Looking Back To Go Forwards…


I hope you’re well?

We were looking at the year–so–far recently and during that time I did some personal reflection on the personal aims I set in January after reading a report highlighted in Adam Alter’s superb ‘Irresistable’ book, which highlighted seven social media and life habits to break and the best ways to do this.

I wrote a blog in January – the time of best intentions – and so thought I’d take a look back on them and give an honest appraisal of my successes…and otherwise!

(Please feel free to make a mental note of your own habits you scroll through the list):

1. Compulsively surfing the internet: – it’s easy to get sidetracked when ‘researching’ something on YouTube or engaged in ‘discussions’ (let’s call them) on Facebook or Twitter. The brain takes 15 minutes to get into the state we call ‘flow’ where ideas and thoughts come naturally – if these 15 minutes are interrupted by texts or notifications then you need to start again. Be conscious in your use of the internet – whether on the web or via the Apps on your phone. If you think about it, ALL of the distractions one could EVER want are in the palm of your hand or back pocket in a smartphone – it’s no wonder it’s so addictive! Hint: switch off notifications or leave your phone off if you need to focus.

UPDATE: Honestly, this habit has not changed. I’m still keeping my phone downstairs but when I’m away it’s often late into the night when I switch off. I read ‘real’ books and thanks to my informal book club with my friend Gemma, we are keeping each other’s reading lists interesting!) Score 5/10 – still work to do.

2. Perfectionism: – There will NEVER be a perfect time to start, but once you do there will be something to work on. Also don’t be fooled into thinking anything you do will ever be perfect – make whatever you do the best you can do. Hint: take the plunge when you are thinking about something – once you start you’ll have a better idea whether you really want to continue.

UPDATE: I’m a bit better at this – Corporate Soapbox as a tool has been in my mind and in my discussions with people for years and it’s always ‘nearly there’…This year it launched and we are now offering our wonderful Soapmaking workshop to businesses – have a look at www.corporatesoapbox.co.uk Score 7/10 – now to let the world know!

3. Meetings: – these things eat up your time like nothing on earth. Make them short. Take them standing up. Avoid them if possible by having phone calls or Skype / Conference Calls. Hint: When someone suggests a meeting, question them (politely) as to whether a face to face meeting is essential or whether an alternative would be more efficient.

UPDATE: Yes – I’m loads better at this. We’ve had lots more Skype or phone meetings (even though I dislike Dial-In meetings). It’s meant we’re much more efficient and we travel a fair bit less. Having said that, we are actively using a meetings approach with key clients where we decide it’s in the best interest of the relationship. Score 8/10.

4. Responding to emails as they arrive: – although some office cultures ‘expect’ you to reply to an email instantly, it’s not always possible…nor is it desirable. If an email needs an instant response then either the sender should’ve sent it earlier or a phone call would have been better. Hint: try and schedule a time slot for emails in the morning and afternoon. DON’T do emails at night.

UPDATE: Quick replies done on phone, replies with attachments or needing lengthy responses done in one go at the laptop – morning or afternoon. Lengthy email trails are avoided by using the phone. Attitude to emails has changed – they are valuable communication (mostly) so I treat them as such.

Score 7/10 – still work to do.

5. Multitasking: – This is the enemy of efficiency. If your mind needs 15 minutes to get into flow and you’re flitting from one thing to another this isn’t efficient or effective. Hint: Stick to a task until it’s complete (or until you’ve lost focus) and do one thing at a time.

UPDATE: Yes and No. Usually good intentions are sidetracked by incoming messages or phone calls, being responsive rather than scheduling selfishly. 7/10 – need to work on focus more. Longer tasks helped by keeping distractions to a minimum OR working early in the morning.

6. Putting off Tough Tasks: – when you need to do something tough, you need to be on top form. Don’t leave the tough stuff to build up – it’s like leaving all your homework until Sunday night as a child…its still there! Hint: Tackle the tough things first thing in the morning. (Well, after your coffee and emails!)

UPDATE: Better grasping of the nettle has been employed in the past 11 months. Phone calls are better to deal with tough tasks rather than emailing. People work with people not pixels.

Score 7.5/10 still needs improvement.

7. Using your tablet or phone in bed: – you KNOW this. Blue light affects your sleep AND if you get a late night email with bad / tough / upsetting news it’s going to affect your sleep. Hint: at last, a positive one I can confess to – plug your phone in downstairs.

UPDATE: I still don’t have my phone in the bedroom – occasionally I use my iPad as the world’s most expensive alarm clock!

This research in the excellent IRRESISTABLE book have really made me think about how I use technology AND more crucially, my time. I’m all for trying something new*…what about you?

We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but the approach we’ve taken in the past 11 months has allowed us to build a new side to the business as well as maintaining and increasing our work with valued school clients.

If you want more information on any of our workshops, keynotes and resources, please have a look at our website www.innovativeenterprise.co.uk or our Twitter feed at @EnterpriseSBox .





Andrew Bernard FPSA PGCert


Innovative Enterprise – Bringing The Future To Life

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