Category Archives: #PersonalDevelopment

9 Ways To Keep Sharp When Working Remotely

As many of us are working remotely currently, it create challenges to our previously normal work modes.

We’re not as able to enjoy the benefits work working in the office, being on the road or conducting business travel. Quick conversations, lunch break talks and walks, and the interpersonal connectedness aren’t as accessible when you’re at your home office.

And while working remotely has its advantages, it poses a share of challenges as well. Distractions, sedentary lifestyle and being too casual can prevent us form being our sharpest in a remote setting.

So to keep sharp here are 9 things you can do be at your best:

  • Have a plan. Before you start the day, have a definitive plan of what you will accomplish. Setting goals for tasks and your work will help you be productive.
  • Make a detailed schedule. Write what you’ll do each hour at a minimum. Schedule your calls, research and emails. Plan time for breaks. A written schedule helps keep you on track and eliminate those extra breaks or unproductive time slots that try to creep in.
  • Take a planned break. Make sure you schedule a chance to have a light lunch or break away from your desk for a time. The break will help you refresh and regenerate from the increased screen time and information overload.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s easy to go the other way and not take care of yourself physically. The most important thing is to drink plenty of water and not get bogged down with those extra snack breaks that are too convenient to take.
  • Eliminate distractions. Children. Pets. That stress ball on your desk. Lots of items can interrupt your thought, a video call, or your schedule. Lay ground rules for your home and yourself to ensure your work and interaction with others remotely is not compromised.
  • Dress appropriately. It’s easy to be casual working form home and that’s alright. However, keep in mind that a more casual attire might translate to a more casual work effort. Stay dressed no more than a level below what you would casually wear in normal working circumstances. Conversely, if you have an important call or day, dress up a level above casual to ensure you come across more professionally.
  • Stretch. Being hunched over your keyboard and desk for a full day. A good stretching regimen both in your chair and getting up during your breaks will relax your muscles and increase blood flow to your brain.
  • Take a walk. Just like you would during a normal break at the office building, a walk can afford you some fresh air and exercise. It will refresh you, clear your mind, and burn off some calories to offset the extra sitting.
  • Have an end time for the day. Working at home can blur the lines of work-life balance even further, especially if you are doing so for an extended time period. While you discipline your day to avoid distractions from home into your work, you’ll need to do likewise. It is more easier to work longer hours when you’re remote for a time. Give yourself a definitive end time that’s reasonable. If needed, spend the last 20 to 30 minutes of your day to write your goals for the next day, finish emails and be ready to start the next day with a plan.

While working remotely is a modern privilege, even in these challenging days, it can create some solid habits that can serve you well in remote or normal circumstances.

Make the most of your new work environment. Create your day to make the biggest impact on those whom you serve in your job.

(image: pixabay)

Where Are You Growing?

Regardless of whether times are good or bad, there is always a charge for a leader to grow their business, audience, sales or position.

When times are good we want, or are asked to, make more, get more, increase more. During difficult times, the pressure often increases to not lose stock price, market share, or your position.

In both challenging and prosperous times, where do these charges leave a leader in their personal growth? It seems that almost always the pressure is so prevalent to perform to metrics that leaders many times forget to look to grow the most important thing, themselves.

Organizational priorities can divert focus away from where a leader should be developing the most – their whole self.

So where, and how, are we growing?

There are different focuses and areas that are unique to each individual and each person’s gifts, desires and needs will vary. While not an exhaustive list, think about where you need to go in your personal and professional life to grow better.

  • Industry Knowledge – What are you learning about your industry? Not just as it applies to your company, but to the market in general, your niche, your customers, the economy and other ancillary and connected industries.
  • Technology – Our age is filled with technological marvels. Some may apply professionally such as SaaS and CRM solutions. Others apply to your personal life like IoT appliances and smartwatches. And others are just cool gadgets like drones and 3D printing.
  • Finances – Are you learning how to manage your money and investments better? How to gift for community organizations and non-profits? How to be even sharper with living debt-free and having the wherewithal to withstand economic downturns? Learning more about money should be on everyone’s list to learn.
  • Leadership – There are so many places to grow your leadership and be more positively influential not in your company, but in the community, your church and most importantly, your family. Use the tools available to you through books, podcasts, webinars and other tools that we are privileged to have access to today.
  • Mentally – How are you providing mental stimulation that enables you to grow? Reading, learning and watching are the usual go to mediums, but also being able to engage your brain through home projects, puzzles and games, and listening to music that allows you to think and process.
  • Physically – Do you break up your long days by going for a walk, or starting your days off by working out? Eating right, drinking water, proper breathing and exercise are ways to grow physically, and help you mentally.
  • Emotionally – Happiness is a great value, but being content and being at peace are even more critical to your overall growth and well-roundedness. If you find yourself growing in contentment and peace, thankful for what you have if nothing else is gained, then you will discover a development path along an area that eludes most people.
  • Spiritually – Focusing on your faith and serving others in your faith community are huge development areas that we often neglect. Spending more time examining your belief and discovering the truth can be quite refreshing for honing a true perspective on yourself and the world.
  • Community – Giving of time and knowledge will create a satisfaction of contributing and feeling that is more valuable than just giving financially. Although monetary contributions can assist greatly, the person who gives of themselves as an individual usually finds that they grow both their community and themselves in ways that finances cannot.
  • Socially – Connectedness to others is the great antidote to not feeling emotionally isolated or inferior. Whether in-person or online, being able to converse and connect with people with fun as well as serious conversations is what makes us human and stronger as a society.
  • Recreationally – Taking the time to pursue your hobbies and passions is key for resetting yourself and relieving stress. Some of your hobbies may still be professional based (like research and writing), while others can be purely for fun, such as riding horses. Allowing yourself the time to let up and have some fun contributes to your physical, mental and emotional growth as well.

Leaders many times forget to look to grow the most important thing, themselves.

Many of our areas can have an overlap with others. For instance, growing in a community area in your life may also impact the social, recreational, mental, physical and emotional components as well.

While we need to be unselfish and remember we’re not the most important person in the room at any given time, we do need to understand how the magnified impact of growing ourselves can be beneficial to so many other people. Rather than just keeping our focus on gaining position, stature and wealth, we will find that growing in areas that serve others always has a more profound way of developing and improving our world from the inside out.

Find what direction you need to grow in and follow those routes to a destination that impacts others.

(image: pixabay)

3 Levels of Leadership Self-Awareness

Self-awareness in leadership can be an elusive pursuit.

Great leaders show an awareness of themselves and how it impacts others around them in and outside their organization, whether it is in their industry, the business world at large, or their personal lives.

When it comes to self-awareness, most people would claim you either have it or you don’t. While this is true, those that are self-aware come in varying degrees. Understanding the levels of self-awareness can help leaders know their current state and how they can develop from there.

Having an awareness and desire to improve is always the measure of the best in leadership.

The 3 levels of Self-Awareness are:

  • Aware But Don’t Care. These types of leaders know about their general behavior, but either don;t see or don’t care that their behaviors impact others. They ignore there is anything wrong and don’t admit there is any opportunity for development. Usually leaders on this level are somewhat ignorant they have areas to grow while having a general base knowledge that they exist. They are like a person who knows they need exercise but never pursues any steps towards getting in shape and never thinks about it consciously either.

  • Aware But Justify Behavior. This level is comprised of people who won’t change their actions and attitudes. These leaders know full well of their shortcomings and how they impact others, but often resort to “That’s just who I am!” or “I can’t operate like that.” “Can’ts” in their vocabulary are actually “won’ts”. They sometimes hide behind a guise of being authentic to defend their behaviors. At the end of the day, these are leaders who will not make an effort to enhance their leadership style to maximize the impact to those around them.

  • Aware To Make Needed Changes. Leaders who have attained this level not only are aware of the need to make changes, they desire to make those changes to develop into a more impactful and influential leader. They not only possess a keen sense of others macro- and micro-reactions to their actions, but also have a true passion to grow and enhance their skills. In addition, these leaders tend to be true servant leaders, focused on others instead of self, and how they can better attune their style to meet the needs of the people in their organization.

The more one progresses through the different levels of self-awareness to a true state of making needed changes, the better impact they will have on their organization, their teams, and themselves as well.

Having an awareness and desire to improve is always the measure of the best in leadership.

How can you become more self-aware and genuinely make needed change?

(image: pixabay)

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