TEN RULES YOU NEED by Nido R. Qubein

10 Rules

1. Relax over breakfast. Start your day right.
This means you need to take some time first thing in the morning to relax and enjoy something to eat, even if it is only something small. Many people don’t eat breakfast, but it is, according to doctors and nutritionists, the most important meal of the day and one you should learn to have and enjoy.

It will help you think and function better all day long. It is a time to go over how you will respond to that which will happen to and around you that day. What I am saying is you can decide how you are going to respond previous to whatever happens to you during the day.

Making a decision to keep a smile, to stay encouraged, to be an encouragement to those around you and to deal with what is going on at that exact moment rather than dragging into that moment something that happened previously and thereby, bringing a possible adverse reaction from all involved is a key element to how your day is going to turn out.

2. Organize your work. Create your TO-DO-LIST early and do one item at a time.
What you can do is use your morning breakfast time to go over your list of TO-DO items. (Trust me you will be more relaxed by doing this than if you don’t). This list is best made the previous day, night, or week. Jim Rohn said, “Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.” So many of us start our days without ever having given thought to what should be done first and why.

Many don’t know even know what we need to get done. We have not set a goal for what we want to accomplish and thus our days drag by slowly instead of flying by due to us working against the clock to get something specific achieved. By organizing your work prior to starting your day, you will find you get more done in less time. You will also find this helps you to grow in your organizational and time management skills. When it comes to making your list for each day, I will give you a little bit of advice. Make the first thing you do the hardest one for that day. By taking this approach you will find once the first and hardest item is complete, the rest of the day will fly by.

3. Allow yourself to be imperfect. It’s OK, we all are.
You may find when you first start making your lists, you are not the greatest at organizing them or even writing down what is most important. The key is to stay at it. As you continue you will find the list making gets easier while you get better at knowing what you want and need to target and get done. You will also make many mistakes in whatever is your area or job description.

Again, the key is to stay at it and don’t give up simply because you made a mistake. We all make mistakes and we will continue to do so as long as we are stretching ourselves to try or learn something new. Remember, a child does not quit trying simply because the child fell down when first beginning to crawl, walk, run or ride a bike. The child keeps on trying and we should as well. The Master Teacher said, “Unless you become as a Child, you cannot inherit the Kingdom Of God.” If you will allow me some leeway, I will rephrase this another way that may help make it a little clearer or pertinent to your own personal life here and now. Children don’t think of making mistakes.

They don’t think it an issue to try until they succeed. They don’t recognize people are watching and may criticize them because they don’t do it right or complete what they are trying. Children simply try and try and try again until they can do what it is they are trying to do. In doing so, they wind up INHERITING (getting) that which they were trying to get in the first place. By being too conscious of what others think about you, you will be focused on the wrong thing rather than focused on achieving that which you set out to achieve. I am sure people did not want to hear Kenny G when he first started playing. He kept at it and low and behold everyone loves to hear him play his horn. It can be the same for you in whatever endeavor you decide to follow or pursue.

4. Don’t do it all. The best word to remember? NO!
One of the toughest things to do is to say NO. Too often we take on more than we can handle causing not only undue stress to us, but putting others who are depending on the commitment we have made in an awkward situation as well when we are not able to perform. Many times we say yes when we know we are not able to deal with it correctly and may wind up not doing a good job. None the less we say yes to it in order to impress our boss or supervisor and only wind up making everyone unhappy. Only say yes when you are sure you can do something positive and make an impact and not interfere with the responsibilities you have already.

The key to saying no is being able to delegate to others what they can and should be doing leaving you to do what it is you are supposed to be doing which is whatever your job description is at the time. It is easier to say NO when you have a system you use to help you deal with the load of paperwork and responsibilities you have to do on any given day. One of the best systems of which I am aware is the TRAF system. Whatever you have as an incoming item, there are four things to do with that item. In each of these different responses, there is a level of NO being said. For instance, in the first you are to trash it. That means you are saying NO to trying to figure out what might be able to be done with it later. Later seldom comes so say no and trash it.

T- Trash it. If it has no relevance to your job or to your company, TRASH it.
R- Refer it. This is where you wind up saying NO to you doing it and Yes to delegating it to a subordinate or another department.
A- Act on it. This is where you either act on it immediately OR you add it to you TO-DO-LIST and schedule it to get done when the time is right without interfering with what you have already scheduled UNLESS this trumps the other items on your list and needs to be done NOW.
F- File it. When it is important, but does not need to be done immediately and can be done later, file it for doing at a later date or for using later when necessary.

5. Don’t take your work home with you. Home is a refuge, not a workstation.
In today’s society, this is not realistic due to the fact many work from home. Although one may work from home, the idea is to be able to categorize your work. If, like some, you happen to own your own business, your work will never be far removed from your thoughts regardless of your physical location. You may also, though you do not own your own business, carry your work with you wherever you happen to be hanging your hat. When I didn’t own my own business, I still thought of my responsibilities all the time.

I still worked on how to make things easier, faster, better and repeatable. I was basically doing my best to set up processes and systems in order to ensure anyone could follow the path and accomplish their work. What I can tell you, and I believe this to be true; my wife and daughters would be the only ones able to negate my statement, is I had the ability to compartmentalize work and play. When I came home or when it was time to play with the girls and hang with the family, I did just that. I was able to play with them until they were tired. We played all sorts of games with them enjoying each and every one. Yes, there were times when the girls would call me on a Saturday or Sunday, because I was at the office, asking me to come home, and I did go home to spend quality time with them. The key here is, learn to separate your work and family.

It is best not to allow your work to negatively affect your home life and vice versa, but more importantly, your home life. You must not allow a tough day at the office affect how you treat your spouse and children for that is not fair to them. When you do that you are simply using them as a dumping ground for your guilt and stress received during your day at work. Find a way to deal with that during your drive home or before you join your family should you work at home. This will make your home a refuge for all and a safe haven for a loving family.

6. Shut out unnecessary noise. Recognize the therapeutic nature of silence.
When I observe many today, what I see are people unable to be anywhere and doing anything without a myriad of sounds going on around them. It is as if they must have NOISE in order for them to function. I do not believe this is a healthy way to live. I believe one should be able to sit alone in silence, simply allowing their mind and heart be filled with the wonders of the world around them. I am not one given to having the have the television going all the time.

I do not have to have the radio going or a talk show going or anything for that matter. I actually find having nothing else going on while working out or while simply sitting alone allows me to find myself in a meditative state being grateful for the many blessings I have been fortunate enough to enjoy. One of my younger brothers did not like sitting in silence. He always had to have the radio or TV going. He enjoyed having people around him all the time and didn’t care for being alone. It was as if by being alone, having no outside influences, he would have to come face to face with something that scared him. I don’t know what that was but I do know it wasn’t healthy.

What is healthy is being able to be alone, in silence, and reflect on your life and blessings. Unfortunately, when most are alone and sitting in silence, they are unable to focus on the good. Their thoughts gravitate toward their fears so they keep their minds occupied in order to ensure they are not being taunted by their fears. The truth is, their fears are winning and they are focused on them all the time. By taking the time to train their minds to replace the negative thoughts with a positive, and optimistic mindset these negative thoughts would soon be replaced. Doing this takes time and effort. If you set realistic expectations with slow and methodical steps, not trying to change overnight, you find sooner than later you are happier with the ability to control your fears and thoughts.

7. Let people know what bothers you. Usually, they don’t mean to bother you however, you need to tell them.
One of the most important things we can ever do with our family, friends, and coworkers is to let them know how we want to be treated. It is our responsibility to let them know there are boundaries we would appreciate they not cross or violate. This is a mistake most of us make regardless of the type of relationship. Unless we set the boundaries for how we want others to treat us, they will default to treating us the same as they treat most others, which in our case may be unacceptable.

This leaves us feeling uncomfortable around them even though we may like them and want them in our life. When my wife and I were first married and living together, I began to treat her the same as my father treated my mother. In many cases this treatment was not necessarily best as it did not take into consideration if she wanted to be treated that way or not. That was never a concern for my father as he treated my mother the way his father treated his mother. In my case however, my wife was quick to drive her stakes in the ground to let me know what was and was not acceptable, not only with regard to how she would be treated, but how I was to respect her, our home, and furniture.

That was new to me for I had not seen that before. My mom did whatever my dad said to do, but my wife said she was not my servant, she was my partner. We would work together to make our home a home and our partnership and equal partnership where both of us felt appreciated. I learned through this process the importance of setting boundaries in each and every relationship. You might want to start doing the same.

8. Take a break. Don’t eat at your desk. Take a walk. Read. Recharge.
There are some that would eat at their desk and some that would not. This isn’t because of any personal preference, just simply due to going somewhere else to get your food for lunch. Those that eat at their desk are those that usually bring their lunch to work. This is a good thing as they are saving a fortune over what it would cost had they purchased that same sandwich from a retailer.

If you do bring your lunch to work, the best thing to do, if your office doesn’t happen to have a specified lunch area, is find somewhere, away from your desk to eat. This helps you to separate from work for a few minutes and recharge. If you are a quick eater, you might want to take a walk around and stretch your legs and get your circulation going. This will help keep you focused should you sit at a desk all day. You may also take the time to read a book or do some study to help you grow and become more in order for you to get that promotion you have been seeking.

There are so many things you can do to help yourself grow if you take the time to do them however, these will not happen if you sit at your desk while eating AND STILL WORKING. You may even become a bit bitter because you feel you are putting in more than others and yet not getting rewarded for it. The truth is you may not be growing like they are growing or you may not be as sharp as they are because they are taking advantage of the time to learn and to invigorate with a walk or stretch to get their oxygen levels up. TAKE A BREAK.

9. Develop stress-reduction strategies. It could be as simple as breathing deeply.
Several weeks ago I was in my doctor’s office for a visit. When she was drawing blood, she noticed the color of my blood was dark. Knowing I have a consistent workout regimen, she was surprised, but then said it seemed obvious I was not getting enough oxygen into my blood. Her “PRESCRIPTION” was for me to develop the habit of taking several deep breaths, several times a day.

I told her I was sure I was breathing deeply when working out and though she agreed she said it wasn’t enough. She believed my normal breathing was too shallow and therefore, I needed to develop the habit of breathing deeper on a regular basis. After a few weeks she noticed the difference in my blood color and I noticed a difference in not only my cognizance, but my energy level as well. I told her it seemed as if I was less stressed. I was calmer. And to think, all from doing something as simple as taking a deep breath. Wow.

10. Learn to Laugh. Laugh at yourself. Life is too short.
My family at large, especially my Dad and Mom and their families, were not much for lots of laughter. That was not the case for my brothers and myself. We laughed all the time and at everything. As a matter of fact, we would get in trouble for laughing or making lite of things during family gatherings. When Norman Cousins, was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, and his doctor, who was a close friend, told him only one in five hundred people diagnosed with the disease fully recovers, he went on an active search to find out how he might be one of those that fully recovers.

He learned negative emotions, such as frustration or suppressed rage, were linked to adrenal exhaustion. He then assumed the opposite to be true of love, hope, faith, laughter and confidence, believing they would induce salutary results. What he came to know was laughter would be one of if not the largest help in restoring his health. He found even ten minutes of hearty laughter would produce two hours of painless sleep. After several years of continuous laughter therapy, he found himself in little to no pain. As a result, he wrote in his book Anatomy of an Illness, stating laughter was the best medicine. I spend a lot of time listening to comedians that make me laugh instead of music or news. Give it a try.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox