Tag Archives: self motivation

4 Secrets of Focused People

By Laura Vanderkam, www.CBSNews.com

(MoneyWatch) At one of my workshops recently, a man mentioned that he’d like to make better use of his time. In particular, he wanted long stretches of time to focus on big projects. But, as he asked his colleagues in the room, if he didn’t return their emails immediately, would they hold it against him?

I think this question is quite common. People describe the modern workday as a firefight. Emails are constantly coming at you, seemingly requiring an instant response. There’s no time to think except outside of normal business hours. And that doesn’t seem very fair if you want a normal life, too.

But some of this urgency may be more perception than reality. We inflict it on ourselves. Here’s how to establish new habits.

1. Start small. Even in the most frenetic office environments, you’re allowed to go to the bathroom or grab a coffee (or both). Consequently, you’re probably already comfortable being off email for 15 or 20 minutes. Challenge yourself to close your inbox and turn off your devices for 20 minutes while you focus. If 20 minutes goes by without the earth crashing into the sun, you can start stretching this time to 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off through the day.

2. Be disciplined. The first time you try to go an hour fully focused on one project, you’ll probably be jumpy. You’ll find yourself mindlessly trying to turn on your smartphone, but that’s just a sign of withdrawal. You’ll get used to it. An emergency may always interrupt your focused time, but don’t let that emergency be your own bad habits.

3. Create space. Designate certain times that you’d like to keep free, and do your best not let meetings and phone calls interrupt that time. I try to keep mornings open and schedule calls in the afternoon. It doesn’t always work, but if anyone asks me to suggest a time, it won’t be in the a.m., and hence I don’t have a lot of early calls. Try to model this expectation with your teams — that certain hours are better for meetings than others, to leave certain times open.

4. Try working at home. As long as you don’t have children underfoot, it’s the best way to avoid distractions. If you work in teams, you probably shouldn’t work at home all the time, but once a week or so when you need to think creates a great balance.

How do you find time to focus?


Workplace Strengths & Weaknesses

By Leyla Norman, eHow Contributor

Sales Team Leveraging Strengths

Make the effort to grow your workplace strengths and to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Developing a strong workplace personality with positive characteristics takes time and deliberate effort. Use every opportunity to turn what you do well into something you do better.


  • Use your strengths in the workplace to help others. If you have a good work ethic or are a good problem solver, for example, show up to work 10 minutes early to help set up the restaurant or office you work in for the day. Stay another 10 minutes after your shift ends (if allowed by company policy) to help a co-worker with some work or a problem he has to solve. To develop your ability to help others, look for an opportunity to be of service to someone. Ask the person politely if they would like help before you jump in to assist them, however. Do this at least once per shift to get better at it.


  • Attitude plays an important role in whether we enjoy our jobs or not. It also affects how our co-workers feel during their work day. It is definitely more pleasant to be around those who are happy than it is to be around those who are constantly negative. If you generally have a good work attitude, share it with others. Smile as often as possible, and spread your good cheer by offering encouraging words. Build a good attitude by avoiding complaining about things on the job or specific people at work. When you are tempted to do so, keep your mouth closed. When you next open it, make it a point to say something positive, even if it is commenting on the weather in a positive way or asking someone if they have had a good day. Others will appreciate your efforts.


  • Good communication is vital in any workplace. Whether you tell an incoming assistant teacher how things went with the preschool classroom you help with in the morning, write an email to your boss about a problem you are facing or communicate orally with a client over the phone about a project your company is doing, communication is an extremely important part of your success on the job. Develop your ability to communicate by talking more openly with your supervisors about both good and bad things that happen at work, reviewing emails carefully for respectful tone and conciseness before you send them or by taking and delivering accurate messages when you take phone calls for others at work. Each opportunity to talk with someone at work is a chance to improve your communication skills.


  • Successful employees look for something to do when there is nothing to do. If you are naturally self-motivated, you would be leading by example, without words but with plenty of action. You are looking for productive ways to fill empty time at work, perhaps filling out your schedule for the next day or calling customers to see if they need anything. You work to manage your time well and prioritize your tasks according to the most pressing. If you need to develop this skill, start by asking your supervisor if there is anything else you can do when your work is finished. Look around you to see what tasks need to be completed that have not been done yet.