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PTP News

Archive: Oct 2020

Motivating Others - Did Einstein have the answers?

Posted: October 29, 2020 1:49 pm
The question of how to motivate others is one that every manager comes to at some point. Often it’s when many ‘tried and tested’ techniques, such as money, incentives, praise, resources etc just haven’t worked. In terms of what might actually be effective it’s always worth exploring new ideas and one of those potentially comes from celebrated big brain Albert Einstein. He is quoted as once saying that if he had one hour to save the world, he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only 5 minutes finding the solution. So does this idea hold the answer to motivating other people?

Exploring Einstein’s idea

Einstein’s approach would shift the focus when it comes to motivating people. Instead of looking at how to do this you would ideally spend the bulk of your time on any problems that might be preventing motivation instead. First, define what motivation means to you – if you’re thinking about your own this could be the energy to take action but when it comes to other people’s is it more like a willingness to work to the criteria of others? It’s also worth looking at the impetus in an individual situation, as motivation can drive people to move away from an uncomfortable situation or towards a better one. When the goal is achieved in either of these the motivation will often disappear.

Away or towards?

When you’re motivating people it’s important to work out whether you’re intending to use the ‘away’ method or the ‘towards’ method. If you’re using the wrong one that could be the problem you need to spend time on. Many managers opt for ‘away’ when it comes to getting staff to do what they want. However, because we often use KPIs and SMART goals to generate more motivation many managers believe that they are in the ‘towards’ mode. There is no one single answer for this – whether a goal has the impact of being ‘away’ or ‘towards’ will depend on the individual and their circumstances, as well as how it is phrased. That’s why motivating people requires individual attention if you really want to get it right.

It’s not about you

In some management situations any movement at all – whether away or towards - will be welcomed. However, you’re going to be at your most effective if you’re delivering motivation in a way that moves the person you’re working with in the way that you want them to move. So, it’s not about you – not what would motivate you to achieve the goal that you’re setting with that person – but taking the time to understand them. Are they more likely to be motivated by the idea of missing out on opportunities, ideas, promotions, inclusion in projects (the ‘away’ motivators) or language that is framed in the reverse e.g. gaining a promotion, reward or being included on a team (the ‘towards’ language). If you’ve been struggling to motivate effectively then Einstein’s idea of focusing more on the problem could provide a way forward. The issue might be something as simple as the wrong type of motivator being used. Swap that and you could change everything.

How to effectively manage your time

Posted: October 15, 2020 1:44 pm
Time is the one thing that most of us feel that we never have enough of. Why is it that some people manage to get so much more out of the time available than others? The answer to this is time management. If you’re not currently doing this effectively then you’re likely to feel that you never have enough time and your To Do list just seems to roll over from one day to the next. So, how can you improve?

How do you spend your time?

Carry out a quick audit of how you already spend your time so that you can get an idea of whether or not this is productive. Do you waste hours on social media? Are you spending your lunch hour online shopping when you could be exercising? It can be eye opening to look back over your day and see where your time has actually gone.

Invest in technology

There is a lot of great technology out there to help you effectively manage your time, from monitoring your daily processes to organising and planning. Pick the one with the interface that feels the most user friendly so that you won’t have to waste time getting to grips with it.

Limit the time you spend on tasks

An actual time limit can be motivational and ensure that you don’t waste time – allocate time limits for key tasks and then make sure you stay within them.

Organise your tasks in order of difficulty

Schedule the tasks that you’re least looking forward to first so that you know they’re going to get done. Otherwise it’s very simple to push everything you don’t really want to tackle to the end of the day and then leave it until the morning.

Look ahead

It’s very easy to waste time if you’re not really focused on what’s coming next so plan ahead if you really want to become more effective. Planning ahead by a week – or even a day – can mean that you’re better prepared and ready to tackle what comes next.

Learn how to delegate

This is an essential skill because it ensures that you’re spending your time on the most valuable tasks and not wasting it doing anything that should be handled by someone more junior.

Don’t multi-task

Although there are lots of different theories out there on whether humans really are capable of multi-tasking there is evidence to suggest that we actually do better when we just focus on one job at a time. When you start something make sure you see it through and don’t stop half way to completion to start working on something else.

Get to know you

We are all different and we are more productive at some moments in the day than others. When do you usually feel the most energised? Make sure you’re optimising this moment to get the most done. Being able to effectively manage your time is the key to a successful – and satisfying – professional life. Find out more by booking onto our Time Management training course...