Monday, March 15, 2021

Three Steps To Boost Critical Thinking

 “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

Henri Bergson

Leaders know the importance of critical thinking, especially during times of crisis. The pandemic requires that leaders provide thoughtful and informed direction, helping guide their team forward even when the way ahead looks uncertain.

Although you know your team looks to you for leadership, you may be struggling to think clearly during these tumultuous times. Some experts call it a “brain fog,” as your attention becomes limited and you look for threats.

Fortunately, you can emerge from the fog and lead your team well. You can start by following three steps to improve your critical thinking, as outlined by leadership writer and TEDx speaker, Tanveer Naseer.

Plan for thinking time. As your work schedule and location shifted over the past few months, you may have gotten sidetracked. You can get back on track by scheduling time specifically for thinking. Working from home gives you more control over your day, but you also must contend with many more distractions. Naseer encourages leaders to block off thinking time in their calendars. And he advises professionals schedule time for exercise as well, so they are not stationed in front of a laptop all day.

Take a walk for quiet time. Sometimes, all you need to clear your mind is to get outside for a walk. Naseer says getting out of your office for a walk is an important way to boost your critical thinking skills during the pandemic. When you take a walk, you give yourself a quiet space to think and reflect. You also give yourself a change of scenery, which does wonders for your mental health. At the very least, he says it gives you a break from reading the latest news around the coronavirus. See if you can schedule just 10 minutes a day to get some fresh air and walk around your block or office building.

Breathe deeply. There is truth behind the phrase “take a deep breath” when you are upset about something. Naseer says breathing deeply really does make a difference in how you feel and think, both of which can impact your critical thinking skills. He notes that researchers at Northwestern University conducted a series of experiments that demonstrated that inhaling through the nose stimulates brain areas associated with memory processing and decision-making more than inhaling through the mouth. When you inhale through your nose when absorbing new information, you can actually better retain that information.

Critical thinking is necessary to be the best leader for your sales team. While no one knows when the global pandemic will end, you can take steps now to guide your team through the weeks and months ahead. Be sure to give yourself time every day to think. Do not let a busy schedule get in the way of your planned thinking time. It’s also a good idea to step away from your laptop occasionally to take a walk. And always remember to breathe deeply. It can help you reset and retain information.


Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Tanveer Naseer is an internationally acclaimed leadership and TEDx speaker, award-winning leadership writer, and principal and founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Simple Ways To End Each Workday On A Positive Note


“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Maya Angelou

Even when you love your job, some days are difficult. You may have had to make a tough staffing decision. Or maybe you didn’t win the client you had been working so hard to land. When you carry those stresses and negative emotions with you at the end of the workday, it becomes difficult to experience true joy and fulfillment.

That’s why Abby Wolfe, a content marketing expert, advises professionals to close each day on a positive note. Just as you make a plan to start your day, you should also approach the end of your workday with intention.

Run through your achievements. Taking just five minutes to review what you accomplished in the workday is a powerful habit, says Wolfe. By reflecting on your daily victories, you can build your confidence and assess your strengths. If you felt like you did not have a productive day, looking back on what you made happen can help provide a feel-good boost to carry you into your evening or weekend. Even if you did not check off all the items on your to-do list, give yourself credit for showing up anyway. Don’t dwell on those items you still need to get done.

Do some prep for the next workday. Before you end your workday, spend a few minutes writing out the tasks and goals you need to accomplish next. Think about upcoming meetings that you may need to prep for or important deadlines coming up. By simply acknowledging what you need to do next, you can lighten your mental burden. You no longer have to stay awake mulling over what you need to do because you have already noted the important projects and meetings coming up next.

Tidy up your space. Whether you are working at home or you have returned to the office, keeping a clean workspace can help you end the workday happy. When you organize your files, wash those coffee cups that may have stacked up and tidy up the things on your desk, it’s like tying up the loose ends of your day with a bow, says Wolfe.  When your space is clean, you won’t end the day feeling like you have forgotten something.

Schedule things you enjoy. Wolfe notes that happiness doesn’t just come to you – you have to invest the effort to find happiness. This means making time to do things that make you happy, whether that’s penciling in a phone call with a friend or unwinding with 30 minutes yoga at the end of the day. When you know you have something enjoyable to look forward to, you bring happiness into your life before you actually do the thing that sparks joy.

Don’t let difficult days at work derail you. You have control over how you think about your day and how you prepare for the next one. Use the tips above to infuse more positivity into your days, no matter what your workday looked like.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Abby Wolfe is a content management and marketing professional living in Portland, Maine. Her career and health-focused writing has been featured on The Muse, Trello, Cove and more.