Monthly Archives: July 2015

Don’t confuse motion with progress!

merry-go-round-in-coventThink back to when you were a small child and when you first rode a merry-go-round (carousel). The horse rising up and down and travelling at speed for a small child probably delighted and thrilled you. No matter how thrilling the ride the horse ultimately ends up in the same place time and time again having only ever travelled in a circle. This is motion.

Work can sometimes feel like being on a merry-go-round. Each working day you may be really busy – busy doing ‘stuff’ –  and there is no doubt that you are in motion. However, when you look back on the day, the week, the month or the year have you made progress? Ask yourself this – how is the ‘stuff’ that I am doing moving me closer to my real goals? Do I even know what my real goals are?

If you don’t know what your real goals are or how the work that you are currently doing is moving you closer to achieving those goals then you may be in motion but unlikely to be making progress.

So what can you do about it?

  1. Start with the end goal in mind. It doesn’t matter if the goal is to achieve something today, this week or an even longer time frame. Just make sure that you can articulate the goal as an outcome and not the activity. For example ‘Learn conversational French’ is an outcome, book on a ‘French’ course is an activity.
  2. Now that you have a your goal or goals you can start to list the activity or activities required to achieve the goal.
  3. Once you have the activities go to your calendar and schedule the activity or activities.
  4. Yes, you will find it a challenge at times to protect your scheduled time as the urgent tasks encroach on the important activities that move you closer to your goals. Try to treat that protected scheduled time as if you were meeting an important client or a meeting with the boss of the company – you’ll only protect the scheduled time if you consider it as being really important.

So that’s it – simple! You’ve protected your scheduled activity time and during this time you’ll be making progress towards your goals. Everything else and you are probably still on the merry-go-round!

I love Monday and here’s why!


Like most of us I love my weekends and they are never long enough. However unlike a lot of people I also love Mondays and here’s why: –

  1. Monday is like a mini New Year. It’s the start of the week and an opportunity to reboot, start afresh and say to yourself that this week I’m going to make a difference. Who doesn’t like new beginnings?
  2. I like being productive but there are some things that I can only do as part of a team. Monday is when my team and I get back together and we can all help each other move closer to our goals.
  3. Even when Monday looks like a real tough day I’ll try to think about how I’ll get through the day, what I will achieve, what I will learn. I also know with certainty that no matter how hard the working day is it will inevitably end. So I try to view a tough day as a challenge and take pride in getting through it.
  4. I’ll record my favourite programmes of the week and watch them on a Monday evening or perhaps I’ll have a take-away. Having something to look forward to is a great way to change the way you perceive Mondays.

I am fortunate enough to work in an environment that I enjoy with colleagues that are, on the whole, very supportive. However if you hate Mondays because you hate your job, you hate your boss, you are surrounded by toxic people or whatever the reason then why not use Monday to start to plan how you you’ll turn things around.

Here is a final thought from me….

If you work an average of 220 days a year that’s 44 Mondays each year.

If you start working at 18 years old and retire at 65 then you’ll work for 47 years.

That’s 2,068 Monday’s to hate – the equivalent of hating over 5 years of your life!

Love Mondays!

Don’t you know there’s a war on?

Screenshot 2015-07-10 08.42.58

There is a war on and it may not be a ‘hot’ war in the same way as WW1 and WW2 but make no mistake this is a World War, there is no sign of peace, it won’t be over by Christmas and at some point, if it hasn’t already, it is likely to impact directly on you!

This is the Cyber War! Attacks, such as the alleged North Korean attack on Sony, hit the headlines from time-to-time but this war is being fought intensely second by second. Take a look at the real time Norse Attack Map.

The Attackers

Attacks come primarily from four types of entities: –

  1. State and state sponsored organisations (though no state is likely to admit the full extent of this)
  2. Hacker groups such as Anonymous, the Chaos Computer Club, the Cult of the Dead Cow or the Honker Group. Often they will have political agendas and will be responsible for coordinated attacks
  3. Cyber criminals, organised, well funded and often backed by more traditional organised crime syndicates
  4. The ‘lone geek’, stereotyped as a lone guy operating out of his bedroom or the basement of his parents house but capable of doing real damage to an organisation or individual

The Attacks

Long gone are the days when the worst that could happen is that your website may be defaced. Attacks now include (but not limited to): –

All devices and operating systems are subject to attack (it’s not all about Windows PC’s!). Our increased use of mobile devices has led to a corresponding increase in attacks against these devices. And as we attach more and more devices to our networks, the Internet of Things (IoT) will offer more channels for cyberattacks. The potential for attacks against cars, medical equipment, transportation and critical building systems should now be viewed as a present threat.

Some Attack Statistics from 2014 (source: Symantec)

  • 60 percent of all targeted attacks struck small and medium sized organisations – it’s not all about Government and big business!
  • Ransomware attacks grew by an incredible 113 percent!
  • 317 million new Malware Variants added
  • 1 in every 1,126 websites were found with Malware
  • 76 percent of scanned websites were found to have vulnerabilities, 20 percent of which were critical

The USA is the country that suffers the most cyberattacks while the UK has the most cyberattacks in Europe.

Incoming, take cover!

Given the above statistics it is a wonder that the attackers don’t do more damage than they already do. The fact that attackers do not is a testament to the professionalism of those involved in IT security.

But unless you are in IT security (or you are a hacker) then it is likely that you are a civilian in this war. We don’t want to become a casualty of this cyber war and like all responsible citizens it is our responsibility and duty to do what we can to protect ourselves.

What can we do as civilians?

Well we could unplug everything and go off grid I guess….or

  1. Where possible ensure that your device has up-to-date anti-virus software permanently running. Set the software to do a regular full scan of the device.
  2. In addition to anti-virus ensure that your operating system and applications are regularly updated and patched.
  3. If possible encrypt the data on your device.
  4. Do not click on links in emails, texts, social media etc unless you are confident that the source is safe.
  5. Do not open attachments unless you are confident that the source is safe.
  6. Set secure strong passwords, don’t share them with anyone and do not use them on multiple sites. Do not write down your passwords – if you forget them then there is usually an easy way to reset or recover them.
  7. For mobile devices where there is the ability to wipe data remotely ensure that this option is enabled and that you know how to to this quickly.
  8. Take regular backups. If you are hit by Ransomware one of the quickest and cheapest ways of recovering your data is to restore from a backup.
  9. When surfing the web take every ‘warning box’ that your device displays seriously.
  10. Monitor. If the performance of your device suddenly degrades or you start seeing unusual activity on your email or other accounts then take action immediately. Run full anti-virus scans, change your passwords and if necessary consult a professional, the supplier or your work security team for advice.

The Cyber War maybe not be a war that we will ever win but it is a war that cannot be lost. Those businesses that are responsible for creating this wonderfully connected world have a duty to adequately protect its inhabitants and those that don’t may themselves become a casualty of war.

There is no movement without the first follower!

This is a great video that highlights the importance of the first follower(s).

  • It can be a little lonely in the beginning when starting a new movement
  • There is no movement without the first follower
  • When you achieve a critical mass extraordinary things can happen!

Enjoy….and don’t forget to get up and dance every now and again….maybe be brave enough to be the first to join the dance!