Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

If you are a busy volunteer and trying to find balance in your life, it can be difficult. It may not seem as if you have enough hours in your day to get your “work” done, let alone find time to relax and de-stress. And what about friends, family, your children? Overworking and not achieving a healthy balance can be extremely tiring, not to mention, draining. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Turn off those devices

Being connected 24/7 can be tiring in itself. When did you last switch your phone off so you could do something uninterrupted? Those constant notifications and pings can distract your thought processes and your relaxation. Turning them off will allow you to enjoy the moment – even better when you are spending it with those you love. Give them 100% of your attention without the need to check your device constantly. Everyone will benefit because of it.

Everything does not have to be perfect

We are always surrounded by perfectionism – on television, in magazines and in the books we read. But keeping up with those standards of measurements can be difficult. Life is complicated and busy for a start! So if you have to let things slide for the sake of your sanity, then do it. Leave the dishes until tomorrow. Clean the bathroom in a day or two. Whatever you need to put off, it is truly okay. It will still be there tomorrow (unless someone kindly volunteers to do it for you!)

Schedule in exercise

Exercise is one of those things that we constantly tell ourselves we will do later. But the truth is, there is always an opportunity to exercise; we just need to make it a priority in our life. If you have time to sit down and watch a television program, then you have time to commit to a short exercise schedule a couple of occasions a week. Whether you enjoy yoga, want to job, go for a walk, or cycle, then schedule it in. It will not only make you feel less stressed about your busy lifestyle, but it will also improve your energy to get you through the day.

Take it one step at a time

Marathon runners don’t get to where they are without attempting small runs first. It is the same with making any changes in your life. You don’t aim to lose 20 pounds in a week and nor do you try to find 3 hours of “me time” in one go. Take it slowly and snatch moments here and there. Once you begin to see that giving yourself permission is kind, not selfish, then you will be keener to make changes, so it happens on a regular basis. Like exercise, scheduling it into your daily movements will help.

Create boundaries

It is not acceptable for people to call you at 11 pm or 7 am. It is not acceptable when you are asked to forego your lunch break to help out in the office. Create boundaries so people know when you are available – anything else can wait until you are available. Unexpected things happen regularly in life and the office, but your time is sacred and needs to be respected as well. If you don’t want to be interrupted, then turn your phone off and shut the door. People will soon understand when you are open to conversations or wish to discuss their requirements. Saying no is something you have to get used to saying more often.

Plan your holidays in advance

Plan your holidays in advance, so it gives you something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be an all-expenses paid cruise to unwind. Even a staycation (a holiday at home away from work or volunteering) can be great for the mind and body if you plan it right. Once you know your dates, then you can delegate as necessary. That will give time for a volunteer to step up to take on your responsibilities. And don’t forget if you do plan to go away, arrange for someone to water your plants and check on your home, to give you one less thing to have to worry about.

Join a group

While joining another group when you are time limited sounds counter-productive, it can do your mind a world of good. It allows you to concentrate on something else other than volunteering or the mundane chores at home. It also provides you with an avenue where you can spend time talking about something you like with other like-minded individuals. Do you have a hobby or wish to take one up? This is your chance to join a group and expand your knowledge.


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pexels-photo-261577Working or volunteering at an NFP can be a time-consuming task. It can feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get through the to-do list, let alone come up with creative ideas for fundraising activities. So what can you do to make the most of your volunteer hours?

Create a workable system

You will need to come up with a system so you can use the time you have to the best of your advantage. Organise everything so you can find it quickly; make lists, create folders, manage a diary – whatever works for your particular job or project. The better organised you are, the easier it will be to manage your time effectively.

Stop procrastinating

Often when things get busy, it is easy to spend time worrying about the mountain of paperwork or the number of items on the to-do list. The trick is to tackle them one at a time. Cross an item off the list and move on to the next one. Don’t spend your energy worrying about things – just do what needs to be done when you have the time.

Work from home where necessary

Sometimes working from home is in your best interests when you have a long or complex task to do. It can mean you can work on it in your own time without interruption, reporting back to the office as necessary. It may not work for all projects, but it could help when you are time limited and could save on much travel time between locations.

Break projects down into mini-tasks

If you are overseeing a big project, then it is often easier to bring things down into workable chunks. Plan your day so you can work on one project to completion. Then move onto something else and repeat. This will take much of the stress and overwhelm out of the work day and minimise time wastage from switching from task to task.

Avoid checking emails and messages first thing

Emails and messages can cut into your day. Try to get out of the habit of checking your emails as soon as you arrive at the office. Start working on your to-do list and save the message checking until mid-morning or mid-afternoon when you feel like you need a break. Add an automatic reply which states you will respond within a 24 hour period, so you don’t feel rushed to answer immediately.

Give yourself a break

You are only human, and you cannot do it all TODAY. Burnout will be no good for you or the NFP you are volunteering for. Do what you can, when you can and be happy with that. And if the NFP is struggling to get through the tasks set, then it may be time for them to look for an extra pair of hands to help you out. While challenging work is good for the soul, self-sacrifice will do you no good at all.

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coffee-flower-reading-magazineWe are busy, all of the time it seems, and we’re all being asked to do more with increasingly less time and resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow just snap our fingers and get it all done?

Being more productive, and getting more accomplished each day requires more than wishful thinking.  Productivity is like any other good habit, it’s a skill that each of us can develop with enough practice. Over time, adopting the following five traits will help you to get more accomplished each day.

Increase Your Focus. It’s easy to get caught up thinking and obsessing about things we can’t control or to become distracted by all of the other, more enjoyable things that there are to do with our time other than our work. Taking our eyes off of our primary goals and objectives, however, wastes time. You’ll get more done each day if you actively look for ways to eliminate interruptions and distractions while you work. As you focus on the tasks at hand, don’t be afraid to ask others for help, and consider delegating tasks that are better suited to others.

Increase Your Effectiveness by Managing Your Energy and Eliminating Negativity. A lot of us not only waste time when we should be focusing on our work but, we also manage our energy unwisely a well. We can increase our ability to get more done by taking steps to better manage and enhance our energy levels. This means adopting practices that boost our physical and mental health, such as increasing our nutrition, getting enough rest and taking the time to exercise. We can also boost our energy levels and morale by avoiding negative situations or people that sap our energy and instead choosing to surround ourselves with people that inspire and encourage us and build our energy.

Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Stop Letting Doubts Hold You Back. Are you so afraid or failing, or being embarrassed that you are your own worst enemy? Do you let false, self-limiting beliefs hold you back from taking risks and putting forth your best effort? If your mind is full of visions of obstacles and what can go wrong, regain your focus and reclaim your life by changing the channel on negative self-talk and doubts. Focus on what can go right about a given situation and what steps you need to take to achieve your objectives. Practice visualising how you will feel and what will happen when things go well, and keep pressing forward towards your goals!

Leave the Past in the Past. Learn from Your Mistakes, but Then Move On. Each of us has made mistakes and has failed at something. Rather than wasting time and energy remaining trapped in the past, resolve to learn from the experience and quickly move on. Continuing to mull over in your mind all of the mistakes and errors that you have made will not help you. When you make a mistake, ask yourself what you have learned from the experience, what you would change in the future, what steps you need to take to improve your performance and then move on and allow the experience to become part of the foundation that is paving the path to your future.

Keep Growing. As we get older and past hurts, mistakes and errors pile up, it can be tempting to stick with what we know and what is familiar to us and get stuck in the rut of established routines and outdated ways of thinking and doing things. If we want to maintain our effectiveness and increase our productivity, however, we must seek ways to continue to grow. We can encourage new growth within ourselves by remaining open to new experiences and ways of thinking and finding ways to improve and develop new skills. Pursuing growth and development not only improves our productivity and effectiveness, but it also builds our passion for living and the joy we obtain from our lives!

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pexels-photoAlmost everyone can remember a time when they have been asked to do something new and they have felt it is beyond them. Perhaps there’s new software that needs to be mastered, or more negotiating skills are needed than one is felt to possess. Perhaps a better understanding of business practices would speed up the process of getting certain tasks done. Whatever it is, if further training will have a positive impact on your work, it is going to benefit your organisation. For that reason, it is not unreasonable to approach them to fund said training.

Easier said than done? Not if you have your bases covered. Follow these three steps and you will be in with a good chance to get that extra training you would like.

Research Training Options

Make sure you have selected the most appropriate course for the knowledge you need. Make sure it is good value, and happening at a time that will not clash with other work that cannot be rescheduled. If you can propose a particular course, you are making things as easy as possible for the decision makers to approve.

Be clear about what the training entails

Communicating what you will learn and how it will benefit your organisation is key to getting the cost of training covered by your organisation. Explain how your work will improve with the new knowledge, and what impact your improved skill set will have on the organisation both short and long term. Most courses will have information that can be forwarded to the decision makers, but if not, prepare something in writing that can be considered when the time is right. If there are noteworthy trainers leading the course, be sure to include that information. Also, point out if other attendees are likely to make good contacts for your organisation.

Offer to share what you learn

A proposal to attend training becomes particularly attractive if the knowledge gained can be shared with others in the organisation. It might not be feasible for all to attend the training, but those who can are in a good position to return with their new knowledge and teach others what they have learned. Offer to run a mini development course for others to sweeten the deal for everyone.

By following these steps, convincing those who can write the tuition cheque that is it a good investment can be relatively straightforward, especially if the course is indeed worthwhile.

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volunteers-601662_640Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do to boost your skills and help others, but did you know it can also boost your career? While you may not necessarily be getting paid for your volunteer work, it can still provide you with valuable knowledge of your particular industry as well as create quality references to fall back on during your personal and professional career.

Personal development is greatly enhanced giving you the opportunity to learn new skills or maintain and develop existing skills. Helping others can have a great impact on yourself and others and improve your self-esteem and sense of achievement. Volunteering can also bring people together from diverse and cultural backgrounds that you may not have the opportunity to meet in your regular day to day activities.

And of course, volunteering is not just for individuals. Businesses can also reap the rewards such as strengthening team bonds, increased morale, and of course, don’t forget good old fashioned fun.

Offering pro bono work is another way to offer your volunteer services in your own industry. Neo-philanthropist and entrepreneur Matthew Manos developed a “double-half” methodology – a 50% pro-bono business model that will have a great impact on your business and on you as an individual. Working on a volunteer project is also likely to make you more innovative, creative and resourceful – great qualities that can enhance your approach to business.

Perhaps you have the potential to take volunteers within your own organisation  Most volunteers won’t mind what they do as long as they feel their contribution is useful so by not accepting their help you could be overlooking a valuable resource. Or perhaps a retired business professional might be a great option to consider.

Anytime of the year is a great time to volunteer, and, more so around the holiday season. Whatever your reason for doing so, there are plenty of ways to give back to the community, without emptying your bank account. Depending on what it is you want to do, or whom you want to support, there is likely to be a lot of opportunity for you.

Whether you are seeking to volunteer or are taking volunteers, the relationships you create during these experiences will be the most memorable. Positive rewarding experiences are yours for the taking and with anything, today is a great day to start.

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card-1081735_640Starting a new year provides the opportunity to start afresh and open up new possibilities for yourself. One of the fundamental factors we generally forget to take into consideration, though, is that a new year doesn’t necessarily mean a new you is going to appear magically. You still take your usual self into it.

Alas, if we really want to make something of it, and benefit from the opportunity for a new beginning, or to do things in new ways, or even be a new you, then making resolutions is a good start.

If you are genuinely interested in achieving all those things you’ve stated as your resolutions; the standard lose weight, eat healthier foods, stop procrastinating, or whatever it is you’ve resolved to do, then there are three resolutions you need to make.

These three resolutions are the cornerstone for helping all your other resolutions come to fruition, and are the foundation for growth, success and an impressive 2016.

Personal Development

Agree with yourself to work on yourself. Whether you do this in the form of reading books from renowned personal development coaches, attend some seminars or courses, or follow some e-learnings, this is a must.

Improving yourself will allow you to understand what it is that’s been holding you back, and give you the tools and power to move forward. You can apply these learnings to those more tangible, measurable goals and resolutions; like the losing weight, or writing 1000 words per day.

Practice Mindfulness

This fits in neatly with improving your personal self. Being fully aware of the situations you’re in, how you’re feeling, why you’re doing what you are doing, enables you to consider how you will react to whatever is that’s going on.

Whether this is yet another uncomfortable interaction with a colleague, or you’re sitting on the couch, avoiding physical activity, you are given the power to take alternative action. You can choose to react to your colleague differently, or get up and go for that walk like you said you would.

Speaking of sitting on the couch, practicing quiet mindfulness, in a meditative way, is also of great benefit. Practice doing nothing on a daily basis. Make sure it’s a productive sort of doing nothing, though.

Awareness of Others

This is a tough one for a lot of people to grasp fully. We generally understand the concept of “walking in another person’s shoes”, but take this one step further, and practice it daily.

Again, it ties in with the other two, so you do not have to do too much extra work each day!

As you practice mindfulness, be aware of you’re the thoughts that pop into your head when you see a person; how they’re dressed, what they’re doing, how they’re behaving. What are you thinking?

When you’re confronted by a person, rather than considering walking in their shoes, think about what may be driving them to do what they’re doing in that moment. Ironically, many of us are quite happy to defend our actions by saying “I had a bad night’s sleep” or “I was rushed because the train was late”, but rarely, if ever, do they afford the same courtesy to others.

Consider the driving forces before you react. And while you’re at it, make communication skills part of your personal development!

As with all goals and resolutions, making them is nowhere near enough. Anyone can say something; it’s taking the action that will do the trick.

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‘Tis the season to be jolly” and take a break, wind down and refresh.

It can be a struggle to refocus once you return to work for obvious reasons. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours isn’t half as much fun as laying in the sun with a good book, or watching DVDs in your pyjamas. But getting your groove back is a necessity, and there are a few tips to help with the transition from beach to office.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

That first morning you wake to the alarm is going to be hard, so try not to be tempted to stay in bed too long and go into work at the last minute. Some time alone to regroup, check voice messages, open any mail and start on the inbox, before the rest of the team arrives, will help you feel organised and in control. Your first week back can be hectic, so this isn’t the week to schedule important meetings or commence big projects. Try to catch up on tasks left over from before your break and leave the hard stuff until next week.

Share your holiday stories with your co-workers and reconnect before you return to the business of goals and targets. How often do we hear people say they felt like they never relaxed and that the holiday is a distant memory within days of returning. Relish the memories of the sun, or the snow, depending how you spent the holidays, so you can knuckle down and work towards the next adventure!

Get back into a routine, or if you don’t have one, take the opportunity to create new habits. If you feel fresher in the morning, this might be the ideal time to work on new projects, make sales calls or tackle the jobs where you need extra concentration. Afternoons might be best used for administrative tasks that require less creativity. While you are playing catch up, it can be tempting to push hard, not take breaks and stay back late. Make sure you eat lunch every day, preferably at the same time, and leave on time if you can. Organisation and a fresh focus will be your friend.

Touch base with your co-workers on any joint projects, and see what work is outstanding or requires a higher priority. Getting your bearings will help you identify where to start and what direction you need to focus your energy, which is just the boost you need.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Simple pleasures will help you make the holiday feeling last, especially on your first day back. Pick up a coffee from your favourite café on the way into work, or pack yourself a special lunch. Returning to work doesn’t have to happen with a thud.

If you over-indulged over the break, as we often do, getting active, taking a walk before work or even at lunch, or hitting the gym to start the day will help restart and re-energise your mind as well as your body.

Returning to work after a break is inevitable, so you might as well embrace it and enjoy the fresh start. Every extra day is one day closer to your next break so why not start planning now. We work to live not live to work!

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