 

I know that every day after waking up I’ll exercise than a quick shower and finally breakfast. These are my ‘must do’ activities. There is also a list of ‘good to do’ things that include: quick grocery shopping, going for a run, drink a fresh juice, meditate. I do admit, I don’t do that always, but having it as ‘good to do’ instead of ‘must do’ puts my mind at ease and I don’t have to think of what to do with my additional time on more productive mornings.

 

  1. Eat your frog first.

That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Well, the frog is the most stressful or difficult thing that you do not look forward to. Why should you start your day with that then? Well, most difficult things give us the most satisfaction when completed. Even when some other things will not go as planned during your day, you will still feel that at least this one big thing is off your mind. In contrast, when you leave eating the frog until the last minute, you expose yourself to the whole day of thinking about it, more stress and actually doing it when you are least productive. Remember I mentioned that cognitive functions of the brain are scarce?

December 28, 2017No Comments

How to optimise your goals for 2018?

How was it with me?

I’ve been making New Year’s resolutions since I was 11. It’s always been an exciting task, especially that I could free my mind and imagine I was capable of anything. Well, that’s how I ended up with a goal ‘speak 7 languages fluently’ in 10 consecutive years as ‘pending’. Did you know that only 8% of people achieve their goals? One of the reasons is that we underestimate the time needed to achieve something – 7 languages in one year? Of course! While being a business coach, I have learnt that sometimes there is a deeply hidden reason for wanting so much in so little time.

Other reasons why we fail:

  • setting ‘’other people’s goals’’
  • setting negative goals
  • not tracking our progress
  • focusing on too many goals at once

I bet a lot of you is familiar with the concept of SMART goals and even though it’s a very good and simple concept, I’d like to show you a different way of ensuring your goals are optimal.

New concept

REACH (Relevant – Enriching – Achievable – Challenging – Hot) is an approach that prioritizes the alignment between your values, needs and a goal. We should choose a goal that is based on something important to you, that gives you the sense of fulfilment, that does not scare or stress you, yet makes you feel you’re progressing and finally that is urgent to you.

Setting personal and professional goals should not be separated. We’ve always been taught to draw a line between work and family life, yet when it comes to goals it is important to take a holistic approach. We may have two separate lives (work and personal) but in the end, it is just one organism. Follow these 5 steps to maximise the potential to REACH your goals in 2018.

I am sure you are able to do it on your own. For those who need a hand, you can consider coaching. Here at Creative Brain Academy, we specialise in women leadership and business coaching, yet there are many coaches out there (a post ''HOW-TO choose the best coach for me'' is coming soon). And if that is what you need, visit our page Creative Brain Academy & book the first session for free.

So, here we go.

STEP 1. Ask yourself: What makes me happy? | What makes me proud? | What are my dreams? Note 3-5 things in each category.

STEP 2. List 3 core values you believe in.

STEP 3. Draw a circle or print Figure 1 from this article. It's a very popular coaching exercise that allows us to establish what is current reality. Split the circle into 6 or 8 parts. Name each part by sector of your life that is important to YOU. Sample names: children, my husband, my health, promotion at work, self-development, etc. As you can see on Figure 1, each section is divided in 10 levels. Now, take a moment and score yourself on each of the categories you named by asking yourself: On a scale 1 to 10 where I am right now in terms of getting the promotion? Mark the lines as on Figure 2. After going through each section connect the levels and see the holistic picture of where you are now (example Figure 3).

Figure 1

Figure 2                                                                    Figure 3

STEP 4. Take a different colour of a pen. Imagine you’re at the end of 2018. How would the matrix look like? Draw the lines with a new colour and put the matrix away for a moment.

 

STEP 5. Think about your needs. What is needed for you to move these levels up? Do not draw an action plan! Think deeper. You may get inspired by these examples: balance, recognition, pleasure, discipline, acceptance, sense of belonging. List 5 needs starting from the most urgent to the least urgent.

 

STEP 6. Look back at your notes. Try to get a better picture of yourself.

  • How do your values, dreams and needs relate?
  • Will fulfilling the needs help you move toward achieving your dreams?
  • How do your values, dreams and needs relate to the current matrix? What makes it important to improve each category?
  • What do the notes tell you about yourself?

 

STEP 7. Time to draft the goals. With the insights you got, draft 3 goals for 2018. Do you have to have 3? Well, that’s of course up to you, but remember that focusing on too many may make it too demanding and you’ll be more prompted to give up, whereas having too little may not be challenging enough.

 

STEP 8. Finally, proof-read the goals.

  • Make sure they are relevant to your needs, stay true to your values and contribute to your dreams.
  • Will achieving them will make you feel good?
  • How much time, realistically, you need to get each of them done? It’s good to include the deadline for the goal.
  • Do you feel your goal is HOT – urgent to YOU, so that you will not be postponing it forever

Now, when your goals are set, you may want to break them down in an action plan that defines key milestones to achieve them. When deciding on milestones for yearly goals, from personal experience I can tell you it’s practical to divide them per month or quarterly. That way, it’s easier to track your progress. Being too specific and planning weekly or God forbid daily will never work, as life is not perfect and there are so many things that are changing, so don’t over plan.

Last but not least, think ahead of what can stop you and be prepared. Get a mentor (a friend, a person you look up to, a family member) or a coach that will help you on your way. When setting goals may feel easy for you, having someone on your side during the process can be crucial, as remember that it is a self-reflection that allows us to create sustainable change and sometimes it's hard to notice things about ourselves that other spot right away.

 

What can a coach help me with?

Use the table below to organize your goals.

Goal & deadline Support person What I have to achieve this goal What I need to achieve this goal What can stop me on my way How will I address that difficulty

 

Hope it's been helpful. Leave your comment if you have any thoughts about that topic, let me know how it worked out for you and if you liked it, please share it to your social media networks!

Mary