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Powerful Words That Create a Productive and Optimistic Life

Powerful Words That Create a Productive and Optimistic Life

“I can, I will, because I say so!”   My daughter, age 10 at the time, excitedly read me my supposed special battle cry (according to the Disney horoscope, that is.)  She was in awe at how Disney got it spot on since such words made up my regular pep talk when she felt discouraged.  Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) covers how neurology, language, and programming produce human experience. Words you say habitually create your reality.   State this positive battle cry regularly, believe it, and act on it.  Soon, you’ll begin writing “Done!” on tasks and projects in your To-Do list.  Practice using these other powerful words to create a productive and  collaborative mindset.

1. “I am  …”  The most powerful words that exist.

Far from merely stating a feeling or condition, these two powerful words actually create them. Be especially conscious of what you add to  “I am.”  Catch yourself saying these.  “I’m so upset. I’m annoyed. I’m sure they’ll say no.  I’m scared. I’m sick and tired of … ”  Switch and verbalize these instead.  “I’m able. I am well. I’m feeling good about this. I’m very pleased. I’m open to discussing …”

2. “I will.”

Intention and willingness spill out from “I will.”  You are willing to make the time to tend to someone or something.  When you say it to yourself, you affirm your capability and set your mind to doing the task.  When you say it to someone, it is synonymous to “Consider it done.”   Do not take these powerful words lightly.  Your credibility at work and in life increases with every “I will” that you actually accomplish.

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3. “I am confident. I believe.”

These powerful words immediately remove doubt.  When you are confident, there are no misgivings so you can begin straightaway. In a discussion, notice how the other person smiles and relaxes when you address his concern with “I believe we can do something about this.”  The words do not represent commitment. It means you are willing to consider and have sufficient knowledge of the situation to believe compromise is possible.

4. “I understand.”

Are you listening to instructions for a project?  Is your colleague venting about city traffic? Are your children complaining because you missed an important school event?  The words “I understand” apply to the three scenarios. The first requires comprehension; the second needs a listening ear; and the third calls for a commitment to prioritize your family.  “I understand” adds motivation and meaningful connection to your earlier “I will.”  It demonstrates empathy (versus “I know,” which can sound dismissive.)

5. “I don’t have the answers, but I will find out.”

This statement of negation spoken with honesty releases the power of a specific intention.  Not knowing presents a valuable opportunity to learn something new.  Having the courage to admit you don’t have the answers also removes pressure on your team to know everything all the time.  Such pressure can push people to pretend, with dire consequences. It’s acceptable not to have the answers, and then learn from it.  The next time a similar situation arises, you will definitely know how to respond.

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6. “YOU are right.  It’s my mistake.”

To honesty, now add humility.  Swallowing a piece of humble pie is not easy.  People will just as soon point at colleagues, suppliers, clients, the cat, the weather, or the planets rather than admit they are responsible for a problem.  These powerful words establish where the responsibility for the problem lies—a big step in finding the solution.  Unless someone has the humility to say these words, you can forget about solving any problem.  Admitting a mistake is not a sign of weakness but a measure of courage and solid self-concept.  The admission that you have contributed to a problem comes with the intent to find a solution. You will gain the respect and loyalty of your team when you take actual responsibility.

7. “Would YOU please?”

Productive overachievers perform well individually but are not always good leaders or team persons. That’s usually because they are perfectionists, reluctant to delegate and unwilling to collaborate.  You could be outstanding at numbers 1 through 4 above and have no reason to say number 5 or 6, but you would be missing out on fulfillment from synergy. These powerful words acknowledge other people’s contributions. You gain new perspective and they grow in experience as they perform. It’s about mentoring.  Step back and let other team members shine. They will be motivated to realize their potential and you will learn about being a true leader.

8. “I appreciate.”

Thank you, stated sincerely with a smile, can make someone’s day.  “I appreciate” has even greater impact.  These powerful words can rapidly manifest good things.  Say it promptly to someone for something specific and you will motivate her to continue doing well.   Apply its creative effect on you with a nightly habit of listing down the things you appreciate each day, and you will become fully aware of the wonderful things in your life here and now. Showing gratitude about something always creates more of the same.

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9. “WE can try.”

Hotel expatriate work contracts usually run for two years, and I’ve witnessed these scenarios regularly.  A new manager, eager to prove himself, will immediately change existing procedures and implement his way of doing things—even when the old system works just fine.  Or he has a really innovative idea but the team—used to doing things the old way—put up a lot of resistance.  “We can try” are powerful words that reduce friction in a situation.  It involves an attempt to retain existing procedures that work well.  It produces a willingness to test new ideas before lining up complaints about how (you think) they won’t work.

10. “Yes, WE can! WE are committed. Expect only the best!”

These powerful words hold a guarantee that a thing simply IS. Its power is found in the collective confidence of your team.  Such commitment becomes part of a brand. Its power extends over to public perception and the unquestionable quality associated with the brand and logo. Think of the globally acknowledged quality of Mercedes Benz engineering, Patek Philippe time pieces, and Michelin Star restaurants.  “We are committed” represents a powerful challenge and a worthwhile achievement that produces game-changing results.

Powerful words draw your reality. What you think and say create your experience.  Deliberately choose positive words in thoughts, speech, and with music as you sing about and expect “good things are happening.”  Singer songwriter Dan MacKenzie obviously agrees.

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Featured photo credit: joey zanotti via flickr via flickr.com

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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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