Monthly Archives: October 2012

Recent US Study on Telecommuting

By | Business Strategy, Lifestyle Design | No Comments

It still surprises me the number of managers and employers I come across who carry the mindset of “if I can’t see it, I can’t manage it”. But without launching into another crazed, over-impassioned tirade about how online collaboration technologies have come so far, more environmentally friendly, more economical (blah-blah-blah)… here’s a great info graphic of a study done in the US which looks at some of the benefits of a healthy balance between working from home and working from the office.

The following are some of the key benefits which I personally found quite interesting:

  • The US could save 1/3 of it’s yearly oil imports
  • Each person could save on average 109 hours in travel time
  • Telecommuters suffer on average 25% less stress … (not sure how they quantified that one)
  • 3 out of 4 people said they ate healthier when working from home
  • Which all translates into happier, more productive employees!

… cost savings, better quality of life, happier and healthier people, AND increased productivity. Sounds like a no-brainer right??

Top 10 Tips for Time Management and Curbing Distractions

By | Lifestyle Design, Personal Development | No Comments

Long gone are the days where if someone wanted to contact you, they had to pick up the telephone and give you a call. These days it’s all about email, Facebook messaging, Google+, Twitter posts, Text messages – not to mention the countless on-line chat applications (Skype, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo)… and that’s only looking at the communication channels in your life!

Now lets throw in a few to-do lists (that’s right, plural – I’m sure you’ve all got multiple lists of stuff you need to get done), some personal goals, work commitments and of course all your other responsibilities around the house such as paying bills, chores etc… and before you know it you’re completely overwhelmed and your productivity slows down to a proverbial crawl as you’re frantically switching between tasks to try and get it all done!

Well there are things you can do to regroup, reprioritize and get your life back under control again. For those who haven’t already downloaded their copy, I’ve got a great eBook on Goal Mastery on my Facebook page which offers some terrific (and well established) goal-setting strategies that you can use to bring back your bigger picture objectives back into focus again. Define these life goals first so you know what your real priorities are, then follow my Top 10 Tips for Time Management (below) to regain control of your day-to-day tasks, so you can stop merely treading water and start to move forward again:

  1. Remove Clutter in your life – it’s incredible how when you clean up your surroundings, it subconsciously also cleans up the clutter (and distractions) in your mind.
  2. Switch off your email – Each time that notification popup draws your eye away from your work, your mind wonders off with it also. If you can compress your daily emails to 1 hour at most, you’ll achieve so much more during the rest of your day.
  3. Multi-task can be the enemy – sometimes it’s good just to focus on one task, and one task only and see it through to completion.
  4. Prioritize – Order to your to-do list so that the important things are the ones you target first.
  5. Know Thy Self – Some people work better in the mornings, others are more productive late into the night. Work out when your body’s peak performance period is, then organise your to-do list around that.
  6. Meetings and Appointments – Further to the item above, don’t schedule meetings or external appointments during your peak performance period (unless it’s a job interview)
  7. Schedule external appointments during off-peak periods – not just referring to your body’s peak periods, but this also applies to any kind of peak-hour period such as morning traffic or lunch times. By getting to the bank even 15 minutes before the 12-2pm lunch time, you’ll be straight in and out with minimal time wasted in queues.
  8. Reward Achievements – Don’t let your life become 100% about completing work tasks. Aside from being extremely un-motivational, you’ll only end up burning yourself out. So remember to make sure that self-time is on your to-do list, and take the occasional well earned break to recharge, regroup and refocus on your next priority.
  9. Block out time – If you schedule it in, then you’re committed to getting it done (or at very least make some good progress toward completing it)
  10. Out Source! – Possibly the most powerful time on this post. Learn to leverage other people’s time to achieve your own goals. Whether it be an individual task (such as getting your kids to take out the garbage, or mow the lawn) or hiring someone to take care of your ironing. Ask yourself, what your time is worth to you – and if it works out cheaper to hire someone else to do that task, then you’re ultimately saving time, and your sanity!

For more great tips on lifestyle design, personal development and business strategy, visit my Facebook page and click “LIKE” to have these posts stream directly into your news feed!

Top 10 Traits of a Master Business Networkers

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Like any proactive business-minded person, I devote a considerable portion of my time toward the cultivation and nurturing of strategic business networks. To share some insights into art of Business networking, I’ve come across a video by Ivan Misner who heads up one of the world’s largest networking organisations, BNI (Business Networkers International), who describes the top 10 characteristics possessed by successful networkers, which I thought I’d share with you:

Some of the key points he raises are that business networking is more about farming, rather than hunting. The objective being to cultivate relationships with other business professionals as opposed to simply sourcing and consuming.

Top 10 Traits of a Master Networker

10. They Actively Work their Network

  • Manage contacts with contact management software – use online software such as to manage your database of contacts
  • Organise emails – take a structured approach to storing client correspondence
  • Carry referral partners business cards – never miss an opportunity to pass a referral, because by thinking of your referrals they’ll want to refer to you in exchange
  • Make Appointments to get better acquainted – within the BNI circles these are called Dance cards, where you make an hour a week to meet up with one of your contacts to learn more about their business, so you know what their best referrals are

9. Sincerity

  • Convey sincerity – be genuine in your interactions.
  • Offer undivided attention – aside from just being courteous, you’ll learn more if you pay attention!

8. Enjoys Helping Others

  • Keep eyes and ears open to advance other people’s interests – on a more selfish note too, by having a large network of people you can refer to makes you look VERY well connected in the business social circles.

7. Gratitude

  • Thank people for the help they’ve given – this tells your referrers that you recognize and acknowledge the work they’ve done to help grow your business
  • Builds to cultivation of relationships – through appreciation of other people’s work you develop closer relationships

6. Network ALWAYS.

  • Never off-duty. Everything is an opportunity to network – be interested in other people’s business and lives, as you never know when the next big opportunity is hiding!

5. Good Listening Skills

  • How well we can listen and learn – of particularly interest are any comments made which present gaps or dissatisfactions in people’s lives, as these often present golden opportunities to pass referrals
  • The better a listener you are, then faster you can build a valuable relationships

4. Be Trustworthy

  • Must be able to trust your referral partner – the ultimate objective in cultivating professional networks is the development of trust. Trust in both your products and services, but also more importantly trust in you as an individual.
  • You’ll never be referred if you can’t be trusted to handle that referral well. People’s referral of you is an extension of their trust with the referee, so ALWAYS remember to follow up promptly on any referrals and ensure you uphold that trust with both your referral and referrer.

3. Enthusiasm / Motivation

  • Need to sell yourself with enthusiasm – more than just being a “motivated seller”, your overall personality and how you carry yourself is a very influential factor when others decide whether they want to do business with you (or refer to you)
  • Passionate in your area – know your products and services and be a enthusiastic ambassador in their promotion

2. Having a positive attitude

  • Makes people want to associate and cooperate with you – nobody likes or wants to be around a sad sack.
  • Others will want to be around them, and send people to them – if people got a good vibe from being around you, then they’ll be more confident that others will as well. Therefore their referral of you will in turn reflect well on them for having referred you.

1. Follow up on Referrals.

  • #1 trait of successful networkers, so let’s just re-emphasize this again; FOLLOW UP ON YOUR REFERRALS!!!
  • If you refer to someone who doesn’t follow up, this reflects poorly on both the referrer and referee – fail to do this repeatedly and you’ll stop receiving referrals at all.

In summary, it takes time and effort to build up your “social capital”. More than simply churning and burning leads as they come in, properly nurtured business relationships can develop into a continual source of new business if handled properly. The above 10 characteristics merely describe the traits of master business networkers who are successful at this – the hard part is taking on these traits yourself and making sure you follow through on these.

Maslow’s Hierarchy through Social Media

By | Personal Development | No Comments

Most of us will have at some stage come across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; the 5 level pyramid which looks at the development of human psychology on the premise that lower order needs must first be satisfied (physiological, safety, feelings on belonging) before higher order needs are able to be achieved (self esteem, self realization / actualization).

What many may not have considered is how by reviewing an individual’s involvement in current-day social media platforms actually provides an insight into what level of this hierarchy they believe themselves to be operating within.

Whether true or not, it’s some interesting food for thought:

  • Self-Realisation: Bloggers / WordPress / Tumbler / Youtube (Video Blogging) – The full public expression of one’s personal views and opinions
  • Esteem: Twitter – Microbloggers, a more conservative yet still public expression of individual statements of opinion
  • Belonging: Google Plus, Facebook – Being part of online social communities
  • Safety: LinkedIn – Security through membership in professional online communities
  • Physiological: (Yet to be exploited through Social Media)

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs through Social Media

Top Causes of Workplace Stress

By | Business Strategy, Lifestyle Design, Personal Development, Relationships | No Comments

There is considerable academic research supporting the connection between high levels of stress and cardiovascular disease (generally also coupled with other poor lifestyle choices such as not exercising enough and over-indulging in sugary and fatty foods – but that aside for the moment)… so when we consider how much of a our life is spent on the job, it’s worthwhile reviewing what some of the more common work-related stresses are, how to tell whether we’re being impacted by these (as often the symptom may not necessarily be a clear indication as to the cause), and most importantly what is the best approach toward handling these.

For the more emotionally intelligent / self-aware of us (the rest of you, please try to tune into the feedback you’re more than likely receiving from your peers) the most common signs that you’re experiencing stress will include:

  • Un-explainable fatigue or feelings of being run down
  • Increased irritability (or rather, lower than usual tolerance for other people)
  • A heightened emotional state of tension or feelings of being strung out
  • Difficulties sleeping at night (not sure if your coworkers will know about this one)
  • Problems maintaining your focus at work leading to a drop in day-to-day productivity
  • Increased susceptibility to illness (whether psychosomatic or genuine – due to a weakened immune system)
  • Difficulty in making decisions

… so if any of this sounds familiar, then the below info graphic is for you!