1 BE CALMER UNDER PRESSURE
The tip: “When you're stressed your shoulders automatically rise without you even noticing. Simply dropping them will make you calmer physically, and that will have an immediate knock-on effect to your emotions and thoughts.”
How it works: The authors argue that body, behaviour, emotions and thoughts are all linked. So if one is stressed, the others will be too. Equally, by changing one (ie, by calming your body or altering your behaviour) you automatically interrupt negative cycles in all three of the others.
2 HOW TO MANAGE YOUR EMAIL
The tip: “Always start the day with your single most important task, to build your focus and motivation before turning your email on. Once that is completed, set a timer and answer email for 15 minutes — any longer and you risk brain atrophy, creative energy leakage and the world telling you what you should do. Also, ensure you make three to five phone calls each day that would otherwise be emails that take longer to write and result in more email.”
How it works: Already a bestseller, Get Productive is designed to raise individual productivity. It’s based on carefully designed and progressively deeper exercises, to help us navigate our ever-busier lives.
3 HOW TO BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE
The tip: “When needing to supercharge your confidence, recall a time you felt at your very best and squeeze the fingers of your right hand down firmly into your palm, imagining you are pressing an invisible control. This will recreate and intensify those feelings. You can then replicate them easily any time you need an immediate confidence hit.”
How it works: Ashdown breaks down seven simple steps to strengthening your confidence, like a muscle. Each chapter includes practical advice for immediate implementation: think of it as circuit training for your self-confidence.
4 HOW TO WORK FEWER HOURS
The tip: Use ‘Stochastic Resonance’ to become a more efficient worker. This is the idea that a weak signal becomes easier to detect if you add white noise into the background. It’s easier to maintain a train of thought in the presence of a certain amount of random background activity. In a cafe, you are never actually disturbed, unless someone briefly asks, ‘Is this seat free?’ But at the same time you don’t have to struggle against a background of silence and will find it easier to focus as a result.
The book: Out Of Office by Chris Ward
How it works: Ward explains how you can be far more productive and creative in your working life, in order to work less hours but still achieve more.
5 HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE LISTEN
The tip: “Clench your buttocks as tight as possible whenever you’re presenting. Your clothes will completely mask your actions, but this technique will help you feel and appear more confident by lowering your centre of gravity.”
How it works: The author deals with a whole range of communication banana skins, showing how to sidestep them by utilising everything from body language to structure and delivery.
6 TAKE MORE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE
The tip: “Paradoxically, the best solution to the problem of overload is to do less. Every day, make a point of saying 'no' nicely to one thing — either in your work or in your personal life. The therapeutic effect will astound you.”
How it works: O’Connell points out the obvious fact that we will never get everything done. Rather than letting fate decide (as represented by our bosses, guilt, or the expectations of other people), we should decide for ourselves.