Monday, 24 November 2014

Unclutter The Desk In Your Head! - Part 6 - Gannt Charts

OK this is the last instalment of 'Unclutter'.  We have talked about preparing ourselves for better focus on what we want to achieve and now we are looking at practical tools that will help us to plan better those things that we really want to get sorted out.

So today I am going to talk about another tool that I use called a Gannt Chart.  Once we have made the decision to tackle moving forward we need to be able to plan how we are going to go about that work, over what timescale and understand what we need to make it happen.

A Gannt Chart is perfect for this if you have a spreadsheet program like MS Excel then you have the tools that you need.

A Gannt Chart is essentially a calendar which is focussed on what you have to do and when.

Take a look at the video below that explains clearly how to make a Gannt Chart.

You will ultimately have a chart with a bunch of tasks on it listed against a timescale chosen by you.

Applications for this chart can be absolutely anything, but what you will need to do to make it a useful tool will be to check it every day once completed so that you are kept on track in meeting your objectives.

I hope that this is helpful, if you would like to talk to me about using other organisational tools feel free to drop me a line at

Monday, 3 November 2014

Unclutter The Desk In Your Head! - Part 5 - Mind Maps

This blog series is all about making our minds clearer when tackling what we have to do. We hold so much in our minds that often when we need focus to get something done we get distracted or we procrastinate and potentially we can feel a lack of meaning because we haven't achieved what we set out to do.
Up until now in this series I have used the analogy of a cluttered desk in our heads.  We look at the desk and perhaps feel daunted knowing that it needs to be sorted out but we struggle to know how to start.

In terms of focus, I said that I would suggest some tools that you could use to help you to get to where you want to get to, putting to one side all the distractions and hopefully getting you to generate more and more ideas that will help you to get there.

Today I am going to talk about Mind Maps.

So what is a Mind Map?

A Mind Map is a fun way to play with ideas, plan and focus. It is a very ' non-linear' way to explore what is important and to work out what is needed to get there just be 'dumping' all the information that you have in your mind onto a piece of paper in front of you.

Here is an example below;

As you can see this is a very simple process that creates a picture of what you are trying to develop but it is a free form picture. There are no rules on how to do this, apart from doing what is most comfortable for you.

So the way it works is to have a central idea that you would like to develop. The sections 'sprouting' out are all the relevant details associated with the central idea. You can explore the sections in as much or as little detail as possible.
At the end of the process you will have had a little bit of fun exploring your idea and hopefully you should get to know the idea better and what you have to do to get it to happen.

Why don't you give it a go and let me know how you get on?

Keeping checking into my blog as I have another tool to share in the next post.

All the best,


Friday, 31 October 2014

Unclutter The Desk In Your Head! - Part 4 - Hitting the bullseye!

Welcome back!

My previous entries into this series have focused on getting your mind into the right frame of ...oh ,er, mind for getting things back in control.  I used the idea of the desk in the head because it is like we have a space in our minds where we allow cluttering to happen.  We fill our minds with distracting information that can often derail our process of getting back in control and being effective.

So what is in store for today's blog entry?

Today I am going to talk about targets.

You know how it is.  You have got something to do, an objective to reach and sometimes you are confident in getting there and sometimes you are not.  This entry focuses on the not.  So read on if you are a normal honest person who accepts that there are times when you struggle to achieve some things in life!

So you have something to do and you can't quite get engaged with it? Feel daunted?  Is your mind telling you that you will never get there?

If you have something in mind, just think about it for a moment.  Whilst you are thinking about it what are you feeling?  Give yourself a moment to examine what you are feeling.

If you are feeling daunted , fearful or just not confident, then ask yourself the following questions;

1) When do I need to get this done by?

2) Can my task be broken down into little targets that will help me to get to the big one once completed?

3) If I can break it down, then what is the first step?

4) What do I need to do to make that first step and when do I want to make it?

So often we look at the big things and worry about them not getting done, but often big things take preparation and so we need to look at the journey not just the end result.

Personally, I use a couple of tools for getting large objectives or targets reached and I will talk you through them in later entries.

So check back to find out what those tools are or if you want to know sooner email me at .

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Unclutter The Desk In Your Head! - Part 3

Now let's tackle the desk in your head....

So if you are following this blog series you will know that I am writing about ways to prepare for feeling more in control about our work activities and ultimately feel more satisfied about what we spend most of our lives doing.

So in my last blog I talked about giving ourselves ten minutes of peace , not reacting to anything and calming the mind.
Today I am going to help you to start tackling that desk and seeing it for what it is and not for how it makes us feel...

So you have arrived at work, thoughts are spinning around in your head and for many people getting to work is often a period of 'reaction time'.  We might know that we have things to do but ultimately we might be tempted to procrastinate and react to a colleague's call or do something that feels like work but in the scheme of things is minor compared to what you have to do or what is meaningful.  We get really busy, but there is no sense of meaningfulness or worth in what we have done, a lack of satisfaction.
This blog is for you if you feel like this.  I know what it feels like as I have been there too.

So let's turn this situation around, particularly if you feel trapped with no hope.

Here are some basic things you can do to sort out that 'desk in your head'.

Step 1 in uncluttering the desk in your head!  Step up to the desk and take a look!

Firstly, why don't you simply just focus?  Personal experience showed me that if I got to work and the first thing I did was check my social media statuses, or make a coffee, or have a chat then it was likely that I wasn't going to have a very productive day.

You know how it is, you log onto Facebook and see who is doing what or who has responded to what you have posted.  There's a little red number telling you that five people like your status, then you are tempted to find out who, then you find another link about something that you think you are going to like , then you read or watch it then you , then you, then you...... THEN YOU FIND OUT THAT 30 MINUTES HAS GONE BY.....and you still haven't focused on what it is important.

It feels empty to not have achieved much at the start of the day doesn't it?

So my challenge to you is to go to work, and spend the first ten minutes of your day looking at your cluttered desk and make it a priority to visualise what you would like it to look like i.e. work out for yourself what exactly a good day would look like at the end of your day?  What would you have achieved and how good would you feel in getting it done?  Once you have given yourself that time, work backwards and plan what you need to do to get there.  Don't overwhelm yourself, and don't bash yourself over the head if you don't quite make it.  Just commit yourself to giving it a good try.

What you are doing here is stepping up to your cluttered desk and mentally preparing yourself to make an impact.  If work colleagues or customers impact on that time, do whatever you have to do in order to give yourself the space to have the best possible result for the day.

"Do what you have to have the best possible result for the day."

So far we have look at calming our minds down and not allowing distractions to eat away at our focus for the work that we have to do.  Now we are prepared to walk up to the desk and plan how to unclutter.  If we can visualise what we want our 'desk' or our day ahead to look like then we can start to plan how to get there.  If we start the day reacting to everything that hits us then we are going to have problems.  Don't forget to stop yourself from getting distracted, check Facebook later!

Keep tuned for more tips.....

Friday, 10 October 2014

Unclutter The Desk In Your Head! - Part 2

This is my second instalment for my blog series 'Unclutter The Desk In Your Head!'

I am currently away on business at the moment and so this will be a short entry however I have a great tip in preparing you in starting to tackle that clutter.

This is for people who start the day facing it with dread. They have too much to do and they rush into everything and wonder why they are only partially successful if successful at all.

So your tip today is simple don't rush and breath deeply.

Before you start the day, sit in a comfortable seat with you feet flat on the floor, the palms of your hands flat on your lap with your shoulders back but relaxed.
Then close your eyes and just give yourself thirty seconds of nothing. Allow any thoughts to pass with no action and allow yourself to relax. Then start to slow down your breathing and focus on the movement of your chest rising up and down and listen to the noises that the breathing makes. Be fascinated by those noises and the sensations you feel whilst breathing.

If you are able to do this for ten minutes every day then this will prepare you in peacefully and powerfully uncluttering that desk and being more the person you want to be during the day.

Give it a go two or three times and let me know what difference it makes to you.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Unclutter The Desk In Your Head! - Part 1

Good morning!  Welcome to my second blog series which I have called 'Unclutter The Desk In Your Head'.
It's a strange title,  but give yourself a few seconds to consider any picture this phrase brings up for you.

There are some mornings when people wake up and it is almost like they never switched off from work the previous day.  In fact,  they would have gone to bed thinking about work and maybe wake up feeling like they had a restless night.  Then they get out of bed having groaned about what's in store for their day at work.

It's not like this for everyone,  but I am writing this blog for those people who feel stuck in a job that feels beyond control and perhaps a little hopeless.

For some people,  the enjoyment of their job might have passed away simply because their workload has gone up and their current mental toolbox for dealing with that workload simply needs a refreshingly new approach.

So,  what is that 'desk in the head' phrase all about?  To put it simply,  if you imagine a 'work'  desk in your head. A place where all the different aspects of your work come together in your brain. When you look at that desk,  do you arrange items neatly or do they just get thrown on the desk in no order with the hope that you will sort them out later? Is it a clean desk or a  untidy desk?

In this blog series I am going to show you ways to unclutter that desk,  which translates to how to get your mind actively being in more control of your life so that you feel great and less stressed.

I am going to show you practical ways of thinking more effectively and creatively which will enthuse your work ethic and make you more successful.

How does that sound?

Stay tuned!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Confidence and contribution - part 3

As you know I have been writing a mini series on presenting ourselves and being confident in that.

Before the weekend gets here, I would like you to consider something fundamental ...

If you are passionate about something, then the world needs you to stand up and tell it.  There is a reason why you feel passionate about something and even if people don't get what you have to say straight away, if it is important to you then it will be important to someone else and it could be a big deal for that someone else to hear what you have to say.  You could change someone's life.

So , stand up and be counted, you are worth a lot and you deserve to have your say and be listened too.

Have a great weekend.