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How To Be A Successful Project Manager: PRINCE2

Vinnie PRINCE2

About the Author

Vince Giacchi began working for Mercedes Benz Australia Pacific as an IBL (working student) towards the end of his International Business Degree in 2012. After a successful IBL tenure Vince took a position with the parent company Daimler AG, at their headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Now back home in Melbourne, and having recently completed his PRINCE2 certification, Vince has found his calling as the SAP Project Manager at Daimler Truck and Bus Australia Pacific. Below, Vince has summarised the PRINCE2 methodology, providing professional insight into effective project management practices.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a structured project management approach. It is recognised as a leading project management methodology, with over one million certified professionals worldwide. It was formed through the analysis and interpretation of a multitude of projects and the experiences offered by their respective managers, teams and sponsors. A PRINCE2 project is governed by seven principles, themes and processes which we will touch on below.

1. Principles (Why?)

A project does not meet the PRINCE2 standard unless all seven principles are applied. They provide the framework for each project undertaken, that guide and empower project managers towards management best practice. The seven principles are:

  • Continued business justification (Does this project make sense?)
  • Learn from experience (Don’t make the same mistake twice)
  • Define roles and responsibilities (Know everyone’s role)
  • Manage by stages (Break large tasks into a series of smaller ones)
  • Manage by exception (Instil autonomy within the working group)
  • Focus on products (Output orientated)
  • Tailor to environment (Adapt to any unique working environment)

2. Themes (What?)

The seven PRINCE2 themes offer an insight into how a project can be best managed. They can be interpreted as putting principles into practice. The themes are relevant from the beginning right through to the end of a project. The seven themes are:

  • Business case – The purpose of this theme is to assess if the project is viable, linking directly to the ‘continued business justification’ principle.
  • Organisation – Defining the project structure, creating accountability and responsibility. This theme links to the third principle ‘define roles and responsibilities.
  • Quality – This encourages project teams to ensure each output meets the required standards, and is fit for purpose. Relating to the ‘focus on products’ principle.
  • Plans – The purpose of this theme is to communicate how targets will be achieved. It focuses on all measurables within a project, i.e. time, cost, who and how. This theme relates to multiple principles.
  • Risk – This theme helps to identify, assess and produce effective mitigation against uncertainty, improving the likelihood of a successful project outcome.
  • Change – Assessing and controlling any changes to the project baseline (initial business case). ‘Continued business justification’ and ‘learn from experience’ are two principles relevant to this theme.
  • Progress – This theme is about tracking where the project is in reality, in comparison to the project timeline.

3. Processes (How?)

A PRINCE2 project is broken up into seven processes, most of which are managed by the project manager. All of the seven processes must be approved by the project board. The seven PRINCE2 processes are:

  • Starting up a project (Is the project viable/worthwhile?)
  • Initiating a project (Establish foundations/Define roles/Understand what needs to be done)
  • Directing a project (Refers to management from a board level – key decision-making)
  • Controlling a stage (Refers to management from a project manager position – monitoring/delegating/corrective-action)
  • Managing product delivery (Project manager works with team managers to agree, accept, execute and deliver requirements)
  • Managing a stage boundary (Duties relating to the end of a stage – review stage success, seek approval for next stage from board)
  • Closing a project (Used by the board to assess and accept the final outcome ‘project product’)

PRINCE2 in Practice: Working Through the Stages

Throughout each stage of a project, the themes and principles offered by the PRINCE2 methodology are ever-present. Let’s look at ‘building a house’ as an example project to demonstrate these processes in practice.

Before starting any successful project, it’s most important to understand what the clients requirements are, or in PRINCE2 terminology, the ‘project product’. A well-written preliminary business case and project brief will help you to do this. In this case, our project product is to build a house.

Once a project brief has been submitted and approved by the board, it’s time to initiate the project. The most important element at this stage, and perhaps the entire project, is the Project Initiation Document (PID). This document details the most important aspects of a project including scope, approach, finalised business case, roles and responsibilities, quality, change, risk and communications management, as well as the project plan. The PID acts as a ‘contract’ between the project manager and the board. The board in this case is represented by the owner and the architect, and the PM is the builder.

It is important to mention the three primary roles on the board, which are the executive, the senior supplier and the senior user. The executive has overall responsibility of the project (the home owner). The senior supplier is the architect, providing knowledge and experience representing the suppliers interest and providing supplier resources, i.e house plans. They deliver quality. The senior user in our case is also the home owner, as they are accountable for ensuring users needs are specified, and the solution chosen suits the end user’s needs. They define quality. Moving on…

The PID has been signed off, the project foundations established, now it’s time to build a house. Controlling a stage is the engine room of any project. Within this stage, the project manager will monitor, problem-solve and escalate to the board if need be. It’s also the PM’s responsibility to authorise, review and receive completed work orders, or ‘work packages’, which have been delegated to different team leaders for completion. In our example this, these ‘team leaders’ are embodied by the plumber, electrician, carpenter and others tradesman. Each trade represents it’s own work package, reporting directly to the project manager. The action of accepting, executing and delivering a work package encompasses the managing product delivery stage.

Once a stage is nearing an end, we move towards managing the stage boundary. This involves assuring all work packages have been completed in accordance with the PID (e.g. quality management approach). This stage also gives the project manager the opportunity to update the board so they are able to assess the progress, accept identified risks, and confirm the projects continued business justification. “Are we on track to build this house on time, and on cost?”

The slab was poured in January, the frame erected in March. The plastering and rough-ins were completed by the end of August, and the house has now been fit-off. We’re nearly ready to close the project. At this final stage the board needs to verify and agree that the project product has been achieved, before handing over the keys.

You might have noticed that theres one process missing from this example… Directing a project happens throughout all of the stages of a PRINCE2 project. As the project progresses through the various stages, the executive, or owner in our case, will oversee and manage by giving ad hoc direction, requesting status updates, approving progress, assessing change and providing final approval of the project product… A brand new house!

Final Note

The PRINCE2 project management methodology is in-depth, and this article is but a brief summary of how it can be implemented to give any project the best chance of being successful. As outlined above, the principles, themes and processes are all intertwined, defining the structure and operations of a well-organised and efficient project. To give your next project the best chance at success, implement the PRINCE2 project management method.

As always, thanks for listening, and thank-you Vince for sharing your expertise! If you have any questions about the article, you can post them in the comments section below.

 

 

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How To Overcome Addiction: 5 Ways To Kick The Habit

Addiction - The Short Advice

The Nature of Addiction

Addiction feeds our need for instant gratification, providing short term gain, but often with negative long-term effects. It feels great when you’re doing it, so how can you know for sure whether you’re addicted, or you just like doing it? This is the very question that makes addiction both difficult to recognise, and accept. For a list of criteria specific to substance addiction, this article might be helpful in the recognising/accepting stage. Our 5 ways to beat addiction below assume that an addiction has already been recognised, and accepted. Remember, addiction can range from mild to severe, and does not have to be drug/alcohol related. Without further adieu…

1. List the Pros and Cons

Why are you addicted? Why do you want to break the addiction? Between these two questions, you should be able to list some of the positive and negative attributes of your addictive behaviours/activites. The first question asks what you have to gain from engaging in your addictive behaviour… After all, there must be something pretty great about it, otherwise it wouldn’t be addictive in the first place! The second question is encouraging you to consider why there is a need for change. Whilst it might feel good at the time, what are the longer-term issues that you’re creating for yourself, and possibly others? An analysis of your addiction, and some reflection on the effects, is a great starting point from which to build strategies to overcome it.

2. Replace the Pros

How can you replace the positive experience/emotions that your addiction provides in a way that is not damaging to your mental health/physical health? Consider your list of pros, and brainstorm ways that you could recreate those positive emotions/outcomes with an activity/course of action that is beneficial to your personal development as well. Take substance abuse as an example… In most cases, the feelings/emotions that many addictive substances make you feel are not new ones that are exclusive to that substance. However, the feelings are often quite intense, and minimal effort is required in order to experience them. And so, escapism and addiction is born. This brings us back around to the old saying, that nothing worth doing is ever easy. But often, the easy road is only easy for the first few kms…

3. Recognise the Triggers

Is there a particular situation or action that encourages you to engage in your addictive behaviour? Find out what it is, and be aware of it. You don’t necessarily have to avoid it as such, but it should help you to be more conscious of your decision-making process when relapse is beckoning. Understanding your triggers can also help you to decrease them. For example, if stress were a trigger, than you could put some thought into how you can better manage stress in your life to reduce the intensity and frequency of that trigger. You can have multiple triggers, or a trigger could be the combination of feelings/emotions/situations that drive your addictive behaviour. So, engage in some critical self-reflection and consider how you can limit your vulnerability.

4. Set a Goal

Set a goal that requires you to overcome your addiction in order to achieve your goal. The goal does not have to be centered around your addiction. For example, a heavy smoker may set a goal to run a marathon. Whilst this has nothing to do with smoking, it would be extremely difficult to achieve the required level of fitness to run a marathon with the lung capacity of a regular smoker. In doing this, it will highlight the effects of your addictive behaviour that are inhibiting you from leading the lifestyle you wish to lead. The smoker may turn back to nicotine in their hour of need, but they will pay for it later when their hands are on their knees in a coughing fit, after the first 500m. Nobody said it would be easy, but it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable.

5. Take Immediate Action

When will you choose to start fighting your addiction? Unfortunately, the most common answer is usually ‘tomorrow’. And it’s always the wrong answer. Thats your subconscious speaking, the part of you that doesn’t have to experience all of the negative effects. That part of you doesn’t want you to stop. That part of you is having the time of your life! So they’ll try to sell you on idea… “We’re too busy to stop now, let’s start on Monday”, or “NYE is around the corner, let’s make it our resolution”. Don’t get sucked in. This will only lead to more procrastinating and excuses. So, start right this very moment! Make the promise to yourself, and put a plan in place. How will you change for the better right now?

Final Note

There are a number of variables to consider when approaching addiction. It would be crazy to assume that one addiction could be overcome as simply as the next. Personality types, education, genetic disposition, resilience, environment etc… All of these factors have a role to play. Some addictions are far more severe than others, and some far less damaging than others. Whatever your vice, there is a way to overcome, you just have to be willing to put in some hard work.

As always, thanks for reading! Hopefully you’ll be able to apply these steps and overcome whatever it is that is holding you back from living the lifestyle you want to lead.

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The Road To Success: How To Create Your First Goal Map

Goal Map The Short Advice

The Road to Success

The Road to Success is long and winding. Along the way, there are obstacles and challenges. Each providing a valuable lesson or experience to prepare us for what is yet to come. Planning is great, but it isn’t everything. Goal-setting is great too, but again, it’s still not enough to guarantee success. In fact, success is never guaranteed, it’s only promised. A promise you make to yourself. And being the delicate creatures that we are, promises are broken everyday. So, upon reflection, success is what happens when we keep our promises. But how do we keep our promises? Combining a number of strategies is generally a good place to start, in order to give ourselves the best chance. Our ‘Road to Success’ Goal Map does exactly that, and heres how…

Creating Your Goal Map

Goal-Setting – Long-Term Goals

What is it that you want to achieve, and why? Both questions are equally as important. The ‘what’ must be realistic, and achievable. The ‘why’ is the question of motivation. You should always be working towards a goal that benefits not only yourself, but also the people that you care about, and hopefully, the greater population is included in this. Consider the result of your success, and the positive, and possibly negative, impact that it will have on your life, and others involved. Now that you have a long-term goal in mind, you need to consider the steps necessary to achieve it.

Stepping Stones Towards Success – Short-Term Goals

Once you know what your long-term goal is, you need to create some short-term goals that will help you reach it. Consider the prerequisites that you will need to achieve before reaching your final goal. If you were a sprinter aiming to qualify for the next Olympics, your short term goals might be a series of PB’s and first places in local/national races. For a game developer, short term goals might include creating your first block-coding game, to completing assessment tasks with distinction, right up to achieving a recognised qualification. Whatever your discipline, there are steps you’ll need to take in order to progress along your goal map towards success.

Time-Based Goals – The SMART Method

The ‘Road to Success’ Goal Map encourages the use of twelve short-term goals, and one long-term goal, in order to create a time-based goal map. You might aim to reach your long-term goal at the end of the year, with your short term goals representing a significant monthly achievement. Of course, your ultimate goal will probably take a lot longer than one year to achieve, but the long-term goal you set for yourself might actually be a short-term goal of that larger, and far more difficult to attain goal. Also note, that each goal you set on your goal map will have it’s own timeframe to achieve. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t meet that deadline, but it’s a good indicator of how you’re progressing, and how you can improve. Check out our article on SMART Goals here for more information.

Systems for Success

The ‘Road to Success’ Goal Map also requires the use of daily and weekly activities. This poses two questions; What do you need to do regularly in order to achieve your short, and long-term goals? And, what are you prepared to do? If the answer to both of these questions isn’t the same, you’ve already hit a wall. The systems that we set ourselves should create the good habits that we need to develop in order to progress along the goal map. So, carefully consider what these things are. If you’re a budding musician, you might aim to practice for an hour each day. Every week you might study a new album. There’s room for 5 weekly activities, and 5 daily activities, so make sure you only list the things that you are prepared to do.

What If I Fail?

“If at first you don’t succeed, try again” – Your Grandma. And guess what? She was right. If you haven’t managed to achieve your goals in the time you’ve allowed yourself, it’s not the end of the world. The ‘Road to Success’ Goal Map is time-based to allow you to reflect on your performance, and consider the why/why not of your achievements. Things won’t always go as planned, and sometimes life gets in the way. Whilst this might slow us down from time to time, it doesn’t need to stop us in our tracks. The good news is that the systems you’ve developed, and the steps you’ve taken towards your long-term goal has brought you closer to it than ever. Progress.

Final Note

You’re not alone. The Short Advice community is with you every step of the way! We’ve researched and written an abundance of articles to help you with whatever challenges you might face… Set yourself some SMART Goals, build your resilience and mental toughness, power your way through the ‘Road to Success’ and earn your piece of sustainable happiness. Good luck! If there’s another topic you’d like to hear more about please feel free to drop us a line on our homepage. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to checkout our Road to Success Goal Map here.

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How To Manage Lower Back Pain: 5 Painless Points

Manage Lower Back Pain The Short Advice

About The Author

John G is the owner/operator of his own courier business, which has also forced him to become a professional on how to manage lower back pain. Lifting packages and parcels for a living, he has had to manage disc bulges in his lower back, stemming from a lifting injury some years ago. This has caused severe nerve pain, muscle spasm, and other painful symptoms. Despite his permanent injury, John still manages to run a successful courier business around Melbourne’s CBD, and even plays golf most weekends – off a handicap of 8! Today, John shares with us his 5 Painless Points on how to best manage lower back pain. Thanks John-boy!

How To Manage Lower Back Pain

I’ve found that a combination of strategies working together have allowed me to continue living my life, despite my back injury. I’m certainly not saying that I’m pain-free, or that my back is cured, but it’s definitely allowed me to manage myself a lot better. It’s a constant process of improvement, and no-one strategy will solve the problem alone. Now more than ever (I’m 50 years young) I need to be more aware of what my body is telling me, in order to continue doing what I’m doing… That is lifting, driving, golfing, fishing, renovating etc. So, hopefully a few of you out there might find these tips as helpful as I have, here it is:

1. Lift Technique

Whether you’re a courier or not, you’ll no doubt be lifting things from time to time. Your technique is crucial when it comes to injury prevention and pain management. I put quite a bit of emphasis on my lift technique these days, even when I’m lifting an item that I don’t find overly heavy – it’s just not worth the risk. So remember to take your time, keep the weight of the item close to your centre of gravity, and lift with your legs, and not your back. If it’s too heavy, don’t lift it. Use a trolley where possible, or ask somebody for help. I’ve found this helpful resource on lift technique sums it up pretty well.

2. Regular (Modified) Exercise

For quite a while I neglected exercise after my initial injury. Things I was previously doing to keep fit were no longer working, so I just didn’t do them anymore. I gained weight, lost my energy, and my back felt worse. In recent years however, I’ve been on a modified exercise program that has allowed me to work within my limits, and still push me physically. Some days my back plays up, so I have to modify further, or give myself a rest. With the help of my PT, I managed to work out a program that kept me fit, and didn’t make my back pain flare up again. My motivation and energy increased, while my back pain decreased. No matter your injury, there is always a modified program that you can do.

3. Core Strength

Simply being aware of the pattern of core engagement has allowed me to decrease the risk of further injuring myself. Often, poor lumbar posture (lower back arch) can pre-dispose you to lower back pain. In order to manage lower back pain, postural corrective exercise and the development of greater core strength is crucial – and easy! These days, I practice my core exercises while I’m waiting for the little green man to cross the road… In addition, I try to do 15 minutes every second day of core exercises to support my lower back. The pelvic tilt, and the dead bug are both a part of my regular routine.

4. Eat Healthy

Maintaining a healthy resting weight was a massive factor for me when I was first learning to manage lower back pain. Proper diet is equally as important as regular, sustainable exercise when you’re trying to get fit, and stay fit. So, don’t neglect it. Healthy eating was a bit of trial and error for me. If it’s going to be sustainable, you really need to avoid fad diets. Do your research, find out what works for you, and stick to it. Remember, moderation is key!

5. Don’t Fight Fatigue

Something I need to constantly remind myself… I’m currently renovating my house, working full days, and playing golf on weekends. Even for someone without injury, it’s a big load. So, this rule becomes especially important. If you’ve been working/lifting all day, and you feel your technique and posture are starting to lapse, have a rest. You could be moments away from doing further damage, or sustaining another injury altogether. Sure, you can push yourself, but not past the point of pain, nor to the point of pain. If you’re going to effectively manage lower back pain, you need to learn this.

Final Note

It’s easy to make excuses when you’re injured, but it doesn’t make life any easier. Whatever your injury, you should consider taking action to rehabilitate, and prevent further damage. You don’t have to stop moving, just modify. You don’t have to quit chocolate, just moderate. The recipe is simple if you’re willing to give the time and attention needed to effectively manage lower back pain. I hope these strategies help some of you as much as they’ve helped me, happy lifting!

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6 Fantastic Tips To Successfully Complete Your First Fun Run

CSC Fun Run Blog

About the Author

Not only is Dr. Nicholas Tripodi a fun run enthusiast, he is also a Co-director and Osteopath at the Competitive Sports Clinic located in the Essendon District. Nicholas has particular interests in sports injuries, exercise rehabilitation and running and cycling analysis. He regularly competes in triathlon events, and is a keen runner and cyclist. If you’d like to know more you can visit the CSC website here, or if you’re in the Melbourne area you can visit them at their practice on Keilor Rd, Essendon.

Completing Your First Fun Run

Getting into running can be quite daunting for some people, and it may not come naturally. As an osteopath, I regularly work with people who are preparing for their first fun run. And, having also completed a few myself, I’ve compiled a list of important points to consider in order to get through your first fun run successfully, and  injury-free (hopefully). So, here are my easy-to-follow steps to get you off the couch and onto the track as smooth as possible!

1. Set Your Goal

It seems obvious, but is often an oversight for too many people. The first thing you should do is set out the goals you want to achieve. Set both short-term and long-term goals. For instance, your short-term goal may be to run 3 times in a given week, and your long-term goal may be to complete a 5k run in less than 30 minutes. You may also like to share your goals, whether it be with friends, work colleagues or, dare I say, on social media. This can help you be accountable to your plans and stay on track.

2. Get a Program

If you’re doing your first fun run, you probably don’t have an extensive history of running. Therefore, you probably don’t know how to best structure your training. This is where a good running coach or therapist can tailor a running program for you. They will take into account your goals, sporting and exercise history and current level of fitness, amongst other things, to work out a program that is perfect for your needs. They will also typically oversee and assess the effectiveness of the program and adjust certain elements as required. If you are not keen on guidance from a coach, check out Couch to 5K (link: http:// www.c25k.com/) or most fun run websites will have a basic program for you to follow too.

3. Track Your Progress

This is now super easy to do with modern smart watches. Most come with an in-house or 3rd party app where you can upload all of your training data to see how you are progressing. The problem is that smart watches are so good at giving data it can be confusing to work out what you should actually pay attention to! Some key points you should be looking at are: distance, time, speed and heart rate. If you are getting fitter your heart rate should start to become lower when you’re training at the same speed and terrain. Just don’t get into the trap of trying to beat your time every session – this is unsustainable and can lead to injury. Save your best effort for race day!

4. Do Some Cross-Training

If you’re new to running it can be very unwise to run every day. You should only be running 3 or 4 times a week to avoid injury and burnout. To build up some extra cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength try some alternative exercise to running. Some great options include swimming, cycling, rowing and resistance training. There are a range of strength training resources online, and programs to follow along with on Youtube.

5. Aches and Stiffness is Normal, Pain is Not

The body is amazing in its ability to adapt and change to the stresses placed on it, and running adaptations are no different. Some minor aches and stiffness is your body’s way of adapting to increased load – this for the most part is OK, as long as it only lasts a day or two and doesn’t get progressively worse. If some general aches and stiffness start becoming persistently painful it’s a sign that you’re over-doing it. It’s at this point you should probably see a therapist for some information and guidance.

6. Congratulate Yourself

Once you reach your goal make sure you take stock and enjoy your achievement. Reflect on where you started from, how you got there and what you want to do next. If you didn’t achieve your goal, think about why that was case and what you will do differently next time. The road to success is a long one, it may take more than one fun run to achieve your goals.

Final Note

There you go! Six tips to help get you to, and through, your first fun run. If you plan it out, take it slow, track your progress and celebrate your achievements, you can’t go wrong. But first, make sure you see a certified health professional before commencing any training program. Happy running!

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How To Be A Good Friend: 5 Friendship Tips

Friendship The Short Advice

Great Minds Think Alike

First, we are drawn to people with similar interests. Maybe music, or sport, or work. But the roots of a true friendship are the values and principles that are shared between friends. These are things that you can’t fake, and they’re unwavering. The development of a friendship like this will last for decades. And time will inevitably create opportunities to solidify friendships, and to test them too. But before any of that, the best way to find like-minded and loyal friends is to be yourself. This is our first and perhaps most important tip…

The 5 Friendship Tips

Make, and keep, great friends with these five friendship tips:

1. Be Yourself

Exhibit the behaviours that you look for in a friend, but only if they are natural to you. If you find it tiresome being a great friend, then you might also find it difficult keeping a great friend. Consider what values and principles are important to you, and what you believe constitutes a ‘good person’. If you can be all of those things, you might also be able to find them in a friendship. If you feel as though your friends have let you down in the past, it’s not necessarily your poor judgement. But it could be. So, critical-self reflection is never a bad idea. If the person you are hasn’t produced good results in the past, change might be needed.

2. Effectively Manage Conflict

Like any relationship, the ability to deal with conflict is very important. It can end a friendship, or strengthen one. Either way, conflict has an important role to play. Too often, friends are worried that voicing their concerns might adversely affect their friendship. But if you are afraid that a difference in opinion might see you go your seperate ways, then you’re probably not compatible as friends in the first place. So, talk it out. Listen. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree. AND never be too stubborn to admit when you’re wrong. A good friendship is more important than your pride.

3. Make Time

As mentioned above, it’s a two-way street. If you’re someone that is always there for your friends, you’re likely to attract people that will always be there for you too. Selflessness and thoughtfulness are two very important ingredients of a life-long bond, so do not underestimate them. It’s in the little things that friends do for one-another, but also the times when friends are most in need of support. Prioritise your friends during their hour of need, and they’ll remember. It’s not an insurance policy just incase you need the same level of support one day. It’s because you care.

4. Reflect on Your Friendship Skills

Critical self-reflection is something that cannot be overlooked. It’s an important part of the happiness puzzle, as it allows us to evolve into better versions of ourselves (sort of like Pokémon). If you’re someone that tends to go missing for weeks on-end and still expect to keep great friendships, you’ll need to be aware of it. You can’t just be a good friend when you feel like it, so what can you do to counter that absence? This is why awareness is key. Without it, you can’t fix the problem. On the other hand, what things make you a great friend? Do more of it!

5. Be Honest

The answer to the question “do I look fat in this?” isn’t always “no”. Bad example? Well, the point is that good friendships require honesty on all fronts. Friends are often the first point of call for advice on careers, relationships, investments, family and other important life-topics. Trying to protect your friends’ feelings now, will only hurt them later. So tell them straight. Be tactful when you need to be, but don’t paint the picture that they want to see, over the top of the one they need to see. People respect and appreciate honesty. So, don’t be afraid to say the hard things that need to be said. You’ll be doing your friend a disservice if you do anything else.

Final Note

The fantastic thing about friendships is that every single one is unique. Because every single one of us is unique. But that fact also presents challenges… There is no one-size fits all solution to every problem that a friendship might experience. However, our five friendship tips are a good place to start! If you’ve got anything you’d like to add please feel free to do so in the comments section below. Or perhaps you’re experiencing a difficult situation and would like to bounce an idea off of a friendly stranger? Head over to our homepage and give us the short story, and we’ll give you the short advice ;). As always, thanks for reading.

 

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4 Ways To Successfully Achieve Your Wellness Goals

Sasha Wellness The Short Advice

About the Author

Sasha Layton is the founder of Sasha Yoga & Health, an experienced yoga & mindfulness meditation facilitator, and a certified Holistic Wellness Coach. She works with private and corporate clients all over Australia, and specialises in mindset and mindfulness. She believes that through education & knowledge, self awareness, and understanding the power of mindset, anybody can live a happy healthy life.

Steps to Achieving Your Wellness Goals

In a society where we are time poor, yet have more resources than we care to shake a stick at, being in a state of overwhelm is extremely common. Does this sound familiar? Reaching for that chocolate bar or fifth coffee by 3pm? Missing your third gym session this week because you got held back at work? Too tired to catch-up with that friend you haven’t seen in months? Or worse still, too tired to play with your children after work? I get it, there always seems to be so much to do yet so little time…and our health & wellness seem to take a backburner. Yet what if I told you that it has a great deal with what you VALUE and your attitude to wellness, that is key to whether you will achieve your goals or not? Read on…

1. Eat Healthier

It can be very tempting to eat crap when it’s surrounding you, so an overhaul of your cupboard and fridge to get rid of all the processed nutrient-lacking foods is the first step to eating healthier. Stocking up on fresh fruit & veggies, REAL food (i.e. not from a can, plastic packet or box), getting back into the kitchen, and learning how to cook, are the 2nd and 3rd steps. Not sure where to start? Booking some sessions with a certified Wellness Coach can help put you in the right direction. They can guide you on where and what to shop for, simple and quick nutritious recipes, and how to make it work for your lifestyle.

2. Move More

If you’re struggling to get to the gym or make that class you keep booking into, it’s time to ask yourself a couple of questions…and answer them honestly: 1) when am I most likely to exercise? 2) do I really enjoy this form of movement I’m currently doing?

If you answered no to the second question, ask yourself “what do I really enjoy?” There is no right or wrong time to exercise, because we’re all bio-individuals. Sure your best mate might enjoy getting up at 5am to attend their favourite yoga or HIIT class, but be honest with yourself on whether that’s really for you too? Finding the right time of day, what you really enjoy, and also what fits in with your schedule, is key to sustaining your daily movement habits.

3. Journal Your Thoughts

This could be via a food diary to keep track of your eating habits (particularly great if you get a lot of cravings), a movement log to track how much (or little) you’re exercising and at what times, or just a simple notebook where you write down thoughts, feelings and happenings that come up on a daily basis. By doing this, it will not only be helping you to brain dump, but also gives you greater insight into habits and patterns that may be holding you back. I personally love a pretty notebook and pen to physically write, but if you’re more an ‘online’ kind of person, check out this cool site http://750words.com where you can journal PLUS it tracks and gives you stats on your state of mind. It’s also password approved so completely private and no chance of anyone finding out your deepest darkest thoughts.

4. Get Accountability

Whether it be a friend, family member, partner, your FitBit app, or a Wellness Coach, using one (or many!) of these avenues is a sure fire way to keep you accountable to the goals you set. If it’s with a friend or loved one, you could even hold a monthly competition with each other so you have something to work towards and keep you inspired. If an exercise app, you can set daily or weekly goals which will remind you with notifications.

Final Note…

Being healthier doesn’t need to be difficult, it’s just about finding what works best for YOU, what inspires you, and understanding what it is in life that you really value. When you get to know yourself in this way, it really gives you the power to make the right choices.

Thanks you for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about my Wellness Coaching services, please get in touch or write in the comments section below, where I’ll be more than happy to reply.

Don’t forget to check out Sasha Yoga & Health here.

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How To Overcome Bullying: 4 Sensible Strategies

Bullying The Short Advice

Bullying Doesn’t End When School Does

School, workplace, sporting clubs, online communities… Bullying exists everywhere. And it always will. You can remove yourself from a situation of bullying, but it won’t change the fact that you are a victim. Wherever you go, you will still be susceptible to the same tactics. Running away is simply not good practice if you want to avoid this type of attention in the future. So rather than simply allowing ourselves to be forced out of our environment because of somebody else’s insecurities, we need to stand up and take action. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some forms of harassment can be more intense, and some personalities are more vulnerable than others. Like anything that we need to overcome, it’s difficult. You’ll need to develop some resilience, and mental toughness. Below, we’ve listed four different approaches that can be used in conjunction with one another to overcome bullying.

1. Respond

How you respond initially to a situation of bullying will have a big impact on repeat offending. Generally speaking, an emotionally-charged response would be a satisfying result for a bully, as would a meek and timid one. The term bullying itself implies that one individual is asserting dominance over another. If you’re not comfortable being the individual that is made to feel lesser, it’s best to express this sooner rather than later. Calmly, and controlled, where the situation allows for it. But always directly. Directly addressing the issue, directly addressing the individual. Stick to the specifics of what is upsetting you, and leave any personal attacks aside. By demonstrating your sophisticated conflict resolution skills, you might be able to change the game altogether. This person may not show you the same courtesy, but they might actually understand. They’ll possibly even gain respect for you, because you aren’t the weak individual they’d once thought you were.

2. Reflect

What cause is there, if any? Did the bullying stem from a misunderstanding? Regardless of what actions may have brought upon this poor behaviour, it’s never justified. Having said that, finding a reason could be the beginning of uncovering the root of the poor behaviour. You can’t change a person’s very being, or the way they react to certain things. But you can encourage them to consider your point of view. For most people however, that will require you to tell them some things that they want to hear first. You may have done something unknowingly to upset them, that you’ve now come to realise. Perhaps you could offer an apology? It’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it a justification of their behaviour. Although, many people do mistake it to mean these things. So, it’s also a good idea to mention that despite your apology, you feel that person’s behaviour was unwarranted, and you’re happy that you both have a new way to communicate more effectively.

3. Interpret

Try to understand why that person is the way that person is. Put yourself in their shoes. It’s not easy when you’re harbouring such negative emotions towards somebody, so lets put that aside. Bullying is the result of unchecked insecurities, and a poor environment as a young person. What has this person been through, and what fears were they unable to overcome for them to behave so poorly? Simply by trying to understand, you’re showing a level of compassion that this individual might not have ever experienced. Next time they are looking to upset somebody, perhaps you can ask them if they’re okay. The other side to this point, is how you interpret the situation itself. Don’t give power to this person in your mind, because then they will have power over you. The offender is just a human being, like the rest of us. If you perceive them to be a big, scary, horrible beast, then that is exactly what they’ll be. If you can humanise that beast by sympathising with their insecurities, then you’ll have a better shot at understanding them, helping them, and in turn, helping yourself.

4. Support

Support goes two ways… Are you supporting others who are being bullied? If you support them, they might support you too. Helping other people to deal with their problems is a great way to strengthen your knowledge of conflict resolution skills. It also creates a network of people that care about one another, and can share ideas and similar experiences. You can look to friends and family for support, but it’s always you who should resolve your own issues (or at least try). Sometimes, a person’s behaviour is so irrational that we do need to seek the help of others. If it’s a matter of health and safety, then it’s certainly a good idea. But, for the most part, difficult situations present brilliant opportunities to learn. They help us to develop resilience and confidence and can build self-esteem too. Whatever the issue, there is always a solution, you just need to look for it.

Final Note

Bullying presents in many different forms, so there can be no one solution to overcome it. The strategies mentioned above encourage us to exercise control where we can, and use understanding and critical reflection to overcome situations of bullying and harassment. Just remember, that bullying is led by fear. And those being bullied, are allowing themselves to be bullied because of their fear. Overcoming our fear is no simple task, but doing nothing certainly won’t get us anywhere at all. So if it’s not working, try something different. There is always a solution that can improve your circumstances.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear if you’ve ever used any of these strategies in the comments section below.

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DIY Woodworking: 6 Essential Tips To Get You Started

Melbourne Timberworks The Short Advice

About the Author

Melbourne Timberworks was founded by Tristan as a result of his many successful DIY woodworking projects. Entirely self-taught, Tristan sources his timber from local suppliers and has built just about every piece of furniture you can think of, for both commercial and domestic clients (you can check some out some of his work here). Today, he is here to share his advice on ‘starting your own workshop’, and some considerations and challenges of the DIY woodworking environment. So, please give it up for Melbourne Timberworks and woodworking guru, Tristan!

Starting a DIY Woodworking Venture

Aside from the mental health benefits of pursuing a hobby, woodworking is just great fun! But, when you’ve got a new and exciting idea in your head, it can often infect your bank account too… It’s tempting to want to spend every last cent in your wallet on the best and fanciest new tool or piece of equipment. That new tool feel is great, don’t get me wrong, but what you really need is the right balance of value and reliability (without living out of a cardboard box). So, aim for mid-range priced equipment for your humble DIY woodworking beginnings. Generally, you do get what you pay for, so whilst you can’t yet afford the best, don’t cheap out and get the worst either! Either way you’re bound to make mistakes, and there will be a few breakages along the way. But slowly, as you get better, you can update your tools to match your capabilities. You never know, you might even be able to start selling your work… But before we get too far along, here are my ‘6 Essential DIY Woodworking Tips’.

1. Gumtree is Your Best Friend.

You’ll probably need a work table for your garage or home workshop. But there’s just no need for a brand new, polished bench. Check the likes of Gumtree and eBay before you take the trip to a department store. Theres a heap of perfectly good used tables that you can use for your projects here. You might also be able to pick up a few tools. However, be wary of buying second-hand power-tools. For a beginner, it can be difficult to know the condition they’re in, and if they’ve been cared for correctly.

2. Test Things First.

Don’t rush. Trust me, there’s time for some testing before you rip into the ‘good copy’. Whether you love to paint, or building furniture is your passion, never try something new on the actual project itself. You wouldn’t serve your cooking before you’ve tasted it, right? So, take the time to develop your skills first. This way, you’ll avoid making mistakes with expensive materials, and possibly destroying hours of your hard work. Yes, practice can be a bit tedious… But remember, ‘if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly’.

3. It’s Your Space.

Set up a space dedicated to your DIY interests. It’s a good idea to have all the equipment in one area and in the same room. Everything within a few steps will work, especially if you need to get things in a hurry. Setting up a space also allows you to “close a door” on your work. It’s important to switch off for a moment and to be away from your projects so you don’t over exhaust yourself, and lose motivation. In doing this, you’ll train yourself to be productive as soon as you step into your DIY woodworking space.

4. Be Safe.

There’s nothing worse than starting a DIY project only to end up injuring yourself. Those ads on TV are not for your comedic relief. Be smart. Make sure you have the required safety equipment. Gloves, glasses, proper footwear and clothing can be the difference between coming out unscathed or making a trip to the hospital!

5. Youtube is Your Second Best Friend.

A very close second I might add… Your DIY woodworking doesn’t have to be an entirely solo project. You can invite the help of professionals from all around the globe to be your personal instructor, on your mobile phone! You can pause them, rewind them and fast forward through all the boring parts! It’s like school, except you only have to turn up for the bits you need, and only when you need them.

6. Have Fun.

This is probably the most important tip of them all. Sometimes projects start off really fun, but then as you progress through them you start to feel frustrated and tired. You start to rush to finish your masterpiece, and it doesn’t always turn out as you’d hoped. Take a step back and remember that you started because of your passion for woodworking, and that frustration is because you care. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to put the tools and equipment down for a while.

Final Note…

Trying new things can be challenging! But that doesn’t mean you should quit… I’m grateful that I persisted through the early stages of the DIY woodworking process. The skills that I have developed now give me the freedom to create whatever I want.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to respond to them in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check out Melbourne Timberworks here.