Hope & Fear (2/5): Keep Your Job & Prosper

November 16, 2008

Life has always been potentially stressful for the busy professional — juggling a career, family, personal relationships, health, hobbies (“yeah right!”). But this uncertain economy adds a brand new wrinkle. You might be worried about job. So let’s break this down into what’s within your control and what isn’t.

The fate of the company you work for is in the hands of the decision-makers at the top executive level. They are the ones who made the choices in the past and will make the choices in the future that determine whether or not the company survives this economy. What they choose to do — whether they layoff employees or cut bonuses or scale back work hours or close the branch you work for — is not within your control. So stop focusing on what they may or may not do. Focus instead on what’s in your control.

So what IS in your control? Just two things: What you choose to do and how you choose to feel about it. Let’s take them one by one…

What You Choose to Do

There are two parts to “what you choose to do”: what you focus on doing, and how well you do it. And the name for how you measure your success at these two things is productivity. In other words, your productivity is within your control. And to maximize your productivity, you want to focus on the most important things first and then do them as efficiently as possible.

Time for a reality check: Are you as productive in your job as you could be? Be honest…

So how much more productive could you be? To answer that question, try this: Think of a specific time when you were being your most productive. Call this your “kick butt” level of productivity, and give it a number from 1 to 10.

Now think about your “average” level of productivity. Those normal days where you maybe surf the internet a little, or chat with co-workers, or get sucked into meetings that go on longer than necessary, or get distracted by less important tasks, or just simply procrastinate. Give that a number from 1 to 10.

Compare that “average” level of productivity with that “kick butt” level of productivity. How far does it fall short?

In that distance between those two levels of productivity lives your opportunity to keep your job and prosper.

Most people perform so far below their peak level of productivity that in just weeks they can double or even triple their output. How much more valuable would you be to your employer if you doubled or tripled your output? In bad economic times, the demand for productive employees becomes even higher than usual. And as demand increases, price increases. So it’s even possible to get a raise in this economy if you increase your productivity.

And if layoffs do happen, the LEAST productive employees go first, right?

How You Choose to Feel

How productive are you when you’re worried? You may be busy when you’re worried and think you’re productive, buy how much important stuff do you really get done, and what’s the quality? Not a lot and very low. How productive are you when you’re happy and peaceful? When you’re happy and peaceful, there’s something called FLOW, where productivity seems almost effortless. Some call it “being in the zone.”

Whether you’re happy or worried, stressed or peaceful, you are CHOOSING to feel that way. And you can choose to create feelings of peace and happiness, even in an economy like this one. So in good times, your productivity sky-rockets from that state of peace and flow. And in bad times, you don’t let worry or stress cloud your decision-making or decrease your productivity.

When you’re peaceful and productive, you’ll have a calming effect on your co-workers and your employer. You’ll be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You’ll be one of the most valuable, level-headed members of the team. And even if you were to get laid off from your job, you’ll make better decisions about what to do next if you are peaceful inside.

Increase Your Productivity & Peace of Mind

Productivity is a learnable skill. Peace of mind is a learnable skill. When times are good, you can get by in your job pretty well without being very skilled at either. But when times are challenging, the employees who prosper are the ones WITH those skills. The employees who get hit hardest during times of uncertainty are the ones who are less skilled at productivity and peace of mind.

To make sure that you’re as valuable as you can be to your employer, and you’re able to prosper in these uncertain times no matter what happens, sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

Focus on what you CAN control and you’ll give yourself the best chance for success and happiness. Learn more and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the second in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)
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Procrastination: 3 Different Types

September 16, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the first of 3 different types of procrastination:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

Procrastination: 3 Different Types

Procrastination is one of the most common productivity challenges. Some people struggle with it often across all areas of their lives, others infrequently in only particular areas of their lives. But most of us have experienced it at one time or another.

The word itself does little in the way of helping us identify a solution. It simply describes a phenomenon: The act of putting off something you could do now for later.

But there are several reasons why a person might do such a thing. And different solutions depending on the reason.

I’ve created 3 categories to help my clients understand procrastination and what to do about it:

  1. Chore procrastination
  2. Dream procrastination
  3. Type 3 procrastination (descriptive name, right?)

Chore procrastination is when a person puts off a task that holds little or no intrinsic appeal, but the outcome of the task is valued.

Dream procrastination is when a person puts off a task related to a big goal or dream.

Type 3 procrastination is a catch-all category for procrastination that doesn’t involve a dream or a chore. Typically, this type requires a closer look to understand what it’s really about.

These are generalizations. Often a person’s own brand of procrastination blends the three. But before you can overcome your procrastination, identify which type or types it is.

Is what you’re procrastinating simply a chore, or is it related to some big goal or dream you’re pursuing?

If it’s neither, or you’re not sure, look closer at what the result will be if you completed the task you were procrastinating. What will that result be (describe it in as much detail as you can)? Why is that result important? Is that result related to one of your big goals or dreams?

Your answers may lead you to the conclusion that the result is not important to you. In which case you need to ask yourself why this task is on your to-do list at all. (I’ve written more about this subject in a previous post.)

If you try to overcome your procrastination before you identify what type or types it is, you’re likely to fail and frustrate yourself. Once you know the type, you can get to the business of solving it.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

To learn more about identifying the 3 different types of procrastination and how exactly you can solve each, register for a powerful and fun teleclass at http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html


Can Procrastination Be Good?

September 8, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on how procrastination can actually be a good thing.

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The GOOD Kind of Procrastination

Many people come to me wanting help overcoming their procrastination. My first question to them is this:

Is it the good kind of procrastination or the bad kind?

“Curtis, what in the world is the GOOD kind of procrastination?”

I’m happy you asked. 🙂

There are different reasons for procrastination. Some are fear based, and those are the ones that I help my clients overcome.

But procrastination can also be a signpost that your actions and your values are out of sync. In other words, procrastination can reveal that you’ve committed to something that isn’t important to you.

For example, for years and years I pursued music. I put together bands, I wrote and recorded songs, I took guitar lessons. It was my “dream” to be a successful musician, and everyone around me knew it.

Yet I procrastinated 90% of the time. Why?

What I ultimately learned was that years earlier I’d created an identity for myself as a musician. I fell in love with the IDEA of playing music. But my heart wasn’t in it. I rarely enjoyed it, and it was always a struggle for me.

Procrastination was a warning sign that I’d made a choice that didn’t serve me. It was like a blinking red warning light that something was out of whack in my life.

When I finally stopped pursuing music, it was such a relief. I felt like I’d been released from prison–my own prison that I’d created out of an expectation I had for myself.

So before you try to “overcome” your procrastination, take a look at where it’s coming from.

Understanding Procrastination

If you find yourself procrastinating (especially if it’s ongoing procrastination), ask yourself these questions:

1. What specifically am I procrastinating?

This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. “I procrastinate my work.” Okay, so what kinds of work, exactly? Be specific.

2. Why am I procrastinating?

Don’t settle for the first answer that comes to you, especially if it doesn’t contain an insight. Keep asking yourself (lovingly, not like an interrogator) until you learn something about the source of your procrastination.

3. What choice will serve me the most?

Remember my music example? If I’d asked this question and been open to an honest answer, I would have seen much sooner how music wasn’t serving me.

Trying to overcome your procrastination without first understanding where it’s coming from can make you feel worse by adding layers of guilt on top of a choice that isn’t serving you in the first place.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

I’ve identified 3 different types of procrastination. Each type has a different solution. If you try to overcome one type of procrastination with the wrong kind of solution, you’ll fail and frustrate yourself.

To find out more about this powerful teleclass, and to learn how to identify and overcome the different types of procrastination, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html