Problem-Solving Skills

We are problem-solving animals. Our brains are designed to find solutions to enhance our life. This applies as much to practical problems of which we are very much consciously aware – such as how to deal with that difficult matter, colleague or client – as it does to problems that need addressing in one or more areas of our lives of which we are often only subconsciously aware – a nagging thought, perhaps, that something is not really quite right.

Oral Wills: Restricted Areas Where They Are Valid

Oral WillsWhen it comes time to think about writing a will, the stereotypical image conjured up is that of sitting down with pen and paper or making an appointment with a solicitor to draw up the document. We then rattle off how we want our property and assets to be divvied out and we sign the document, usually with a couple of witnesses signing it at the bottom.

Employee Training and Development: Reasons and Benefits

Training and DevelopmentKnowledge and skills development is vital to the health of organisations.  We live in an information age today, and organisations are routinely valued not just on their physical but on their intellectual capital.  Training is one of the chief methods of maintaining and improving intellectual capital, so the quality of an organisation’s training affects its value. Untrained or poorly trained employees cost significantly more to support than well-trained employees do.  Training affects employee retention and is a valuable commodity that, if viewed as an investment rather than as an expense, can produce high returns.

Changes to Your Consumer Rights – Part 1

Consumer RightsThe New European Proposals

You may not be aware, but last year the UK government introduced a wide-ranging white paper called “A Better Deal for Consumers – Delivering Real Help Now and Change for the Future”. The proposals made in this white paper follow hot on the heels of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The 2008 Regulation marked the biggest shake-up in consumer law in 40 years. It now appears that the government is going to go even further.

Chancel Repair Liability: That Sneaky Little Law

Chancel Repair LiabilityThe United Kingdom is renowned for its established legal system. There are laws governing just about everything, and even some obscure laws that only affect a handful of people, particularly when they least expect it! One such law is the Chancel Repair Liability Law.

Before the Reformation of the churches in the 15th century, vicars and rectors were responsible for repairs to their churches. At this time the land around the church was also considered to be chancel land, on which many parishioners dwelled.

Advice on Being Successful in Your Job, from the 1940s

1940'sWe were recently excited to come across a “Secretary’s Guide and Office Worker’s Manual” which was published in 1944.  It is packed full of useful advice for secretaries and office workers of the time, with the slogan “Get Ahead; Improve Yourself; Earn More Money”.

What we found interesting was that the advice given in the manual regarding career advancement has not changed over the intervening 60 years.  The basic principles of being successful in your job still exist today.  So although technology may have radically changed the way we work, social attitudes have not.

Getting Along with Colleagues in the Workplace

Getting Along in the WOrkplaceHappy New Year professional colleagues! Thank God for bringing us thus far, with the promising Year 2010 already here.  I am confident that we can all succeed provided we acknowledge that success is not an accident. It begins with a well conceived plan. Therefore, to succeed in any of our endeavours, we need to plan consciously. By not consciously planning to succeed, we are unconsciously planning to fail.

Our relationships with colleagues in the workplace are important, and can to a large extent determine the level of our success. Good workplace relationships will not only help you do your job better, but also make your daily work more enjoyable. In turn, bad relationships with colleagues can be very distracting and can cause a great deal of anxiety.

The following ten tips, if practised, will to help you to achieve good relationships with your colleagues in the work place:

1. Respect your colleagues: Respect is the foundation of all good relationships, including those you have with your colleagues and Boss. There will of course be the occasional prickly co-worker who is easily offended, but there is little you can do about that. Always do your best to avoid offending those with whom you work. Respect is reciprocal!

Miscarriages of Justice: Where It Was Not Just Freedom at Stake!

If you say the words “capital punishment” to anyone you will get a varying degree of opinions on the subject. Capital punishment has always been (and will always likely be) a strong topic for debate. No matter whether you are for or against the death penalty in Great Britain, it has to be acknowledged that there have been several instances of miscarriage of justice throughout the years.

It may surprise you to know that capital punishment was not fully abolished in the UK until 1998. From 1838 it was rarely used except for acts of murder, but also pertained to treason, espionage, causing fires or explosions in a naval dockyard, and for military offences such as failing to prevent a mutiny. So although capital punishment was abolished for murder in 1965, it was not abolished for these other crimes until the change in the law in 1998. Even though the last execution by hanging in England took place in 1964, the death sentence was still handed out to criminals until 1965 (many of whom were either released from prison or given life imprisonment instead).

Minimising Interruptions

Minimising Interuptions at WorkHave you ever noticed how much more you can get done on the occasional day that you work away from the office? So where does the time go in the office? A “quick” question from a colleague, a phone call, a never-ending flow of incoming emails, a quick trip to the coffee machine: they all add up. So here are the top ten tips to help you minimise interruptions:

1. Are you the cause of your interruptions? Work out whether you are using interruptions as an excuse to avoid your work. If you procrastinate, butterfly from job to job, or are distracted by the world outside your window, do something about it!

2. Determine the nature of the interruption. Get into the habit of asking pertinent questions politely but firmly to get enough information about the importance and deadline of the interruption. When does the task need to be done? What are the consequences of extending the deadline? Then you can decide what to do and when to deal with it.

Life Styling for Optimum Performance at Work

Life StyleEven some simple changes in our everyday life and routine can make a profound difference to our performance and allow us to get more out of work and life generally. Taking care to do more things that boost serotonin and endorphins (our natural feel-good chemicals) will promote a better and more stable mood and help us to cope better in difficult times. In contrast, doing things that produce stress hormones will undermine mood and prevent us from performing well and getting the best from what we do.

Here are the main recommendations:

Relaxation: A person can’t feel anxious, angry (or depressed) and relaxed at the same time, so learning ways of relaxing physically and mentally helps to increase feelings of calm, confidence and security. Harnessing our innate powers of imagination to rehearse positive changes in our lives is one of the most effective ways of improving our lives.

Physical exercise: This is particularly good for promoting the production of our natural feel-good chemicals. Even a short, say 30-minute, walk a few days a week will help, whether at lunchtime or on the way to or from work.