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Maintaining Peak Level

Monday, 31st August 2009

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Here are some ideas to get going and stay going at a peak level:

Start each day with a review of your goals. In a 24/7 world, it’s easy to lose sight of where you ultimately want to go. Take the 30 minutes at the beginning of each day, when your mind is still clear, to review your goals. Start with your big goals and then put today’s work in the context of achieving them. If there is a chronic discrepancy between your long-term goals and what you are planning to work on today, it will unmistakably emerge in these early morning sessions.

Figure out your “next actions.” When you are overwhelmed with a seemingly endless to-do list, many motivational experts recommend starting with anything in order to “get some points on the board” by checking something off the list. While doing something may be better than doing nothing, doing the right thing is better still. David Allen, a well-known productivity consultant, recommends identifying the next physical action required for each of your open projects. That way, your to-do list is not encumbered with everything, but just with the “next things.” No matter what you do on the list, you will be accomplishing something that matters.

Do nothing. Another way to sustain your motivation is to periodically do nothing. Turn off your Blackberry, hibernate your computer, shut down your iPod—actually take 20 minutes or so to truly do nothing but sit and relax. If you are unfamiliar with this process, the first time will seem like torture after about five minutes. But with a little practice you will find that a brief respite of real quiet can be tremendously rejuvenating.

Look to your energy levels. Consider the advice of performance consultants Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz who say, “Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.” After years studying professional athletes, they realized that in many ways, your brain is exactly like the muscles in your body. Too much work will strain it and you will perform below your peak. (Too little mental work will cause the same result, but not many of us face that issue.) In their book The Power of Full Engagement, Loehr and Schwartz say that stress is important to maintain motivation—provided that you build in sufficient recovery time. Their techniques for managing your energy levels range from taking 10-15 minutes for a walk around the block every couple of hours, to changing your diet, to building in recovery time after the work day ends and it is time to re-engage with your family or with your partner.

Overwhelm-Busting Practices

Monday, 24th August 2009

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A practice of any kind can keep you tethered to yourself in those times when overwhelm wants to scatter your enegery to the wind. Regularly repeated, these practices are best cultivated in times when things are going well so that they are there to sustain you when you get overwhelmed. Some examples:

  • Say a small prayer, read a meditation book or a holy book or recite a poem each morning to greet the day.
  • Walk the dog while whispering all the things for which you forgive yourself.
  • Write in a journal as fast as you can for 15 minutes first thing in the morning without editing or judging. Pour it all out on paper.
  • Do the “Salute to the Sun” yoga postures every morning after arising.

Self-Motivate to Success

Monday, 17th August 2009

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We can learn all the self-management tricks in the book, but none of them will be worth a dime if we don’t follow through and use them. That’s where self-discipline comes in. There’s no easy, painless way to enforce self-discipline, but if we don’t utilize it, we will be left forever unfulfilled.

Brian Tracy, one of the world’s top business speakers and author of 35 books on business and personal productivity, offers some very simple advice: Simply start doing what you know you need to do. Stop pushing it off for later. Once you start seeing the results active self-discipline yields, the desire for the payoff begins to become greater than your resistance to taking action.

To more easily promote successful self-discipline, break down tasks into smaller chunks and then simply focusing on taking the first steps. This way all your tasks and goals won’t feel so overwhelming, which makes it easier to take action.

Steps To Take to Create The Perfect Kind of Motivation

Monday, 10th August 2009

  1. Determine what areas in your life you want to step it up. Determine what you want the end result to look like, be, and feel like. Create a list.
  2. List all the benefits you can foresee from the desired outcome.
  3. List all the consequences if you leave things the way they are.
  4. Is your motivation strong enough to make a change? Chances are it isn’t, because if it was strong enough you would have accomplished it already.
  5. What can you do to increase your motivation? If you need additional help, ask a spouse, child, friend, or coworker for their ideas. (If the consequences benefit them, that might be the perfect motivation for you.)
  6. Decide what day you are going to take your first action step and schedule it. Make sure consequences for not doing it are in place.
  7. Take the step to living it up life.
  8. Celebrate small action steps along the way.

Overwhelm-Busting Strategies

Monday, 3rd August 2009

Write down all the nurturing things you can think of to do when overwhelm begins to visit. They’ll help you reconnect with yourself, to re-collect and re-focus your energy inside. Keep a copy with you and one at home. When you begin to notice your particular symptoms and/or triggers, use the list to remind yourself of things that have worked in the past. Here are just a few suggestions. Be as creative as you want.

  • Breathe. Remember the breath’s metaphor: Let in; let go.
  • Wrap up in a blanket. Cuddle.
  • Dance alone, with or without music. Let your body lead the way.
  • Listen to violin, cello or piano music. Let the music elicit tears.
  • Light a candle. Maybe it’s one small candle at your work desk or lots of candles around your house.
  • Watch a funny video. Laughter has a positive effect on brain chemistry.
  • Ask for help. It’s a gift that allows others the opportunity to give.
  • Go for a walk. Exercise increases adrenaline and endorphins, the body’s natural antidepressants.
  • Lie on the grass outside. Connect with the earth’s regenerating powers.
  • Go to your room—or your car—and sing to yourself. Or hum quietly as you work.