By Sospeter Thiga BA, MBA, CPA
Companies are continuously trying to motivate employees to perform above target. We end up leading busy lifestyles and it’s easy to suffer burn out, however nobody really wants it to get to that. So how do you keep pace in this helter skelter lifestyle? Through my experience over the years, I have found the following self-motivation tips absolutely helpful to keep me in pace.
1. Plan all the way to the end.
In his book, The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene urges us to plan all the way to the end. It is important to start each Day, Month, Year with a clear plan of action. Planning to the end gives us much leverage towards the successful achievement of our objectives. Remember what is not planned rarely gets done.
2. Learn to say NO, more often.
Say no to unplanned meetings which a lot of times you get roped in without prior notice because of your seniority or just because it feels good to have you around. Say no to that colleague who charms you to an early lunch date that definitely ends late costing you valuable time. Offer to instead meet them after 6pm at that Cafe next door.
But how do you deal with that colleague who camps at your desk gossiping for 30 minutes every day!?
Whatever you do don’t be rude, I suggest that you learn to multitask while listening to them, be boring company for that moment. Any polite means of shaking them off will do.
3. Maintain a to-do list.
I normally keep a list of 5 key things to do per day and week. A daily to-do list will help focus your attention on key activities and helps you avoid extraneous or redundant ones. An Important inclusion for this list is; when to read and respond to emails as these can be big time wasters.
A weekly planner also helps to prioritize heavier tasks such as report writing and research which need more than a day to accomplish.
4. Exercise regularly each week.
One intense session and two light sessions per week normally works well for most people. Exercise rejuvenates the body, keeps you fit, brisk and mentally agile.
The question is how to create time.
I normally utilize the evening to either have a jog at a local park or hit the gym. For the early birds, the gym is a great option. Bonus gain with both options is that you avoid traffic.
5. Read a good motivational book.
This helps to harness some positive energy and thinking. Rhonda Bane, the author of The Secret, talks about the law of attraction. In essence, whatever you think about you attract to yourself, good or bad. Besides being a source of motivation, good reading also allows you to have some quiet time for meditation, reflection and planning. While still at this juncture may I suggest a great place to start your book exploration: ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg, is a compelling read!
6. Take a power nap more often.
There is some magic that a power nap does to the mind, you can’t really explain it, just try it. Additionally, it helps to sleep early; rest cannot be overrated especially for busy executives such as yourselves.
Sospeter Thiga is a Risk Management practitioner in East Africa and is currently the Group Head of Risk and Compliance at CPF Financial Services Limited with over 12 years’ experience in Risk Management, Strategic Planning and Financial Planning. He is passionate about effective Strategy implementation through adequate Risk Management practice. He holds an MBA in Strategic Management and a Bachelors of Economics from the University of Nairobi. He is a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya.