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Strategies to start your working week with – that power you to the weekend!

1. Proactive not reactive

Stop doing the thing you see first on your laptop/phone. Stop starting the day with what everyone else wants to tell you (i.e., email). This makes your day reactionary not proactive. You may have a job that requires you to know what everyone else needs but get savvy about this (see strategy number 2).

Otherwise, this is 1 reason you get to the end of the working day (week) with your to do list unfinished but everyone else happy!

2. Feelings fail your to do list and performance

By nature of being human you want people to like you, we all do. It’s written into our ancient Cave human DNA – this means we often prioritise others needs over our own. It’s good for making you feel appreciated and loved but bad for your performance and productivity. If you work alone or with a team, make sure you have a communication policy that enables quiet sessions so you can power on.

Did you know that when you complete things on your to do list, your brain gets a hit of good feel chemicals? This is why many write a list (See strategy 4 on why it may be not working for you and how to fix it). Think of your day and ask yourself where will there be time to be quiet and take highly focused action?

3. Communicate the communication policy

When you create a communication policy you are writing a document that encourages high performance and good working practices (this is a written document for many of my clients that enables large teams to work in various ways that are most responsive to the individual but with the organisation at its heart). However, a communication policy is nothing without communicating it exists and honouring the boundaries it creates.

So how in your working day do you impose boundaries on you, your time, your communication, email, social media, interaction, etc to ensure you perform to a high standard? List them. Is it going to give you the discipline and organisation your week needs?

4. Write a list – A short list

Many people love lists, as already touched on this is often to give a sense of achievement. If you are achieving the same things every day, then it’s not working. If you are picking up the big evil, “I really don’t want to look at that” document/email/letter/form then you are giving your brain a powerful message that says, “we can achieve anything!”

Did you know the jobs you love take longer and the jobs you loathe take less time? That’s the perception of reality in action. So, your to do list needs to be strategic to work with the intricacies of the way the mind likes to think and work;

  • Only have 3 to 5 actions on your to do list.
  • Have a now goal and a long-term goal on your to do list – what 1 action needs to be completed for each? Don’t move on to action 2 until action 1 is completed. (So yes, you do need to work out what actions could be necessary and what actions will be done in what order – this is usually completed with a coach to ensure you are dealing with all aspects that stops growth, performance and results.
  • IF something has sat on your to do list for over 2 weeks, it’s time to ask yourself if you should ditch it or do it? Either way don’t let it take up 1 more moment of your mind.
  • Consider everything written on that list will take up brain space – this is partially why I recommend that you concentrate on 1 thing for a maximum of 40 minutes, then swap for 5 to 10 minutes. It gives your brain space to process what you were working on.
  • With organisation, forethought and structure what could be automated, outsourced or employed to another? Save time in the long run with just this strategy.

5. Coffee, coffee and more coffee.

You want to create an automatic response in your brain so that when you do certain actions, your brain gets this boost of knowledge that “We are going to perform!” To start the week motivated it’s not just about caffeine.

What would give your brain the mental stimulation that you are about to perform to a high standard?

  • Music can alter the state in which your brain thinks. What music gets you buzzed up and hyper? What music makes you calm? Play with music to find the style that gets you motivated and be mindful that this may differ from the music you need to be flowing creatively or highly focused – high focus often needs instrumental music.
  • Aromatherapy oil – I like rosemary in the office in the diffuser. The rainbow light is a reminder that we are about to sit down and crack on.
  • Not just coffee. There’s nothing wrong with a few cups of coffee, but is there a big glass of water on your desk too? Did you know water can make you 5% cleverer? Well that’s what Mark Gardner, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, and Dr Caroline Edmonds at the University of East London found – those hydrated performed on average 5% better! They also found it aided concentration in younger students by 30% and encouraged a “good mood” feel in adults (1).
  • Lighting. It may seem obvious, but if you don’t have a great view and poor lighting it can damage concentration. Your brain can’t wake up! I had one client that took fairy lights into the office. Their colleagues jested “Is it Christmas?”, but the joke was on them when they were finishing work a whole hour earlier every night and seemed “A lot more chilled and responsive” Never dismiss the little things for you or your staff – this often bring the biggest change.

6. Think different.

I estimate that at least 50 companies I worked with last year complained they hated Monday meetings. “Ergh, I know I’ve a mountain of jobs on my desk and I’m sat in a boring meeting that has nothing to do with me!” was often a retort I heard. Change your way of communicating with your team and making things flow well. I could write a book on high performing meetings, but here’s a few thoughts to get you started;

  • Is Monday the best day? What about a Friday recap and then a Tuesday meeting instead?
  • Does everyone need to be there? Sometimes staff are included so they are in the know. The minutes of the meeting can be enough with an opportunity to discuss in the next meeting if they wish to attend. Don’t let anyone think this is an opportunity to bypass their thoughts or opinions. Make it optional or better still ask for their views on when, who and how meetings are hosted – this is always the most powerful way to make each meeting high performing.
  • Pre-prepared – suggestions. Allow a confidential way for people to add thoughts to a meeting. Are all meetings the same? Do you have an early week update and advise, a learning and development, areas for improvement and/or a innovation and ideas meeting? It’s unrealistic to make a brain to sit through many styles of meeting at once and perform well. So, think about what styles of meeting are needed – including who, how often and in what format – they will obviously differ. Defining them makes meetings motivational and beneficial, instead of tiresome and endurance exercises!

7. Stop.

The start of the week will benefit from 5 to 10 minutes where you stop. To do this effectively, it could be mindfulness or meditation. Taking 5 minutes to watch the birds in the garden, or just sit and zone out. A walk to work where you don’t have headphones in or your phone in hand. Just notice the world around you. Simple mindfulness processes that I teach don’t need an empty mind and an hour of yoga. If they are done well, it’s a quick way to help your mind start the week raring to go.

What these processes do is allow your brain to start the week calmly, which means it has spent the weekend subconsciously considering what you left on your desk, and that means your brain can come up with ideas often without your input at all. So, stop and start calmly, not with everyone else’s priorities, actions and needs first.

(1) https://www.westminster.ac.uk/news/just-half-a-bottle-of-water-could-boost-students-exam-success-research-finds

  • April 19, 2022

The importance list — where are you?

I’ve also shared this article to my @Medium account so if you don’t like reading you can listen – alas it’s not my voice but a great way to process the strategies and ideas I share.

like to share secrets with you. The strategies that most won’t tell you until you’ve spent some money, that’s not my style. I believe the right clients will always find me and I want to be accessible for all — no matter what your budget.

Often when I’m working with clients, I hear worrying statements that set off alarm bells on what is stopping them from achieving what they want and often suffering, that tell me that person puts everyone else first and themselves last.

Here I share with you a quick and easy exercise to ask yourself where you see yourself in the importance list, why it’s important and the strategies to fix it.

Why you need to put yourself on the importance list.

  • I may be coaching a team or an individual but regardless I test where people place themselves in their world.
  • Do you walk in the door after a long day and start dealing with the whole family’s needs?
  • Do you stop what you are doing and instantly crack on with whatever task your teammates, staff or boss throw at you?
  • Do you change your plans at a moments notice to keep the peace and do what others want instead?

These are pretty obvious ones, but many are so adaptable (which can be great to be agile and ready for anything) that they bend to everyone’s beck and call and that’s when you can have serious issues.

These include (not exclusive list);

  • Not completing your to do list.
  • Feeling stressed.
  • Working long hours.
  • Feeling frustrated with staff/boss/colleagues.
  • Feeling undervalued.
  • Hating your job/life/partner.
  • Feeling unappreciated.
  • Feeling burnout and unwell — physically and mentally.

In the work place I see this impact on;

  • Productivity.
  • Staff relations.
  • Stress management.
  • Task completion.
  • Compliance.
  • Management style.
  • Leaders’ sanity!
  • Communication.
  • Respect.
  • Grape vine chatter.

This quick and easy exercise is great to understand how you see yourself in the world both personally and professionally and how others see themselves.

It can be a real revelation as people realise, they’d not valued themselves as much as they should.

This can play a massive part in why people put up with poor work environments, don’t speak up about issues, concerns or ideas and even damage the organisation.

Utilise this exercise and learn from it and you can see;

  • Improved communication.
  • Time management.
  • Stress management.
  • Resilience.
  • Achieving new challenging goals.
  • Overcoming adversity.
  • Building confidence.
  • Dealing with change adversity.

And so much more that impacts on performance, success and happiness.

With your team you can use this exercise to understand how they value themselves, assess their level of self-belief and check their confidence levels — on confidence a note of caution — if your confidence goes up and down you are likely to be suffering from external confidence instead of internal confidence — this link will fix that. https://mandiie-holgate-business-life-coach.teachable.com/p/how-to-rocket-your-confidence

So, this is it…

Imagine a pile of clean washing. At the top you’ve got the clothes you and your household wear the most — they go through the washing process most weeks.

Then further down there’s that outfit you wore at that posh do and haven’t got around to putting away yet.

Then at the bottom there’s the things that haven’t seen the light of day in years. In fact, there’s a good chance that the last time you saw that garment you had a 90’s perm and would scream if you met George Michael, Kylie or Jon Bon Jovi!

At the bottom where that grey broken bra lives, those pants that have nearly lost their elasticity and risk an embarrassing moment.

So, picture it. At the top where the fast processed items are, is your ten out of 10 and down in the gregs of your wash basket, with your youth and grey pants is 0 out of 10. Where do you sit?

When I do this exercise with audience and teams, we quickly see how people see themselves. It tells me a lot about their confidence levels, self-belief, ability to communicate powerfully and even get their to do list done.

Straight away some will shout out “10!” So, we know they’ve confidence to put themselves first when it matters.

Then there are those that fold their arms and say, “Well realistically it should be a 5, right?” which means they are asking me what they should think and gives me some warning signs that their importance in the world, family, work is not all it could be.

(Remember this is not about putting yourself all others and forgetting they exist. This is about the internal gauge that tells you that your needs matter as much as anyone else’s. There are so many feel good motivational quotes about this, but rarely do people appreciate the true damage of putting yourself down there with the old grey bra and pants!

And then there are those who say nothing. I often see a sneak tear. They often don’t want to say anything. If it is a team coaching, they know they are safe to say anything so they will tell me they’ve not even a one. These people get that real eureka moment that you can’t change the world if you don’t exist.

For one manager they realised their door was always open, they were well respected and much loved, but they often worked until 10pm, then often found themselves doing everything at home and feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. After this quick exercise we put some strategies in place and they rarely finish work after 6pm, they receive a lot higher respect at work and at home and their 17-year-old now volunteers to tidy the kitchen and cook dinner! So where are you on the importance list?
Monitor it and don’t accept anything less than a seven!

Struggling?

Message me and I will let you know whether to start with my mastermind group, confidence course, or something else. And as always if you would like me to write something especially for you, just say.

  • April 11, 2022

How saying ‘no’ can positively impact your business success

Recently I spoke for WEConnect International. Here you can access the full webinar: ‘How saying ‘no’ can positively impact your business success’ I hope you enjoy the session and learn a lot about how saying no can make you more focused, less stressed and more productive!

And below are additional links to further learning and support. Let me know how you get on and if you aren’t signed up to WeConnect you – please do!

Webinar Recording
If you’d like to listen back or if you weren’t able to join us on the day, the recording of the webinar can be found here: https://youtu.be/mAHT7Zrfq5E

Slides
Accompanying slides can be found here.

If you have any issues with any of these links, you can also access them online here.

Resources
You can find details about my best-selling book Fight the Fear (now in 5 languages) that looks at the 12 biggest fears that impact on success including our fear of saying no and our fear of what people think of us here: https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/books/

And here are the additional articles as mentioned:

http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/stop-being-a-catherine-wheel-its-wrecking-your-focus/

http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/the-shiny-thing-syndrome-the-sts/

Courses on powerful communication anywhere, building confidence and other business related subjects – https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/shop/

And the confidential mastermind group that is a very powerful group for female business owners https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/bwn-insider-benefits/  – a great way to access a coach 24/7!

If you found the webinar useful and are able to leave a review on Linkedin or Google that would be greatly appreciated.

Mandie offers team coaching, 1 to 1 coaching and mentoring to help women and their teams achieve more and is very happy to offer a discount for all our WEConnect International webinar attendees (not reviews). Please contact her to avail of this!

Please Register!
Finally, if you have not yet registered your business with WEConnect International, you can register with us for free online here: https://weconnectinternational.org/en/womens-business-enterprises/self-registration.

Jay McLeod

eNetwork and Operations Manager for Europe

WEConnect International

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  • June 26, 2019