The Harvard Business Review shared some ideas in a blog post about “How Your Brain Connects the Future to the Past”.
A good memory can help you better navigate the future. In business, anticipating and negotiating future demands is an asset. A proactive brain uses details from past experiences to make analogies with your current surroundings. It then helps you determine where you are and envision future possibilities. We are all born with proactive brains, but these things can help improve brain performance:
- Give it a lot to work with. Create a richer pool of information to draw from. Expose your brain to diverse experiences and situations.
- Borrow from others. Find out as much as you can about others’ experiences by talking, interacting with, and reading about other peoples’ lives.
- Think about what you want from the future. Take time to reflect values and goals, both immediate and down the road. These will help guide your brain as it envisions future scenarios that may best help you achieve your objectives.
- Actively ponder future rewards or accomplishments. Emphasize rich, detailed thinking about long-term outcomes. This reduces the lure (and the danger) of instant gratification.
- Let your mind wander. Undisturbed time gives your brain the space it needs to recall and recombine past experiences in ways that help you anticipate the future.
The idea that letting your mind wander gives it time and space to help you recall and recombine is also supported in research we shared about learning and assimilating new experiences.
It is still January and many of us are still feeling fresh and optimistic about the New Year. Productivity author and expert David Allen offered some great advice and reasons to clear out your surroundings.
Want more business? Get rid of all the old energy in the business you’ve done. Are there any open loops left with any of your clients? Any agreements or disagreements that have not been completed or resolved? Any agendas and communications that need to be expressed?
Want more clothes? Go through your closets and storage areas and cart to your local donation center everything that you haven’t worn in the last 24 months or does not look or feel just right.
Want to be freer to go where you want to, when you want to, with new transportation? Clean out your glove compartments and trunks of your cars.
Do you want more wealth? Unhook from the investments and resources that have been nagging at you to change.
Do you want to feel more useful? Hand off anything that you are under-utilizing to someone who can employ it better.
Want some new visions for your life and work? Clean up and organize your boxes of old photographs.
Want to know what to do with your life when you grow up? Start by cleaning the center drawer of your desk.
You have to clear and organize your stuff anyway, right? Narrowing what you see, use and interact with down to what is really wanted, useful and desired is better.
What about your marketing messages? Is it time to let go of what is not working so you can focus on what is working to bring new customers?
We all have awful days. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, shared many ways to deal with a terrible day.
- Resist the urge to “treat” yourself. Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day.
- Do something nice for someone else. “Do good, feel good” – this really works. Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons.
- Distract yourself. You may be much better able to cope with the situation after having had a bit of relief. Watching a funny movie or TV show is a great way to take a break, or re-read beloved classics of children’s literature.
- Seek inner peace through outer order. Soothe yourself by tackling a messy closet, an untidy desk, or crowded countertops. The sense of tangible progress, control, and orderliness can be a comfort. This always works for me – and fortunately, my family is messy enough that I always have plenty of therapeutic clutter at hand.
- Tell yourself, “Well, at least I…” Get some things accomplished. Yes, you had a horrible day, but at least you went to the gym, or played with your kids, or walked the dog, or read your children a story, or recycled.
- Exercise is an extremely effective mood booster – but be careful of exercise that allows you to ruminate. For example, walking can provide uninterrupted time to dwell obsessively on your troubles.
- Stay in contact. When you’re having a lousy day, it’s tempting to retreat into isolation. Studies show, though, that contact with other people boosts mood. So try to see or talk to people, especially people you’re close to.
- Things really will look brighter in the morning. Go to bed early and start the next day anew. Also, sleep deprivation puts a drag on mood in the best of circumstances, so a little extra sleep will do you good.
- Remind yourself of your other identities. If you feel like a loser at work, send out a blast email to engage with college friends. If you think members of the PTA are mad at you, don’t miss the spinning class where everyone knows and likes you.
- Keep perspective. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a month? In a year?”
- Write it down. When something horrible is consuming my mind, I find that if I write up a paragraph or two about the situation, I get immense relief.
- Be grateful. Remind yourself that a lousy day isn’t a catastrophic day. Be grateful that you’re still on the “lousy” spectrum. Probably, things could be worse.
Allocating energy may be more important and a better way to be more productive than by trying to manage time. The Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day shared these four tips as ways to replenish your energy, work smarter and prevent burnout:
Take brief but regular breaks. Step away from your desk every 90 to 120 minutes. Take a walk, get a drink, or just stretch your legs.
Say thank you. Being positive boosts your energy level. Regularly express appreciation to others.
Reduce interruptions. Perform tasks that need concentration away from phones and email. Instead, designate specific times in your day to respond to messages.
Do what you love. Understand where your strengths lie and what you enjoy doing. Find ways to do more of those things and less of what tires you out.
Can we help you say thank you to some of your favorite customers? Can we do what we love, helping you with your marketing and mailing, that will allow you to spend more time doing what you love?
The Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat reported that more than one-third of U.S. information workers use technologies their companies have not sanctioned, according to Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler of Forrester Research, authors of Empowered. These people are researching and finding solutions to solve problems and make their jobs easier and faster.
According to Wikipedia a knowledge worker is valued for his or her “ability to act and communicate with knowledge within a specific subject area. They will often advance the overall understanding of that subject through focused analysis, design and/or development. They use research skills to define problems and to identify alternatives. Fueled by their expertise and insight, they work to solve those problems, in an effort to influence company decisions, priorities and strategies.”
We hope you consider us as one of your resources for marketing and direct mail.
The ability of any city to attract or retain the headquarters of an average-size company is worth $3 million to $10 million per year in public contributions to local nonprofits, in a recent post from the Harvard Business Review. The effect seems to be due to the number of wealthy individuals present in the region rather than to the company’s direct contributions. A new headquarters yields, on average, some 275 additional individuals with income over $100,000.
This supports a statement from Local First Arizona about how a much larger percentage of money spent with a locally owned business will stay in the local economy.
A post that appeared on BNET offered some examples of how companies are gaining success by being slow. Slow goes against so much tradition and experience but the article offered two examples of companies that seem to be successful because they do things slowly. Perhaps a slower more deliberate approach is more appropriate for the issues faced by most businesses today because the challenges are deep and complex, not especially susceptible to quick fixes.
The leaders of five major magazine companies have come together to sponsor a campaign called, “Magazines, The Power of Print“. In one ad, they asked, “Will the Internet kill magazines? Did instant coffee kill coffee?” in another ad they stated, “We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines.” Then they share two very interesting statistics, WOW numbers, during the 12 year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent. In the coffee ad, they state “even the 18 to 34 year old segment continues to grow… typical young adults now read more magazine issues per month than their parents.”
Numbers and statistics continue to support the facts that a quick fix and reliance on one media for marketing communication may not be the answer. Direct mail makes sense now more than ever before, because it is able to target exactly and it gives reliable feedback to continue to improve.