I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.” Sam Levenson

Procrastination is defined as the act of replacing high priority and important tasks with tasks of a lower importance, or delaying the actioning of important tasks to a later time. Procrastination may occur for a number of reasons, including the fear of failure, anxiety in starting or completing tasks, the need for an adrenalin hit as a result of self-imposed working under pressure, ineffective decision-making, perfectionism and ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks.

Procrastination is very common amongst the population with many people procrastinating to some extent. Humans generally have a tendency to replace important tasks with tasks that are more familiar or fun to perform. Chronic procrastination is a more severe form that can be very damaging to a person’s life or career.

A number of steps can be implemented to manage or deal with procrastination:

  1. Recognising that you are procrastinating – You need to be honest with yourself in order to recognise that you are procrastinating. Characteristics of procrastination include: focusing on low value tasks and actions, being engulfed by your emails throughout the day, getting ready to begin an important task and becoming immediately distracted, waiting for the perfect conditions to begin a project, and keeping tasks on your To Do list for some time even though they were marked as ‘important’.
  2. Understanding the reason why you procrastinate – The mind has a tendency to convince yourself that a valid reason exists to procrastinate, often involving subconsciously lying to yourself. The reasons why you procrastinate could be due to either the type of work involved or your beliefs and behaviour. One of the reasons why people procrastinate may involve the work not being interesting, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the tasks. Other reasons can include being disorganised which can result in anxiety in starting or completing tasks, or having a fear of failure/success stopping you from engaging the work. Being a perfectionist will also result in procrastination because perfectionists wait for the right conditions before they begin a task, or they try to achieve  the most perfect outcome thereby never actually completing the task. The final reason for procrastination relates to ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks resulting in a delayed or slow start to actioning tasks, thereby escalating the required effort towards the end of the deadline. This is common with many university students who undertake assignments and examination preparation, and is often labelled as ‘Student Syndrome”. No matter how much time is provided for the student to complete their assignment they will take all the available time and end up cramming all the work just before the due date for the assignment.
  3. Implementing strategies to deal with procrastination – A number of strategies can be employed to deal with procrastination:
  • Keep a To Do list and ensure that you complete the required tasks quickly and efficiently
  • Break down the activities into manageable tasks in the form of an action plan that can be tackled quickly and easily
  • Utilise an Urgent/Important Matrix to identify high value tasks

  • Implement a reward system that is linked to the completion of important tasks
  • Start some easy tasks every day to fuel your momentum, which then allows you to tackle the larger more important tasks
  • Focus on goal setting, scheduling and planning to streamline your project management skills
  • Employ a mentor or coach to help you overcome procrastination or to encourage you to maintain your momentum on a particular project
  • Tackle the worst task in the whole To Do list first thing in the morning (e.g. Brian Tracy says ‘Eat the Frog’ – since this is the worst thing you could do everything else should be easy to undertake)
  • Repeat the cycle for 20 days so that it becomes a new habit

The longer you spend time without procrastination the better chance of breaking the habit.

Dr John Kapeleris

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The wider development of your individual abilities will achieve greater confidence in your life and ultimately the happiness that everyone seeks to achieve. The first step is to identify your abilities and map out a program for developing them. Even if you do not know the direction that you should be following in your life or career it is good practice to be exposed to new experiences and learn new skills.

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow studied the behaviour of people who were confident and happy in nature regardless of the problems that confronted them. He described these people as “self-actualisers”. Self-actualisation is defined as the state of being where a person achieves their full potential when all basic and mental needs are fulfilled. In other words, becoming the person you desire by maximising your full potential and abilities.

Self-actualisers have the following set of identifiable characteristics:

  • Recognise that their life is their own responsibility
  • Concentrate on the present state to improve their future situation and do not dwell on the past
  • Cope well with reality but can also tolerate uncertainty
  • Accept themselves and others for what they are
  • Creative, have a sense of humour and unbound by convention
  • Appreciate the everyday pleasures of life

To move towards achieving self-actualisation you can implement the following actions:

  1. Assume full responsibility of your own life
  2. Identify your abilities and map out a personal development program
  3. Expose yourself to new experiences (try new things)
  4. Listen to your own inner true feelings when considering life experiences
  5. Be prepared to express your own views, even if they are not in accordance with the majority of people
  6. Avoid pretence and game playing when dealing with other people
  7. Work hard and smart at everything you do
  8. Develop a positive attitude and eliminate negative thoughts
  9. Seek and accept constructive feedback from other people

Begin the quest to become the best you can be by deciding what you want from life and then doing what is necessary to achieve it!

Dr John Kapeleris

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“The purpose of man is in action, not thought.” — Thomas Carlyle

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calender year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and to set new goals and objectives for 2011. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2010. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. Last January I decided to go to Byron Bay and live in a beach house for ten days to celebrate a very successful 2009. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2011. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2010. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide. A decent driveway paint site will get you the driveway paint you want.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2011!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Our minds contain a vast amount of information from knowledge built through learning and the experiences we had throughout life. This also includes our emotions, feelings and observations. The total sum of this information is “What You Know”. However, a greater amount of information exists that “You Know You Don’t Know”, but you are familiar that this information exists. For example, solving the Rubik’s Cube, explaining Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or reciting Shakespeare’s Macbeth. An even greater quantity of information exists that “You Don’t Know You Don’t Know”. The different forms of personal knowledge and information are outlined in the diagram below.

 

If we could only tap into this body of knowledge that we don’t know, we would be able to utilize this knowledge for our personal success. The information you don’t know you don’t know, can be sourced through discovery and learning. Accessing the information and knowledge can be made through a number of different sources including, using the power of the internet, self-study courses, university courses and learning from others (e.g. through books, journals, seminars, CDs, DVDs and engaging with mentors). New knowledge can create new ideas. An old proverb says, “Seek and you will find“. If you become a student of lifelong learning then you will build new knowledge, wisdom, and discover new opportunities.

By exploring what we don’t know we don’t know, we discover new ideas, opportunities and the antecedents to innovation. This is particularly the case in identifying breakthrough innovations that generally occur through serendipity, that is, by chance, observation, or having the mindset to be able to identify opportunities.

An open mind, and a passion for learning and curiosity are needed to explore what we don’t know we don’t know.

What are some of the ways that you have discovered new opportunities?

Happy reading!

Dr John Kapeleris

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The interaction with people throughout your life can influence and determine your future path. My parents and grandparents were a strong influence in my younger years, guiding me and providing me with direction and knowledge. Many of my values and beliefs originated from my parents and grandparents, predominantly through story-telling in the evening and during bed-time. My parents and grandparents were my mentors in my early life.

Throughout my education and career I would source new mentors who would continue to influence me and guide me through my learning and development. One of my career mentors was Dr David Wyatt who was also the Chief Executive of a company where I worked as a senior manager. He was a person who could inspire you to seek new ideas, and continually learn and develop. He would motivate you in your work and make you feel positive and energised. David was also a wealth of knowledge and creative inspiration. He provided me with frequent articles of useful information that would challenge my thinking and provide me with new knowledge. David would also challenge me to think beyond the immediate problem or opportunity. When I was working for David I just couldn’t wait to get to work on Monday morning so that I could experience something new, exciting and motivating. My personal development at that time in my life soared significantly.

In another example, after leaving a company that I worked in for 12 years I employed the services of a personal development mentor to guide me through my next career transition. I would meet with the coach on a weekly basis over three months and discuss my progress in building and enhancing my skills for my next challenge in life. My mentor would give me self discovery exercises, references to read and small development projects to complete between the meeting sessions. My mentor also opened my mind to a wealth of opportunities that I would investigate and develop in later months and years.

Finding the right mentor or business coach can have a significant effect on your life. A mentor can teach and guide you through your life journey and can be one of the best ways to achieve personal success. For example, a business mentor can provide you with the tools and resources to grow your business or to teach you the strategies and processes (tricks of the trade) for a new business opportunity. In a recent experience, without the influence of an internet business coach I would not have been able to develop my internet-based business skills. Can you identify a person in your domain or area of interest who has been successful and would make a great mentor? Your next step is to contact the person via telephone or a written letter and request whether they can be your mentor. Don’t be afraid; the worst thing that can happen is that they say “No”. If this occurs you then look for another possible mentor. For additional mobile information, consult the experts when it comes to samsung galaxy specifications.

Building networks of people who can add value, share ideas and build collaborations or alliances should be one of your key goals, if you are going to succeed in any business or creative endeavour. Your networks will become a source of ideas, knowledge, support, motivation, channels to other networks, access to markets, and even revenue sources. How do you then set about building a network? The first step is to become a better networker by improving your networking skills and overcoming fear and low self-esteem. Following is a simple six-step approach to networking:

  1. Identify networking opportunities and events such as meetings, luncheons, seminars and conferences. Target specific events with a topic of interest related to your definite purpose or goal.
  2. Take the responsibility to interact first. Remember the worst thing that can happen to you is a polite rejection. Network the room as much as possible. Don’t stick to a single person, or remain alone at the outer perimeter of the room, which is common amongst people with low self-esteem. Try to join a group of people who are already interacting or look for someone who is alone.
  3. Have a topic of interest to discuss e.g. a topic from the seminar or conference, or ask the other person a question about their job or work. I always like to begin with “Hi, my name is John and I work for …”. After the other person responds with their name and organisation, I immediately follow with a question or statement related to the seminar or conference. If the networking occurs before the event I tend to ask a general question such as “Are you looking forward to listening to the speaker?”, “What attracted you to this seminar?” or “What do you do for a living?”. It is also a good idea to have a prepared 2-3 minute “Elevator Pitch” describing what you do. For example I say, “I put money into people’s pockets by helping them take their ideas to market”. This generally grabs the person’s attention.
  4. Exchange business cards or contact details. This is generally done during the introduction or after you have found out more about the person. Ensure that you offer your business card first as the other person will generally reciprocate. If the other person does not have a business card write their contact information in a notebook or on a piece of paper. It is also a good idea to write where you met and any follow-up action items or notes about the person on the back of the business card. Don’t forget to record their details, as soon as possible, in a contact database together with notes about the person, where you met and any follow-up actions.
  5. Cultivate your relationship through maintaining regular contact. This could be done through the use of a combination of tools and processes, such as regular email, the online tool LinkedIn, a contact database or by periodically catching up face-to-face for coffee, lunch or at upcoming meetings and seminars. I use LinkedIn quite extensively as this allows me to build a network of people very easily. It also has an email function that allows me to send individual or group messages, and also includes a short message function linked to Twitter. For more specific profile building of my contacts I use a database such as Microsoft Business Contact Manager which is linked to Outlook. I like to use a Relationship Maintenance Schedule (in spreadsheet format) for my more important contacts where I build in a schedule of activities, including periodically sending my contacts articles of interest, links to interesting internet sites, or provide them with business leads and new opportunities.
  6. Become a network architect for others. The ultimate goal is to become the “go-to” person for introducing others to people you know. You essentially become the “intellectual gravity” or thought leader for a given domain and its networks, by attracting like-minded individuals or people seeking knowledge and inspiration.

Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” described the power of the Mastermind. The mastermind principle is defined as the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the achievement of a definite purpose. A mastermind group can be a powerful way to achieve your definite purpose or goal. I have joined a few mastermind groups each having a specific purpose or goal where the contribution of the knowledge, experience and united spirit of all members can catapult you to the next level of achievement. Members of a mastermind group will have a common interest where each person is willing to discuss topics openly and contribute knowledge and experience. The mastermind groups that I belong to meet regularly and have formal and informal agendas for prior preparation and subsequent discussion. A number of outcomes have emerged from my mastermind groups, including sharing knowledge and ideas, creating new start-up businesses, identifying new commercial opportunities, and developing solutions for business and community problems. Some of the most successful people in the world (e.g. Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie) have relied on their mastermind groups to guide them or provide wisdom and inspiration.

Another example of a mastermind alliance is that of the creative community which dates back to the Middle Ages. For example, Leonardo da Vinci worked in a master’s studio (Verrocchio’s workshop) with like-minded people to learn his trade, and share knowledge and technical skills, including drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics and carpentry, as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting and modelling. The Parisian Salons of the 1920’s and 1930’s are other examples of creative communities, where people like Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Thornton Wilder would get together informally at the Parisian apartments of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, to fuel their creative inspiration. You can also locate and join a mastermind group or creative community that focuses on your domain or area of interest. Searching the internet, reading trade journals or popular magazines can identify mastermind groups or creative communities. You can also ask your contacts through your networks if they belong to any mastermind groups or creative communities. If you cannot locate a particular mastermind group or creative community then you might consider forming your own.

Make it a great life!

Dr John Kapeleris

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One of the modern day personal development coaches and mentors, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones stated that “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read”. I wanted to expand on Charlie’s quote by stating that “Your future success will depend on the choices you make today – your thoughts, your attitude, the people you meet, the books you read, the plans you make and the actions you take!”

Learning is the foundation of a personal development program. Books can provide you with mental growth and the ability to learn from other people’s experiences.  They can also provide you with self-education where the learnings can be applied to your work and personal life.

I am a believer of establishing a professional development library and slowly building a wealth of knowledge for yourself and your family. The first step in starting your library is to write a list of the books you feel will make a difference to your self-education and personal development. If you cannot afford to establish your own professional development library then I would suggest you subscribe to your local public library.

Senior executives of successful corporations and high achievers generally read at least one book per month, while a proportion will read up to four books per month.

Following is my list of the top 10 books that would add value to your self-education or personal development program. I have focused my list on the proven classics but have also included some modern classics (for further information on each book click onto the title below):

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  2. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
  3. The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
  4. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
  5. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
  6. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  7. The Greatest Salesman in the World By Og Mandino
  8. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  9. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
  10. 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn

What would your reading list of the top 10 books look like? Go ahead – add your list as a comment.

Make it a great day!

Dr John Kapeleris

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It is no surprise that successful and productive people keep journals or notebooks that capture ideas, inspirations, thoughts and daily reflections. Notable people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison kept journals and notebooks to record their ideas, thoughts, observations and projects. The notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci are well known, containing notes and illustrations of nature, art, science and anatomy. Leonardo’s journals also capture many of his ideas and inventions, but also reflect the character of the person.

Journals allow you to capture ideas and gather information into one location. Ideas can easily come and go, and the only way to remember these ideas is to record them in a journal as soon as they come to mind.  You can then review and work on these ideas at a later date.

I have been keeping journals for many years and have built excellent resources of information, knowledge and wisdom. My “Ideas Journal”, that I keep separately, contains ideas and thoughts that I have recorded since 1994, during the early days of my career. I also like to record notes, ideas and actions from the books I read and the seminars that I attend. Journals have the power to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.

The main type of  journal that I use to capture inspirations, thoughts and information is an A4 artist’s visual diary consisting of thick white sheets of paper bound in double wire, with a hard black plastic front cover and thick cardboard back cover. I prefer to use blank white paper to allow the free-flow of ideas and information. You may want to use a leather-bound journal or just a small simple notebook. Each person will have their own preference.

I take the journal with me everywhere I go in case I have an inspirational thought or idea that I can record immediately. I keep the journal by my bedside when I sleep, I take the journal with me to work, I have it next to me when I am on the computer or reading a book, and I take it with me when I travel or attend seminars. When I completely fill a journal I number and  label it, and then place it on my bookshelf.

What do I record in my journal?

  • Ideas, thoughts and inspirations
  • Interesting observations or experiences
  • Goals, objectives and action plans
  • Learning notes from reading books and attending seminars
  • Business opportunities
  • Names of contacts, leads and interesting people
  • Feelings and impressions
  • Achievements that I have accomplished
  • Interesting words, quotations, internet sites, references and book lists
  • Sketches, logos, brainstorms, mindmaps, inventions and dreams
  • Research topics and outcomes
  • Creative writing and poems
  • Recipes and wine label details
  • Travel experiences

Journals can also be used to manage projects and monitor progress of action plans.  I usually use a separate “Project Journal” to focus on one specific project. For example, when I started to learn about the internet and web publishing I got myself a notebook and labelled it “Internet Journal”. In the journal I recorded my self-education notes and learning journey about the internet. I also recorded website examples, log-in details, potential domain names and other notes. Other examples of project journals include an inventor’s journal or notebook, a travel journal, and a visual journal containing sketches or photographs.

Journal writing can be used to record your life journey. It has the potential to develop your inner self and become a channel of discovery and learning. It can also be a means of self expression or emotional relief. Journaling can also be fun and inspirational by recording creative writing, capturing sketches, brainstorming, solving problems, setting goals, developing action plans or just simply thinking on paper. In the current digital economy which is dominated by the computer keyboard, monitor and mouse it can sometimes be reassuring to grab an old style fountain pen and a page in a journal consisting of thick white paper that encourages us to express our inner creative human spirit!

Periodically you will need to review the ideas and information you capture in your journal. The ideas and information can be quite valuable for further reflection and implementation. Who knows; one of your ideas might be the next “blockbuster” product, service or business opportunity!

I look forward to reading your thoughts on journaling.

Dr John Kapeleris

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