Category Archives: Blog

Time Management – Efficiency

Certain people are able accomplish many

things while others are unproductive to say the least!

Why do some habitually hit their goals while others are unable to accomplish things or do so at a slow, frustrating pace?  What contributes to the difference?

What do we do with the time we have?

An important component of productivity is time management.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day,  7 days in a week, it is how we use them that makes the difference!

Many people seem frozen by the agenda of things to accomplish and talk about all they have to do but never make a dent in the ‘pile’.  Can we increase our productivity?

The good news is we can all improve our productivity by managing our time, a precious resource that must be tightly controlled.

Three O’s

I witness three areas preventing or inhibited productivity on a daily basis – Over Thinking, Over Blabbing and good Old fashioned Procrastination.

Many people put themselves in the circle of Paralysis by Over Analysis.   They over think the task at hand, wasting precious time thinking of the best way and every conceivable consequence. I am not suggesting you recklessly pursue action but if you aren’t building rockets or working with nuclear materials, make a reasonable assessment and get t0 work.  Stop over analyzing and take action.

Incessant Talking – We are a culture of chatters.  Communication is essential but there is a limit to the amount of time we frit away discussing a task at hand and about totally unrelated subjects.  Two areas of blabbing  to be dealt with.  First, if related to the task at hand, put a time limit (for most subjects 5 minutes) on discussion.  For meetings large or small, require that the participants stand. Don’t let anyone get comfortable.  As for unrelated, ‘small talk’ ban it entirely until the in box is empty!

Procrastination – First be honest with yourself, face the fact you are putting off doing something meaningful with menial diversions.  It then truly comes down to focusing, blocking out your tendencies to avoid doing something difficult, and getting down to work.

The common thread here is simply to take action!  Don’t let another day fly by without doing what you need or would like to get done.

I have an article coming out that will give you actual tos and ideas to increase your productivity.  The ideas work and are applicable to the work environment and in your personal life.

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Social Science Experiment Is Over

Somewhere along the way we lost ourselves. We no longer demanded that you act responsibly, work and civilly participate in society.

No One to Blame but Ourselves

We looked the other way, selfishly enjoying ourselves, while ignoring our responsibilities to parent and teach.  We didn’t set expectations for those dependent on us and attempt to manage the results.  We needed to instill core family values and discipline them, instead, we threw money at problems and poverty and went our merry way. You see it is much harder to do the tough work to form behaviors than to buy them and our conscious off.

We gave things without requiring anything for it.  They had no skin in the game, why are we surprised they feel entitled?

Different kind of Ellis Island

We also compounded our problems with newer immigrants.

What a difference a generation makes!  When millions flocked to our shores for a better life, they toiled hard at work and even harder at becoming Americans.  They learned the language and assimilated quickly.  It was not an abdication of who they were, they still practice their customs and cultures, but realized and desired to be a part of something bigger – AMERICA!  Their contributions are legendary and a reason prospered into a beacon for the underclass around the world.

Newcomers to America are accommodated to such a large degree that they have no incentive to learn English and integrate into our society and culture.  Thinking we’d make it easier for them led to neighborhoods filled with signage in other languages and children unable to learn in school because they didn’t know English, resulting in tremendous disaffection.  (Interestingly, Arizona, now maligned for its immigration policy, actually mandated that children be taught in their native language and ‘imported’ Spanish speaking teachers from Mexico!  It proved to be a colossal failure as Spanish speaking children performed even more poorly.)

Disastrous Results

This disaffection and resentment manifested itself in many ways but some recent events like the riots in England are ringing alarm bells.   In short, we need to turn course quickly in order to have a chance at changing the tide.

In order for a democracy to survive and prosper it needs the far majority of its people participating.  We cannot have the outrageous amounts of folks we have now living off the government!  Fiscal disaster that it is, it is just not sustainable for democracy.

We must make the distinction between those who are unable to take care of themselves and those who are simply unwilling.  Safety nets for legitimate, verifiable reasons should be maintained.  Other programs dealing with poverty must be managed with an eye to outcomes.  If it does not change behavior, leading to independence, it should be changed until it does.  If you get something (Sickness and aged etc aside) from the government or society you should be required to do something. Is there a legitimate reason, that those getting a year or two of unemployment checks not be required to gain a new skill to be employed (or clean a park?) as a condition of getting the check?

Nothing less than the very fabric of our society is at stake.  We need ideas and action now!

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Gratitude – Essential to Happiness and Peace

Gratitude is the Right Attitude

Simply acknowledging things to be thankful for is real a game changer. You will surprise yourself with how your outlook and attitude will improve when you recognize and practice this happiness tool.

I am not an advocate of the ‘It could be worse’ crowd as a way for making you feel good that others are in worse shape.  It takes less energy to remind yourself of the good stuff in your life rather than comparing your lot in life with others.

You are guaranteed to be much happier and peaceful.

“Gratitude is the best attitude.”  ~Author Unknown

Practice Being Thankful

There are no shortages of things to be grateful for.  The problem is we take so much for granted that we overlook them.

You need to be conscious of the good things in your life!

We tend to acknowledge things, like health, only when there is a problem.  How about starting the day thankful you feel good? (Okay, after a few cups of coffee!)

You can see, smell, talk, walk etc.  No small thing at all and it starts the day off in the right frame of mind.

On your way to work or play, take notice of the sun, clouds, trees, flowers, snow.. (opps, went overboard there!)  Being aware of and thankful of nature’s role in our world has a calming effect on our lives.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

People In Our Lives

Gratitude is a sure relationship builder or saver.

We have many people in our lives, at times they may cause us angst or put a demand upon us.  It is important to balance this ‘heavy’ side of relationships with the other side of it.

First off, no one is perfect, rather than harping on the things a person may do that irritate us, remind yourself of all the good attributes a person may have and be thankful for them.  You will find that the exercise elevates the relationship dramatically and the annoyance factor dissipating.

It IS the Little Things!

Be thankful for little things, we tend to focus on negative things, which create negative vibes. I am sure we all have arrived at work complaining about the traffic, but did we ever use the time to think not of everything we need to get done that day but on someone we love, some pursuit we enjoy, a recent accomplishment….

Being grateful insulates us from the tendency the culture has towards negativity and the focus on what we do not have.

We must practice being grateful and happy with what already have rather than get pulled into the message that we need this and that to be happy.  You will find that being grateful actually enhances your  joy and growth opportunities.

Do it as soon as you finish this article and drop me a line on your thoughts.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”  ~Epictetus

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Why be Loyal? Key to Relationships

Key to Relationships and Happiness 

Loyalty can be expressed in many forms, to a brand, company, family or person.

We hear people professing their loyalty to products or brands,  “I only shop at Saks” or “I’m hooked on Apple” etc. but the most important expression of loyalty is the type shown to other people.

Being loyal to others is a fundamental ingredient to having integrity.  You simply cannot have integrity by acting in self interest.

False professions

Often times we profess our loyalty but abandon others  whenever that loyalty comes with a cost to ourselves.  People make promises and commitments to others but break them.

This evidences a total lack of loyalty.  At times legitimate issues prevent us from honoring a committment. Thats ok as long as we take the time to explain the reason we can’t live up to our commitments.  We all know people who always have ready excuses but anyone who contiually disappoints another lacks loyalty and integrity.

Dependable

We need to be loyal to our friends and families who need and rely on us, if only for support or company.

Even when some other opportunity presents itself we must keep our commitment. That is the ultimate expression of loyalty, putting yourself behind the needs or expectation of someone else.

Its central to your integrity and connected directly to unselfishness.

Believe it or not it is personally rewarding to honor your commitments!

Loyal to a Fault

As with most things there can be a downside to loyalty when we remain blindly loyal to someone to their detriment.  Protecting some one under the guise of loyalty when their behavior is destructive is unacceptable.

In that case true loyalty and love would demand that we stop enabling and approving of the behavior and help them seek the help they need.

Don’t Break the Trust

Can you be trusted with loyalty? Can you be counted on?

Loyalty –  the elixir for healthy relationships!

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Copy Cat with a Twist – Improve Rather than Innovate

Be A Copy Cat

Originality is a sure fire way to achieve success.

Problem is it can be tough to be original; inventing a new product or idea.

It’s far easier to improve an existing product or idea.

In fact, most success is nothing more than a twist on something already in the marketplace.

Its so obvious, yet we always spend time trying to create something new when the answer is the natural progression of improvement.

Even Entire Nations Do It.

Taking the idea of tweaking an existing product to new level are some national economies who have used this principle to raise their standards of living.

In the early 1970’s Japan began to send their electronic products and autos to the USA.  They were not very good at the time and we tended to call it Jap Crap!

But they kept at it, working to tweak products and the cost structure to produce them and their focus was rewarded quickly.

Japan become an economic power house by improving products already in the market place.  They did not truly innovate, just improved products and processes of manufacture, even focusing on the supply chain to shorten times and inventory levels to get an edge.

As their success grew, they did begin to invest in innovation but the bulk of their success is clearly not creative.

Pure Copy Cat

China at this point has been a copy cat, as most developing nations tend to be. They use their low labor costs to copy and manufacture products others have created or designed.

They have not done much improvement, with most of the engineering and design work is still done in the USA.  At some point soon they will need to create improvement ideas and add some level of innovation as their cost benefits erode.

IPAD IPOD

Apple created two smashing successes with digital music players and tablet computers. But they didn’t create the categories!

They created elegant, user friendly devices that became must haves by vastly improving the existing players and tablets in the marketplace.

You don’t have to go as far as Apple has to get a leg up!

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Success – Beg, Borrow and Steal

Why try reinvent the wheel?

We live in time where innovation is highly coveted and richly rewarded.  Everyone dreams of coming up with something new and hitting it big. The problem is that ground breaking ideas and implementation are very difficult and rare.

I am not speaking of giving up the pursuit of innovation but in support of gains that are easier to attain.

Easy Pickings

Opportunity to make improvements that produce tangible results are all over the place.

Put pride aside, in this case only, to learn from others who have proven strategies and processes.

“Beg”

There are leaders in every segment of life and business.  We should be open to learning from them.

Seek them out,  they have developed best practises and benefit from them as a result.  Most people are open to sharing and helping others.  Think of how much progress is made in the software area with the open systems available for all to contribute!

“Borrow or Steal”

We need to ‘borrow’ their best ideas and practices.

There is no shame in using ideas that others have developed, its a basic tenet of learning.

We can also learn from the mistakes they make, helping us to avoid mis-steps.

If people are unwilling to help, sharing their strategies or practices, then we must “elbow” them in ourselves.  We can research what sucessful competitors do, check with their suppliers and clients to get a sense of how they operate.

Study the habits of sucessful people or people who have a skill we desire. We can emulate their behavior and gain from it.

Open your eyes and ears, asking questions and implementing winning strategies!

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Achieve Success with Lessons Re-learned!

Lessons to Achieve Success

Success is achievable, you can really do anything!

A previous blog

http://danpetrosini.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/confidence-self-esteem-contd/,  explained how breaking your goal down into achievable sections, and building on those sections leads to success and confidence.

Reinforcement

A key component of learning and developing a new skill is reinforcement.  Doing something over and over until you  get it. Sounds logical enough and guaranteed to work!

But you also must use the learning ‘tools’ that apply to the skill desired.  They are called the fundamentals!

Remember the fundamentals and re-visit methods of learning that maybe specific to what you are doing!

We tend to Forget

A recent experience of mine own while learning was revealing.reinforcing the importance of taking it slow, breaking the challenge down.

Faced with a imposing challenge, I became intimidated by the difficulty of the task presented. It seemed I was trying to learn something that just seemed way to advanced had me down.

I had bought into the negative, I can’t do this mentality when I was reminded me to take it slow.

Incredibly simple advise from a friend worked immediately and boosts your confidence.

We Want to Rush it!

Slowing things down, breaking the challenge into parts will make any task easier, here is an example to help illustrate this point-

If trying to hit a baseball at a batting cage, don’t go into the fastest one,  start with the slowest, get acclimated and then move into the next highest and do the same.  It may take a day or week but you will soon be able to hit the fastest!

If two people put the same time into learning how to hita baseball thrown at 60 miles an hour, one who jumped right into the 60 mile an hour cage and the other who progressed from the 20 miles to the 40 then 60 mile an hour cage, who would learn quickest and with the least frustration??

Here are a few more quick examples-

Runners training for a race or marathon, never go full speed the first times out. They gradually increase the speed and length till they find the mazimum speed they can run at and still finish.

Would you teach your child to drive by getting on the highway first day out?

Remember to keep whatever you are doing at a pace you can actually do it.

Lesson Re-learned

Being reminded to slow it down was a revelation in way,  I relearned a critical covenant of success, break the task or challenge down and take it at a proper pace.

I am glad to have been reminded and to share that how to approach a challenge and succeed, is by sticking with the fundamentals!

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Pride? We have lost it!

Its Obvious

We encounter scores of people in our day to day lives who seem to have no pride in what they do.  Their lack of pride contributes to shoddy, uninspired performance and dulls our lives.

Without spirited, caring interaction in our daily lives we are less joyful and productive.

Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost our sense of cheeriness and pride. How did we lose these vital traits?

The Culture is at fault!

A major factor is allowing others to define who we are.  This is crazy!  Why allow society to judge whether something you do is ‘good enough’?

Today’s culture has a misplaced value system that reveres anyone, no matter how nuts, on TV, in sports or with wealth. (need I mention many of these ‘stars’ lead irresponsible, trouble filled lives?)

By this twisted, flawed definition we undermine every other vocation, including parents who stay at home to raise their children.

The brutal fact is that focusing on what others do or have dooms you to unhappiness.

What’s the alternative?

How about taking some pride in what we do?

There is no absolutely no reason to be embarrassed by what we do, unless we do it poorly!

Just think of the impact someone who may simply be working behind a counter at a deli can have.  If they are upbeat and engaging and anxious to do their job as well as possible,  both parties are uplifted.  Contrast that with those we may know whose negative, sloppy style leave us disgusted.

In reality it does not mater what you do, even if society deems it menial.

They are many examples of the impact we have on each other that can go both ways.  Even interacting on the telephone where you can be drawn into negativity or surprised when a stranger treats us well and resolves an issue.

Conducting ourselves and our activities with a sense of pride and a positive attitude is the answer.

Whatever you do, do it well, with gusto and a sense of pride.  Don’t be pulled into the mentality that “they aren’t paying me enough to do this’ or “it doesn’t make a difference” or I’m just an xyz”

Taking pride in what you do is essential to your self esteem and happiness.

Intimidated?

Why do we feel the need to shield information or position situations?  Its natural to try to make ourselves look good but some things are really silly and add ‘weight’ to our lives.

Why do we feel the need to make excuses for say a child that does make or choose to go to an “a” type college?  Why do we need to say “this is only temporary I took this until something else comes up’  Its fine as long as while you are there you do it well!

Caution – the Flip Side

There is a downside to having too much pride or ego.

It can cause us to think we are better than others, preventing real engagement with others.  It can prevent us from taking on ajob or responsibility, thinking we are too good to do something.

An Easy Fix!

Conducting yourself with pride is easy to master.  It may take a little practice, reminding yourself at times, but feeling good about yourself and what you do will also make your outlook brighter!

Life’s a journey towards your goals, you won’t get there in a flash and make many ‘stops’ along the way, so you must make the best of it to enjoy it.

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Ezine Author Award

Just a quick blast to share the news I was

awarded an Expert Author Award from Ezine!

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Breakfast of Champions or Food Poison? Feedback Can Crush or Build Confidence

Words are powerful

Criticism or Feedback are powerful.  We all know the term constructive criticism, the problem is we rarely practice it.  Its unfortunate, as criticism is necessary to grow in any endeavor.

Breakfast of Champions or Food Poisoning?

Proper feedback from a coach, teacher, friend, co-worker, client etc is an invaluable tool to improvement.  If the feedback is given constructively and and delivered in a caring manner, the recipient will incorporate it, using the suggestion to achieve their goals.  This type of criticism is what has been called the Breakfast of Champions.  Those open to constructive criticism ‘eat’ the feedback and improve!     Those that shut it out, struggle or fail, its that essential!

On the other hand, criticism can be poisonous.  Belittling, negative feedback is unquestionably destructive!  Sorry, but even if it is well intended and meant to help, it hurts!  Very few people are truly motivated by being humiliated.  We must ‘restrain’ our judgmental tendencies and craft our interaction in a way that is helpful.  Just think how nice a world this would be if we can give and receive this type of support.

Why good teachers/rare impact

Invariably, anyone who achieves a level of accomplishment in anything, 9sports, arts, business, etc.0  has had a memorable teacher, coach, mentor or guide.

The impact they have in nurturing a pursuit cannot be overstated.  The feedback they dispense is always framed positively,  meant to support the individual on their journey.  Good deliverers balance the criticism, offering praise for any progress, no matter how small, while pointing to an area for improvement they know is within reach.

This is not to suggest that it is ok to mislead and be dishonest, but to recognize that people have different skill sets and learn at different paces. The key here is for the coach/teacher to determine that the person has the drive and will to do what is needed to achieve reasonable goals and working alongside, support their pursuit.

Do we enjoy judging?

The flip side is judgmental dismissal!  It seems many people relish in the harsh put down of others, cloaking it as criticism or being ‘real’

Pure nonsense, that type of poisonous feedback not only disheartens but also erodes a person’s self esteem and confidence.

In some cases it causes a backlash, where a receiver shuts out the feedback and gives rise to animosity towards the person giving it.

Look for the positive

No one is an expert out of the box.  We need to look for the positive aspects of a person’s endeavor, even if its just their effort or interest, and praise that. Then we can craft ‘suggestions’ about how to improve, mindful of the damage or help it can render.

Try thinking of parenting as the ultimate feedback machine, it may help to soften the criticism we render.

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