How Important Is Your Attitude?

September 25, 2014

Productivity Ninja


In my coaching and training we look at this word ATTITUDE in detail and one of the exercises we do is transpose each letter of the word with its numerical position in the alphabet and guess what, it adds up to 100!, it’s true, if you don’t believe me do the math, which gives me the opportunity to say your “attitude” makes 100% of the difference, mind-set is everything!

What’s the best definition of attitude?

“Attitude is the position or bearing as indicating action, feeling, or mood. It is OUR actions, feelings, or moods which determine the actions, feelings, or moods of others toward us, and which control, to a surprising extent, our success or failure. It is then OUR attitude towards life, which will determine LIFE’S attitude towards us.” Earl Nightingalesee

So how do we control, alter or change our attitude, Steve McDermott in his best selling book:  “How to Be a Complete and Utter Failure in Life, Work & Everything:

“Your mood/ attitude is determined by the two F’sFizzy and Focus

  • Fizzy

Your physiology or everything that is physical about you (the way you move, breathe, stand, gesture, etc.)

  • Focus

Your mental focus (what you focus on in your mind, the sorts of questions you ask yourself, what you picture, feel, and hear inside your body)

Just change your Fizzy and or Focus, and you can instantly change your attitude or mood. Quickly sit with a physiology of acute depression, with your shoulders slumped, and ask yourself self-defeating questions in a whiny tone of voice. Such as: “Why does this always happen to me?” Your brain will look for the exact answer and instantly tell you: “Because you’re a fool!” By focusing on what you don’t want rather than what you do want, you are doing an excellent job of confirming to yourself why you don’t deserve something. This is guaranteed instantly to throw your state out of whack.

When you tell yourself something repeatedly, you are sure to believe it, especially on a subconscious level.

Remember that another easy way to control your moods is to control your focus by asking yourself better questions.

“What can I find that is good in this situation?”

“What have I learned from this that will make me more successful the next time?”

“How can I make this situation better?”

If you were to ask yourself better questions like these, you would force your brain to look for choices and find solutions. Instead, don’t stop asking yourself self-defeating questions like: “Why am I so scared?”

“What did I do to deserve this?” and “Why does nobody like me?” Because quick as a flash, your brain will fire back the exact answer.

As it says in the Bible: “Ask and you will receive.” What is it you want to receive? Good news or bad news? “Regularly ask yourself, “Am I enjoying this thought?” And if you do ask the question, and you don’t like the thought, realise you have the power to change it instantly. After all, you can hold only one thought in your head at a time. Do you really mind if it’s a good or a bad one?

Top Tips to gain and maintain a GREAT attitude

Choose: Everything is a choice, there’re only five things in life over which we have no choice in order to stay alive, you don’t have a choice to breathe, eat, drink, sleep, or defecate apart from these things everything is a choice, so choose to have a GREAT attitude. People with great attitudes carry their weather, by that I mean most people let the weather affect them, Grey and Wet = Poor attitude, Bright and Sunny = Great attitude

I love the way Billy Connelly puts it, “where is no such thing as good or bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. 

Move: Physical Exercise and pick any that gets your heart rate up, anything that makes you smile and keeps you moving. This is a great way to maintain your positive attitude because of all the positive chemicals it releases into the body. I love to watch some inspiring TED talks while I get a workout on my stepper. During the day stand as much as you can, as lots of research today is suggesting that sitting is the new smoking.

Sing: One of the best ways we can change our psychology is to change our physiology so singing in the shower for example really works, because we don’t sing because we’re happy, we are happy because we sing, cheerful songs one of my favorites is the Monty Python classic, Always look on the bright side of life. And if the rest of the family is awake, SING LOUD!

Be Contagious: Attitudes are contagious, do you know anypsychic vampires” or “mood hoovers”, you know the people who drain your positivity and energy, you only have to be in this person’s presence for a number of minutes and you feel the will to live draining from you! What are they doing their whining, moaning, complaining, criticizing etc… Brian Tracy the great sales guru says “Never wrestle with pigs, the result is you both get dirty but the pig enjoys it” and we need to steer clear of these psychic vampires before we get sucked into this stinking thinking and hardening of the attitudes, so be prepared. We are the sum total of the 5 people you spend the most time with, similar level of health, income and lifestyle. So if you want to be fit then starting hanging with fit people… And if you want to be positive make sure you’re hanging with positive people. So take it seriously if you can’t change your friends then I suggest you change your friends.

Attitudes are contagious, are yours worth catching?

GI GO:  is a computer programming mantra means Garbage In, Garbage Out

The result is only as good as the input. So if you’re feeding yourself with negativity you’re going to be feeling negative. The media thrive on negativity, in newspapers they have a saying “if it bleeds it leads” and sadly bad news sells papers. Put yourself on a negativity detox (including people) and watch how much easier it is to maintain your positive attitude. Replace with uplifting books, videos/ DVD’s or music to bring some positive balance.

You can instantly change what’s going on in your body, or your mind, in order to change how you feel. Continue to blame the weather. Or other people. Or even getting out of the wrong side of the bed in the morning.”

Earl Nightingale was so right. Our lives really do mirror our attitudes. Sure, people with positive, expectant attitudes have problems, and they experience setbacks, but their attitude enables them to respond effectively.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his/her life by altering his/her attitudes. -William James

Content credit: Jim Hetherton

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Productivity Ninja’s Thought For The Day: Make A Difference

September 23, 2014

Productivity Ninja

thoughtoftheday2 copy

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Productivity Ninja’s Thought For The Day: Perspective

September 16, 2014

Productivity Ninja


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Desktop Utopia

September 12, 2014
Graham Allcott

Graham Allcott

724619122_e634531f5f_oDo you have a million little icons of old Word documents on your desktop screen, or just a beautiful image of a peaceful lake and a mountain range? The computer desktop is a veritable treasure trove for two types of files or folders: the ultra-useful and the ultra-useless. Our laziness sees us save important documents here rather than risk – wait for it – saving it in a reasonable location instead! And heaven forbid having to use the search function to relocate the file if we don’t find it immediately! So, our computer desktop suddenly becomes another collection point. It requires a bit of organization though. Try setting up a folder called ‘Desktop Inbox’ and regularly sweep all of those random documents inside it. Once you have a good pile in there, you can spend a few minutes filing them all back into the right place, or of course getting delete-happy with what you don’t need!

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“E is for Email Etiquette”

September 5, 2014
Graham Allcott

Graham Allcott

az_banner3Email is one of the bane’s of productivity so today we are going to focus on the things that you do that make email easier for other people and the things that they do that make it really annoying for you. So this is about the interdependency of productivity and the culture of teams and organizations – and what you can do to improve it.

We all get the email we deserve

Nothing tells you more about the culture of an organization than the way people ‘do’ email. It differs tremendously from one organization to the next, from those organizations that rely almost solely on it, to those that use email more as a follow up tool but do their best work away from their inbox. Then there are those organizations where it’s become the norm to be connected via smartphone 24/7, 365 days a year, and others where the thought of emailing on a Saturday would be ridiculous.

Whatever your email culture, there are things you can do that make everyone else’s job easier. And why would you want to spend more than a second doing that? Well, because there’s a good chance that they’ll return the favour and consider you in their email communications too, and together you can build a healthier email culture.

Talkin’ about a revolution…

Facilitate some conversations that utilize the knowledge and experience of your people and you’ll be surprised by how exciting and productive your emails can become. Here are five questions you can ask your team members over lunch one day, over a coffee or in a brief workshop:

1. What do you recognize in yourself and in others as bad email habits?

2. What do you recognize in yourself and in others as things that make it easier for an email to get processed at the other end?

3. What would be the three kinds of email bug bears that you would want to stop receiving if that were possible?

4. What ground rules could you collectively set up to make these things happen?

5. When will you measure and reflect on the success of this, and how?

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Productivity Ninja’s Thought for the Day

September 1, 2014

Productivity Ninja

Ninja Thought for the Day 5

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“D is for Distractions”

August 28, 2014
Graham Allcott

Graham Allcott


“D is for Distractions”

Much of our best work – the quality thinking and quality doing – happens when we’re able to fend off distractions and keep our attention on the things that matter.

There are two types of distractions: external and internal. Let’s start with those external distractions that we have to battle with on a day-to-day basis. I’ll start with this thought: If you could design a more interruption-filled, uncomfortable, judgement and stress-fuelled environment specifically for the purposes of keeping someone off-topic and unproductive, you’d design something that looks much like the average open plan office. If you’re unfortunate enough to work in an open plan office, then many external distractions can’t be controlled. However, what you can do is:

Much of our best work – the quality thinking and quality doing - happens when we’re able to fend off distractions and keep our attention on the things that matter.

  • Turn off email and social media notifications so that your screen, phone or tablet is not constantly flashing new pieces of information in your face. These interruptions may feel small individually, but added together they take out a huge chunk of the day’s attention.
  • Take some time in your week when you purposefully work somewhere else in the building, away from bosses, colleagues, email inboxes and the like. Even two hours a week spent ‘going dark’ – absent from view but using your proactive attention to focus – can be extremely valuable.
  • Spend more time plugged in but offline – you don’t have to have your email inbox and phone switched on the whole time! Again, even at your desk you can control the distractions at source to some extent.
  • Pay attention to how much information you are exposed to, both outside of work and in the rest of your life. Watch less TV; choose not to read the free newspapers; take some time off the internet; be ‘screen-free’ for a day or all weekend. The downside to our instant information culture is that it distracts us from the present moment and from our own thoughts. It’s important to give your mind a rest and a chance to wander once in a while.
  • Meditate. We will cover this later when we come on to Zen, but these final couple of points are not disconnected from work productivity. In fact, they’re absolutely essential to maintaining good proactive attention.


Even harder to deal with than those external distractions are the internal distractions: the little voices and vices inside your head. Yes, it was you that retreated from the challenges of that spreadsheet to go and check the BBC website. Yes, it was you that spent time on that shiny new thing instead of following through on that more valuable but scary thing. There’s no-one else to blame (and yes, I’m just as guilty of sabotaging my own work too!).

Why does this happen? Well, put simply, lots of distractions give the illusion of having value. So when we’re stuck or struggling or feeling frustrated we tend to look for some kind of instant gratification.

Low-grade useful stuff we procrastinate with:

  • Checking email
  • Checking notifications
  • Internet ‘research’ into topics that in reality we don’t need to research at all
  • ‘Catching up’ with the news (which we’ll read, hear or watch later anyway)
  • Making another cup of tea or snacking
  • Optional meetings


Downright useless stuff we procrastinate with:

  • Solitaire/Tetris/Angry Birds/Minesweeper/Candy Crush (delete according to your device and generation)
  • Office gossip
  • Loops of videos or celeb gossip online – usually justified with some kind of ‘five minutes of chill time’ internal dialogue.



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Productivity Ninja’s Thought for the Day

Productivity Ninja

Perfecting the art of a good subject line is key to excellent email etiquette. Do this by writing it last instead of first

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Resistance is Futile

August 26, 2014
Graham Allcott

Graham Allcott

Routines can distract resistance for just long enough to get you into momentum

Resistance is Futile! Resisting tough tasks makes work harder in the long run

Getting going and building momentum can be difficult at the start of your day. Routines are a great tool to distract resistance for just long enough to get you into momentum. Following a particular pattern at the start of your day, where the fifth of six elements happens to be doing a piece of work that your resistance would usually shout and scream about is a clever way of nipping in with the work before your resistance notices. For a long time when I worked from home, my morning routine was deliberately regimented:

1. Drink water
2. Ten minute run
3. Shower
4. Breakfast
5. Worst task of the day
6. Daily Check-list

Hidden inside so many positive and comfortable tasks was doing something truly dreadful. With the endorphins from my run still pumping around my body, the resistance didn’t know where to look. These days, every morning is different but those that start with good routines tend to continue on into more productive days.

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Productivity Ninja’s Thought for the Day

Productivity Ninja

Ninja Thought for the Day 3

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