Blog

Category: Distractions

How to Boost Productivity During the Dog Days of Summer

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Distractions, Focus, Good Habits, Organization, Productivity, Quick Tips, Strategy

You may have loved your job when you started, but it’s not unusual to get in a rut. If you’re experiencing burnout, changing your mindset can bypass it, says Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive aWork: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, during his interview with Stephanie Vozza of Fast Company.

“Our brains are not wired for routine and repetition at work,” he says. “Disengagement isn’t a motivation problem; it’s a biological one.”

Cable was a professor at the University of North Carolina when he says he lost his zest for his own job and slowly descended into boredom. After being diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, his perspective changed, and he found a sense of gratitude for his job. He stumbled on research about the part of the brain called the ventral striatum, also called the “seeking system,” and its role in being your best self.

“This part of our brain urges us from the time we’re babies to explore what we don’t know,” he says. “Little kids can be given an awesome toy with noises and buttons and they’ll be really into it for a week or few days. Then they find something else that hadn’t seen before, like car keys, and they find that way more interesting. It wasn’t because the thing is cool; it’s because the thing is new.”

When we succumb to these urges, our brain delivers dopamine to reward us and that makes us feel more alive, and the same thing can happen at work, says Cable, currently a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.

“When we’re in the rut of routine for the 502nd time, this part of the brain shuts off,” says Cable. “Your brain is saying, ‘You’re better than this. We’re not built of this. We’re built for bigger things.’ Then the brain stops the release of dopamine, which makes it seem not only boring but that it takes forever.”

There are three ways you can trigger your brain release dopamine, and get out of your rut, says Cable.

1. Play to your strengths

Identify your signature strengths and the impact you can have by using them on a daily basis. “How can you bring value to the team by using your unique strength?” asks Cable.

When he started tapping into his strength—humor—Cable says he regained an appreciation for his job. “It made me feel good and I saw my students lean in when I used humor,” he says. “As a professor, it was something unique to me. I decided to bring it when I teach class instead of leaving it at home.”

Think of your job as a flexible vehicle and determine how you can bring your strength to it.

2. Be willing to experiment

Avoid the risk of routine by shaking things up. Cable decided to develop new classes instead of teaching the same class over and over.

“A sales manager who was promoted and never got a chance to get out in the field might start going into the field again to talk to clients,” suggests Cable. “It’s just a way to refresh and learn new things.”

Activate that seeking system by going outside of your comfort zone, suggests Cable.

3. Tap into purpose

Finally, analyze cause and effect in your role. We all want to see the impact of our actions, says Cable. Leaders can help employees personalize the purpose of work by providing direct conversations with the people who use work as well as internal decision makers.

“Try to think about the story you want to tell yourself about why you do your job,” says Cable.

You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company.

10 Reasons We Fail to Achieve Our Goals

Filed under: Career Advice, Distractions, Goals

Setting goals gives us something to strive towards and boosts our self-confidence each time we achieve them. More often than not, we are guilty of setting goals that we sometimes fail to meet. I have observed the following to be the major reasons we sometimes fail to meet goals we set for ourselves.

1. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses – We all make them! These are often easier to come up with than reasons why we need to do something. They can range from not having enough time to the stars not being correctly aligned. Whatever the case, they paralyze us.

I personally come up with mine when I am feeling fearful, anxious, uncertain or just plain old lazy. Sometimes it seems easier and safer not doing anything at all than tackling what needs to be taken care of.

2. Magnifying our fears more than we do our abilities – Fear of failure has killed so many dreams before they had the chance to take off. We are so accustomed to leaning more towards things not working out than to them working out and often allow this to dissuade us from taking on challenges or setting goals for ourselves.
Fear robs us of our self-confidence and allows us to come up with reasons why we can’t do things or make them happen. Grab your fears by the horns and stop underestimating yourself; you are more capable than you think.

Click here to read the rest on Huffington Post >>

7 Ways You Can Function In A Dysfunctional Workplace

Filed under: Distractions, Focus, Office Politics, Quick Tips

We spend so much of our lives in the workplace. The right setting can make even a tedious job something to look forward to, but there are many workplaces that suffer from some degree of dysfunction, says Inc. Knowing how to manage workplace dysfunction with grace is one of those priceless skills you don’t learn at school.

Here are seven thoughts that can help:

  1. Stay focused.

Rise above and stay focused on your job and your performance. Act as you would if you were the boss. Don’t be concerned with what others do; concentrate on doing your own job and doing it well.

  1. Keep your distance.

Do not participate! One of the best things you can do is to keep yourself apart from the games, because participation–even as an adversary–makes dysfunctional behaviors thrive. If you distance yourself, you’re not part of the problem.

Click here to read the rest on Inc >>

9 Ways Your Colleagues Are Holding You Back–And 3 Ways to Stop Them

Filed under: ambition, Career Advice, Decision Making, Distractions

Sometimes it really isn’t your fault. People around you are keeping you from achieving success. Here is how to recognize them and fix the situation fast.

It’s true that people are responsible for their own experience, but others do have a role to play. The people around you may be giving and caring, but only to a certain point of self-sacrifice. At some level their own preservation and comfort will take priority and that may very well be at your expense.

The workplace doesn’t have to be completely adversarial. But you do need to be aware of those in your world, and watch for ways that they can interrupt your trajectory. If you mishandle the situation, the damage can be large and sustained. If you are alert to the issues and navigate them well, you can find ways to create a win-win for all involved.

Here are nine ways your colleagues can disrupt your journey and some tips for how you can resolve the conflict.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

5 Ways Emotional Unavailability May Be Affecting You At Work

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Distractions

We usually think of emotionally unavailable people as people who are unable to commit in romantic relationships. The reality is that all humans are emotionally defended to some extent. We humans tend to have a very poor understanding of ourselves. We are often overly aware of how others may be mistreating us and yet completely miss the subtle and not so subtle ways in which we may be pushing other people away. In this post I will focus on some ways in which emotional unavailability shows up at work

1. Remaining closed to others

Some of us complain about problems with co-workers and bosses but when others listen and offer solutions we always reject their ideas with an excuse “but that won’t work because of blah and blah”.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

Organizational Attention Deficit Disorder

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Distractions, Efficiency, Productivity

Many leaders in large organizations manage global teams. The group may include contract workers, or team members from a merger. Face-to-face interactions aren’t always possible. Getting a group in sync with the project’s goals can be a job in and of itself. As a result of these and other obstacles, managers are often forced to operate in good faith that professionals will act accordingly.

But along the way, there are unfortunate breakdowns. Friction arises from constant missed deadlines, miscommunication, or mismanaged budgets. Managers have a hard time comprehending – or responding to – careless errors from professionals. Such breakdowns are a sign of organizational attention deficit.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >> 

How to Get From Distraction to Satisfaction

Filed under: Distractions, Efficiency, Productivity, Success

Multitasking can leave us feeling disoriented at the end of the day. What’s worse, this frenetic shifting between two or more things can rob us of a sense of satisfaction.

Jeremy Hunter, PhD, Assistant Professor of Practice at The Peter F. Drucker School of Management, teaches a course called The Executive Mind. His students often tell him that multitasking makes them feel totally ineffective, and it irritates the people they work with. During Jeremy’s recent discussion with Mirabai Bush for the Working with Mindfulness webinar, he shared several examples about ways to shift or change distracting habits in organizations. Here’s what he had to say.

“We know from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research that in order to have flow you have to have concentrated attention. While our work places are anything but concentrated, how do you have this satisfying experience of deep absorption in what you’re doing if you’re multitasking all day?

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>