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What Can You Learn From Adversity?

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.Anne Bradstreet

Be grateful for adversity. Challenges encourage us to grow. Crisis nudges us to wake up and do some searching of the soul. Difficulty sweetens the flavor of success. We need adversity to gain strength, compassion and wisdom. Anyone can “exist” their way through life. It takes someone with something special inside to triumph over adversity. Aren’t we all special in some way? I believe so.

Look back over your life. Haven’t some of your greatest lessons come from adversity? Aren’t you stronger than you were before? More capable? Wiser? Those among us who have never known the struggle of adversity, the trials of testing your limits have also never known the exquisite satisfaction of perseverance.

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Environment Has Huge Impact on Happiness and Productivity

home officeYour environment is a crucial piece to increasing productivity. Whether it’s in a traditional office, a home office or even an area used for “home” projects (kitchen, garage, workroom, etc.) it needs to support your particular requirements. That is not being indulgent or selfish, that is wise and knowing what will help you be happiest and perform your best. the conditions with which you surround yourself have a huge impact. Simple changes can have big pay-offs.

Do you have:

  • Good equipment – comfortable chair, good desk or table, quality tools(pens, computer, knives, etc.)
  • Sufficient lighting – natural and/or artificial
  • Adequate airflow & temperature – window, ventilation, heat, air-conditioning or fan
  • Appropriate atmosphere – music, scents and decor that energize and help focus you

fishTake into consideration your work style, physical preferences and personality. I prefer to work alone, at home, in a well lit, warm room, surrounded by plants, pets and pictures. You may flourish in the midst of energy and movement. You may prefer a more sparse atmosphere that doesn’t remind you of home.

You decide.

And feel free to experiment. Try something different until it feels right.

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Underpromise and Overdeliver – Fundamental Rule

Under-promise and Over-deliver.

This is one of the fundamental rules for business success, but it’s also a valuable guideline in life. Whether you are an employee, business owner, parent or volunteering your time; this strategy is almost always a good one to keep in mind. When you commit yourself to a deadline, try to figure in time for the unexpected and give yourself a cushion.

First, don’t over commit.

Second, be realistic, conservative even in time estimations.

Third, give something of extra value if you can.

Your managers, clients, children or organization will be thrilled when you come through earlier, better or cheaper!

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Annoyance Triggers

angry finger pointing

Inner nag

What are your “annoyance triggers?” What are the little things that bother you on a day-to-day basis? Do loud people or noisy places drive you nuts? People talking on cell phones in restaurants, when your inbox is full again, when people drive too slow or park their cars incorrectly? Is it the rudeness that abounds in today’s society or maybe those annoying soliciting phone calls that hang up just after the answering machine picks up? We all have them and they seem quite rational to us….

We don’t have to allow these minor stressors to affect us in this way. The first step is just to notice them, label them, and assess them if you will. Then take a moment to ask yourself if it is really the “thing” that annoys you or your reaction to it? If you have no control over it, then why do you give it so much power to dictate your mood? The trick is to not allow outside people or situations to sap your peace of the moment.

Life is filled with petty little annoyances. At work, at home, on the street, even with the people closest to us. When you catch yourself becoming annoyed try to re-frame the situation rather than allowing it to interfere with your attention and focus, whether it be on work, your family or enjoying the world around you.

When someone is rude to you, instead of getting irritated, try feeling compassion for them because they are probably unhappy and miserable. When you get those series of tele-marketer hang ups on your voice mail, be glad that’s not your job!

One of the keys to a happy, productive and peaceful life is to not allow other people or situations control your attitude and attention. Breathe and let it go.

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Make Use of “Lost Time”

Do you know an easy way to gain more time from your week?

Identify “lost time” throughout your week and figure out a better way to make use of it.

What do I mean by “lost time?”

Time spent waiting at children’s activities, in waiting rooms, on your commute to work all qualify. Your schedule may be different, but if you look closely you will be able to find these little snippets of time that have been up until now relatively unproductive. Even an hour per week adds up to an extra two days per year of useful time. I once heard of a famous author who wrote her entire novel while waiting at her child’s swimming lessons each week!

Think about what you could do during those times. Keep a list or an idea in your mind so that when the opportunity strikes you will be ready. For instance, in my case I could write a blog post while waiting at drum lessons, return calls while cooling my heels at horseback riding, read research in the waiting room or listen to a podcast or recorded call while sitting in traffic.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note here that you need to determine the appropriateness of the work. The whole premise of my philosophy is to encourage work and life harmony, not overworking. If you are at your son’s baseball game, you should be watching your son. That is his time, but perhaps doing work while waiting at practice is acceptable. If you really enjoy chatting with the other parents at dance lessons and that is quality time with your friends, then by all means continue, but if it is just time spent gossiping, you’re better off doing something productive.

In your quest to towards a more efficient and meaningful use of my time in the simplest way possible, let’s see what time you can identify and re-allocate from wasted time to productive time.

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