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Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson11

Take charge of your career *

Your career requires action and attention from you. Think of it as 90% your responsibility—and only 10% your company’s.

You need to take the lead in managing your career because:

  • Your manager juggles multiple responsibilities and priorities, and may discuss your career aspirations only at an annual performance review
  • There are often many paths to career success, and your manager may not know all of your options
  • Your manager will appreciate your willingness to set goals, keep your expertise current, and ask for growth opportunities
  • You are the best advocate for your own interests

Career management is an ongoing process in which you:

  • Discover your interests and values
  • Cultivate new skills as your organization and industry change
  • Forge supportive relationships within and outside your company
  • Set career goals and track your accomplishments
  • Develop a “personal brand”
  • Overcome career setbacks

I was frustrated, and as I reflect on it now, I learned a few important lessons. One is that I have to take charge of my own development. I can’t wait for other people to help me. And in that regard, the thought I have is, if it is to be, it is up to me. So I have to take ownership of my development.
-Doug Conant is the former President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company

Understand the changing career landscape *

In a career lattice, there are no fixed career paths, but rather many possible ways to advance. Individuals may move upward or laterally—or even take a few steps back—as they continuously broaden and renew their skills.

Today, when cross-functional collaboration is the norm and lines have blurred both within and across organizations, careers are more likely to take shape within the broad, flexible framework of a lattice. In this lattice, managers change positions more often, and they move in different directions. They may move up, laterally, diagonally, or even downward in order to advance. For management careers built in today’s new order, you are in charge of your path to advancement, not only deepening but broadening your expertise along the way

Career lattices provide more flexibility than career ladders. Navigating across lattices allows you to:

Diversify your skills. When you consider multiple career paths and prepare accordingly, you cultivate a broad range of expertise. This makes you more valuable to your current employer—and to the market as a whole

Improve work/life fit. On a ladder, you move up only when the position above you is free. In contrast, a lattice has flexibility. You can often determine how fast, in which direction, and when you move. You and your manager can discuss several possible paths, acknowledge trade-offs, and devise creative approaches to your career development

Redefine success. Rather than measuring yourself by your title, salary, or seniority, the career lattice allows you to define and pursue meaningful, satisfying work

A strong commitment to a secondary interest may make you better at your regular job. It can broaden your skill set and networks, allowing you to bring fresh insights to your work

Talent retention. When managers work with employees to develop a work schedule that makes room for two vocations, employee loyalty increases. People who have dual careers tend to be dynamic, entrepreneurial, and curious—all ideal workplace qualities

Burnout protection. Supplemental pursuits are typically very different from “day jobs.” These secondary roles provide different stimulation that may help prevent boredom and burnout

Capabilities and skills diversity. Employees with a second job will likely be able to apply knowledge or insight from that area of interest to their regular work

89% of US employees would consider making a lateral career move with no financial incentive in order to gain personal satisfaction, pursue a new career path, or take up a professional challenge. *

Redefine success *

Today’s careers are less like ladders, they’re more like works of art. This is why in my research and in my work helping leaders develop, I advise people to think of their careers very much like that. Like artists

First, artists build on a foundation of expertise.
You need the ability to communicate, to motivate your team, to build a network of supporters around your initiative.

Skills are necessary, but they’re not enough.
In business, that means being able to know and show why what you do matters to you and to others—what difference it makes

Expertise, meaning, and courage are things that are a lot harder to build and hold onto on your own. This is why artists congregate: to teach and inspire and support each other

“identity workspace”—that is, a community which helps you bring what you do closer together with what you are

And if you’re a manager, ask yourself, is your team or your organization an identity workspace for the people who work there? Do you encourage people to find their voice and defy convention? Because if you do, they won’t just be more satisfied and creative and productive. They will also think twice before leaving, because they will know that they can’t grow as fast and express themselves as fully elsewhere

Why self-knowledge is important

You will deliver your best effort for your organization when you know:
Your core interests

Your values

Your strongest skills

It’s important to periodically assess your career priorities. You many easily mistake a job you do well for one that satisfies you. If you’re not engaged, you may ultimately burn out

Discover your core interests
Research shows that people whose jobs match their strongest interests have the greatest likelihood of satisfaction. You can usually learn needed skills; it’s harder to build a sense of connection to work that doesn’t fulfill you. A job that addresses your deep-seated interests will keep you energized and resilient

Researchers have identified eight common core interests. You are likely motivated by more than one. *

Technology application
Like to figure out how technology can be used to make life better. You are curious about how things work.

Quantitative analysis
See data and numbers as the best—and sometimes only—way to figure out business solutions.

Conceptual thinking
Enjoy developing theories and thinking and debating abstract ideas

Creative production
Love to turn original ideas into something tangible. You flourish in seeing and acting on possibilities

Counseling and mentoring
Find nothing more enjoyable than teaching and helping others.

Managing people and relationships
Thrive on dealing with people and enabling them to produce results

Enterprise control
Prefer to be the “one in charge” and the decision maker. You like to be the final authority in the situation

Influence through language and ideas
Flourish in communication—whether written or spoken. You love to express ideas and to persuade others.

And it takes three things to really fit in your job and do your best —that is, a skill fit, a value fit, and an interest fit. And they’re all critical

So, the more it is a skill fit, a value fit, and an interest fit, the more you’re going to be productive, the more you’re going to bring innovation, the more the job is going to be really meaningful to you. And meaningful work is what we’re all after.

Identify your work values

  • Your work values include …

Financial reward

If you care about …
Salary, bonuses, benefits, stock options, and other opportunities for wealth creation

  • Your work values include …

Intellectual stimulation

If you care about …
Opportunities to try new things, expose yourself to a variety of ideas, and explore problems

  • Your work values include …


If you care about …
Chances to work with people you like and admire

  • Your work values include …

Social mission

If you care about …
An ability to help communities, spread ideas, and participate in positive change

  • Your work values include …


If you care about …
Opportunities for recognition and influence

  • Your work values include …


If you care about …
Chances for flexibility, independence, and work/life balance

Assess your skills

To assess and build your skill set, begin by brainstorming a list of your existing skills


Technical expertise

Developing software code, operating and maintaining equipment



Writing, speaking, translating


Emotional intelligence

Connecting with people, conveying warmth, defusing conflict



Imagining, inventing, designing, engineering



Creating a vision, motivating others to follow


Project management

Establishing and managing a schedule, anticipating barriers, troubleshooting



Record keeping, data management, data analysis

After you’ve reviewed your skills, ask yourself:

  • Do I have any skills that are overlooked or underused in my current job? If so, how can I harness them?
  • Do I have any significant gaps between my current skill set and the skills I’ll need to grow?
  • What skills would be logical for me to develop next?

But before you decide to develop new skills:

Assess how much you need. For instance, you may need to learn to speak some Mandarin to communicate in business meetings, but spending hours trying to master the written language may not make you more effective at your job

Weigh the benefits. New skill development requires time, effort, and often money. Develop the skills that interest you most or are the most transferable, no matter what direction your career takes.

Envision the future. Think about what skills your organization or industry will need in the future. What would make you a more attractive hire?

Deepen self-awareness
To develop a more complete picture of your interests, values, and skills, gather input from several sources:

Source of Information

Imagine you’re at the end of your career, considering your legacy. Finish these sentences: “I am most proud of….” and “I wish I had done…”

Write down what you like best about yourself and where you struggle

Colleagues, friends, and family

Ask them to respond in writing to the following questions:

  • What seems to make me most fulfilled and excited?
  • What work should I stay away from, and why?
  • What is my reputation?
  • What about myself do I have trouble seeing?

Formal assessments
Review past performance assessments and 360-degree feedback surveys to see how your manager and colleagues view you.

Take a personality test to gain insight about your innate preferences. Tests are available online or through a human resources representative

Passion is the fuel that pulls you through those difficultperiods. If you don’t really love what you’re doing and you’ve got togo through all the ups and downs of a career, you might not make it.But the reason other people do make it and reach new heights is theylike what they’re doing. And so that’s why it’s so important. It’s notan accident, or it’s not incidental to success. It’s a criticalelement of reaching your potential

Watch for these signs that you’ve outgrown your current role and are ready for a change

  • Restlessness or boredom
  • Envy of what others do for work
  • Inability to imagine a future you want to move toward
  • Tendency to overreact to small problems
  • Need for more intellectual challenge, financial compensation, flexibility, or autonomy

Cultivate your personal brand *

When it comes to career growth, a strong personal brand is crucial. Organizational leaders usually look beyond positions listed on resumes when deciding who to appoint to a committee, tap for a role, or trust with a major account. They want to understand what distinctive contributions you can make

To cultivate your personal brand

  • Discover how you are currently perceived. Ask a handful of trusted advisers what they see as your strengths, and then identify common themes. Do an internet search on yourself to see what potential employers and network contacts are likely to learn about you before you meet
  • Decide how you would like to be perceived. Identify what skills you want to emphasize to stand out from the crowd and position yourself to achieve your career aspirations
  • Develop distinctive skills and experiences that support your brand

Take classes, pursue volunteer work, build informational networks, and seek job assignments that allow you to deepen your expertise and reputation.

Communicate your brand value. Develop a short statement that captures your unique brand value. Take advantage of opportunities to make presentations, participate in online conversations, or write content for forums both inside and outside of your company. And build network connections that can spread word of your distinctive value

So how do you create your personal brand? The first step is to come up with your brand idea—the different, tangible value that you, and only you, bring to a business situation. Keep your brand idea small and focused

Next, work on your packaging. Your verbal and visual identity should play off your brand idea.
Visibility, messaging, and attractiveness are crucial for a brand.

So remember to cultivate sponsors. Get others to sell your brand. After all, if you don’t brand yourself, other people will. And they may not brand you in the way that you want to be branded

Evaluate culture fit *

Review these four types of workplaces. Do you have a strong preference for one cultural style over the others?

  • The company as community. In this type of company, there is an all-for-one, one-for-all spirit in which trust, teamwork, and peer-to-peer loyalty are bedrock values. Customers, partners, and investors matter, but the needs of employees come first. The basic premise is that happy employees provide excellent service and produce great products
  • A constellation of stars. A collection of hard-driving, fiercely competitive individuals form the core of these organizations. In organizations built for stars, success relies on individual achievement
  • Not just a company, a cause. In these companies, the mission comes first. Employees are motivated more by their collective impact on a social cause, or by identifying with the people they serve, than by individual achievement
  • Small is beautiful. Some people, whether they are motivated by personal ambition or a social cause, just prefer working in small organizations. Small organizations are easier to navigate, with few obstacles between ideas and action

And I think really the lesson that I learned overall is that not only do I need to be able to sell myself and sell what I bring to the table, but it’s also about finding the right cultural fit when it comes to the workplace

And it can take some trial and error, but it’s also up to you to figure out what works for you and then to state exactly what you bring to that environment


Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson10

Team Effectiveness Assessment

Teamwork has a dramatic effect on organizational performance.

How Good are You and Your Team at Teamwork and Team Building?

For each statement, click the button in the column that best describes you. Please answer questions as you actually are (rather than how you think you should be), and don’t worry if some questions seem to score in the ‘wrong direction’. When you are finished, please click the ‘Calculate My Total’ button at the bottom of the test.

Team Development

To build, lead, or participate in a team requires an understanding of the stages of team development. Through extensive research, it has been found that successful teams have certain aspects of their development paths in common. The one that most people are aware of is Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model .

When the individuals on a team all know what they are supposed to be doing and how they are to go about doing it, you give the team a good start on maximizing performance

For feedback to be positive and growth-inspiring, it has to be delivered properly, with enough attention being paid to how the receiver is going to perceive and process it

Participation and Articulating Vision

The key to using vision successfully is making the process of discovering it a participative one. You can tell a team what the vision is and team members may or may not agree that the cause is worth working hard for. If, however, you allow the team to explore the vision, to see how their specific roles fit into the big picture, and provide meaningful opportunities for team members to assist in the team’s success, then you have the basis for a high performing team

it is important to provide challenges to your team members and allow them to use their skills and abilities to the fullest.

Managing Conflict

Conflict can be an inevitable consequence of working with other people. Opinions, values, styles, and a whole host of other differences provide more than enough grounds for disagreement. This disagreement is actually part of the reason why teams can be so effective – the more perspectives that go into a process, the better the end result. Usually!

Group Roles and Structure
The differences between how people work and view the world make for interesting conversations and dynamic teams. An effective team capitalizes on these natural differences and maximizes performance by putting the right people in the right roles

Team Member Development
This is a critical understanding in team performance. Although there is no “I” in “Team” you have to remember there is no team without individuals. You have to build and foster the skills in the individuals that are congruent with the needs of the team

Understanding and Collaboration

When priorities and goals diverge, tensions appear within the team, and the whole is often no longer greater than the sum of its parts. This is a fundamental issue for high performing teams. Consensus, consistency and agreement are vital for effective teamwork.

Key Points
An effective team is much more than a bunch of people thrown together to accomplish a goal. Because teams are such an inherent part of how we work, it is easy to believe we know what makes a team perform well, however this is often not the case.

How to Work Effectively in a Team Environment
by Lisa McQuerrey; Reviewed by Michelle Seidel, B.Sc., LL.B., MBA

Get Into the Right Mindset

In a team environment, ideas are shared, workloads divided, and group consensus is required to act effectively when determining project scope and direction. Understanding and committing to this group dynamic puts you in the right frame of mind for a teamwork environment

Agree to Agree

Effective approaches involve an identified project, an agreed-upon agenda of work, and a division of labor. It is often helpful to designate one member of the team as the group leader to facilitate organization and provide direction.

Be Respectful of Each Other

Raise legitimate questions or concerns, but don’t belittle colleagues or call them out for what you consider to be bad ideas. It’s majority rule in most team environments, so chances are if an idea is off base, others in the group will speak up as well.

Don’t Be a Slacker

While you shouldn’t jump in to pick up every dropped ball on a project, make an effort to contribute at 100 percent, meet deadlines, and be willing to lend a hand to advance the team’s initiatives when needed.

Don’t Gossip About Others

If you have a problem with a team member, discuss it privately or involve your team leader. Don’t segregate into smaller groups within the team. This action only fragments efforts and creates an uncomfortable and unproductive working environment.

Recognize the Contributions of Others

An environment of teamwork has the potential to produce exceptional results, as well as provide dynamic and interesting work experiences. Approach this type of opportunity with tact, diplomacy and professionalism to ensure optimal results

Want To Be A Great Team Player? Spend More Time Alone

Being a great team player becomes synonymous with always being available on IM and accepting every meeting invite that arrives. The consequence is that team members end up distracted and in back-to-back meetings — neither of which is conducive to bringing our best — or bringing out the best in others.

Great teamwork relies on something radical: working alone

1. Block out 15 minutes to design a great meeting.

Before any meeting you are planning, answer these questions and communicate them to your participants:

  1. Why are we convening?
  2. What are the expected outcomes?
  3. Who needs to be involved and what is needed from each person?
  4. What information or discussion questions could I share ahead of time to increase the quality of dialogue during the meeting?

2. Make the implicit explicit by writing it down.
Reduce backtracking (and the frustration that goes with it), by documenting relevant context for the work. This might include:

  1. assumptions about urgency, importance and level of risk;
  2. constraints and interdependencies;
  3. the relevant facts on which a decision will be based; and
  4. critical knowns and unknowns and unknowables.

3. Create a strawmodel
Schedule a strawmodeling session with yourself. For example,

  • generate a hypothesis for a root cause,
  • propose a solution to a complex problem,
  • draft content for a critical communication or create a simple working financial model for a business plan.

Time is your organization’s scarcest resource. By going solo and doing some advance thinking, you’ll maximize the value of the entire team’s time. Now that’s what we mean by being a real team player!

iflix: Mansons Lost Girls

  • A lot of sensuality
  • Crazyness during the cult seasons in America
  • I felt sad for the level of loneliness of the girls that they would willingly kill and steal in the name of their leader
  • Would watch it again or find it online

iflix: Face to face with ISIS

  • Story of a Yazidi sex slave and how ISIS affected her life
  • It’s note worthy how the sex slavery in Iraq is a taboo or sensitive topic amidst it being rampant
  • The documentary is immersive, that raw happenings are filmed
  • The Philippines has had ISIS issues and brought devastating damages and financial losses, though sex slavery wasn’t highlighted

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson9

How to Make Stress you Friend by Kelly Mcgonical

Stress is helping my body to tackle The challenge

Stress makes you social
Caring creates resilience

When we choose to view stress as helpful we create the biology of courage

When we choose to connect with others under stress we create resilience

Stress Less. Achieve More.
Simple Ways to Turn Pressure into a Positive Force in Your Life
Aimee Bernstein
AMACOM, 2015

Stress can feel like an oppressive burden, but you can transform it into a vital fuel that powers your life and expands your sense of self at work and at home.


Many people feel “accelerated pressure” in the workplace and at home, yet stress and pressure don’t have to be bad. They can be helpful – if you know how to handle them.

Your body has a powerful energy force the Japanese call “ki flow.”

This energy flow helps shape your emotions, perceptions and behaviors.

For a harmonious life, your ki should connect with the world’s “universal energy field.”

The result is a “full mind/body/energy” state, a feeling athletes call “being in the zone.” Operating in this state can “imprint new neural pathways” in your neurological system.

You can sense when your ki aligns with the greater universal energy and when it doesn’t. This simple observation can generate greater positive energy.

Meditation, diet and exercise help, but don’t do enough to relieve pressure in real time.

Benefit from pressure by celebrating it as the energy of life and the energy of change.

Achieving a state of “stresslessness” requires strong ki flow, grounding and centering.

When you operate fully in the present, you experience “hereness,” the ideal state. Where you focus your attention defines your reality.

Your Essential Energy
You want to unite your personal ki to this universal energy field, a coming together that will sustain you and make you whole

Albert Einstein explained the concept this way: “Everything is energy, and that’s all there is to it.” Quantum physics says that “humans are energy beings living in a sea of energy,” which is “an electromagnetic vibration that composes and connects all life by transmitting information.”

Stress Can Be Good
Practitioners of aikido, a Japanese martial-art form, develop their ki by using the “Unbendable Arm” exercise. Extend an arm fully to your front. Stretch out your fingers. Feel energy coursing through them. Relax and sense your palm and your arm’s underside; imagine a ledge supporting your arm. Focus your attention just past your outstretched fingertips. Now, move your ki to your other arm. Extend both arms, like headlight beams. Watch as your energy field expands and “your ki extends.” Ask someone to press your arm down at a point above the elbow. With your ki extended past your fingertips and no tensing or resistance on your part, no one can bend your arm.

The “Flow of Life”

These pressures determine how you experience the presence of “concentrated energy encountering [your] mind/body system.” Your response can mean the difference between a happy life or an unhappy life. Grounded, centered people in touch with their ki flow make pressure work for them. They recognize it “as the energy of life and the energy of change.”

Bringing Ki into Balance

To move your attention from externalities to the inner you:
1) “Call your attention back inside you,” as you would call your dog;
2) Make a frequent “habit of asking yourself what you think, feel” and “need”; and
3) “Use your body as a feedback tool” by noticing how much stronger you feel, for example, when not leaning forward.

The ideal reality state is “hereness”: when your body, mind, spirit and heart are present and operating harmoniously. To achieve this beneficial state, stop thinking from the mind only and shift to full mind/body awareness. Pay attention to your “body’s sensations, feelings, moods and movements.” You are gathering the vital “experiential information” you need to operate fully in the present. “Musicians, dancers and athletes” all master this heightened awareness.

The “Enneagram”

The nine personalities and their coping mechanisms are:

“The perfectionist” – Criticized as a child, this judgmental person tries to avoid making any errors. Coping strategy: “To be loved, I must be good. To be good, I must be right.”

“The giver” – Sensitive, compassionate givers need approval. They heed others but not their own feelings. Coping strategy: “To get, I must give. To be loved, I must be needed.”

“The performer” – Believing that only self-promotion, status and success can win love, the performer dreads failure, shuns self-analysis and lacks emotional intelligence.

“The romantic” – Introspective and emotional, this risk taker works to be an office star. Coping strategy: “I search for…perfect circumstances to make me feel loved and whole.”

“The observer” – A great synthesist, this detached, withdrawn person dislikes pressure and copes by “simplifying” life and staying private and “self-sufficient.”

“The trooper” – As a kid, the trooper learned not to trust adults. As an adult, this person seeks security in a risky world. Troopers are either “phobic” and seek protectors; obey authority and avoid threats; or are “counterphobic” rebels who confront threats and risk.

“The epicure” – This big-picture, self-protective type shuns commitment and detail, gets defensive if criticized, and copes by dreaming of great “future options.”

“The boss” – To deal with an unjust world, the boss organizes everything to achieve control. Coping strategy: “I protect myself and others by imposing my own truth.”

“The mediator” – This easygoing team player avoids conflict and plays the peacemaker. Coping strategy: “I substitute inessentials and small comforts for real priorities.”

Ki Energy in the Workplace

Pressure…is your “personal experience of…concentrated energy encountering” your mind/body/system. It can work for you or against you.

Centering and Grounding

Just as a plant requires sun, soil, water and nutrients, you need “attention, center, ground” and ki flow. Centering and grounding call for ignoring external influences and focusing your attention internally to get in touch with your body’s clues.

Your body has three perceptual centers: “your head, heart and hara (located in the lower belly).”

Follow these 10 steps to center or ground yourself:

“Notice where you are” – Focus on your body.

“Breathe deeply and slowly” – Visualize a light shining above your head, down your torso and into the ground. This is the “center,” where you want to be.

“Lean physically forward” – Sense your feelings as you hold this uncentered position.

“Let your body come back to center” – How do your emotions change?

“Physically lean your body back” – How does this differ from leaning forward?

“Let your body return to center” – What happens to your body and energy field?

“Energetically – not physically – lean forward” – Imagine that your spirit is reaching out.

“Come back to center” – Do you feel more – or less – connected to the ground?

“Pause” – Use an alarm to pause and check your feelings every 60 or 90 minutes and to evaluate your “inner state.” Pause momentarily throughout the day to center.

Four “ways to recenter” – “Take three deep breaths into your lower belly.” Go for a walk. Lie on your back five minutes and then five minutes on your stomach. Feel your mind, body and spirit relax.

“If you lose your cool, your smile and your happy day, you’ve given your energy and power away.”

To breathe from your stomach, lie down, put your knees up, place one hand four inches below your navel and put your other hand on your lower back. Breathe deeply through your nose. Feel your rib cage expand, as well as your “belly, hips and lower back.” Feel the breath move slowly up through your body, “wash down your back and exhale through your mouth” as you “make an ’AH’ sound.” Practice this breathing technique when you wake up and go to bed.

Is It Will, or Is It Fate?

Your master plan and your free will can and should live in harmony. People’s “energetic, emotional, physical and behavioral” reactions lead to alternative versions of their futures.

Whether in your personal life or your business environment, follow this four-step plan while you wait:

“Keep the faith” – For good things to happen, believe in the future you want. This means believing in yourself.

“Feel where you are” – Get in touch with your inner self. Where you focus your attention “becomes your center.”

Think about your choices – Most choices are so automatic that they aren’t choices at all. Give yourself the time and room to think about what you should and shouldn’t do. Stroll in the rain or sit and gaze at a sunset. Pause and take charge.

“Follow the clues” – These signals “lead back to yourself.” Use your cognitive intelligence and “emotional and intuitive intelligence” to understand the clues that can help you create a happy, fulfilled and satisfied life, at home and at work.

About the Author
Aimee Bernstein is president of Open Mind Adventures, a leadership and personal development consultancy. She is a psychotherapist, executive coach and organizational consultant.

How to Be Better at Stress
By Tara Parker-Pope @nytimes

Take Control
Stress is inevitable; getting sick from it is not.

In 2012, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison published a seminal study looking at how 28,000 people perceived stress in their lives. People in the study answered these two questions:

During the past 12 months, would you say that you experienced:

  • A lot of stress
  • A moderate amount of stress
  • Relatively little stress
  • Almost no stress at all

How much effect has stress had on your health?

  • A lot
  • Some
  • Hardly any
  • None

The researchers looked at death rates in the study group over nine years. The results are startling. The study found that having a lot of stress in your life was not linked with premature death. But having a lot of stress in your life and believing it was taking a toll on your health increased risk of premature death by 43 percent

Read the statement, and then think about your own reaction to the biological changes that occur during times of stress.

1. When I’m stressed, my body releases adrenaline and cortisol. My heart is beating faster. This means that:

  • Common View: Stress is increasing my risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
  • Alternative View: My heart is working harder and my body is mobilizing its energy to get ready for this challenge.

2. When I’m stressed, my stress response is causing my breathing rate to increase. This means that:

  • Common View: My fast breathing is a sign of anxiety. I worry about how stress is affecting my mental and physical health.
  • Alternative View: I should take a deep breath. My faster breathing means more oxygen is getting to my brain so I can think more clearly.

3. When I’m stressed, my heart and circulatory system respond, causing my blood pressure to rise. This means that:

  • Common View: I can feel my blood pressure rising. This can’t be good for my health.
  • Alternative View: Circulatory changes are allowing more oxygen and nutrients to fuel my muscles. I’m feeling stronger and ready for the challenge ahead.

The bottom line of the lesson was this: In a tough situation, stress make you stronger

Dr. McGonigal wrote in her book “The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It.” “The best way to manage stress isn’t to reduce or avoid it, but rather to rethink and even embrace it.”

1. Education: Learn what to expect. If you need chemotherapy, are experiencing a divorce or have had a setback at work, talk to people who have been through it and learn what to expect going forward so you can be prepared, rather than blindsided, by the stressors ahead of you.

2. Rehearsal: While you can’t rehearse for life’s biggest moments, you can live your life in a way that prepares you for stress. It can be a physical challenge like competing in a triathlon or conquering a mountain. It can be an intellectual stressor like reading your poetry in public or giving a speech. The point is that you need to rehearse stressful situations in order to perform your best under stress.

3. Implementation: When the stressful event hits, you are prepared. You know what to expect, and you’ve experienced stressful situations before. You’ve got this

The good news is that practicing stress can actually be enjoyable, even thrilling. The key is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Here are some suggestions:

  • Run a marathon
  • Play in a Scrabble competition
  • Read an original poem at a poetry slam
  • Climb a mountain
  • Sing karaoke
  • Tell a story in front of a crowd
  • Take on a tough project at work
  • Kayak the Colorado rapids
  • Train to scuba dive
  • Attend a boot camp

Putting yourself or your children in difficult social situations or speaking in public can help adults and children accumulate social and intellectual skills that help in times of stress.

“Live your life in a way that you get the skills that enable you to handle stress,” says Dr. Charney. “Put yourself out of your comfort zone.”

You don’t need to practice all 10 behaviors to build resilience; just pick the two or three or four that speak to you.

1. Adopt a positive attitude. Optimism is strongly related to resilience.

2. Reframe the situation. Just like the stressed-out study subjects were taught to reappraise stress as their friend, people who are resilient typically reframe a negative situation as an opportunity for growth, learning or change.

3. Focus on core beliefs. People with a deeply held core belief, strong faith or a commitment to altruism often show more resilience.

4. Find a role model. Seeing someone else who has come through adversity can strengthen your own resilience

5. Face your fears. Confronting a challenge rather than avoiding it will help you cope and build confidence.

6. Fall back on religion or spirituality. For many people, strong faith or spiritual beliefs can fuel resilience.

7. Seek social support. People who reach out to friends, family and support groups fare better during stressful times.

8. Exercise. It improves mood, relieves stress and makes you physically stronger.

9. Inoculate against stress. Challenge yourself regularly in the areas of emotional intelligence, moral integrity and physical endurance.

10. Find meaning and purpose. Having a clear purpose in life can boost your emotional strength during difficult times.

Numerous studies have shown us that exercise can improve your mood.

Exercise doesn’t eliminate stress, but it does give your body the physical conditioning it needs to recover from it.

Does the Type of Exercise Matter?
The exercise that is best for relieving stress is the one you will do consistently. Find something that fits your schedule and that you enjoy. For some, that will be a morning spin class or an evening run. For others, it will be a 30-minute walk at lunch time. A Norwegian study found that people who engaged in any exercise, evan a small amount, reported improve mental health compared with people who never exercised

What About Weight Training?
One study showed that six weeks of bicycle riding or weight training eased symptoms in women who received a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. The weight training was especially effective at reducing irritability.

The best weight training to manage stress consists of three moderate-weight sets of 10 repetitions with one minute of rest. The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine found in a small study that this 3-10-1 moderate weight strategy produced more endorphins than using heavier weights for five reps and a longer rest.


Exercise your mind and let it rest to help it better process stress.

Your emotions, your brain and your body need moments of recovery to get stronger

Now imagine a high-intensity, high-stress workday. But every hour, you take two minutes to let your brain recover. “Stress is the stimulus for growth,” says Dr. Groppel. “Recovery is when growth occurs. If there is no recovery, there is no growth. That’s how we build the resilience muscle.”

Controlled breathing has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. The Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.


Image on steps to meditate


Timothy D. Wilson, a University of Virginia psychology professor and author of “Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By,” believes that while writing doesn’t solve every problem, it can definitely help people cope. “Writing forces people to reconstrue whatever is troubling them and find new meaning in it,” he said.

Journal every day
Be disciplined and write at the same time every day so it becomes a habit. In a University of Texas study, students who wrote about stressful or traumatic events for four days in a row reaped the benefits for months after. For the next six months, the writing students had fewer visits to the campus health center and used fewer pain relievers than the students in the experiment who wrote about trivial matters.

Change your story
On the first day, write down your goals, then write down why you haven’t achieved them (“I don’t have the time or the money,” “Too many family responsibilities,” etc.) The next day review your writing. Now ask: What is really standing in the way of your goals? Change the story so you have control. Maybe the answer is: I don’t put myself first. I don’t make exercise a priority. I let other people talk me into spending money rather than saving.

Write a mission statement
“A mission statement becomes the North Star for people,” says Dr. Groppel. “It becomes how you make decisions, how you lead and how you create boundaries.”


The fight-or-flight response is designed to suppress hunger — you won’t be effective in battle or run that fast if you are thinking about food. But chronic stress has the opposite effect. Repeated doses of cortisol in your body due to high stress can lead to an increase in appetite.

Just as you need to reframe your view of stress and exercise and meditate to give your body a break from stress, you can also adopt strategies to use food to help you better cope with stress


Here’s a simple exercise to try next time you are sitting down to a delicious meal:

1. Place a forkful of food in your mouth. Make it something you love.
2. Put the fork down and resist the temptation to take a second bite.
3. Chew slowly. Tune in to the texture of the food, the flavor, the aroma. Focus on the colors on your plate.
4. Be present in the moment and think only about the food in your mouth. Reflect on the effort that went into growing or producing this food; the effort it took to prepare this meal.
5. Savor the moment.

Support and Relationships

The world does not look as challenging with a friend by your side
For people who study stress, the role of friendship, family and support networks can’t be overstated. Time and again research shows that social support is a defining element in our happiness, quality of life and ability to cope with stress.

“The resilient people we interviewed actively reached out for support,” said Dr. Southwick. “They don’t sit around and wait.”


Volunteer work, mentoring, mowing your elderly neighbor’s lawn, listening to a friend who is struggling — all these can enhance your own ability to manage stress and thrive

“When someone holds your hand in a study or just shows that they are there for you by giving you a back rub, when you’re in their presence, that becomes a cue that you don’t have to regulate your negative emotion,” he told me. “The other person is essentially regulating your negative emotion but without your prefrontal cortex. It’s much less wear and tear on us if we have someone there to help regulate us.”

Spending time with your pet can offer a temporary reprieve from stress. Spending time with your dog and taking it for a walk is a twofer — you get the stress reduction of a pet plus the stress-busting benefits of a walk outdoors.

Heart: Normally the effects are temporary, but some research suggests that in people with chronic stress, the effects on the heart are unrelenting, raising the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke

Immune System: Chronic stress can depress the immune system and make you more vulnerable to colds or more serious illnesses.

Diabetes Risk
According to the American Psychological Association, learning to manage your stress can be nearly as effective at controlling blood sugar as medication.

Stomach and Digestion
Stress can affect how fast food moves through your body, stomach acid and the absorption of nutrients

Sex and Reproduction: In men, chronic stress can affect testosterone levels and sperm count, and contribute to erectile dysfunction. In women, stress can create irregular menstrual cycles and painful periods and exacerbate premenstrual syndrome. Stress can also worsen the symptoms of menopause, including more frequent and more severe hot flashes. In both men and women, chronic stress can dampen sexual desire.

About the Author
Tara Parker-Pope is the founding editor of Well, an award-winning consumer health site with news and features to help readers live well every day.

iflix: Hamog (2015)

  • Very raw stories of Hamog children, extremely poor mannered and poor by finance
  • Zaijan’s story focuses on the physical struggles of making ends meet
  • The girl “Jincky” her story revolved on the morals of how to make sense of her reality
  • It’s very indie in a sense that one doesn’t easily decipher each motive
  • I like how the set was at Guadalupe, it felt like home and I was immersed into their universes
  • Slight sensual action with moanings to depict sexual acts late at night
  • It’s worth the watch, perhaps even a second time just to digest what really is the core essence of the movie

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson8

Streetwise Time Management

Marshall Cook doesn’t draw a line between time management techniques and life skills because, he argues, time is life.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to control your time and live a more fulfilling life;
  • How to manage your schedule, use your time wisely and clear away clutter; and
  • How to function optimally by understanding your body’s natural biorhythms


  1. Make choices that allow you to live your life the way you want.
  2. “Moment management” is the process of taking control of how you spend your time.
  3. To-do lists tend to become a record of what you failed to accomplish.
  4. “Minivacations” are relaxing mental interludes that help you stay energized.
  5. Differentiate between “important” and “urgent” matters to make informed decisions.
  6. Learn the crucial time management skill of saying “no” when appropriate.
  7. Indecision is a huge time waster; any decision is better than no decision at all.
  8. Stem the flow of paper – touch each sheet only once and decide immediately what to do with it.
  9. Multitasking is exhausting, fragments your focus and often requires redoing tasks.
  10. Worry, anger and stress steal your time, and erode your energy and enthusiasm.

“Reality Check”
Ask yourself four questions:
1) “What has to be done?”;
2) “How much of it has to be done?”;
3) “How fast does it have to be done?”; and
4) “How much does it cost to do it?”

Moment management rests on three principles:

“Decide, don’t drift” – Routine and habit dictate much of what you do each day. Modify your routine rather than being a slave to it.

“Review your options” – Realize that you do have a choice, even in situations that seem beyond your control.

“Practice instant response” – Making a choice, any choice, is more effective than waffling. Analyze the circumstances, consider your options and take decisive action.

“To-Do or Not To-Do”
Make flexible lists and, when appropriate, throw them out the window to accommodate any wonderful opportunities that come along. Prioritize list items in order of importance and break down large projects into small, doable steps. Schedule time to think, plan, rest and even goof off. Remember that your list is a daily guideline, not a blueprint.

Don’t worry about starting at the beginning; start wherever you feel inspired. Quiet the critic in your head and don’t censor your thoughts. Go with your momentum, but stop while the ideas are still rolling and you know what you need to do next.

Give Yourself a Break, Organize and Prioritize

“The breath break” – Take a moment to breathe, as you would in a yoga class.

“The continental drift” – Mentally revisit a relaxing and fulfilling place.

“Picture it and get rid of it” – Form a mental image of whatever is bothering you the most. Place the image in an imaginary bubble and watch it float away.

“The shoulder shrug” – Rotate shoulders in alternating directions to relieve tension.

“The thought for the day” – Collect inspirational thoughts and writings, and refer to them in quiet moments.

“The object of your affection” – Keep photos of loved ones nearby to help you keep focused and find strength.

“Advanced resting technique, for the gifted and talented” – Combine deep breathing with another minivacation activity.

Try the new plan for at least three weeks, the time it normally takes to establish new routines, before deciding if it works

Before you get stuck in another conference room,
find out what the meeting will be about and decide if the subject actually requires a face-to-face session.

  • If you are calling the meeting, make sure it is worth participants’ time.
  • Prepare the subject matter ahead of time, and distribute an agenda and collateral material before the meeting.
  • Stick to your agenda during the meeting.
  • Be thoughtful about your employees’ time. Don’t give them work just to fill time.
  • Provide them with the technology and tools they need to work efficiently.
  • Teach them how to prioritize and differentiate between important and urgent matters.

Just Say “No”, or at Least Say Something
learning to say “no” when it is appropriate is a crucial time management skill. Here’s how:

“Beware the automatic yes” – Saying “yes” might be a habit you need to break.

“Buy time” – Ask if you can think things over.

“If the answer is no, say ‘no’” – Don’t prevaricate. Someone might interpret your vague answer as a possible yes.

“You don’t have to give a reason” – Say “no” without explaining. Explanations open the door to discussion.

Indecision is a huge time waster. If you don’t choose, you lose.

Paper, Paper Everywhere
If you’re a “paper pusher” at work, these tips will help you dig your way out:

“Reroute, respond, read or recycle” each piece of paper the first time you touch it.

File every piece of paper in a simple filing system consisting of three folders labeled, “Do, read and file.”

If a quick response is required, make it at once with a post-it note, a hand-written memo on the paper, a phone call or an e-mail.

If you can’t decide what to do with a piece of paper, throw it into a file labeled “compost” and deal with it later.

Clean out your files when you’re low on mental energy.

Multitasking wastes time – it doesn’t save it. It is exhausting, divides your focus and often requires redoing tasks. Instead, do one thing at a time and do it well

Mind, Body, Spirit

Function at your best by setting established patterns day and night, eating only when you’re hungry, sleeping when you need to and honoring your natural rhythms.

Reduce unwanted stress in the following ways:

  • Recognize your feelings for what they are rather than denying or suppressing them.
  • Recklessly venting anger increases stress. Expressing feelings helps reduce it.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or angry, take a short break or minivacation, and schedule brief, quiet times each day.
  • Enjoy your successes and celebrate your accomplishments.
  • Take action to resolve frustrating situations whenever possible.
  • You don’t have to do everything perfectly. Sometimes, good enough will suffice.

Time management “isn’t about maximizing the number of items you can check off in a day or a life. It’s about living fully, productively, joyfully – by your definitions of these terms.”

About the Author
Marshall Cook is a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, and author of several books, including Slow Down and Get More Done.

Today time management needs to address emotions

There’s no such thing as time management but self management

Nothing about prioritizing that creates more time
We cannot resolve today’s time management problems with yesterday’s time management thinking

Everytime you’re saying yes to one thing you’re saying no to the others

15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals

The truth is that time is the greatest equalizer in life. No matter who you are, your age, income, gender, race or religion, you have the same amount of time as the next person.

What are the best tips for managing your time?

Even if you’re able to effectively juggle your responsibilities, without proper balance you’re going to eventually reach your breaking point

1. Set goals the right way
Use the SMART goal setting method to help you see things through. And when you do set those goals, make sure you have powerful deep down meanings for wanting to achieve them

2. Find a good time management system.
The quadrant time-management system is probably the most effective.

3. Audit your time for seven days straight.
Split this up into blocks of 30 minutes or an hour. What did you get done? Was it time wasted? Was it well spent? If you use the quadrant system, circle or log the quadrant that the activity was associated with. At the end of the seven days, tally up all the numbers.

4. Spend your mornings on MITs
Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” His point? Tackle your biggest tasks in the morning.

5. Follow the 80-20 rule
known as the Pareto Principle. This rule states that 80% of the efforts comes from 20 percent of the results. You can do this with meticulous tracking and analysis

6. Instill keystone habits into your life.
Focus on keystone habits and you’ll get much better at managing your overall time by making your habit development much easier.

7. Schedule email response times.
Schedule time to read and respond to emails. If there’s something urgent, someone will call or text you. But when you have your email open, those distractions interrupt your thought flow and it’s harder to get back on track.

8. Eliminate bad habits
Use your time wisely by eliminating your bad habits if you’re serious about achieving big goals in life.

9. Take frequent breaks when working.
One study suggests that you should work for 52 minutes and break for 17. You might not have the luxury to do that. But you should take frequent breaks. If you’re an entrepreneur working for yourself, this is crucial. It’s easy to run on fumes and not even know it. Keep your mental, emotional and physical states at peak levels by breaking frequently.

10. Meditate or exercise every morning.
You might not think that this will help to better manage your time, but meditating and exercising every single morning gives you balance. Cut the toxins out of your life and get serious by doing this and watch as your energy, stamina and mental focus takes a drastic shift.

11. Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day.
Every single evening before bed, make a list for the next day. Look at your goals and see what you can do to help move you closer

12. Find inspiration when you’re feeling lackluster.
Turn to YouTube, TED Talks and any other inspirational source you can turn to when you’re lacking inspiration. It’s hard to stay on track with your time when you lose that drive inside of you. Find ways you can turn the fire back on by focusing inspiring content and seeking out others who’ve achieved big goals

13. Get a mentor who can guide you.
when you can personally rely on someone who’s been through the wringer and can help you achieve your goals, it’s easier to stay on track with your time.

14. Turn off social media app alerts.
What’s most important is to have some peace of mind and be better able to focus on the task at hand

15. Declutter and organize.
Don’t do it all at once. Start small. One drawer today. A shelf tomorrow. Maybe a closet the next day. Just one per day. You build momentum and eventually find yourself turning into an organizing warrior.

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson7

3 So to Set Priorities (That Actually Work)
Karola Karlson


You’re a year older, achieved some of your goals, and looking back at the current time.

Distance yourself from the present you with all the worries and distractions. Now, try and imagine which achievements lead to achieving your goals. What went wrong and what went right? Were there particularly rewarding activities that helped you to move at a faster pace towards achieving these one-year goals?


By working backward and evaluating the potential outcome and importance of each priority, you’ll be able to avoid your gut feeling and assess what’s truly relevant to your goals.


Step one: set your perspectives & goals
monthly goals:

Complete project A
Complete project B
Increase productivity
Increase monthly revenue

Step two: outline all your tasks

Step three: create your Balanced Scorecard for priorities

While we like to set priorities for our tasks, we often forget what’s really important. Instead of focusing on urgent but irrelevant tasks, take the time to evaluate which activities return the highest reward.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower put it: “What Is Important Is Seldom Urgent and What Is Urgent Is Seldom Important.”

However to Prioritize When Everything Is Important

First, Answer the Question: Is Everything Really Important?
Grill the boss. At work, you have a manager. At home, you’re your own boss. One of the primary responsibilities of any manager is to help you understand what’s important, what’s not, and what you should be working on.

Ask around
If they don’t need you for another week and someone else needs you tomorrow, or if they aren’t as busy as you are, you know what to do.

Work backwards.
Start with the due dates, take into account how much effort you need to put into each one and how much input you need from others, and work backwards to find out what you should be working on right now (or what you should have already started, in some cases).

Cover Your A**
Set expectations with others for when you’ll get your work done for them, and set expectations with yourself for when you’ll have time to work on your own projects.

Get Organized

Make sure it’s something you’ll actually return to and use frequently, and something that’s easy to fit into your workflow, and you’ll be successful.

Behold , The Trinity: Cost, Scope, and Time

For example, if you want to paint the spare room in time for out-of-town guests to stay over, you can’t change the size of the job (scope), but you can control whether you buckle down and do it yourself overnight (time), or get someone else to do it for you while you do something else (cost).

Time: Work Backwards From Your Deadlines
Start a spreadsheet, and mark down when each project or task on your plate needs to be finished. Then work backwards to the present day, taking into account everything each specific to-do that needs to be done to get from here to there, and how long it takes to complete. When you’re finished, you’ll likely see a bunch of tasks that should have started already

Cost: Get Help from Family, Friends, and Coworkers
Cost means more than just dollars. It also means people who can help you, or services you can call to give you a hand or take the load off.

Scope: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Compromises.
The sooner you stop thinking of your to-dos in terms of all-or-nothing, the sooner you’ll have the flexibility to say “I’ll give you this tomorrow if you give me a week to give you the rest.”

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
it’s important to remember that you need to be assertive, not aggressive when asking for help, and you need to make your case with all of the data you have available

Buckle Up, It’s Going to be a Bumpy Ride
Once you really understand what you have to work on and how long it takes, you’ll be able to make smart decisions about whether you can take on that big new project at work, or help your best friend plan their bachelor party.

Citi: Personal Effectiveness Lesson6

Get Rid of Motivation Killers

Typical motivation killers include

  • toxic people,
  • abrasive personalities,
  • lack of organizational vision,
  • absence of opportunities for professional development,
  • poor communication systems,
  • autocratic management styles,

and the feeling of lack of appreciation

Motivate through Gamification
Gamification involves the use of

  • badges,
  • rewards,
  • leader boards or rankings,
  • points,
  • challenges,
  • and other game elements

to make repetitive and quantifiable tasks more engaging.

Set Clear Goals and Provide Feedback
Employees or personnel will be more motivated if they know what they are expected to achieve. Clearly stating goals or having a company vision provides guidance for everyone

Use Technology Responsibly
Mobile devices enable access to communication and collaboration tools, as well as work-related documents and information. It is important, however, to prevent overly thinning the line between personal and professional lives. Work-life balance should be respected.

Set Standards and Provide Skills Development
Be clear at the outset: define what you expect of everyone, and how you expect people to perform their assigned tasks and responsibilities.
Let your employees realize that there are other things they can do, so that they can progress to higher positions. If you don’t help employees develop professionally, that may become motivation for them to seek a new company.

Communicate Effectively and Efficiently
Effective and efficient communication means that employees should know the hierarchy and expertise within the company. They should know who to reach out to regarding their concerns.

How to Make the Most of Your Workday
By Phyllis Korkki

Trust the small increments.
Small changes in how you work can gradually add up to big changes in productivity.

Be accountable.
Whether it’s weekly check-ins with a co-worker or setting your own deadlines and announcing them to others, having to answer to someone else can often force you to get the job done

Forgive yourself
It’s more important to move on than to dwell on your mistakes.

Your ability to get things done depends on how well you can focus on one task at a time, whether it’s for five minutes or an hour.

“Multitasking is not humanly possible,” said Earl K. Miller, a neuroscience professor at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Trying to multitask also impedes creativity, he said. Truly innovative thinking arises when we allow our brains to follow a logical path of associated thoughts and ideas, and this is more likely when we can focus on a single mental pathway for an extended period.

To the best of your ability, set up a work environment that encourages the performing of one task at a time.

Here are a few small changes you can make:

Remove temptation: Actively resist the urge to check unrelated social media
Work on just one screen: Put away your cellphone and turn off your second monitor
Move: If you find yourself losing focus – reading the same sentence over and over or if your mind continually wanders off topic – get up and briefly walk around, Dr. Miller said. A brief walk around your office can lift your mood, reduce hunger and help you refocus.

Work in intervals: Set a timer for five or 10 minutes and commit to focusing on your assignment for that amount of time. Then allow yourself a minute of distraction, as long as you get back on your task for another five or 10 minutes.

The tendency to become distracted is primal, so forgive yourself if you do. It arose in our earliest days as humans, when we needed to respond instantly to lions, tigers and other predators that threatened us, said Dr. Miller. Every sensory input was deeply interesting, and our response to it was sometimes a matter of life or death. Our brain has not let go of this ancient survival mechanism

To combat procrastination, find an accountability partner. This can be a colleague or a manager, whose role is to receive regular progress reports on your project. The person you choose will have to take his or her role seriously, expressing disappointment if you have not achieved your goal, and appreciation if you have

Before you leave work for the day, make a list of five to eight goals that you would like to accomplish the following day, said Julie Morgenstern, a time management expert based in New York.

One of the easiest ways to start to change your work space is to spend the last 10 minutes of your workday readying your desk for the next day. Then you won’t have to start your day with yesterday’s mess, Ms. Morgenstern said. Starting out with a desk prepared for the day ahead could have a powerful effect on your mind-set and productivity.

Often there is an emotional component to emails you avoid, Ms. Morgenstern said, because they involve saying “no” to someone or making a difficult decision. Instead of procrastinating on replying, you will likely save time by responding in person or on the phone, where your tone and personality will come through more readily, rather than trying to write the perfect diplomatic response in an email.

Alan Hedge, an ergonomics professor at Cornell, suggests that workers try a combination of sitting, standing and walking to keep altering their body position and give their minds a break from work.

How to Make Desk Work More Productive

A timed combination of sitting, standing and walking can help you work at your best.

  1. Sit for 20 minutes and work.
  2. Stand for eight minutes and work.
  3. Stop working and take a walk for two minutes.
  4. Repeat.

Sleep is one of the most effective ways to take a long break, so try not to give it short shrift. Research shows that sleep allows our brains to make new and unexpected connections, leading to insights and breakthroughs — which explains why we so often have brilliant ideas during our morning shower.

If it’s possible to take a 20-minute “power nap” at work (for example if you work at home), by all means do so. To best increase your energy, it may be a good idea to drink a cup of coffee before your nap. Research has shown that this method likely works because the short power nap helps clear the brain of the sleep-inducing compound adenosine. Caffeine, meanwhile, takes about 20 minutes to have its physiological effect — kicking in just as the napper is awakening.

Horizontal breathing may seem unnatural at first, but it is actually the way animals and small children breathe. Working with your body rather than against it, you will maximize the blood flow to your brain – and your mental capacity.

According to Lindsay Newitter, owner of the Posture Police in New York, this technique warns of a practice called “end gaining,” where people try to get ahead of themselves and lose sight of the present. When you see people hunched forward in front of their screens, chances are they are end gaining. Good posture enables you to meet your work in the present moment, and therefore get it done more efficiently.

Common Productivity Myths
Here’s the truth behind common misconceptions about working smart.

Myth: People who are good multitaskers get more done.

Fact: Multitasking is an illusion. Research shows that people get more done if they concentrate on one task at a time. Switching frequently between tasks – or believing that you are actually doing more than one thing at once – will actually slow you down.

Myth: It’s important to have zero emails in your inbox by the end of the day.

Fact: The goal of “inbox zero” works for some people but not for others. The key to managing email is to designate specific times of the day for reading and responding to it, to differentiate between emails that can be handled quickly and those that require more time, and to learn how to use all of your email software’s features (folders, filters and archives) in ways that work best for you.

Myth: It’s best to stand while you work.

Fact: It’s better to change your position throughout the day, in a regular cycle of sitting, standing and moving around. Among other things, this variety helps bring more blood to your brain, improving your cognition and therefore your productivity.

Myth: The more hours you work, the more you get done.

Fact: It is important to take breaks throughout the workday. Even a five-minute walk around the office can boost your mood with no impact on your ability to focus. Getting enough rest and sleep can serve you better than working longer hours. Walking away from your work for a longer period – overnight, over the weekend or on vacation – gives your ideas a chance to marinate in your subconscious mind, allowing for new bursts of productivity when you return.

Myth: The secret to improving productivity is to find the right system and stick with it.

Fact: Every person and every workday is different. While we may be able to develop new strategies and habits that work for us most of the time, our jobs and lives will always throw us curve balls that lead to less-than-perfect results. We need to accept this imperfect reality, forgive ourselves and try again tomorrow.

About the Author
Phyllis Korkki is an assignment editor for the Business section of The New York Times and the author of “The Big Thing: How to Complete Your Creative Project Even if You’re a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me” (HarperCollins).

Twitter: @phylliskorkki

Netflix: Iron Fist S1

  • Lots of plot twist and unclear motives for the characters
  • Fighting against morals
  • Very few to non existent sexual encounters which for me stays true to the kung fu wushu
  • Very few use of the actual Iron Fist, sticks to reality on Chi principles and whatnot
  • I definitely enjoyed the puzzles and who’s supposed to be the bad guy
  • Looking forward to the 2nd season

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