Archive for September, 2010

How to deal with a bad day

September 23, 2010

Bad days come and go, but when they’re around it’s a drag. They can put a real dent in your mood, reduce your productivity and make life feel a lot less pleasant than it should be.

But what can you do to get through a bad day so you can focus on what’s important?

Distract yourself

A few months ago I was working on a big project at work. Although the project was challenging, the work was a lot of fun but the problem was that I found it hard to ‘switch off’ becuase I was thinking about all the time. So when a friend asked me about going to the cinema I found myself saying ‘no’. But I was persuaded to go and it was probably the best thing for me. It gave me a chance to forget about work for a few hours, enjoy a great film and get away from it all for a while.

Get some exercise

Everyone’s different, but I like to go to the gym or for a run to take my mind off things after a tough day – especially if it truned out to be a really lousy one! Although I might feel like going home, slouching on the sofa and watching TV, I find that after a good work-out I feel a lot better. Not only have I done my body some good, but my mood feels better, too. Exercise decreases the body’s stress hormones and increases endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. When they’re released through exercise, your mood is boosted naturally.

Stay in contact

It might be tempting to retreat into isolation when your day’s not going so well, but this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. Studies have shown that contact with others, especially people your close to, boosts mood . So if your friends are around, try and meet up with them if you can, whether it’s down the local for a pint or for a meal after work. Having a chat and a laugh can do you the world of good!

Write it down

If things are troubling me and thoughts are rattling around in my head, I often find that writing it all down in a few paragraphs can really help. Putting it on paper can help rationalise the thoughts and help find solutions to some of the things that are worrying you.

Put things in perspective

If you’re having a bad day, simply ask yourself: “Will this really matter in a week… a month… a year?” I was recently thinking about my university days and the amount of stress I felt during exam time or when a big piece of coursework was due. It seemed like the biggest deal in the world at the time, but I hardly think about it now. I got through it and moved on.

How do you deal with bad days? Do you have any tips on how to get through them?


The importance of packaging

September 20, 2010

Whether it’s your company, your brand, a product or even yourself, packaging can often make or break a person’s first impression.

Earlier this month, Chris Brogan wrote a blog post entitled ‘Package your business where he discusses the many elements of packaging and its various effects on businesses. Chris looks at how packaging affects the limitations of design and how it affects how you define your product or brand. He also looks at how in some circumstances packaging can work against you.

Although packaging extends to many different aspects in business, it is the role packaging plays in presentation that interests me. Image is such an important component of branding, particularly in today’s multi-media world, and a well thought-out and considered image can help a business to stand out from the crowd. Substance should never be over-looked in favour of style, but as long as the essence of something with real value is there, image, in the form of physical evidence, great presentation and a compelling concept, can propel a business or idea into the consciousness of the target market.

Packaging is an integral part of the customer experience. Think about the first impressions you form when you walk into the reception area of a hotel, a car showroom or a restaurant. The interior design, the smell in the air, the way the staff are dressed and the greeting you receive from them are all part of the package the business is presenting to you. If the presentation is wrong or if the image doesn’t fit with your values, then you immediately feel that something isn’t quite right and this can affect your purchase decisions.

Packaging is also something that individuals must think about. The fashion designer and film director Tom Ford once talked about how he spends a great deal of time every morning preparing himself for the day ahead. Part of the Tom Ford brand is Tom Ford himself, and the way he presents himself to the outside world is all part of the package. This is something that everyone should consider, especially so if you’re in a client-facing role. The way you appear to your customers will echo the ethos of the brand and company you represent and will immediately affect the first impressions of those you’re meeting and set the tone for the rest of the interview/pitch.

So how do you package yourself? Is it something you consider to be important? Or do you think physical appearances are over-rated?

Dilbert on social media

September 15, 2010

It’s funny, but it’s also very true!

To blag or not to blag?

September 9, 2010

For some, blagging comes naturally to people in their day-to-day lives. It might be ad-libbing a presentation at work or fixing the TV aerial at home. For others, blagging is something exciting, a form of risk-taking – getting into an exclusive nightclub on a night out or sneaking back stage at a concert.

But it’s not the everyday, one-off blagging I’m talking about on this occasion. This post is more to do with those who try to blag their way through life – and work – all the time.

There are a number of ways to define ‘blag’, although one of the best definitions for me is:

“To convince by rhetoric; to gain acceptance or approval through persuasive banter or conversation; trickery; keenly persuasive; to scrounge by means of conversation”

Those that blag regularly are clever and practice the ‘art’ by continually trying their luck. They develop a self-assurance and  belief in what they say and do – whether they really know what they’re saying or doing at all!

But does blagging work? And is it something that can be sustained over a period of time?

I don’t believe blagging is wrong or morally unjust. Blagging is something we all do at various points in our lives. In a job interview, for example, we may not have a confident answer to every question, and so we blag it a little and get by. Or when the boss asks how the phone call you were supposed to make to a disgruntled customer went. You forgot, so you blag your way out of it, say they weren’t available and then make the call. A little white lie here and there never hurt anyone!

But blagging won’t work for you all the time. At some point, someone will inevitably call your bluff, and unless you truly know your stuff then there’s always a chance you might get caught out. And if you do get caught out, then any credibility you might of built up will more than likely go up in smoke.

Whatever type of work you do, whether it’s as a sales exec or as a bank clerk, you need to know what you’re talking about. There needs to be substance behind the confidence so that you’ve always got something to fall back on, even if you’re challenged.

The people I admire most are those that practice their craft, do the work and demonstrate their skill through the knowledge they have developed over time. Blagging can be a part of that , but not the main part.