Small Steps to Big Changes:
The Seven Minute Difference
By Allyson Lewis
We are now well into
2010. Research shows that by this point, 95% of New Year’s
resolutions are distant memories, with very little change to show for
them. Do you need to make some significant changes in your life?
Perhaps you have wanted to be more productive at work, receive
a promotion, or simply upgrade your professional skills.
You might want to organize work life or simply use better
judgment in managing your time. You
want to find time to do the things you believe to be most important in
your life – to regain control over your health, finances, and other
aspects of your life.
It doesn’t take a New
Year’s Resolution and it doesn’t take months or even weeks. It can
take as little as seven minutes. Studies have shown that the average
corporate executive has an attention span of seven minutes.
Coincidentally, the brain is limited to remembering only seven
pieces of information at time, according to Harvard psychologist
George Miller. Therefore,
if you want your life to change, you must work within your own mental
capabilities. There are
literally hundreds of things you could accomplish within a
seven-minute window of time. Each
day holds tiny opportunities to make life better.
Once you recognize that fact, it’s a fairly easy decision not
to let these opportunities pass you by.
One of the greatest
gifts each of us has been given is the ability to choose.
Change happens in an instant.
It happens the moment you decide to change.
Now is the time to decide to be different.
Haven’t you wanted more out of life?
More results? More
leverage? Even, more fun?
Too often, we think of
change as being complex, unmanageable, and beyond our grasp.
When we think that way, we ignore the fact that the biggest,
most meaningful changes are really the result of a series of small
seemingly insignificant changesThese simple micro-actions are the tiny
choices corporate executives and sales people can use every moment of
every day that can make the difference between mediocrity and
Here are seven simple
micro-actions that could impact you or your company almost overnight.
Of course, just because an action seems easy doesn’t mean
it’s necessarily the right one to commit to doing.
As you read this list, choose one or two of these micro-actions
that would make the most difference in your life and try to focus on
adding them into your day. If
you will truly make a commitment to be different, at the end of a
month or so, you may be amazed at how these tiny efforts can
positively impact your future.
Drink more water.
Almost all of us want to improve our physical health.
We set these big goals to lose weight and get in shape, only to
find ourselves with a drive-through cheeseburger in our hands eating
lunch at 2:30
because we are overwhelmed at work.
Big goals are wonderful, but small goals are often more
successful. By swapping
soda pop for water, improving health and loosing weight is easy.
Those liquid calories can really add up.
2. Handwrite two thank you notes
per day. We live in an email
world and there is very little personal correspondence any more.
In less than seven minutes, you can thank a customer for their
recent order – write a note to an employee for a job well done –
or send a card to a supplier. You
will be shocked at the impact your effort will make on your customers,
employees and suppliers. They
will remember this gesture for months.
When was the last time you received a personal thank you note?
How did it make you feel?
3. Read ten pages of a
non-fiction book every day. According
to the American Booksellers Association, 58% of American adults never
read a book after high school. If
you truly want to be different tomorrow than you are today, choose to
be more knowledgeable. Knowledge
truly is power and it allows you to grow and change in amazing ways.
By reading only ten pages of a book every day, you could read a
300-page book every month! That
means you could read twelve life-changing books a year.
4. Outline a daily plan of
Every day, before you leave work, spend seven minutes writing
down the top four to seven tasks you need to accomplish during the
next work day. Prioritize
the list, so that you tackle them in their order of importance.
When you arrive at work the next morning, the list is there to
guide you to do the vital tasks first.
5. Review your current skills.
Take seven minutes to
answer the question, “Are there any new skills I need to develop
that would help our company move forward or that would help me
personally be more competent in my current position?”
Is there new technology that could streamline your processes
and systems to save time and money?
If you want to be more competent tomorrow, then you must
constantly ask yourself what knowledge and skill sets you must acquire
to be a more valuable asset to your company.
6. Create the story.
Strategies may create great company structures, but stories
create customer loyalty. Does
your company have a compelling story that differentiates you from your
competition? Spend seven
minutes listing your company’s strategic advantages and differences
and then focus on those strengths.
Make sure your customers understand your strengths.
Begin to tell your story. Tell
your employees, tell your customers, tell everyone.
Strategies look good on spreadsheets, but stories create
7. Recognize and pursue the
things that matter most to you in life.
It is important to prioritize how you will spend your workday.
If I offered you $86,400 every day with the one restriction
that you must spend it wisely that day or lose it, what would you do?
Of course, you would spend it wisely.
Yet, each one of us is given 86,400 seconds everyday and the
same proposition challenges us: spend them wisely or lose them.
Take seven minutes to determine what is most important to you
at work and at home and then pursue those things with vigor.
What holds you back
from becoming the person you want to become?
What if that obstacle could begin to crumble in only seven
minutes? Today is the day
to stand on the edge of life with a new sense of determination and
hope. Change really does
happen in an instant. It
happens the moment you decide to change.
Now that decision is yours to make – either you are In or you
are Out. It is that
simple. Draw a line in the
sand and say, “I’m in.” Then,
begin to discover how the smallest decisions can have a huge impact on
your life – seven minutes at a time.
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