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How to Reinvent Yourself, Starting At 6 pm Today!

How to Reinvent Yourself, Starting At 6 pm Today!

You are who you are. You know yourself well. When you meet people, you know how you describe yourself. You also know that you’re not happy with the image you currently present to the world. That means you’d probably like to learn how to reinvent yourself.

Some people think that personal reinvention is difficult, costly and time consuming. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time becoming who you are and communicating that information to friends, work colleagues, family members and others. Yet, if you want to reinvent yourself, you can do so quickly. In fact, if you want to reinvent yourself, and you’re prepared to start as soon as you finish work today—say at 6 pm—you can make a good start in just a few hours.

Reinvent Yourself by Saying Different Things

You don’t have to use the same old words or focus on the same old things when you introduce yourself to new people or talk about yourself at work or away from work. You’re on a journey from places you have been to somewhere you want to travel to. The present is just a staging post in that journey.

If you’re on your way to a new job, or a new career, you can choose to define yourself in terms of where you are now and where you want to be.

“I’m a ………………… I’m learning how to become a …………………”

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“I’m a ………………….. and I’m focusing on …………………. because in the long term I’m hoping to …………………….”

Remember that some jobs and situations lend themselves to be reshaped to suit your interests and enthusiasm. If you talk more about your interests and aspirations, then people will start to associate you with these subjects. As a result, you’ll be able to reinvent yourself in the minds of other people quickly. Those same people just might think of you when a project comes up that would be right for you to be involved with.

If you know you’ll struggle to get some people to think differently about you, plan for that, too. Acknowledge the past and the present, but get those people to pay attention to your future, too.

“I know you know me as a ……………………….. I’ve also developed my skills in ……………… and I’m looking for ways to combine the two.”

Action

Practice this tonight: create three or four statements that you might use with colleagues, with strangers you meet, and, where appropriate, with senior people in your organisation. Link what you do and what you have done to your desired future in the words you choose. Say those words aloud. Revise your statements until you feel comfortable saying them. Then decide how you’re going to use them tomorrow.

Reinvent Yourself by Writing Something Different

When you come to write about yourself, the opportunities for reinvention are enormous. Let’s start with your CV or résumé.

The most important thing to do now is to rewrite your CV showing how your experience to date has prepared you for the new role you’re looking for, or to travel in a new career direction.

You’ve done a lot of things in your past. Now that you want to reinvent yourself in a particular way, look again at your experience—find the experiences that add credibility to the career choices you’re looking to make, and the things you would like to do. For example, if you want to take up a training role in your organisation, focus on any learning events you have been involved in organising and on any work you have done to help your colleagues to achieve more. Think flexibly. Your experience doesn’t need to have been labelled “training” for you to draw upon it to help you with this transition.

Think strategically, and consider the skills that people in training roles need. Think, too, about which of those skills you have developed and are using. By doing this you will be showing other people that a move into a training role might be the obvious next step for you, given your experience and interests. That will make your reinvention easier.

Action

This evening, rethink and reshape your experience to prove that you’re already on the way towards that career destination you have in your sights.   Rewrite your CV to reflect your new way of describing yourself.

Reinvent Yourself by Asking Others to See You Differently

In the end, it’s what others think of you, and how others see you, that goes a long way towards defining who you are, especially at work.

Stop and think carefully about how people at work introduce you or speak about you. Do they label you in ways that you find helpful and with which you are comfortable?  Do their introductions limit people’s perceptions of you and make them think of you in ways that don’t fit with your long-term aspirations?

Next, consider what you would like the people you work with to say about you. Everyone labels people they meet—you can’t stop that. You can influence the label that is applied to you, however, and you can create the labels that will be applied to you.  Use them yourself first. Others will follow.

Stop thinking of yourself as a customer services supervisor because that’s how your job description defines you. Remind yourself, and others around you, that you’re a bilingual customer services supervisor. Be clear that you’re keen to make use of those additional language skills to help your employer—you want the people who count in your organisation to remember you can speak another language and label you as such when they speak about you.

Action

Tonight, think about the actions you can take to alter subtly, or amend, the ways in which other people at work describe you. Wherever possible, draw attention to additional capabilities you have, and indicate where your skills may be of use to your organisation.

How To Reinvent Yourself Quickly

You are who you are. However, we’re all different people in difficult contexts. At home, at work, with our loved ones and with strangers we behave differently and are perceived differently. We already practise personal reinvention several times a day as we move from one role to another. 

You can reinvent yourself whenever you want by remembering to make the links between your past, your present and your future demonstrate that you are travelling towards a clear career destination.

Start to reinvent yourself at 6 pm today. By the time you’re ready to fall asleep, you may have surprised yourself by how much you have already changed.

 

 

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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