[Audio] It’s holiday season!

Last week I was interviewed on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire. The subject was holidays and I thought you might like to have a listen too.

We had a wide-ranging conversation that included ways to avoid holidays causing you stress, how to decide what to do on holiday and how to avoid family arguments during the holidays.

[Article] Anyone for Cricket?

Over the past six weeks I’ve been introduced to cricket. Specifically, One Day Cricket and the ICC Cricket World Cup. It’s been an education. I wasn’t a complete novice – I understand the rules (no thanks to Douglas Adams!) and I have watched a few minutes of the occasional match in the past. And the highlights on the evening news. But nothing more than that.

What has been different this time? Is it the fact that I live with a man who loves cricket almost as much as he loves football and had the tv tuned to the cricket at every possible moment? Could be. Was it the fact that England were doing rather well for long sections of the tournament? Certainly that improved the experience. Not to mention that England actually won. But that wasn’t it.

So what was it that had me watching the Cricket World Cup Final and relegated the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final to my phone?

Was it the orgy of statistics presented alongside the commentary of every game? Guilty. I love stats. Watching the cricket, I loved the constant updates of required run rates and remaining overs. I love seeing the batsmen’s strike rates and the bowlers’ economy; the past performance stats and the predicted scores. All those lovely numbers describing the game and all its variables.

And then there is the amazing technology that can show us ball trajectories and bowling lengths, batting angles and distances, so that every single ball can be analysed in multiple dimensions. All absolutely fascinating.

And then there is an interview with a player, who, asked about the game plan and tactics, gave a serious answer about tactics and playing style, then broke into a huge grin and said, “We have a lot of fun out there, when we play like that”.

So there it is, in a nutshell. There’s a time to analyse – and I’m sure all the teams have been poring over their technical stats and working out the best strategies. But there’s also a time to go out, give it all you’ve got and enjoy the moment.

And that applies to all of us – which are you doing today?

[Article] 7 Secrets of Self-Motivation

1. All motivation is self-motivation. Nobody else can motivate you. What they can do, however, is either support or distract from your own motivational process. Notice whose style adds to your self-motivation and who gets in the way of it. Consider coaching some of the key people in your life in how to enhance your self-motivation or in how not to derail your motivation.

2. Very few people can perform at their best all day. Keep track of the times of day when you are mentally most alert, when you are most communicative and when you are most creative. Wherever possible plan to spend time doing the kind of task that comes easily at that time. This avoids wasting energy to motivate yourself to go against your natural inclinations.

3. If there a task you must do that doesn’t appeal to you and keeps getting put off, ask yourself, ‘What will it do for me when I’ve completed this?’ Focus on the bigger picture, rather than the actual task and you may find that it’s easier to get it done.

4. If you work well to deadlines (or to put it another way, you tend to leave things to the last minute!) then make life easier by keeping your diary clear in the run-up to important deadlines. That way you can focus on the work that has to be done for the deadline and not be distracted by other projects until it’s finished.

5. Take regular breaks. You probably know this, but do you do it? The natural rhythm of brain and body means that few people can focus on the same thing in the same way for more than about 45 minutes. When you start to feel restless, that’s a good indicator that it’s time for a change of pace for a few minutes. Check your email or make a phone call or get a glass of water and then you may be surprised how easy it is to return to your original task.

6. Set yourself clear goals – long term, short term, weekly, daily. Having clear outcomes is the greatest aid to motivation. The NLP well-formed outcomes pattern is probably the most useful aspect of NLP in all situations. Practice it until you can’t not do it.

7. Stimulate your brain. Low motivation often comes from the stress of boredom and lack of opportunity to achieve something new. Exposure to new ideas and different perspectives can create a new level of engagement with familiar tasks by prompting you to review your purpose, revise your approach or raise your standards.