“If we improved any single process in our business by just 1%, or even 0.1%, but we did that every single day – what do you think the effects would be in a month? In a year? In five years?”
Are you looking to assure more successes with sales, profit, satisfied customers and employees, promotions, bonus or more? Do you know the formula for success and have you mastered the art of achieving success? We all know what we want to do and maybe what we should do, however, do we have the behaviors and the know-how and support needed to achieve real success?
There are four key components to being highly successful. Those are:
If you have ever played organized sports you know what it’s like to have a coach encourage you and help you understand the rules, strategy, plays and the behaviors necessary to be successful in that sport.
Business is the same. Be it building teams, managing people, successful sales, career advancement, project management, profitable operations and projects and more we all need a valid success formula and the support to achieve our goals and objectives. It’s a team sport! If it was all so easy, then why aren’t you already getting the results and rewards you deserve?
The solution is simple; we can give you a proven process today that you and your teams can use to achieve phenomenal long term results, FAST. The ROI starts on day one!
As some of our clients put it: “It helped me get organized and focused not only on my work but also on what I want to achieve!”,”It helped our team to discuss shared issues and find solutions to common problems.”, “Our sales could double using this formula!”, “The gains we are realizing are priceless!”
There is no charge for the first consultation. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain – more profits, advancements, improved retention of mission critical resources, more sales, satisfied customers, reduced risk, behavioral based change, goal driven management teams with results and more! You could say that we are in the Results Assurance Business!
If you’re interested in learning how this success formula can help you get more from what you already have, then give me a call today at 713-249-9569. I guarantee it will be life changing for you and your business results!
Dedicated to your success!
Your Results Assurance – Executive Coach
Make it a successful habit to end every working day by doing these things:
Clear you desk. Never leave your desk messy. Put everything in a file or to-do folder and in a designated spot. You will start each day off on a positive note. An uncluttered desk will also help to keep you organized and possibly prioritized. (You’ll get tired of seeing the things you haven’t finished in your to-do folder and finally do it to get it off your mind)
Reflect upon the day. Ask yourself some questions and evaluate yourself.
Plan for the next day. Transfer your tasks in your daily planner, make a prioritized list of to-do’s, list the goal(s) that must be accomplished, etc. By planning for the next day today you will relieve stress and be prepared to be off to a fast start tomorrow. You will also create a routine of successful daily habits.
– Sorrell Associates
“Just as a well-run business follows a budget in spending money, an effective business person should also follow a budget (or schedule) in spending time.”
Being a business owner myself, I wish I had more hours in my day. But time is always getting away from me, you know how it goes. Come into the office around 9 o’ clock and you check your email, voicemail, start looking over your planner to see what needs to be accomplished today and BOOM before you know it, it’s time for lunch. I have found these 10 tips to put time back into my day and I hope these will work for you as well.
1. Recognize you can do it all
We are only given 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t change. Realize we can only manage ourselves and what we do with that time.
2. Figure out your time- wasters
We all fall victim to time wasters- Do you spend too much time surfing the net, reading email, making calls? By tracking these you can get a picture of what you REALLY do during your day.
3. Set time limits for all tasks
Once you have figured out what your time wasters are then set a limit to complete them and stick to it.
4. Develop routines and stick to them
You will be much more productive if you can follow these routines as much as possible.
5. Learn to Delegate
Delegation is hard for most business owners, but this skill is critical for businesses to succeed. You have to make this a priority if you’re going to do what you want to do and stay sane and happy.
6. Take advantage of “down-time”
Allow yourself some “down-time” between busy periods to look over your planner and reevaluate your priorities.
7. Stay Organized
Take time at the end of each day to organize your desk, inbox and emails. By doing so when you coming in the morning your desk will be clean. You will know what tasks need to be completed first and what emails to respond to.
8. Use the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is “80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts.” So as a small business owner you will want to figure out where YOUR most profitable 20% is and spend the majority of your time there.
9. Keep your “to-do” list short
Have no more that eight items on your list. Remember this is a “daily” to – do list, as you complete tasks check them off and you will have a feeling of accomplishment.
10. Have you hired a Virtual Assistant?
My number one tip for small business owners is to partner with a Virtual Assistant. There are a number of administrative tasks that a VA can take care of for you on an ongoing basis so you, the business owner can spend more time with clients.
Author: Danielle Kubus
“I just don’t know where the time went.” We hear people say that all the time. Time is just
another word for life. At the end of your life, can you imagine saying to yourself, “I wish I had more cars, boats, jewelry, clothes?” More likely you’d be thinking “I wish I’d had more TIME — time to spend with those I love, time to enjoy my life more.” Getting hold of your time can assure that you not waste a precious moment of your life. Here are 7 tips to help you manage your time-and your life better.
1.Where Does the Time Go Now?
The first step in getting hold of more time is to track what you are doing now. You will need at least a week’s worth of data to have an accurate picture. Get an 8×11 piece of lined paper and divide it into 7 columns for each day of the week and block out your waking hours on the left hand side. For that week, you will be writing down what you do with your time. Write when you begin an activity and when you finish. Most important is to be really honest. If you are sitting at your computer, working on a project and take 15 minutes out to play solitaire, write it down. If you lie in bed a ½ hour worrying before you finally get up, write it down. This is a tedious process but well worth the effort. Key word: Awareness
2. Analyze and summarize your time logs.
The next step is the moment of truth. After you have recorded for a week, sit down and look at your log. It is likely that you will be surprised. Develop a key for categorizing your activities, and mark the log with the key and examples would be M=Marketing T=Telephone E=exercise TV=Television P=Personal and so on. Make this individualized for you. You may need as many as a dozen or more categories. Next get out the calculator and see how much time you spend in each category. Write a summary of what you find. Ask yourself, “Is this how I really want to spend my time?” Key word: Analyze
3. Create a New Daily Routine
Now is the time to get over the shock of what the log has revealed and decide what you really want to do with your time. When you look at how you are actually spending your time, does it reflect your highest values and support your life long goals? If the answer is no, this can be a turning point. You can now create a daily routine that fully supports what is most important to you.
First look at what you want to accomplish in your life. Write down your top 2 work and personal goals and under them, list the activities that support their accomplishment. It is best to start off simple here. If you could only work toward three or four goals each day, what would they be?
What two or three actions would you take toward attaining those outcomes?
Follow the natural rhythm of how your work best. If you are a morning person, try to put your most challenging tasks in the morning. Cluster like activities together. If you must be out for a meeting across town, schedule another appointment in that area on that day. Need to spend some time initiating or answering phone calls each day? Schedule a block of time when you are not likely to be interrupted by people dropping by your work place.
Key word: Create
4. Utilize Technology
There are so many devices to help us stay organized and reminded of what we need to do. The most obvious is a calendar. Whether you use a paper or electronic version, schedule a time each day to put in tasks and reminders. If you initiate a contact with someone that must be followed up on, put it on the calendar as soon as you complete the contact. Buy a timer. Use it to break tasks down into manageable portions. Set it and forget it as you concentrate on your task at hand without keeping an eye on the clock. Set up reminders on your computer, palm pilot or telephone. Automatic reminder websites will email you with reminders about birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. A word about clocks: Don’t try to fool yourself by setting clocks incorrectly to force yourself to do certain things on time. It NEVER works. In your mind, you know you have changed the time, and it only serves to muddle the issue. Key word: Automate
5. Don’t Procrastinate
This is one of the biggest problems that people with time issues must face. Procrastination is not a character flaw; it is a logical response to certain activities that cause some level of discomfort.
There can be a number of reasons we procrastinate. Most often it is because we don’t know how to do something or we don’t think we do it well. None of us want our flaws and weaknesses revealed to ourselves and others. The best way to prevent this painful experience is to procrastinate. In this case, education is the key.
Other times, it is because we find the task boring. This is the time to use the timer. Break the job down into manageable time blocks and then just go for it. When the timer goes off, do something more fun or rewarding, then go back to it later. Some people find that finishing the entire job with a reward at the end is the best way. At other times we don’t do a particular job because we don’t think it should be our job in the first place. We think someone else should be doing it.
Here we have to get honest. Is it our job, or is it something that someone else can or should be doing? Facing procrastination takes courage, but is liberating. Find the reason and usually it can be eliminated. Key word: Proactive
6. Say “No”
One of the best ways to never do what you need to do, is to always say yes to everyone else’s needs and requests. If you are afraid to say no to others and agree to everything asked of you, you are going to be overscheduled, and things will fall through the cracks. It is also likely that you will let things go and people will be upset with you. It is best to under promise and over deliver. You have heard this before, and it is a good philosophy for efficient time management.
Be up front with yourself and others about what you can easily and efficiently accomplish in a day. If you know you can’t deliver at the time they ask, let them know it isn’t possible and give a best estimate of when you think you can meet their request, or simply say no. People are much happier about a refusal today than a broken promise tomorrow.
Key word: Self
7. Nobody is Perfect
Let’s say you get a fabulous schedule. It reflects who you are and your goals. It separates
personal and work time and honors your deepest values….and you aren’t able to follow it 100%.
Honor yourself and the learning process and realize that we are all human and will not always be perfect. Forgive yourself lapses of any kind and resolve to do better tomorrow. If necessary, go back to your original analysis and plan and see if you were realistic in creating your schedule. Everything you do is a learning process. Key word: Perspective
Louise Abbott is a business coach and owner of Creative Resources Coaching. She teaches self employed professionals and entrepreneurs how to grow their business using proven marketing practices and business development strategies. Louise has programs for business people at all stages of business development. She is the past president of the Tucson Coaches Alliance and past president of a Tucson chapter of Business Network International.
Author: Louise Abbott
Proper Time Management is critical to any business but it is life or death for a small business and yet many entrepreneurs just don’t know how to manage their time – so I am going to be very direct here.
Most of the people I work with want help sorting out their time – it is the single biggest problem for many entrepreneurs. Unless you get your time sorted out you will not be able to focus on marketing, product development, client development or your cashflow and your business will stagnate or shrink and you will not have that free time we all enjoy. It really is that clear cut for most small businesses.
Some of the core areas to address:
It is a fact that if you have a problem with your Time Management you will be very unlikely to fix the problem alone – or you wouldn’t have a problem in the first place. Good questions to ask:
If you work for yourself or run a small business you need a system in place so you know what you are doing and when you are doing it. You are an expert at delivering your product but you cannot be an expert at everything – so get help before it gets worse.
My name is Angus MacLennan and I am a Business and Personal Coach. I get great results with motivated Entrepreneurs and Professionals. I believe we should be creating businesses that work for us and I believe we can have the profit and lifestyle we want working 25 hrs a week.
Ph: 0798 224 1479
Stress management is a hot topic; stress-related illness and suffering is at an all-time high in America and increasing every year. Cliff Kuhn, M.D.’s work with the powerful natural medicine of humor has uncovered the primary culprit behind your unhealthy stress symptoms, as well as the solution to simple, healthy stress management.
Astronomer-mathematician Ptolemy (85-165) devised a theory of planetary motions that placed the earth at the center of the universe. The sun, moon, and planets revolved around the earth in the Ptolemaic universe. This notion was accepted for approximately 1,500 years. More on this in a moment…
Shelly was in such need of stress management that she was unhappy much of the time. Shortly after she became my patient, I was able to help Shelly see that, just like Ptolemy’s theory, she was casting herself as the center of the universe, thereby causing unmanageable stress levels in her life. We began a regimen from my Fun Factor prescription that afforded Shelly proper stress management, reintroduced joy and happiness, and brought her life back into balance.
Shelly’s problem was common; I see more and more people each day who suffer from unhealthy levels of stress. Whether it is sleeplessness, weight gain, mood changes, hair loss, worry, agitation, or any other of the myriad symptoms commonly associated with stress, stress-related illness and suffering is at an all-time high in America and increasing every year. Luckily for you, my work with the powerful natural medicine of humor has uncovered the primary culprit behind your unhealthy stress symptoms, as well as the solution to simple, healthy stress management.
My medical practice, involving decades of work with chronically and fatally ill patients, has clearly identified the cause of our painful stress symptoms – seriousness. Seriousness means taking yourself too seriously; seriousness means over-reaching – taking responsibility for things beyond your power, such as the outcomes and results of all your hard work. Consequently, you’re positioning yourself incorrectly as the “center of the universe.” Seriousness causes so much pressure that effective stress management, which I will teach you in this article, becomes impossible.
The antidote for your seriousness, and your foundation for healthy stress management, is the natural medicine of humor. Humor’s incredible power is harnessed to maximum impact through my unique Fun Factor prescription. Based upon my Fun Commandments, which were forged in unison with some incredible patients of mine, my Fun Factor prescription is capable of producing such profound positive change to your health and personal success that you will soon have people whispering, “Is she always this happy?”
In this article, I will explain how my Fun Factor prescription can be directly applied to your stress. You will be amazed at how much lighter and happier you feel, with each passing day, as you put the following Fun Commandments to work in your life. You are about to discover that the natural medicine of humor produces flawless stress management, putting an end to your painful stress symptoms.
The Fun Factor Stress Management Formula
Step One: Laugh with Yourself
My first stress management Fun Commandment is: Laugh with Yourself. This Commandment is not about humiliation or self-denigration, it is the ultimate in self-respect because it teaches you to appreciate your “perfect imperfection” and to find gentle amusement in your foibles. And, when it comes to stress, there is plenty of amusement to be found which will greatly aid your stress management.
Here’s the first amusing thing about your stress: you can’t live without it, yet too much is bad for your health. Like many of the essential things in life: we need a certain amount of stress to survive, yet too much can kill us. For example, we die if we are without water for more than a few days; but submerge us in water and we die a lot sooner.
It is said that we can die from boredom. I don’t think there is any scientific evidence for that theory, but one thing is certain – stress relieves boredom. Ending boredom, indeed, could be considered a form of stress relief. An amusing paradox, no doubt!
Without stress, also, we might not eat. Hunger is a form of stress our body needs occasionally to remind us we need food. Stress causes the adrenal glands to work. Athletes would not perform at their best without stress-induced adrenaline. Every activity causes a certain amount of stress. So does inactivity. In fact, to be completely stress-free we would have to be dead – not a highly recommended stress management technique!
The idea that stress is a killer is exaggerated, which is also humorous. Too much stress can be a killer, and it is against too much stress in our lives that we need to guard. Fortunately we are equipped with the finest possible stress management mechanism: the natural medicine of humor and the ability to laugh with ourselves. Far better and safer than Valium, it is our built-in stress management system.
As you learn to laugh with yourself you will become like an athlete – who can have fun running the mile or the marathon and still turn in peak performance. In fact, since too much seriousness can tighten muscles through negative tension, laughing with yourself may even enhance performance. This Fun Commandment works wonderfully on many levels.
Step Two: Choose To Motivate Yourself With Fun, Not Fear
Step two in my Fun Factor stress management formula is one of my newest Fun Commandments. Motivating yourself with fun rather than fear is a crucial step that allows your commitment to laugh with yourself to fully impact your healthy stress management.
This brings us to the only true choice you have in life. Will you be inspired by fear or by fun? One choice is all we have for our health, wellness, and fitness – fear or fun. It all boils down to that. It is your responsibility to choose one or the other.
The question is, which is the responsible choice? Which of the two is a powerful medicine, which will give you health and motivate you greater success, sustaining you over time? The natural medicine of humor gives us the answer.
There is no doubt that both fear and fun are potent stimulants to behavior over the short run. So the question becomes one of sustainability. Will fear or fun best help us sustain our excellence over time? Which of the two is a powerful alternative medicine that you can learn to use for your greatest health, wellness, and fitness? (That’s a trick question, by the way)
Let’s Encounter A Man-Eating Bear!
The fear of being eaten alive motivates us to run as fast and as far as we can when chased by a bear. There is little to no fun in that experience. It is purely fearful, but the energy it provides maximizes the possibilities of sustaining life for that moment. For the moment, in such a life-threatening situation, fear seems to be an efficient and productive choice. Though full of stress, it relieves us of the immediate threat!
But let’s take it a step further. Having survived my wilderness encounter with the bear, I return to my home in an urban environment. The next morning, as I start out for work, I run desperately for the car, quickly jumping inside and locking the doors.
When I arrive at my workplace, I race into the building. Before I get down to work I suspend my bagged lunch high above my desk, roping it to the light standards. I insist upon all doors being locked and secured. When asked why, I answer, “I’m merely doing what got me through my wilderness experience over the weekend. I don’t want to be eaten by a bear.”
You’d think I was over-reacting just a wee bit, and you’d be right. You could say that my stress relieves my anxiety, but my anxiety is based on a lie conjured and sustained by my fear! Not exactly the greatest of stress management techniques.
The Three Biggest Dangers Of Our “Run-From-a-Bear” Stress Management Techniques
1. We live our lives as though every day was an emergency; as though a bear is chasing us all the time. This is unfortunate for three reasons:
2. We now know that such a constant state of “wariness” or agitation breaks down our coping mechanisms over time. It is impossible to sustain the fear-based behavior without breaking down or burning out.
3. Of all the stress management techniques, this is the absolute worst to choose because it only increases our stress! It reduces the effectiveness of humor’s natural medicine to zilch.
A more pernicious error occurs. We begin to think that the avoidance of whatever we fear is the same as having fun. Joy becomes synonymous with the avoidance of fear.
The Absence Of One Thing Does Not Indicate The Presence Of Its Opposite
If this sounds ridiculous to you let me put it in more familiar terms that have become acceptable where your health is concerned. With rare exception we have agreed in our society that health is synonymous with absence of symptoms. Do you really believe your health is merely the absence of your symptoms? My Fun Factor prescription teaches you that, not only is the absence of symptoms not synonymous with health, but also that you never have to fall for that lie again.
You never have to settle for second-rate health! You can use your powerful natural medicine of humor to stave off seriousness’ debilitating effects.
Therefore the issue becomes balance. Fun balances fear. The ultimate question is not, “Are you without fear?”, but “Is your fun in balance with your fear?” If you’re not 100% certain of a “yes” response to the later question, then you need to STOP – RIGHT NOW – and take the last step in my Fun Factor stress management formula to ensure that your life is as healthful as it could be.
Step Three: Tell the Truth
The final step in your Fun Factor stress management formula is the Fun Commandment, Tell the Truth. This Commandment refers more to self-integrity than it does “cash register” honesty. Getting in the habit of telling yourself the truth will cement humor’s powerfully positive effect over your stress. Your stress management becomes second nature when you are honest with yourself each day, because you can then immediately, easily, and simply apply steps one and two to your life.
Telling yourself the truth, for our purposes, focuses on knowing when your stress levels are rising. As we noted in step two, everyday activities normally produce a baseline level of stress and this stress is usually alleviated by your daily routines (for example, when you experience the stress of hunger, you eat). Step three in my Fun Factor stress management formula teaches you to recognize the signs of unhealthy stress and take corrective action immediately.
Here are some simple stress management techniques to apply when your self-honesty reveals rising stress levels:
1. Start your day off by singing in the shower at the top of your voice. Make up your own song that incorporates the idea that you are embarking upon a glorious day in which great things are going top happen to you. Can’t sing? Good! Can’t rhyme? Who cares? The words are for you alone. This is not a contest. Be as off-key as you need to be…unless you are Placido Domingo.
The important thing is to be loud (your inner ear has to hear it), upbeat and convincing. The subconscious believes what it is told. Start your day by telling it that it will be a great day and you will be more than halfway to producing exactly that result. Think of your singing not as singing but as a stress relief game played before stress has a chance to rear its ugly head.
2. Travel to work alone, along the same boring route every day? Make up a game to play as you look out the window of your car, bus or train. For example, how many dogs will you see on the way to work?
Try to guess before you set out and see how close you are when you arrive. Reward yourself every time you guess correctly to within a certain number. Drivers: limit yourself to dogs (or green elephants) you see through the windshield only. This game does not work well in subways; there are no green elephants in subways.
3. Have a routine job? One that you find boring? Does it produce stress symptoms, such as drumming your fingers or tapping your toes? Perhaps you need to introduce fun into your workday.
For example, if your job is to make identical widgets each day, how could you do something different to give variety to what otherwise could become a monotonous task? Could you, for example, place each new widget relative to the others so that together they make a pattern, or spell the name of your sweetheart? How many do you make an hour? Could you make one more than that the next hour, safely and with the same excellent quality? Make a stress-relieving game out of your work and it will feel less like work and more like fun.
4. Smile. You feel stressed? Smile. It is a simple activity, so simple that even infants can do it. Just for kicks, count how many times you smile in an hour. None, you say? Then this stress relief game is even easier for you, and more important than it is for those who smile all the time. (No wonder they don’t feel the same degree of stress that you do!)
Your smile doesn’t need to be a broad grin that suggests to those around you that they need to call the men in white coats. But it should be more than a mental smirk; your facial muscles should be aware that they are smiling.
It is possible simply to paste a smile on your face without any reason other than you want to smile. After a while, your subconscious will take over, lighten your mood, and the smiles will come easily and naturally.
It’s best, if possible, to think of something that can give you a genuine smile, a reason you can talk about if called upon to do so. Each of us, no matter how depressed, has something in life to celebrate.
5. Recognize that stress is a choice. We can accept it and put up with it, and the damage it can cause our bodies. We can avoid it, but that could be a difficult choice; especially if it means quitting the only job we know in a tough job market. That choice might easily create worse stresses. Or we can deal with it and defeat it.
That is not as difficult as it might sound if you make up your mind to use my Fun Factor prescription in everything you do. That doesn’t necessarily mean, laughing, joking and playing the village idiot – though all those activities can relieve stress too. You can have fun without ever cracking a single joke.
A game of tickle with the children or grandchildren can be fun and bring energetic screams of delight from them and you. Touch football or, for the less energetic, lawn darts or horseshoes can be fun. For others, it’s a walk, socializing with friends, admiring the beauty around us or following a hobby – especially if it is an engrossing one.
Attitude Is Everything
The key is to recognize stress symptoms when they occur, recognize what’s causing them, and use my Fun Factor formula for healthy stress management. Since fun is the best natural stress reliever known, it makes good sense to incorporate my Fun Factor stress management formula into your daily life.
But don’t get obsessive about it. Don’t be stressed by removing stress. Be content with removing some of your stress, and with taking the edge off it so that you function as a healthier, happier and more productive humor being. After all, perfectionism produces stress.
Shelly, by the way, has learned to take herself much more lightly now and she does not suffer nearly as many stress symptoms. The paradox she loves is that taking herself less seriously actually permits her to take her responsibilities more seriously than ever before! The natural medicine of humorr, supercharged by my Fun Factor prescription, has allowed Shelly to easily and simply manage her stress and enjoy a life others have started to envy.
Just as Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus disproved Ptolemy’s earth-centered universe in the 16th century, so the natural medicine of humor disproves that you must suffer from being the center of your universe. Remove yourself from the pressure and stress of a life where everything revolves around you…start using my Fun Factor stress management formula, and the rest of my Fun Commandments, today!
Clifford Kuhn, M.D., America’s Laugh Doctor, teaches people and organizations to be more healthy and successful through the use of fun and humor. A psychiatrist, and the former associate chairperson of the University of Louisville’s renowned Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Kuhn now dispenses his prescription for turbo-charging your health, success, and vitality from http://www.natural-humor-medicine.com/EZA4 On his website you will find tons of fun, free ways for you to maximize your sense of humor, and enjoy a life others will envy.
NASA’s Astronauts could not use their pens in space so they spent ten million to invent a special ink-flow device. The Russian space cadets had no dinero, and solved the same problem by writing with pencils, which worked like a charm.
Earplugs are not exactly high-tech, but work instantly to eliminate unwanted noise. The first earplugs written about were wax and used by the crew of Odysseus to ward off the Siren’s Song and a shipwreck. How old? 8th Century, B.C.
Have you even been studying in your school library and lost your attention and concentration because some dumbos at the next table were whispering, giggling, and dropping books? Ten Cent earplugs tune them out, and your mind inward.
Students and career executives suffer from noise, movement of people, and constant interruptions. Fact: we are interrupted at work – an average of once every three-minutes. Fifty-percent of the time we interrupt ourselves by responding to emails the telephone, and answering questions.
Our mind get used to being diverted from focused attention and deep concentration.
Distractions break our train of thought, and actually reduce our personal efficiency. Some research concludes habitual distractions cause a drop in our IQ up to 10%. Get this: Every time your mind is diverted from your present task, it takes up to 10 minutes to get back into your original Zone (flow).
It is called Regressions, is habit-forming and dumbs us down.
Soon you become a subconscious procrastinator, and lose up to 25% of your Attention-Span. Paying attention to everything is the same as concentrating on nothing. What is a practical, easy and cheap solution? Maybe earplugs?
Are you aware of how often your mind wanders off your target of concentration? Neither was I. The researchers at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, headed by Dr. Michael Kane, concluded college students are distracted and lose their attention span, one-third (33%) of the time they spend in school.
They are thinking off-the-subject at class lectures, while reading, and when studying for exams. Students suffering mind-wandering up to 90 minutes in the morning, and another 90 minutes in the afternoon of a six-hour day. What are they wandering about? Sex is number one, fear of the future, and personal relationships top the bill.
Distractions lead to chronic stress, which affect our long-term memory, inability to comprehend complex text, and loss of self-esteem. Many complain of a negative state-of-mind, bad mood, and loss of productivity. What about our competence?
Stress and distractions cause your executive competence to drop up to 15%, enough to lose out on your next promotion. Students at college complain of fade-out on exams, anxiety and the agony of Information-Overload.
Stopples a/k/a Earplugs
Earplugs immediately improve your attention span and concentration up to 33%. That is a noticeable change from distracted thinking to being in your Zone focused on learning, remembering, and being creative.
Earplugs have the power to turn your mind inward instead of permitting you to listen and react to random sounds in your environment. Ideas appear to reward those wearing stopples (plugs) and avoid folks who are easily distracted
You have heard that one picture is worth a thousand words; we suggest that one well thought out Idea, is worth a thousand pictures. Implement good ideas.
White Noise. When you slip on your plugs you do not get sleepy and disoriented, but move into deep Beta consciousness, between 7-14 cycles per second. Your brain rhythms vibrate to screen out noise, and to trigger (cue) your PFC (Prefrontal Cortex) for analysis, synthesis (combining ideas), and connectedness.
Technically White Noise is a frequency produced by electronics. It is a combination of all the tones into one. Wait! White Light takes all the color frequencies (rainbow) and combines them into one. Same idea.
Earplugs close the auditory canal and leave us with our personal Zone of silence. Best of all, there are no side effects from using plugs up to 16 hours daily. Just wash them, remove the wax from your ears, and concentrate.
Buy Them Now
We recommend silicone or foam plugs that you mold to fit your ears. Polyurethane stopples cost a dollar for a pair, and have an unlimited life. The biggest problem is losing them after a good night’s sleep, or a study session.
There are electronic earplugs that produce a calming sound (anti-stress) costing $187.95 called SleepEze. No comment. We recommend disposable plugs that will not make us cry when we lose one. PVC Foam come in a six-pack and cost just $2.95.
Factories buy them in volume from the Earplug Super Store for about 10-25 cents each. They reduce chronic stress from ambient factory noise.
We have tested over one thousand students and executives – half speed reading text wearing plugs, and half unaided. After 21 days of practice, the students using earplugs improved their reading speed an average of 100 words per minute, and added up to 12% in comprehension.
Non-users showed 40 words per minute increase in reading, and no improvement in comprehension. They were distracted by their surroundings.
Close Your Door
Seeing other folks moving around is a visual distraction, one that breaks up your attention and comprehension. Music – Classical to Elevator tunes – cause us to lose our mental focus. Group study works only when everyone agrees to be silent and productive until the end of the session.
Our Mirror Neurons cause us to want to imitate the activities of those we watch. It is a bio-distraction. Learning requires silence and the lack of activity around you. Google: University of Calgary, Dr. Tim Welsh, and Journal of Human Movement Science, 12.2007. Earplugs are a great investment in your personal growth.
“If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk a sign?” Albert Einstein
Would you have a major competitive advantage if you could read-and-remember three (3) books, articles and reports in the time your peers can hardly finish one? Ask us how because knowledge is king. Call us now.
copyright © 2009 H. Bernard Wechsler
Author of Speed Learning for Professionals, published by Barron’s; partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating two million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents.
Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and fortune Magazine for major articles.
However, what you may not have realized at the time was just how integrated your professional and personal life would become. Or the level of self-discipline, motivation, and management it would take to stay on course with your goals.
In looking over my last couple of years in this entrepreneurial world, I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me keep my focus and my sanity!
You’ll notice these tips are a mix of both the professional and personal, reflecting the life of a solo professional. Implementing just one or two of these ideas will help you remain physically and mentally fueled!
If you’d like to include this article on your website or in your e-zine, please make sure it remains intact and include the following blurb:
Amy is the owner, small business coach, and principal learning designer of Amy Franko Consulting.
She is a certified Book Yourself Solid business coach. The group she’s most passionate about serving is women who are solo service professionals. She uses a simple system of protocols specifically designed to bring more ideal clients into their business, even if marketing and selling isn’t something they like to do.
You can learn more about her by visiting her website, http://www.amyfranko.com
The principal activities of brains are making changes in themselves.”–Marvin L. Minsky (from Society of the Mind, 1986)
Can we learn plasticity? First maybe we need to know what brain plasticity is.
Plasticity, or neuroplasticity, is the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences.
As we learn, we acquire new knowledge and skills through instruction or experience.
In order to learn or memorize a fact or skill, there must be persistent functional changes in the brain that represent the new knowledge.
The ability of the brain to change with learning is what is known as neuroplasticity.
Learning Plasticity is Good News for Brains, Especially Older Brains
My brain is now 61 years old, and it is in charge of a life that includes a wife, an 11 year old boy, and a 5 year old girl, and those two younger brains are counting on Dad’s brain to be a vital part of their growing up prepared to make decent decisions as they step out the door when they are ready to do that. (College, I am hoping).
Dad’s brain has been through some emotional and behavioral excesses over the years, because his parents were heavy drinkers not given to anything remotely resembling emotional intelligence, and Dad grew up during the Summer of Love, trying to make love rather than war, including the use of an occasional recreational chemical.
Later on Dad’s brain was subjected to too much processed food, and not enough sleep.
Now Dad’s brain is involved in running a business by itself, and in a down economy, there is plenty of stress hormones available to wreak havoc on an older brain.
What is a brain to do to stay healthy, I mean we have all heard about eat your fruit and vegetables, and when I do that I feel no different than when I did before. If it is good for you shouldn’t you feel some ecstasy, at least?
Vegetables and fruits should alter your mood,right?
Actually, fruit and vegetables do alter your mood. Go without them and see how you feel, then include them in your diet again and you will feel better and function more effectively rather quickly.
Research has recently given us some gifts or revealed some information about the human brain that we did not have even a decade or two ago, and has even indicated to us that we can workout our brain like I work out my body at the YMCA.
I workout because I like the feeling of efficacy and strength that I have after working out, and now I know that physical exercise is one of the pillars of brain fitness that I can now enhance.
Back to workouts in a moment. The two gifts are called neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, and we can do stuff to enhance them, hence the title of this page, learning plasticity.
By the way, neurogenesis is your brain growing new neurons daily, and you can cement those neurons into the circuits that need them, like the memory circuits of the hippocampus if you challenge them with a novel learning experience.
Not sure about you, but it is great news to this 61 year old brain that replacement parts are available. That sure contradicts what we were taught as kids.
So there are some things I can do to manage my plasticity learning and my neurogenesis growth, and you are asking just what could that be?
According to Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D., who have written the bible on learning plasticity, called Brainfit for Life there are several pillars of brain fitness to attend to, physical activity/exercise, nutrition, including the aforementioned fruits and vegetables and omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management and novel learning experiences, which includes computerized brain fitness programs.
The most important of those pillars is physical activity/exercise, and the good news for us older folks is that we do not have to start flinging around huge barbells and getting sweaty for an hour or two everyday in order to enhance learning plasticity.
If you walk in your neighborhood, an excellent physical activity, continue to do that until you are ready for something that makes you breathe a little deeper a little longer, which is the kind of breathing we need to have result from our physical activity.
You can even engage in something at home called HIIT which stands for high intensity interval training which will get the breathing deeper and increase blood flow to the brain.
The HIIT workout needs to last about 10 minutes, and includes 30 second intervals of the kinds of calisthenics you did as a kid in P.E. class.
Scott and Angie Tousignant have put together a model that couples can do together in the privacy of their own basement. As usual though, you do have to do it.
Nutrition, which we touched on above, is the next learning plasticity pillar that Evans and Burghardt speak to, and they make a compelling case for the inclusion of omega 3 fatty acid in your diet on a regular basis, along with the antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber we find in fruits and vegetables.
Turns out neurons are housed in a membrane that is mostly omega 3 fatty acid, which needs to be replenished frequently, because if that does not happen, the membrane gets brittle, and neurons cannot then communicate with each other clearly. Remember that old computer programming phrase, GIGO, which stood for “Garbage In, Garbage Out?” Same principle here. The best source of Omega 3 fatty acid is fish, and you want to make sure your fish do not include mercury pollution.
If fish for omega 3 fatty acid are not an option, then perhaps supplementation is an option for your omega 3 fatty acid. Make sure your supplements are processed to exclude mercury also.
Stress hormones kill new brain cells. So does booze and environmental toxins.
So what can we do to ensure that we minimize the impact of stress hormones?
I have used HeartMath personally and taught it to my clients since before I knew about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, and it is a wonderful tool to open the higher perceptual centers in the brain.
Another revelation of the research folks is that our hearts have their own little brain, a very sophisticated nervous system of their own which sends a lot of data up, more so than the brain sends to the heart.
This particular heart nervous system can learn and make decisions all by itself, and will actually learn to respond to cues, which opens up the higher perceptual centers in the brain.
Novel Learning Experience
The last pillar of brain fitness is novel learning experiences, which are what really fire up the learning plasticity.
The kind of learning that is best for learning plasticity is the learning involved in learning a new language or a new instrument, and research like the IMPACT study published in April of 2009 is indicating the value of one of the commercially available brain fitness programs.
Those kinds of learning make it possible for neurons to create new synapses and circuits and connections, and the more those synapses and circuits fire together, they more they wire together and the longer Dad’s brain will fight off the Old Timers Disease.
So in the name of learning plasticity, let us stretch our dendrites and flex our axons.
Michael S. Logan is a brain fitness expert, a counselor, a student of Chi Gong, and licensed one on one HeartMath provider. I enjoy the spiritual, the mythological, and psychological, and I am a late life father to Shane, 10, and Hannah Marie, 4, whose brains are so amazing. http://www.askmikethecounselor2.com