Until you know the rule, follow the crowd

One thing about routine is that you have a very good chance of excelling, when you know you can pause and reflect and then enhance your current way and eventually become better and better. Whether you have a desk job, or you simply go to the GYM to exercise; Routine Habits is a great way to become “better” at where you are.

As defined in the Cambridge Dictionaries Online: “Routine” is

    • a usual or fixed way of doing things:There’s no set/fixed routine at work – every day is different.He checks under the car for bombs as a matter of routine.
  • a regular series of movements, jokes, or similar things used in a performance:an exercise/dance routine He went into his usual “I’m the head of the family” routine (= usual way of speaking).

Let us say that you started a new job and you really don’t know the rules, or you moved to a new country where everything is still new to you, How would you handle yourself? of course you will eventually need to learn more about how things are done from some source, nevertheless you can be un-productive and “on-hold” until you do… or you need to start acting until you figure something out.

Everyday, on my way to my office, mostly taking the same route, once I’m on the highway, the speed limit is 100 KM/h with a buffer of 20 KM/h => meaning that you are allowed to speed up to 120 KM/h on that highway and beyond that  limit, you would get a speeding ticket.

At some points, as I’m moving at the speed of 120 KM/h, I find that most cars around me (doing the same) feel like they are NOT-MOVING, since all of us are moving at the same speed, so things shows as if we are all stable while we are all moving at a high speed; So as a general rule for me, whenever I’m taking a road that I am not aware of its current speed limit, I just mimic the speed of “most” of other cars… Until I see a speed limit sign :).

So this week’s tip, is about understanding the patterns around you, until you figure out how things are done on your own, and creating your own pattern.

So how do you do that?

Look, Learn, Take notes and then Mimic.

At the beginning you may not fully understand why you are doing things in that way, but afterwards, you would, and only then you would start linking what you are doing to what you need to be doing… and Start Excelling in what you do. Use the power of the Crowd!

Have a nice Week!

Cheers,
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

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That one Important Step that Kills your Productivity…

Whatever you are doing right now, step out of it, sit down and read this… You will need it!

After a long time researching personal and corporate productivity, on what would be the right process to make things right, what are the tools and the tips to have a both effective & efficient use of time and resources to accomplish your tasks, I have came down to a small and easy advice on how to do it… You can read more details about it in this Post  but here’s a small recap:

Once you have a To Do List, assign properties to the same line item, and normally it’s like adding 4 Tags to the line item:

  • Call Jack: Project A, 15 Minutes, End of Day Today, Phone
  • Get Shampoo: Personal, 1 Hour, Friday 13th, Errands
  • Reply to Amy: Project B, 30 Minutes, Tuesday 22nd, Email
  • *To Do Description*: *Related to which project*, *Time to finish*, *Priority/Deadline*, *Context*

So here’s the trick, You just need to assign 4 different tags to your list, and based on that you can re-order the list, and make sure you can finish them all on time… So per example, if you’re leaving work at 6 PM, you might not be able to take that call because it’s not business hours anymore and is inappropriate to do it, however if you were heading to lunch or a meeting, and you’re driving your car, then you can take advantage of those 30 minutes to take that call. and so on.

I guarantee you, that if you use this method, you will increase your productivity tremendously!

So what’s this week’s tip all about?

Let’s say you were given a report to make, the person giving it to you, expect it done in 2 hours, or let’s say the next day… Or Let’s say you agreed to execute a project that normally takes 2 days to finish… But you end up, slipping through time, procrastinating.. leaving some details to the last minute… and so on… What happened? why are you not working efficiently? if an Email takes 10 minutes to reply, why is it not done yet?

I will tell you… Simply because you don’t know how to do it… (at that particular time)… YES… Sometimes, the reply to an email when it comes to TYPING… takes 10 minutes, but to know WHAT TO TYPE… might take 5 minutes to 5 hours… 🙂 got it?

So most of the times, we tend to ignore one important step, which is “Accommodating needed time to Learn How to Do the task”, but since we don’t pay attention on how this is too important, or our Super Ego jumps in (I’m going a little Freud on this 🙂 ), we tend to accept the task, commit to deadlines, and then Frustrate our entire life, and our personal time, and our energy trying to live up to that expectation.

So the Answer is simple, put a step first, call it: The little Learner! how much time I need to Learn how to do this task? (even if it’s 10 Seconds)

If you need help, it’s OK! just ask for help, or put some checkpoints along the way, so start writing a small draft and then validate it with your boss or client, then go over it again and re-do the validation and so on… You will realize that Not only you learned how to do it, but also the satisfaction from your work grows higher and higher…

So remember, LEARN, to put your Ego aside and Increase your Productivity! 

Enjoy your week,

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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

It’s not WHAT you are carrying, it’s HOW you are carrying it

When I was at the supermarket yesterday, I bought loads of groceries, since I only do these types of shopping like once in a month, I get carried on and on 🙂 and at the end, all of the items are placed in commercial bags for me to carry…

I held all of the bags, and started walking, and walking, I live pretty close to the supermarket, and on that day I said that I needed the exercise…

4-5 minutes later, I was very tiered, tiered from the load I was carrying… But wait, the total of items vs their weight is not something a healthy 35 years old male cannot handle! and yet I had to take several stops on my 10 minutes trip… until I reached home.

What happened to me, happened to you before, and I don’t mean carrying the bags, but the entire way that we carry our items that makes a huge difference.

Let’s put it this way: If the entire items, were carefully put in a travel backpack, and the weight was distributed all over our body… not only we could manage to get it going with, we could even fit more and more items!!!

One of the secrets to productivity, is knowing how to distribute and balance your load… You see, sometimes the number of items on your plate might seem reasonable, and manageable, but yet you fail to see that the WAY you are carrying off your items / tasks / responsibilities is not ideal, and will make you feel tiered and you may be in a situation where you can’t continue due to the “unexplained” load you are carrying…

 Make sure you don’t carry the burden of the whole world on your shoulders, just in case someone needed them to cry.

~Nema Al-Araby

Our tip for this week is, as always, simple 🙂 … Make sure you pay attention to HOW you are carrying your load, and not only to how many manageable items there are…

Enjoy your Week!

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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

You are not the center, the center is You

During my path of coaching and assisting people, whether it was on a professional or personal level, if we were in a casual conversation or in a formal meeting, I have encountered a lot of similarities in what hold some people off from realizing their potential, and sometimes in what is holding them from doing any type of progress!

This week’s tip is inspired by the same conversation that I had with like at least a dozen of individuals (with variations of course); the initial versus of the conversation starts with something like:

  • I don’t know what to do …
  • My personal life is going nowhere…
  • My professional life is going nowhere…
  • I’m not the same person I used to be before…

and then it continues on and on, and at some point in the conversation, I would ask “Why can’t you do this… ” and the reply is always similar to:

  • But you don’t understand, how can I do this while THAT is still there…
  • I can’t focus on my work while my Personal life is not working…
  • I can’t focus on My self while I’m having issues at my work…

So to cut it short, here’s what I end up saying:

“My dear <NAME>,

Let me put it this way for you, there are 3 Circles in your life. 1) The Professional Life, 2) The Personal Life & 3) The Private Life.

1) The Professional Life: includes all the work related items, your relationship with your boss, colleagues etc

2) Your Personal Life: includes your family, friends, loved ones, LOVEd one, and your life with them

3) Your Private Life: which includes YOU, how you eat, drink, exercise, what makes you happy, and what makes you sad… etc

All 3 constitute YOUR LIFE, but let’s be realistic, those 3 areas are not the front of the BLADE of a BULLDOZER that you use to CRAFT your life AT THE SAME TIME!  in fact although they are interconnected and interdependent, they are to be dealt with separately.

Of course when you are happy at home, and you are in great physical shape, it would affect your professional life in a positive manner. Of Course, the opposite will affect (and would probably mess up) everything around you. But Hey! don’t make yourself the CENTER of the 3 circles, just understand that The Center is YOU. And you just need to have a mental separation to all 3…

  • You need to Eat healthy, take care of your self, EVEN IF YOUR professional life is not going well.. Don’t Stop Taking care of yourself…
  • You need to take good care of your personal life Even if you have issues at work
  • You need to keep the work related issues… AT WORK….

From what I learned from Successful people, they do that a lot, they have this amazing ability of separating things mentally, if they have issues at home, they don’t make that affect their responsibility and especially their communication with their employees, teams and colleagues… If they have an issue at Work, they don’t bring on the stress home to their family.

If you put yourself in the Spotlight of the 3 circles, you won’t get satisfaction unless everything is solved / working optimally, however realizing that the center is you, makes you work further on developing / handling each aspect separately and enjoy the benefits!

Enjoy your Week!

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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

How to talk to people at the right time, to get more things done

One day you wake up in a great mood, you have the day off, you have some errands and places to be in to do some of your administrative work, let’s say paying a bill or submitting a document to your bank and inquire about some offers.

You finish your  morning workout, have a delicious breakfast, watched some TV, dressed up and headed to your destination; It was a beautiful sunny day, and nothing seems to make you thin otherwise.

You reach to your destination and you find a long queue; normally you would start complaining but not today, you’ll be happy to be standing in the queue, and start to connect and smile at everyone… You reached to the clerk after some 20 minutes of waiting, and your turn is there, and you started sharing the positive vibes to that wonderful person sitting before you… But unlike you have expected, the response was not very “welcoming”… That person didn’t smile back, and he or she was not in the mood to even listen to your description of the lovely weather… and Instead he gently (but firmly) ask you to stop talking outside the point of your visit… And the flow starts getting down from there, the glass is half empty, and there are several missing items and you know what… You’re back in the line or even had to go back another day…

Is this week’s tip about Positive energy? or how to deal with negative welcoming people?  No it’s not… It’s simply about Understanding that just because you’re in a specific mood, the other person shouldn’t necessarily share your enthusiasm and that would directly impact the efficiency and productivity in both directions.

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
John Lennon

The above quote by JL, would make you think about what was he smoking when he said that, or how motivating… depending on the mood 🙂

Now although there is no magic trick to make you know when is the right time to talk to your colleague, client or vendor to get things done… Here’s a small trick I use; (Try this for a week and see the result for yourself)

  • Try to call someone you need an urgent response from, Right Before Lunch
  • Try to Pass by someone you need something done from, Right Before the End of the Schedule
  • Go very early and be the first person in Line

When the other person is still Sleepy, is hungry, Tiered  , they have more tendency to finish your request (as fast as possible and) in a very efficient way!

I once passed by X Embassy to apply for a visa at 1:55 PM (when the closing time is 2:00 PM), and guess what, the entire process took exactly 3 minutes!!

And not only this would help you out tremendously, being the first person in line & going early would certainly give you more Buffer to ask more questions and respond to any missed requirement.

Have a nice week!

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Image courtesy of  Boaz Yiftach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

Don’t wait the right mood to do the task… Just do it!

How many times have you been in the situation where you still have a task to finish, but you keep delaying it because simply you don’t LIKE to do it, or because you’re “waiting for the right mood”. So you procrastinate hoping that one of 2 things happen: either the task will magically disappear or you will get the inspiration and the mood will suddenly appear..

Well to be honest with you, in my line of expertise, this is identified as a MAJOR time waster, and there’s no one who managed to explain it better than Brian Tracy in his book “Eat that Frog” and here’s a bit on how it goes:

Imagine that you have to eat a LIVING Frog on your desk, and of course since this task is so disgusting and “painful” to do, you would keep pushing it to the end of your todo list. But the reality is that you will keep thinking about it and how difficult it will be to do that task  even if you’re doing something else.

The Right thing to do is to EAT THAT FROG which is the task that you don’t like to do… And eat it as quickly as possible 🙂 . Then you’ll be confident that nothing would be as difficult or disgusting as this one.

My Tip to you this week is the following:

If you’re not in the Mood to do a task… DO IT ANYWAY… even if you have to do it while nagging.. or by feeling annoyed and disgusted… JUST DO IT!

Enjoy your Week 🙂 !
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Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project