Friday, July 31, 2015

The Problem of Procrastination

Procrastination is common problem that can be improved with a little motivation and pre-planning. We can see procrastination at work in projects that are chronically delayed or papers turned in a few minutes before their deadline. People who wait until the last minute to get their work done often show poor quality work and missed deadlines.
Procrastination is a habit and motivational problem. People who are chronically late are subconsciously avoiding starting a project and then force themselves to scramble to get it done. They have not yet developed the discipline and motivation needed to  give themselves the best chances.

Assuming that they were successful in getting the project done before the deadline there are a few reasons why as a manager or professor you should discourage such behavior. I have noticed in both the teaching and the business world that the projects are often subpar and contain errors when under duress.

When people are rushed to complete something they cut corners and make mistakes because they are focused on finishing the main components. They also put unnecessary stress on everyone else that must also drop what they are doing to assist in the “all important” project.

Employees who procrastinate are not working at their full potential. Starting early is a sign of good planning and can lead to better project/paper management. Those employees that can manage their time and resources well are ripe for promotion. Reward employees that can manage themselves and their time appropriately--they are the same.

Two Skills of the Market Shaman

A few of us have met market shamans who seem to understand what is going to happen next in the market and can turn pennies into millions of dollars. They are a rare breed that has this drive to understand and apply knowledge to the market. The two skills of the market shaman include forecasting and understanding human nature.

Both of these skills work together and are related as a narrow and wide lens. The economic system is the collective action of individual human effort. Understanding people and how they act on a macro scale gives the Shaman a full picture of what is going on in the market and how events play out. 

As the economy globalizes it is necessary to view individual and economic behavior from different cultural vantage points. Each culture comes with a defined way of thinking about issues and new information is sifted through that culture’s decision making matrix to come to possible conclusions.

1. Forecasting: Forecasting the market is an essential skill of developing strategies and investment opportunities that pay dividends. The further the projection the more likely plans and contingency plans can be created. Unfortunately, the further the projection the less accurate they become. A market shaman constantly watches the market, educates him/herself, and connects the trends to understand where the market is heading. 

2.  Understanding Human Nature:  Markets are based on human behavior. We may describe them in terms of economics, numbers, charts, dollars, and graphs but they are essentially still representations of human behaviors. Understanding trends is one aspect of being a market shaman while understanding how people act and react to the market is another aspect.  Studying human behavior will help predict market reaction to events.

Signs You’re Working with a Workplace Bully

We have all met those people who have goals and won’t anyone or anything get in their way. Society seems to reward the aggressive. Each of us has likely come across a workplace bully at one time or another but understanding their characteristics and removing them from the workplace is an important part of creating a stronger business. 

Being driven is ok but overstepping your bounds is not ok. If colleagues and employees become alienated and don’t feel the ability to be genuine, or voice their opinion, their intellectual capital is wasted. What a bully interprets as “winning” is a short-term strategy that eventually damages their credibility along with the organization’s performance. 

No one likes to work with someone who knows all the answers and doesn’t respect the opinions and values of others. People want to feel engaged and connected with others and shutting them down without giving an opportunity to contribute leads to poor future decisions. Examples of aggressive personalities that lead to group think and poor outcomes dot history. 

Sometimes bullying personality manifests itself as manipulation while at other times it is associated with extreme measures to subjugate others. Lying, cheating, arguing, fighting, power struggles, demeaning comments, and even illegal activity are some of the ways a bully finds power. The message they are sending is, “anyone who disagrees with me is my enemy and must be destroyed!” 

The inability to understand or empathize with others has a darker root. An adult bully is a bigger version of the same bully in childhood. Externalizing shame, childhood bullying history and stigmatization are important characteristics that set bullies apart from the general population (Pontzer, 2010). Chances are bully’s will never change and should be avoided at all costs. 

Unfortunately they can’t always be avoided. There are times when aggressive behavior must be confronted. Make no mistake, they will do whatever it takes to ensure you are put back in line. Expected them to do and say anything to maintain the status que and their perception of worthiness. You may need to contact your HR department or seek legal counsel if behavior moves beyond civilized limits. 

Pontzer, D. (2010). A theoretical test of bullying behavior: parenting, personality and the bully/victim relationship. Journal of Family Violence, 25 (3).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

3 Easy Rules to Healthy Eating

It can be tough to remember all the different rules and advice on how to eat healthy. There are plenty of studies that say different things leaving any person who diligently wants to lose weight and get in shape confused about what is needed. Going light, natural and lean are solid basic rules that will help you remember.
Having a few principles will help you when you have to make quick choices at a restaurant or grocery store. The options are daunting and sometimes you don’t have all of the available information so you can apply the rules to make a better choice.
Light: Eating in smaller portions with less calories is the #1 problem with food. Think in terms of total calories and the amount of food you eat in the day. You can eat up to six times a day if they are smaller proportions. 
Natural: The less processed your food the better off you are. Avoid processed meats and foods like macaroni & cheese. Try and eat at least 6 servings of fruit or vegetables a day. Avoid foods that have high levels of sugar and additives. 
Lean: Try and limit the amount of saturated fat and carbohydrates while increasing healthy fats like olive oil. Opt for lean meats and avoid excess fat. The leaner you go the better your overall health.

Steps to Writing a Solid Paper

Writing papers takes time and can be a daunting task for students. Most students don’t write papers over five to six pages and can be overwhelmed when asked to write ten to twenty pages on a topic. By breaking large projects into smaller steps it is possible to work with focus to get the entire project completed online.

Large papers are a good precursor to larger projects graduates may be required to complete in the workplace. The best advice is to start early and don’t let procrastination take control of the outcome. As soon as you become aware of the project start to work on understanding and exploring your topic.

Once you have a solid working understanding of what is required of the paper and the topic, students can define their main idea into the thesis statement. The thesis statement will act as a guild that allows for the breaking down of the main idea into a number of different justifications that make up the sections of the paper.

Research each of the sections to define and describe the main idea and how it supports the thesis statement. All of these sections should tie together into the conclusion. Write your introduction last as it should "introduce" all of the main topics.      

1. Explore Your Topic

2. Define What You Want to Write in a Thesis Statement

3. Create Your Paper’s Sections In Alignment with Your Thesis Statement

4. Research each section

5. Write your Introduction and Conclusion

6. Proofread