Time Management


Time Management



If you decide to plan something, time will be the ultimate deciding factor in determining the achievement. In order to attain goals you must really believe in what you want and therefore the only obstacle should be the time scale for making it happen.

Even if you haven’t got any obvious goals, unconsciously you constantly participate in short time planning i.e. what time to get up, weather to walk to work, what jobs to do at work etc. and all come under the heading of time management.

Procrastination could be considered as bad time management, it may be the case that you are postponing jobs, because you have a backlog due to ineffective planning of your time.

Making the best use of your time should also extend to none physical activity i.e. developing thoughts, attitudes and perceptions, in other words the power of thought.

Getting Things Done

Once you have identified your goals; organisation, planning and execution progress is reliant on your time management. It is often the case that people are always extremely busy or at least give that impression, but you need to analyse if this effort actually achieving results. The answer in most cases will be no, this is known as the 80:20 rule i.e. 80% effort, 20% results.  Establishing where and on what people need to focus their time on, will get it done efficiently and within schedule.






Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment

Achieving a Work-Life Balance


Achieving a Work-Life Balance




Work/life balance can be seen as simply dividing your time between work related and none work related activities, but in fact a more accurate view would be a balance between achievement and enjoyment.

Getting the balance right

Working smart, not long, ensure that your work load is not too much, priorities and manage time well and make sure you allow for hobbies/exercise/relaxation, avoiding stress. Perceived success does not always mean happiness, so make sure you enjoy what you see as success rather than craving for more and more.

Benefits and importance

  • Can lead to higher productivity
  • Greater flexibility
  • Raise morale


  • Avoid Stress
  • Reduce physical illness, such as back pain
  • Overall better well being


How to achieve balance

  • Simplify – Don’t take on too much and get rid of clutter
  • Examine all options – Basically use any help that is available to off-load work.
  • Take control – Make necessary changes
  • Release things – Small unimportant things
  • Evaluate change – identify what needs changing


From a student prospective a survey (In Ireland) shows that graduates place a high value on work-life balance, personal development and having inspired motivated people to learn from.

Achieving a balance is really an individual thing, but some or all of what is mentioned here could make a difference to the quality of one’s life.






Lecture Notes






Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment







A job interview from the interviewee’s perspective is an opportunity to impress and expand on your CV and basically sell yourself to a potential employer. For the employer it is an opportunity to establish if the candidate will fit into an organisation and be able to do what’s required of the job.

Types of Interviews

  • One-to-One
  • Telephone
  • Group


Preparation for an interview is very important, from researching the company too both mental and physical state of awareness. Remember first impressions last and getting it right from the start will be of great benefit, firm handshake, and confident/calm entry and being well groomed will make an instant impression.

Interview format

  • Introduction – sets the tone of the interview
  • Formal – The serious questioning to establish you know what you claim to know.
  • Company Information – Interviewer speaks about the company, goals, culture, etc., you have the opportunity to ask about the company.
  • Summation – Any question either part has to ask such as salary, conditions, what’s the next stage?

Types of interview questions

  • Behavioural
  • Directive
  • Non-directive
  • Hypothetical
  • Stress


What to avoid at the interview

  • Bad appearance – form dress too physical i.e. looking tired
  • Poor expression – diction, grammar
  • Overbearing or aggressive
  • Evading questions
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Indecision
  • Bad posture – sloughing, laid back
  • Have no questions to ask
  • Lack of knowledge about the company
  • Lack of interest


If luck enough to be offered the job make sure it is right for you and if not successful make sure to learn from the experience.




Lecture Notes

Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment

Team Building

Team Building




Team building is designed to get employees thinking and acting as part of an interdependent work force as opposed to individuals doing specific jobs with seemingly no connection to fellow workers. It should result in improved cooperation and a better understanding of the organisation operations, which in turn leads to a focus on common goals.


Some of the advantages/disadvantages


  • It provides the chance to learn from each other.
  • Spreads the work load and broadens the skill set.
  • New ideas and approaches can be shared.



  • Incompatibility of people to team work.
  • Some members may do less work, letting others carry the load.
  • Conflicts and dominance between different members can arise.


There are occasions when teams work for a particular task and some where they don’t. The optimum number for a team is between 6 and 10. Within a team there will be two distinct group’s homogeneous (similar thinking) and heterogeneous (wide ranging views).

Examples of team elements

  •  Management Team
  • Planning
  • Structure
  • Advocacy
  • Accountability


Reasons by teams fail

Internal (within the team)

Lack of planning or support from external stakeholder, interpersonal conflicts and lack of leadership are to name a few.

 External (within an organisational environment)

Too great a workload for some members, not giving control of team members where appropriate and frequent changing of member are some of the more common reasons.

Common problems in groups

  • Hidden Agendas
  • Groupthink (people/groups who disagree with virtually everything that is proposed)
  • Group Anxiety


Finally when developing a group the stages are, forming, storming, norming and performing. When a team is formed it allows for communications between people of agreeable and opposing views with a net result of achieving the goals through cooperation and concentrated effort.





Lecture Notes

Posted in Personal Development | 2 Comments

Written Reports

Written Reports



A written report is a compilation of ones finding on a specific request for information.  There are many different types of reports which I will discuss, but the structure of these is generally the same throughout. The text should follow a logical, cohesive manner and be simple for the reader to understand.


Types of report

  • Informative
  • Investigative
  • Evaluation
  • Persuasive
  • Record


Within these types we can further categorise them into; routine reports, special/one-off, formal (long/short) and informal. It is important when written these reports you have a clear understanding of what’s required and a clearly defined scope.

You should plan well your work by gathering information and identifying the relevant material through primary/secondary research. Organise this information in an easy to follow structure and do a rough draft, followed by the final proofed copy.

 The structure of the report (see fig.1)


  Figure 1


The findings when equating to a literature review needs to be analysed and critiqued and presented in an unbiased fashion. The rest are fairly self-explanatory.


 In relation to the format, diagrams and tables need to be labelled and referenced within the text.

The typeset should be consistent throughout, times New Roman 12 is a good choice for the main body. 1.5-line spacing is standard with page numbering centred at the bottom. Title should be centred and capitalised first letters on each main word.

Reference Styles

 The recommended style of referencing of information used is the ‘Harvard Style’ for more information, see: http://www.canberra.edu.au/library/attachments/pdf/harvard.pdf.

It is crucial to reference all information gathered from sources to avoid plagiarism violations.

Finally proof read slowly and modify were necessary.





Lecture Notes

Posted in Personal Development | 1 Comment

The Writing Process


The Writing Process



When composing any kind of text we should be aware of how the reader will interpret the meaning i.e. will it be understood the way you meant it to be. Therefore adapting a process is necessary to ensure your thoughts are communicated as intended. It is also important to know the audience you expect to reach (public writing).


The structure of writing

  •  Always start with prewriting, which is basically collating ideas through research, brainstorming and reading relevant writings so that you have a solid foundation for your work.


  • Start with a rough copy, this way you will be free from the burden of grammatical concerns which may inhibit the free flow of thought.


  • Proof read your work by reading aloud and make sure it make sense.


  • Get someone else to read it and gauge their views i.e. do they agree/disagree, see room for improvement etc.


  • Make any necessary improvements or remove unnecessary sections.


  • Edit the document with regards to grammatical consistency, there should never be spelling mistakes. This is now the final copy and should have a final review with the relevant people before publishing.




Depending on what you are writing it may sometimes be necessary to be emotive and therefore the AIDA strategy is something you may find beneficial, it stands for;

Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. All of which you want to evoke from your reader.



Effective Writing

Writing quality can be very subjective and various a lot depending on writer/reader, it’s a matter of taste sometimes. I personal think writing should be simple (easy to understand) and flowing, this youtube has some useful tips.





Lecture Notes



Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment

Non-Verbal Communications

Non-Verbal Communication

Figure 1


It is the way people express themselves without the use of speech, using one’s body to convey a message (gesturing; figure 1) or by incorporating broader settings such as time, space or silence.

Body language often reveals or reinforces how one really feels, observed through reactions, movements and looks (facial expressions).

Ways in which non-verbal communications augments or diminishes the spoken word are by; repetition, contradiction, substitution, complementing or accenting.



Some of the different types of Non-verbal/body language are:


Facial expressions

A person’s face can tell more about how they are feeling than the words they express. A picture tells a thousand words, some emotions like anger, sadness and fear are portrayed by the face.


Eye Contact

Considered by many to confirm honesty and display interest, although this can vary between different cultures.


It is a powerful form of expression, affection, warmth or indeed aggression.

Space (proxemics)

There is an acceptable distance between people depending on the relationship or the persons comfort zone. It could display affection or dominance (territorial instinct).


The Mehrabian (1981) report found that the percentage break down of communication of feelings between people is as follows;

  • WORDS – 7%


  • TONE OF VOICE – 38%




This shows conclusively, one would surmise, that non-verbal communication is of great significance when interacting with other people whether at a business or personal level.




Lecture notes




Posted in Personal Development | 1 Comment

Effective Presentations

Effective Presentations


For a presentation to be effective you must get the attention of the audience and make sure they listen and understand what you have to say. The main purpose is to inform, persuade and educate the listener.

Key points to given a presentation:

  • Evaluate your listener’s understanding of what you are presenting, so you can pitch to their level of knowledge without either boring or confusing them.


  • Have clear goals i.e. what you want to achieve from giving the presentation. It may be to sell a product or an idea.


  • Thoroughly research the subject and ensure you are able to effectively answer any questions that may arise.


  • Scope out how you are going to deliver the presentation, have an outline (introduction, main body, conclusion) of the main points (cue cards can help) and structure more in-depth information around it, making sure not to go off in a tangent.


  • Get the attention of your audience from the start, making a good first impression is critical and should hold through for the rest of the presentation. Appearance, pitch of voice and speed at which you speak are major factors in audience participation.


Common problems encounter by speakers:

  • Nervousness – may be because you are unsure of the subject (haven’t researched fully) or that you lack believe/passion in what you have to deliver.


  • Verbal issues – inaudible; speaking to low, repeating phrases or words like ‘Um’


  • Body motion – fidgeting, pacing etc.


  • Apathy – not wanting to be there.


  • No interaction – not making eye contact or not pausing to ask questions so as to gauge audience participation. In effect isolating and excluding your audience.


In summary the following Mantra should be applied:

  • Tell the audience what you are going to talk about (Introduction)
  • Actually tell them (Body)
  • Remind them of what you just spoke about (Conclusion/Summary)






Lecture notes

Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment

Critical Reading and Thinking

Critical Reading & Thinking


Critical reading is a method of establishing which information contain in a text is well founded and impartial.

Critical thinking is a method for assessing information and views, and applying your own judgement in terms of authenticity and believes.

 Reason for distinguishing between reading and thinking:

It is important to read a text and not have a preconceived opinion which may not allow us develop any new ways of thinking.


Critical Reading: Does the text deliver the following?

  •  Specifics relating to the main topic
  • Clarity of reasoning
  • Backup information to reinforce arguments
  • Broadly accepted knowledge
  • Clear explanations
  • Logical conclusion


Only after establishing if the text is consistent in its factual and verifiability (were possible), can we decide to accept the beliefs of the author.

Critical Thinking: Evaluation

The objectives of reading a text are usually to assist us in creating our own work whether as a physical project or simply an academic piece of work. When constructing our own idea’s we have to establish which parts to of others text/writings to accept as useful and correct.

In conclusion we have to strive to get reliable information in order to make our own writings accurate and not to duplicate inaccuracies. This will mean looking outside a text for knowledge and standards.




Lecture notes

Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment

SQ3R Reading Strategy

SQ3R Reading Strategy



SQ3R is a method of taking in information and processing it in a logical sequence. It enables you to review information quickly and allows you to find important snippets by fixing them in your mind.

Frances Pleasant Robinson introduced the technique in 1946 in a book called Effective study.

There are five stages:

  1. Survey
  2. Question
  3. Read
  4. Recall
  5. Review


1.      Survey

Scan the document contents and establish a broad overview of the information contained. Determine if it provides the help you need or not.

2.      Questions

See if each section provides the answers to the questions you are asking.

3.      Read

Commence with reading the document paying particular attention to relevant points. Take notes using a concept map. See video http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm

4.      Recall

Following the comprehensive read of appropriate sections pick out critical facts, build on this with other relevant information based around it.

5.      Review

Reviewing can be going back and rereading sections, by adding your own notes or discuss with others. Try teaching it to colleagues can help you understand it better yourself.


SQ3R is a method which allows you to get the maximum benefit from reading a document, manual or indeed any material.  It allows you to extract the relevant information and disregard the non-important.






Lecture notes

Posted in Personal Development | Leave a comment