The Essential Life Skill Of Successful People

Stress is primarily what takes over when you don’t have effective time management skills. It’s highly valued and millions of people find this skill is thoroughly tested toward the end of the year. For example, at work everyone wants everything yesterday, social engagements are ample, interactions with others increase substantially and if you’re lucky enough to have an upcoming holiday planned, add that variable as well!

If you have kids, triple that load. They have their own social calendar and end-of-year events, plus the long summer holidays are at your doorstep. Without effective time management skills, you are at risk of making yourself physically and emotionally sick, plus you won’t have the capability or capacity to accomplish anything.

Luckily, that doesn’t have to happen and it all boils down to perfecting this essential life skill. You can use it all year round and the beauty is, the more successful, busy and responsible your life becomes the better it works!

So, what’s the secret? How do successful people manage to consistently meet deadlines, have high-pressure jobs and breeze through periods which would have most peoples brains in a tangle and stomachs in a knot! Lists. Lame right… But very effective!

As lame as you may think the proposal of lists are, just think what life would be like for CEOs, executives and professionals without organising appointments, having a vision and being able to break things down to achieve their objective. They brainstorm detailed ways in which to work toward some of the incredible things they envisage and are able to keep stress at bay whilst achieving it.

Why then should avoiding stress and getting the most out of each day look any different for you? Here’s a tip,  it doesn’t! You might have career aspirations, run a home and family, have a job and a thriving social life and be in the midst of organizing events for the family. With this effective tried and tested skill, you can do it all without overwhelming, self-destructing stress rearing its ugly head!

Now, successful people have more than one list. They generally have a life plan of things they hope to achieve. Can you imagine Richard Branson’s list! Take over the financial sector, initiate a global warming solution – there’s nothing some people can’t achieve. This is the primary list. It includes aspirations, goals and always  includes a deadline. It might have 100 things on it or 1000. You can add and remove items at will and make adjustments.

When you visually see what you want done, it can be overwhelming. Imagine if you had all that stuff on your mind each day, without a plan of attack. In effect, that’s what millions of people have going on at the finalé of each year. Talk about a road rage recipe and mental breakdown!
This is where list two, three, four or more, come into play. Breaking the primary list down into small achievable parts, based on priority is the key to achieving anything. Successful businesses have a plan and develop several others which provide guidelines for achieving it.

Breaking  items down into yearly, monthly or daily tasks enables several things:

  1. Work out priorities of a goal
  2. How much of the load to take on yourself
  3. How much of the load to allocate to others
  4. Avoid overload
  5. Avoid stress and stress related illness.

The ultimate goal is to achieve and remain healthy. Highly ambitious people can often burnout, take on too much and succumb to stress-related illness.

The ultimate thing to remember about time management lists is this:

They are reminders of your primary focus and based on priority.

That folks is the essence of success!

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Interview: Essential Etiquette Tips From Downton Abbey

Who doesn’t wish they were transported back in time to 1924 and were part of the social circles of Downton Abbey?

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Celebrating the release of season 5 on DVD and Blu-ray, we have enlisted the help of Sydney School of Protocol expert Julie Lamberg-Burnet to give our readers a little insight into how important etiquette still is in 2015, with a few tips included on how to gain confidence and credibility through a myriad of short courses on offer.

How important are etiquette skills in this day and age?

Etiquette and protocols have not changed for many centuries – it is the landscape that has changed – across communications, the competitive job market and relationship building people want to know how to act and behave appropriately in a range of business, personal and cultural settings. Modern etiquette is about respect for people. In today’s world this is reflected in how adaptable we are in the way we interact with people, their circumstances and situations.

Could you briefly outline the curriculum the Sydney School of Protocol teaches?

Protocol and etiquette provide us with life enhancing skills we see as crucial at every stage of our lives. Our programs are tailored to each individuals needs through work, life, study. The majority of our clients are individuals and corporate businesses with a focus on developing soft skills to enhance their personal and business brands.

Programs include Women in Front and Outclass the Competition  a series of mastery sessions for men and women to enhance their image and presentation, build their personal brand and develop effective communication skills and tools for success. Suited to clients who wish to advance their careers, those preparing to step into the workplace after a period of time and those entering the workplace.

One of the most popular programs is Dine Like a Diplomat – an interactive, fun session which businesses and universities invest in as a team building program focused on business etiquette and international protocol. Or as parents investing time with their children to learn about manners, social etiquette and dining in a modern context.

Is there a way to modernise etiquette skills for all situations?

Nowadays we experience a myriad of challenges in our fast paced world with multicultural dynamics; a variety of communication channels through which we interact and connect with each other. From a modern etiquette perspective it is knowing what is appropriate, when.

While in the interactions in Downton Abbey, set in an Edwardian period, reflected a stiffer formality than today, the fundamentals of etiquette remain much the same. Situations and events affecting the lives at Downton Abbey in the 1900s reflect many modern day themes: constant change, the building of business and social relationships around the dining table, courtesy and respect with the servants and the power of influence and exercising power.

For example, we use a variety of communication channels today which highlight how we portray ourselves – our personal brand. For example, email etiquette: do we endeavour to respond within 24 hours, even to acknowledge the email? When do we send a thank you note to our host and which channel do we use?

What are some of the most challenging parts of teaching these skills?

People tend to fall back onto their habits and comfort zones, particularly in stressful situations. As the majority of our clients come with the desire and commitment to enhance their confidence and change something within themselves, it is most satisfying to observe the transformation that takes place.

A commitment to practice the skills in various settings makes a world of difference. For example, a client in an accountant management role, who lacked confidence in speaking English – although highly qualified – had to pluck up the courage each day to make conversations within his workplace. After gaining new skills and practicing in various situations he was delighted with the response from his colleagues, who then engaged him in social conversation.

How important is etiquette in regards to advancing your career?

Very important. Being self-aware and knowing what to do and when and how, is extremely important to advance in your career. Only then can one build progress. For success in a competitive world ‘people skills’ are key to gaining confidence, credibility and a point of difference. Most business deals and discussions today take place in social environments – over the dining table, networking, through digital channels. A polished and confident presentation will generally outclass academic and technical qualifications.

Finally, who can partake in these classes?

The Sydney School of Protocol program suite caters for everyone from teens, graduates to corporates and CEOs. Both private coaching and group sessions are tailored to suit the needs of the individuals and business.

Interview: Etiquette Tips From Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Season 5, now available to own on DVD and Blu-ray

Why Don’t My Kids Listen To Me?

Are you getting the impression your kids ears are painted on? Do you keep repeating yourself and then end up exploding? There are plenty of parents out there that are asking the age old question… Why don’t my kids to listen to me?

Firstly, you need to be aware that humans are biologically programmed to listen out for quiet noises. It’s a survival mechanism that has kept us alive for generations. We also find loud, unpleasant noise uncomfortable and try to block it out when we can’t get rid of it. So, if you’ve found yourself screaming or nagging at the kids; sorry to say, but they’re probably blocking you out. By treating them like smaller humans who respond to yelling or nagging the same as adults, you will get much better results. Luckily, we have some great tips to save your lungs and your nerves.

  • First up, stop yelling or nagging. You will find that as you lower your voice or cease repeating yourself, the kids will have a greater chance of listening to you. If you need to speak to your kids about anything, be sure you have their attention and limit any distractions.
  • Secondly, organise time for family meetings or specific times to communicate. This time should be technology free for all members of the family. If you can’t eat a meal together, set aside some time during the week or month to provide a forum for effective communication. Remember to give everyone a chance to speak, be heard, acknowledged and respected. It will give you all an opportunity to express issues, thoughts and expectations, while helping the household function more effectively. If your child is too young to be involved in a family meeting, organise an appropriate time to communicate with them in much the same way.
  • If you have an issue with a particular child’s behaviour, sit them down and discuss it with them. If you yell, rant and rave; they will zone out.
  • If you find yourself nagging to have chores done, set up a roster during a family meeting. Ask for volunteers for particular chores rather than allocating them yourself. As long as everyone is contributing, it doesn’t matter what jobs they do. Make sure you establish consequences if chores are neglected and always follow through.

Finally, if your kids aren’t listening to you; getting your child’s attention is key and you won’t need to compete with other distractions. Providing a forum for effective communication is a practical way of discussing issues, voicing expectations and resolve grievances. Children can participate from an early age and you will be laying down a foundation of open communication and mutual respect within your family. 

By Kim Chartres

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