Unusual tricks to boost your motivation at work


Even if your job is ‘the best job in the world’ and you launch out of bed like a firecracker every morning excited for what your new working day will bring, you will have spouts where work feels difficult.

Losing motivation is like trying to get through the working day with a bag of weights on every limb.

Everything feels just that little bit harder and nothing seems to bring your energy back.

The worst thing about lacking motivation is that it doesn’t make you feel good, you start to feel bad about yourself, then worry about how little you are achieving and it’s really a negative spiral from there.  However, the good news is that there are a few solid tricks to get your head back in the game.

So, if you’re struggling with motivation try these simple tricks

1.  Always do your best

This rule always gives me the motivation I need at any given time. If you don’t do your best, then you’re really just letting your professional enterprise (you) down. Imagine if someone that really mattered saw your performance, or work output when it wasn’t at it’s best. It takes years to build a reputation and just moments to bring it down Don’t let motivation ruin all of your hard work.

2. The 10 lesson list

If you’re having a motivational slump, start a journal writing a bullet point of 10 things you’ve learnt today. This can be anything from the best way to deal with a certain client to not taking a particular route to work due to overcrowding. Under each bullet point make sure you identify how you will incorporate that lesson going forward. This will motivate you to create change in your working day and also make you feel like you are making incremental progress. It can also help you to itnedy where your motivation is being drained and how to avoid it by learning from your lessons.

3. Don’t get stuck on the unfair

Spending time ruminating over how you should have got that client/project/raise, or how a certain working practice is unfair, is wholly counterproductive. Not only does it kill your motivation but it breeds a loser mindset, as you’re there worrying about things you can’t change whilst everyone else is out there trying to do their best. Instead of thinking about things you find “unfair” but are outside of your control, turn it into a positive. Kick up a storm in your next project because you have something to prove. Be happy that you’re in a place full of opportunity and do your best to create them for yourself.

4. Retail therapy

Work retail therapy to be exact. Nothing feels better than pulling on a brand new suit, shirt or dress and feeling the real deal. New clothes give you that extra kick in your step and you hold your shoulders that little bit higher. You work hard for your money, so you deserve to spoil yourself a little and there is nothing wrong with looking your best at work.

5. Get feedback

Feedback can be a daunting topic, but it is also incredibly motivating. If you’re on a good run the positive feedback will be the ego boost you need to keep up your good work. Equally, if your feedback isn’t great, constructive criticism can give you the push you need to perform at your best and motivate you to become a better competitor.


How to unwind after work


If you’re someone who has a really stressful and fast-paced job, chances are you’re constantly on the lookout for how to unwind in a meaningful manner.

I know it can be incredibly hard to leave work, at work and when you get home you still have adrenalin pumping around your body with all of the day’s events whizzing around your mind.

The job demands are high and increasingly so, I get it. But, luckily for us, there are ways we can wind down, allowing us to get the mental space we need so we can both work hard and also relax hard – which is a necessity!

1.   Take a nap

Even if you’re not a napper and can’t dose off for 20 minutes whenever your head hits a pillow –  just simply lying in the comfort of your bed (even if you don’t dose off) with relaxing music on, can bring your energy levels right down.

Just try it. Next time you get home from work, lie horizontally, dim the lights, play your favourite relaxing music (if you want) and see how relaxed it will make you feel after only just 20 minutes.

2. Drink a glass of red wine

Not only does red wine help you relax but one glass can actually have health benefits David L. Katz, M.D., founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, says, “Alcohol, including wine, calms transiently because it is a central nervous system depressant.” In layman’s terms, it has a sedating effect on our bodies. Katz suggested one glass of wine, which will allow for a calming effect without impairing sleep. When choosing the type of wine, go for red. According to Teitelbaum, red wine contains resveratrol, which may help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and could increase your life span. Finally a statistic we can all get behind.

3. Go for a walk in nature

Trees have proven calming effects. New studies suggest that viewing even an image of a tree or a forest canopy bolsters the parasympathetic division of the central nervous system that naturally induces calm.

For those of us that live in concrete environments, a recent NIH study found that even just  “contact with real or simulated green settings as opposed to manmade settings has visibly positive effects on mood, self-esteem and self-reported feelings of stress and depression.”

Therefore in light of the above, imagine how good you would feel from simply taking a walk in nature amongst trees. Surrounding yourself amongst greenery is really an excellent way to get your mind disconnected from your day of stress. Taking a walk in nature is like giving your brain some air, it revitalises your thoughts and boosts your mood.

4. Isolate yourself from technology

Technology keeps us linked to work even when we are at home. Try setting a rule for yourself. 60 minutes, technology free when you get back from work. How can you expect to unwind if you can’t leave your devices alone? The closer toward your bedtime the better, it gives your mind a rest before you get ready for sleep. Not only will this help you to properly unwind (and disconnect) but it will also aid a better nights sleep.

5.  Write a journal

Jot down 10 things you learnt in a day every day. This helps to put your thoughts to paper and should be a good reason for you to not later ponder on things when you’re supposed to be relaxing. Writing your thoughts down is also a great way for you to understand yourself more. Sometimes writing it down helps you to see things with more clarity, it helps you to gain more of an objective perspective.  Leave your thoughts in your journal and get on with the rest of your evening – it will be the best practice you ever started.


Self awareness; six memory defects that impact all of us


Did you know we have six memory defects that impact all of us?

So, it really is normal to forget things sometimes.

The most we can do about our inevitable memory defects is to create self-awareness around them. This way, when our memory (or lack thereof) strikes we can mentally rationalise what is happening.

Six Types of Normal Memory Problems

Some people have better memories than others just in the same way that some people are better artists or athletes than others. Similarly, healthy people, regardless of age, can experience memory loss or memory distortion in fact, psychology professor Daniel Schacter from Harvard University describes what he calls six common memory flaws that impact us all;
1. Transience. This is the tendency to forget facts or events over time. Although transience might seem like a sign of memory weakness, brain scientists regard it as beneficial because it clears the brain of unused memories, making way for newer, more useful ones.
2. Absent-mindedness. This type of forgetting occurs when you don’t pay close enough attention to what you are doing or hearing; for example, misplacing your phone or keys. This usually occurs because you were thinking of something else and your brain didn’t encode the information you now require securely. Absent-mindedness can be cured by practising being present, or if you have a habit of misplacing things simply putting a system in place can work wonders, for example, my keys will always go into the left pocket inside my bag. This type of behaviour leaves less room for mistakes.
3. Blocking. This is the temporary inability to retrieve a memory — that one word you use all the times and just when you need it, it won’t come to your mind. Blocking occurs when a memory is properly stored in your brain but it is being blocked by something else.  In many cases, the blocked memory is similar to another more presently pervasive one, and you retrieve the wrong one. For example, when you can’t think of the name of your favourite place in Italy but you can recall words that sound just like it.
4. Misattribution. This memory problem occurs when you recall something accurately in part, but incorrectly recall some detail, like the time, place or person involved. Misattribution becomes more common with age. This is because, as you age, you absorb fewer details because you have more trouble concentrating and processing information rapidly. As we live in the age of technology take more pictures of the moments that matter to you. Simply studying those photos will help you to recall things as they were and not be prone to misattribution.
5. Suggestibility. This is the vulnerability of memory to the power of suggestion — information that you learn about an occurrence after the fact. Suggestibility can be the culprit in recollections of incidents from your childhood that never really happened. This is the scariest of the six memory defaults as it shows how vulnerable the human mind really is.
6. Bias. One complete myth about memory is that it records what you perceive and experience with complete, objective accuracy. In reality, your perceptions are filtered and influenced by personal biases — your experiences, beliefs, prior knowledge and even your mood at the moment — both when a memory is being encoded in the brain and when it is being retrieved. People prone to depression, for example, remember negative information better than positive information. Try to always view your memories ‘in the around’, think about what you were feeling, if you were comfortable and try to understand how that might influence your perception of what you remember.
There you have it, six memory defects we all have. Now you know what you are facing, try your best to stay self-aware and find methods to bypass the side effects of these memory lapses.

How exercise improves productivity


Exercise and workplace productivity go hand in hand.

Sometimes the last thing you want to do before or after a long slog at work is to tire yourself even more with exercise. But, actually, it’s the best thing you could ever do alongside your working day.

Imagine, if someone said they had a magic pill, that could make you happier, more energetic and healthier? Well, that magic pill is exercise and here are all the of reasons it can make you a better, more productive worker;

When you exercise, you are increasing blood flow to the brain, this sharpens your awareness. A protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) boosts your cognitive abilities and BDNF is triggered by exercise. Not only does science say it but you can almost immediately feel your increased alertness as you walk into the office after a morning workout. It’s better, healthier and far more effective than caffeine.

To obtain these benefits, you don’t need to sweat up a storm. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers from the University of Georgia split people into three groups: low-intensity exercise, moderate-intensity exercise, and a control group (no exercise). During the six-week experiment, both “exercise” groups reported growing levels of energy (compared to the control group), but there was no difference between the moderate- and low-intensity exercise groups. In fact, the low-intensity group reported less fatigue than the moderate-intensity group.

2. Optimum Physical Health

Being in your best physical health will help improve your overall workability. Exercise reduces body weight and the risk for certain medical conditions. It also increases your immunity meaning you won’t be bogged down as much by the office cold. It also gives you improved cardiovascular health, which will give you more stamina to meet the physical demands of your job. If you’re juggling small children and a hectic job, then you need all of the physical power you can get. Exercising gives you the increased energy you need to handle anything that gets thrown in your way.

3. Improves mood

Regular exercise can help curb feelings of anxiety and depression. Just think, when was the last time you worried pounding the treadmill or lifting weights? When you exercise, your brain releases serotonin that helps you feel better and improves your state of mind, making the everyday stressors of work easier to handle and puts them into perspective.

4. Increases your brain

According to the process of neurogenesis, the rate of which your brain cells are growing will decrease as you get older. However, this can be prevented with exercise. In 2008, a study showed the brain cells of the people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher brain growth rate. Meaning, adults who don’t neglect the gym have more brainpower than those who choose to be inactive.

5. Supports memory

The American College of Sports Medicine published a study that proves that your memory works better with regular exercise. In the experiments, a group of students were given some a list of letters to memorise. Then, one part of the group were asked to go run, and lift weights while the other part of the group were asked to do nothing. When the students were tested on their memories, it turned out that the group who went exercising scored much better than the other non-exercising group.

Working out isn’t the answer to all of your problems but it will help you gain more from your life and that fact alone should be enough to encourage you to spend as little as 30minutes per day trying to stay fit.


How to eat your way towards effective self-care


Most of us are so caught up in the working week, that we are resorting to breakfast bars or protein bars to fill up on our nutrients. This is the opposite of self-care.

As we get sucked deeper into the various stressors of our working week, eating well gets sidelined and so does our self-care, which should always be a priority. We want to function at peak performance 24/7 but we do nothing to help ourselves.

Eating well is crucial to our physical, emotional and mental well-being. It significantly impacts our lifeline. So, start giving it, the importance it deserves and start eating your way towards self-care.

Here are a few rules, that will significantly enhance your functional performance so you can start to take on your working week without any consequences to your mental or physical health.

1. Stack your plate with fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants and let’s face it we do not eat them enough. Experts recommend that half of your plate should be with fruits or vegetables.

2. Use herbs and spices

Herbs and spices help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, support the immune system and improve brain function. Did you know that most herbs and spices have more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables? Cinnamon can reduce blood sugar levels and fight cognitive decline, improving heart health, while herbs like ginger and basil aid digestion and have great anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Increase the intake of healthy fats.

60 % of our brain is fat. So we need healthy fats for a healthy brain. Healthy fats are monounsaturated fats, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids boost cognitive performance, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones and reduce inflammation. Monounsaturated fats or MUFAs lower the risk of heart diseases and strokes. While Omega-6 fatty acids improve brain function, regulate metabolism and promote hair growth. Foods under this category include avocados, olives, nuts (pecans, walnuts and pistachios), seeds (sunflower seeds and flaxseed) and oily fish (salmon and tuna) are packed with healthy fats.

4. Add nuts and seeds

Not only are they great on the go snacks but nuts and seeds contain a host of nutrients. According to new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, eating nuts at least twice a week can cut the risk of heart disease by almost a quarter.

5. Eat foods for a good nights sleep

You can not negotiate on sleep. It elevates mood and helps improve your cognitive skills and cardiovascular health. Eating foods that induce sleep means consuming foods that are “rich in tryptophan, such as bananas, potatoes, almonds, seeds, and whole-grain oats.

For more on this topic read this excellent article by Forbes, here.

A few simple ways to maintain self care during your working week


Self-care, what does that mean for you?

We know that we need to take care of our physical health and mental health, right? But, what do we do towards that goal, that extends beyond physical exercise?

Let’s face it mental health often takes a back seat.

We seem to allow stress, anxiety and depression to form part of our daily life. This is not ok.

Fear not. A few small tweaks to your daily life can start to improve your (previously neglected) mental health in no time.

It’s never too late to start making your mental health a priority. Here are a few self-care tips to get you on your way;

Self-care tip # 1 Start the day off on a positive note

When has the day ever become great, if you’ve woken up feeling negative and carried those feelings with you all the way to work? Well, there’s a reason why it hasn’t made your day better. In fact, start on a negative note and your day will go downhill. However simply reverse that concept and your day will be a lot happier, lighter and less stressful. You can start your day on a positive note by having more you time in the morning, Wake up a little earlier, savour the taste of your coffee, work out, read or just give yourself time for something (anything) that will make you happy, before work. You will be surprised how much of a difference this will make to your day. Why? Because you won’t feel you are just always waking up and going right to work. This practice gives you a choice of how to spend your time before work and a sense of liberation.

Self-care tip # 2 Carry a stress-relief tool

It’s always nice to remember you have tools to keep your stress levels from spiking. This can be a stress ball, some lavender spray, a nice hand cream, a soothing tea, music or whatever else will calm you or ground you when you need it most.

Self-care tip # 3 Take regular breaks

You must be aware of when you are burning out. We cannot concentrate for extended periods of time and forcing yourself to do this is counterproductive and breeds procrastination. Get away from your computer screen by stepping outside for some fresh air — it can do wonders for your concentration and overall mood.

Self-care tip # 4 Incorporate 15 minutes of mindfulness into your day

Mindfulness is the buzz word of the year (or last 5 years). There is a reason for it. These short mental practices can make the world of difference to your mind and the best thing about them is that they are so easy to do. There are a variety of apps or free online materials allowing you to practise mindfulness wherever you are and whenever you want. The best thing about mindfulness is that even 15 minutes per day can make a huge noticeable difference to your mind.

Self-care tip # 5 Designate a screen-free time during the day

We are using electronics more than ever before and this is clouding our mental health (more than we want to realise). Prolonged periods of time in front of a computer screen are not conducive to our happiness. Allocate a “screen-free period” per day. Spending time away from the screen allows you to connect with the world around you and have feelings that otherwise would not happen if you are bured behind your computer screen.


How to add valuable skills to your CV during everyday life


Sometimes anything outside of the working week can seem like climbing a mountain.

There are nights where I feel so drained that anything more than putting my dinner into the microwave and watching Netflix (for 15 minutes before I fall asleep) would seem like too much. But, honestly, this is just a mindset. Yes, I am tired but I can also do more. It is possible.

I say this from experience, I used to be the person that would do anything to get a few more minutes of sleep in the morning, then one day I just switched my routine. Now I am up at the crack of dawn, working out in the gym before work. I am THAT person. And if you told me five years ago I would have laughed in disbelief. But at the end of the day, we are creatures of habit. All of our habits make who we are and we get to decide who we are. So it’s time to take control.

So, if tiredness is the only thing stopping you from adding more new skills to your CV then think again. You just need a change to your current routine.

We now have the brilliance of flexible learning at our fingertips. this means free online literature, online intensive courses, virtual classrooms and chat forums where you can chew over ideas. This is in addition to evening classes or groups or weekend classes.
If you think about it, making time isn’t the issue it’s about how creative you can get in terms of using your time.
So, if you’re really determined to add more skills to your CV and become the best version of you – here are some tips;

1. Schedule a brain workout

As we discussed earlier, it’s easy to come home and want to be nothing more than a couch potato. To stop falling into this trap put a date in your diary (with your brain) and stick to it. For example, Thursday nights are when you and your brain finally learn Spanish (or whatever skill you desire). The beauty of teaching yourself is that your mode of learning can be as fun as you like, you can spend a few hours if you do want to learn Spanish, watching a film or listening to a podcast. Before you know it, you will start to look forward to your brain workout!

2. Focus on the golden skills

There are these golden skills that are universaly desirable – the ones that make you the ideal hiring candidate. By prioritising those skills in your free time, it’s a win-win situation. Some of those skills are selling (i.e client pitches/closing, or marketing and branding but if you dig deeper you can figure out some unique skills such as persuasive writing or SEO, that any business could find valuable. The more niche the more you stand out.

3. Make better use of your time

Start utilising your commutes or even your workouts. Stock up on your podcasts, download the documentaries or shows that will help you to learn your new skills and start making use of your time now. You will inevitably start to look forward to things you previously found boring – i.e the dreaded commute. You’ll also feel secretly smug, as everyone on the train will be aimlessly scrolling on their social media and you will be bettering yourself in a meaningful way.

4. Be selective about socialising

When you start getting into the benefits and endorphins released by actively pursuing and learning a new skill – you’ll naturally become more selective about your social outings. You’ll figure out that outings without the added benefit of adding value to you or your skill set are no longer worth it. Would you rather be aimlessly slamming shots (and burning cash), or happily learning a new skill (for free) that will increase your employability? Soon it won’t even be a tough choice!
If your friends aren’t on your same wavelength (on a particular day/night) try going out on your own. Go to events or lectures by yourself, go with your book and work in a cute cafe. Or volunteer to get some hands-on experience.
The beauty of this process is that not only will you be learning a new skill, but you’ll also be learning more about you.

Why moving abroad could increase your career success


There is a world of opportunity out there. So, why just limit yourself to one country, right?

If you are considering relocating for career purposes, then you should know that it’s one of the best moves you can make. Moving abroad, whether short or long term, can help you gain valuable experience, open your mind, expand your existing skills and network and turn you into a well-rounded and desirable professional.

But, working overseas is not always as glossy as it seems. The early stages of moving that can include getting a job, visa and home often come with large amounts of stress. You are essentially starting from scratch, socially and professionally whilst navigating a new land. The obvious benefit is that you are constantly learning when you travel, so you will return (if you ever do) to your home a far more developed version of you.  If this sounds like something you want to do, then read on.

Here are all the reasons you should consider moving abroad to increase your career success.

1. Getting your dream job could be easier

Getting a job in the UK is by no means easy. In fact, unless you have a CV full of achievements and some lengthy work experience it’s extremely hard getting a job in your desired career and area and this is precisely where working abroad comes in.

Finding a job in a different country could be a lot easier than back home. You will be a lucrative asset to a new firm and there will be ample opportunity for you to get some industry experience outside of the over competitive UK market.

2 Better work-life balance 

You will be surprised at how many countries in the world are willing to offer you the same type of money for more flexible working hours. You can end up saving far more if the cost of living in your chosen city is particularly low (which if you’re from London, it often will be). Either way, your quality of life will be seriously improved and you will be undoubtedly happier. Think of what it would be like to have more time to yourself which you can now spend exploring your new turf.

3. Career opportunities 

Because the job market in the UK is so competitive, there are often more opportunities to work abroad for professionals. This could help when you return home as it’s been proven that professionals with experience abroad have better chances of getting promoted. They are considered as more well-round individuals with a unique experience that other candidates can’t compete with.

4. Gain invaluable skills 

Although academic qualifications are still considered essential, employers are currently looking for candidates who stand out, when there’s is so many to choose, those that display a unique edge will win. Working abroad will help you gain a unique set of skills that other competitors won’t have.

5. Expends your network

Building a professional network will help you at every step of your career. You should be actively seeking professional at all stages in your career.  Working abroad can help you extend your network, globally, making your potential reach far greater. Having a wide-reaching network is invaluable and who knows when you’ll need a helping hand.



How to change specialism


There is a continuing demand for people to change specialisms. Either people lure after shorter more flexible working conditions or their interests shift. Either way, it’s becoming more popular then ever amongst lawyers and if you’re brave (and sure) enough to make the leap here are a few tips;

First, think how can I add value?

You’re going to have X year experience in an irrelevant field to the one you are targeting. Why will employers choose you over the candidate with X years of direct relevant experience?

It’s not just about learning a new area of law, but also about identifying and developing the required skills for practising it.

Be prepared to read up on developing case law (Bailii is a good free online resource), attend courses and seminars in your own time (there are some great intensive courses), and also undertake voluntary work, which helps with the acquisition of relevant new skills. ‘You need to think about how to make yourself more valuable on paper and then go out and do it. Try to find out to fill in the gap in experience with other strengths.

2. Be strategic

If your heart isn’t set on a particular area, you can be strategic about your move. Try to choose an area where there is a skills shortage. If there is a shortage of good lawyers recruiters are going to be more ‘receptive’ to your background. Generally, the longer you practice in one specific area, the harder it is to move. So, if you have itchy feet to move, the time is now because the longer you wait the more you reduce your chances of a successful change.

3. Master your transferable skills

Do not be deterred if your desire for change comes later in life. ‘As a lawyer, you have a lot of core skills that you can transfer to another discipline. For example, a criminal practitioner would have excellent interviewing skills that could assist you in wills/probate or family law. You just have to think outside the box, when it comes to pitching your skills in the right way.

Lawyers are well-equipped for any career change, they have excellent research skills, sharp judgement and the persistence to make it work having spent years training. General core skills such as critical thinking, client relationship management, negotiation, advocacy and the ability to assimilate complex information and communicate it to the layperson are all transferrable skills which would be an asset to any firm.

It will take bravery, courage, hard work and the ability to set aside time to make specialism change work, but it is possible. So, if you want to do it – what’s stopping you?

What can I do to ensure I am being the best version of myself?

best version

A giant question you might think.

But, an incredibly pertinent one to anyone that wants to live their life to the fullest. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to do that?

So, here are some ideas;

1. Identify bad habits

If, when alone, you feel crippled with anxiety about your future. Or, you talk yourself down with negative self chat, when you need confidence the most. These must be ironed out. These habits only bring you down and you can never hope to be the best version of yourself with them.

Write a list and do your best to eliminate every single bad habit on that list. You won’t regret it.

2. Create a power routine

What all high-performers have in common is a routine, a set of habits, that they perform every day no matter what. These habits help them show up at their best every day. Some examples: 8 hours of sleep, meditation, any kind of spiritual practice, exercise every day ect ect. Create your optimal routine, spend time crafting it and practice it, without fail.

3. Be present

Whatever you are doing at any moment, whether it be running, cooking or writing. Do that and only that. Focus all your attention on that one thing and think of nothing else. Focused work is the least tiresome and the most productive type of work. If you are doing things half-heartedly, with half the amount of focus, you are only letting yourself down.

4. Slow down

Don’t always try and do everything as fast as possible. Slow down, give yourself space, get to know how you do things. Give yourself time to breathe and time to be better.

5. Be yourself

Focus on your strengths. Leverage your weirdness. Be different. Just be you. Follow your intuition and let your gut instinct guide you, that is what it’s there for. Following your gut will lead to your inevitable happiness.

6. Foster your relationships

Call your friends, your parents, those special people you don’t get to see as often as you’d like. Keep in touch with your network of people. Make your connections stronger. Do you best for them, be generous with your time and advice, be supportive and open your heart. This is the path to long-lasting relationships – you can’t do life alone, do don’t try to.

7. Laugh

Start with laughing at yourself. Talk crap with your friends and laugh together. Watch a comedy. Read jokes or funny short stories. Relax. “Laughter is more essential for the survival than fighting,” said James Altucher. And it will certainly pull out the best from you

8. Become a master of your passions

Whatever drives you. Gets you to wake up at the crack of dawn and drives your every step – become a master of it. Read everything there is to know. Buy books, watch films, do everything you can to be the best you can be when it comes to your passions. Anything less is a disservice to yourself.



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