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RemindersWhen did you last snooze a reminder? Was it this morning or just a few minutes ago? Or, do you not even use the reminder-function?




A client asked me the other day about how to turn off the reminder-box which pops up when he opens Outlook. This got me thinking.

I can really understand how he wants to get rid of it since he does not wish to be reminded when it is comes up. Yet, we did in fact ask to be reminded when we set the reminder in the first place.

Just in time?

How many of all the world’s computer- and cell phone-reminders actually sound the alarm when we want to be reminded? Some do, but if I am to draw some conclusions from what I hear from my mentees, most do not. Thereof comes all this snoozing since we are not actually interested in being reminded when the reminder sounds.

Reminders, notifications and other notification sounds which go off when we do not want them to are only distracting us. They disturb us in what we are currently doing and make us lose focus.

Some are truly valuable

But, reminders in themselves are not ineffectual. They can, if used correctly and in the appropriate context, be true lifesavers.

They help us the most when acting as triggers that make us switch task immediately. The reminders which are genuinely useful and which are the right ones to use the reminder-function for are for example reminders such as:

“Get up and go right now, otherwise you will not make it!”

“You have an important meeting in 30 minutes, so it is time to start preparing for that now.”

“This was the time when you promised to call the client.”

“You just received the urgent e-mail you have been expecting, so you will be able to continue working now.”

“You are currently in geographic proximity to that place where you wanted to go and do/ buy something when in the neighborhood.”

and, of course: ”Wake up! It is time to get up.”

And some you can skip

On the other hand, instead of having reminders that say ”The following tasks are due today”, practice starting every day with looking through your to-do-list (on your own initiative) when it suites you to do so.

Instead of being reminded that [pling!]”You e-mailed N one week ago today and you still have not received a reply”, make it a habit to quickly look through your waiting-for-list daily, on your own initiative and when it suits you best.

Get rid of as many reminders and notifications as you possibly can and which you do not actually need. You are probably reminded and notified enough as it is.

Do this

When you are reminded of something this week by hearing a reminder sound or seeing a pop-up notification, take a minute to consider if this reminder is actually necessary.

Were you reminded just when you needed to?

Yes? Congratulations!

No? Do you really want to keep it then? Remove it if you are even remotely tempted to snooze it. How big is the chance that it pops up at the right time next time it rings – after you already snoozed it?

Nice to not be interrupted

If you from now on reevaluate your reminders you will end up with less inefficient reminders and you will snooze fewer of them. You will to a greater extent than before be in charge of when to look at your to-do-list or check your e-mail.

The reminders you choose to keep are kept for a good reason and you will enjoy how they actually help you not have to remember things you cannot afford to miss or forget.

You will have fewer sounds, interruptions and distractions, and be able to focus more. Good for you!

What do you want to be reminded of?

Did I forget an important reminder? Leave a comment and remind me!

David StiernholmSource: David Stiernholm
David Stiernholm is a trainer who teaches thousands of people every year in companies, government authorities, organizations and universities how to become more structured and attain a higher degree of personal efficiency.

Super Structured

“Information overload”, “too much going on”, “full email inbox”, “too
SUPER STRUCTUREDmuch on your plate”, “heavy workload”, “ASAP”, “piles that keep growing”, it has to get better soon… Yes, there are many ways to describe the chaotic life many of us lead at work. But, if we create a better structure at work, we will have more time for what matters most to us and to our business. Super Structured is based on a highly successful training program and is for anyone who wants to create a workday that runs smoother and with greater ease. In short chapters with useful advice and tips mixed with practical exercises, David Stiernholm teaches you how you can work in a more structured way through “organization”, “automation” and “focus”. The book gives you the tools, mindset, methods and routines that will make you more efficient, more flexible and actually happier.

HR TrapHere are some HR traps you might not have thought of, and our advice on how to solve them quickly and easily.
You haven’t told your employees that they have the right to request flexible working

All employees with 26 weeks’ service have the statutory right to request flexible working. What this means in practice is that they can request a change to their working hours, remote working or place of work, term-time hours, job-sharing, career break, or compressed hours.

You don’t have to approve their request, but you must consider it, discuss it with them and make a decision promptly.  You can reject requests for business reasons (see a full list here) but remember to explain your decision fully and wherever possible try and accommodate requests if they are reasonable.

You’re not quite sure what employer’s ‘duty of care’ means

As an employer you have a duty of care towards the health, safety and wellbeing of your employees. This could range from doing a risk assessment of them in different operational areas, ensuring their desks and working space is suitable for working; that the noise levels are appropriate in their working space and that they have the correct eye-wear (which you would need to pay for).

More intangible, but equally as important, are aspects like stress, uncertainty and anxiety. You need to make sure that your employees know what is expected from them (clear objectives), aren’t working too many hours (Working Time Directive legislation) and that they feel supported in their role (good management practice). Get any or all of these wrong and you’re letting down your employees and, in extreme circumstances, running a risk of breach of duty of care claims at tribunal.

You don’t understand Shared Parental Leave legislation

Despite having an important role for society, this legislation has a reputation for being complex. It allows parents to share statutory leave and pay when their child is born or they adopt – it can be taken separately or simultaneously.

Read up on the basics here (

Make sure your staff handbook has reference to this policy and talk to us about more of the detail of implementation.

You’re a bit worried about what you can and can’t ask during interview

You know the basics (don’t ask about age, questions relating to maternity, questions relating to marital status, criminal convictions and trade union membership) but you’re a little unsure about questions relating to health and disability.

If an applicant has a health condition or disability, you can only ask about this before interview if they might need an adjustment to help them do part of your selection criteria. You are allowed to ask about their condition after you have offered them a job.

Mistaking presenteeism for productivity

Your employees all turn up on time, don’t take long lunches and spend 8 hours at their desk. That’s a good start, but what are they thinking? When was the last time you sat them down and asked them? Go for a coffee and make sure they feel that you’re open to ideas.  In a bigger team a staff survey will help you to get an idea of what needs to be improved. Ask us for a free staff survey tool and analysis session from us at Bedrock HR.

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‘Made in Germany’ is the most highly regarded quality label for goods, brands and services around the world, outshining other major exporting nations’ trust marks such as ‘Made in USA’ or ‘Made in UK’.

‘Made in Germany’ takes prime position and is therefore the world’s leading quality label. The label’s first-place position is mainly due to positive ratings in the product categories ‘quality’ and ‘security standards’ along with the overall popularity of ‘Made in Germany’ across many countries in the world.

Switzerland is in second place and received very high ratings from around the world in the categories ‘status symbol’ and ‘authenticity’. Italy excels with regard to design, while Japan received the best ‘advanced technology’ ratings of all countries. China outshines others regarding ‘price/performance ratio’.

The USA just scrapes into the Top 10: All in all, the USA ranks eighth and is thus behind countries such as Great Britain, Sweden, and Canada. The United States is furthermore among those countries, whose global reputations have worsened the most over the course of the past twelve months, suggesting a ‘Trump effect’. But the USA is not the only example of the fact that major political changes do have a noticeable effect on the image of certain countries of manufacture. Turkey’s and Greece’s scores are also linked to recent political developments that damaged both countries’ reputations.

The bronze medal is taken by the ‘Made in EU’ label, which was established as late as in 2003 by the EU commission. The label primarily owes its positive reputation to consistently high global ratings. Thus, not only consumers from European Community countries such as, for instance, Sweden and Great Britain, have faith in the label, but also respondents from outside the EU. For example, “Made in EU” took top places in almost all South American countries (e.g. Argentina and Colombia).

SOURCE Statista GmbH. These are the findings from Statista’s Made-In-Country Index (MICI). Statista is one of the world’s leading databases for business-relevant facts and information, sought to find out which countries around the globe enjoy the best reputation as countries of manufacture and exporting nations. Statista surveyed some 43,000 consumers in 52 countries about countries’ quality labels. The result is the Made-In-Country Index 2017 – a global ranking of countries and an indicator of the power of the individual nations’ brand image.



Network Cognitive Networking – that makes dreams come true
Action brings about change

What can you do if you want to optimise your networking practice? A good starting point is the mantra “Action brings about change”. But you have to change a few aspects of yourself if you want to change people around you.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard, but why not start by taking a sober look at yourself? Are you – through your attitude and way of communicating – an attractive candidate for a professional business relationship?

If your answer is an unequivocal ”yes”, you are most likely a very competent networker who is already profiting from his network. If your answer is “I’m not quite sure”, you will probably find the text below useful.

Your network

It is a good idea to map your network. It is also important to identify the resources to which you have access and where you can find them. Generally, you can work with three different types of network:

  • Your professional network

Here, you find people with whom you share professional interests. These are often like-minded people with similar educations, job functions and workplaces.

It is an important network because it offers you the security you need to feel at ease at work.

  • Your business network

This network includes relationships outside of your professional network. These contacts are very relevant people too, but may have different approaches to business matters. They represent multiple competences and resources.
The contacts in your business network are very important in your career, partly because these relationships tend to be the ones that direct you towards your goals, and partly because development and progress are often generated through co-operation with people who possess different competences and perspectives to you.

  • Your personal network

Here, you find your family and friends. If you are focusing on your professional development, you should not spend too much energy on this network because efficient professional help is seldom found in a personal network.

By Simone Andersen, speaker and author of the bestseller: The Networking Book, 50 ways to develop strategic relationships.

Simone AndersenSimone Andersen: Simone is a journalist and has a Master’s degree in media science. She worked for many years at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) as an editor and talk show host. She is an expert in business networking and building relations. Simone has just written the bestselling book “The Networking Book” and gives talks on this subject. Contact: – +45 26161818

The Networking Book
It is a well-documented fact that what we want and desire is more easily The Networking Bookachieved when we understand how to build the right relationships. Networking is basically the exchange of a wide range of services – and the most precious insurance in your private life and your career. This highly practical and accessible book will help anyone understand the power of networking quickly through face-to-face meeting and social media, as well as how they can use it as a way to enhance their prospects.


Secrets of a successful movie revealed in new research.

Whether a movie is a sequel does not make it more likely to be a success, but a big budget does, according to undergraduate student researchers from the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Canada.

The researchers defined the factors that most affect a movie’s gross worldwide box office sales and impact critical acclaim, high financial performance and movie awards.

“Our findings suggest that budget is the most influential factor over the success of a film, although increasing other aspects such as star power has a profound impact on the reception of the movie,” says Alexa Hernandez, one of the student researchers.

“We also found that films which receive higher domestic opening box office sales usually score higher in gross worldwide box office sales, and that these movies are most likely to receive coveted awards such as Oscars.”

The researchers examined the influence of factors such as genre, star power, budget, duration and ratings on online sites on the success of the top grossing films of 2015.

“On average, seven out of ten movies end up losing money, two break even and only one makes a profit. The difficultly is that demand is nearly impossible to predict and all costs are incurred before the film is released. Yet we wondered if it were possible to understand what factors make a movie successful, could some of the high levels of financial risk in this industry be mitigated?”

Professor Serpa says: “My students used data analytics to gather information from various movie databases (including), and merge it with box office yields and box office audience. This allowed them to cobble together a very comprehensive database, and to observe the movie patterns in the 2015-2016 movie industry.”


Nutrition & HydrationGood nutrition and hydration are crucial for our performance at work.  So what happens if these two vital aspects of our wellbeing are neglected in anyway and what we can do to improve it.

(pauses and takes a good few gulps of water)



When we’re stressed, and particularly when we don’t get enough sleep, we tend to crave the starchy, fatty and sugary/salty foods that aren’t exactly optimal nutrition. Plus caffeine. Lots of caffeine. We can then get locked in a cycle of craving / sating / withdrawing / craving, where our bodies are subjected to a blood sugar roller coaster. The roller coaster affects our concentration levels and therefore performance at work. We can struggle to focus and get stuff done. We’re easily distracted and may seem to be busy, but what we’re not is productive and performing at our best, as reported in HBR.

Of course there are long-term effects of this unhealthy intake if we keep going. Serious health issues can follow, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and risk of type 2 diabetes. More on these from Healthy Performance.


We can become dehydrated very easily; not surprising when you stop and think that our bodies are largely made up of fluid. We use heaps of water, even if we’re not all that active, with our brains being a huge consumer of the stuff.

Our performance of everyday tasks can drop off dramatically even if we’re only slightly dehydrated, as alertness and short-term memory are affected, as reported by Water for Health. What’s more, our mood can darken and we get anxious – that’ll be the evolutionary wiring kicking in. And it’s got a very good point.

Truth is, most of us can eat and drink more wisely for a short while, but before too long we’re drifting back into bad old habits. So instead of putting ourselves through cold turkey withdrawal (and setting ourselves up for inevitable failure), it may be smarter to simply make some tiny tweaks:

  • Have a glass of water on waking. Your brain’s been busy while you were sleeping.
  • Add healthy snacks to your grocery shop and buy some small containers to take them to work in.
  • Have more snacks comprised of fruit and nuts than manufactured snacks of sugar, salt, processed fat and starch. There’s research suggesting greater curiosity and creativity at work can result from consuming more fruit and veg.
  • Plan what you’ll have for lunch just after a mid-morning snack; you’ll be better able to choose healthily then than if you leave it until later when you’re hungry.
  • Take a packed lunch a few days each week, so you don’t have to choose at the last minute (and you can save money).
  • Stop whatever else you’re doing when you eat and pay attention to the smell, taste and texture of the food – you’re more likely to feel satisfied if you do this than if you’re reading emails and social media updates as you eat (a little music or conversation won’t hurt though).
  • Keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip from it regularly (a friend has an hourly alarm on his Apple Watch, as he tends to get engrossed in work and forget otherwise).
  • Match each cup of tea or coffee, and each caffeinated fizzy drink, with a large glass of water.
  • If you must have a workplace ‘bake-off’, sell the home-made goodies to raise money for a charity of people’s choice. How about a charity that’s working to provide clean water, such as Unicef?

For other aspects of your wellbeing, you may also find this post useful: 10 ways to look after your wellbeing.

Source: Dawn Sillet

Dawn SillettDawn Sillett has been designing and delivering training workshops and executive coaching for over 15 years.


Author of: The Feedback Book

THE FEEDBACK BOOKMaintaining performance today is no longer simply about having an annual appraisal and telling employees “you must try harder”. Research demonstrates that regular discussions about performance and providing feedback to the people you manage is a more effective way to motivate them and keep them on track.Distilled into this single, handy-sized volume are 50 tips, advice and techniques to help any manager become quickly skilled at regularly discussing performance, setting goals and objectives and providing the necessary feedback to ensure individuals and teams thrive in the company. Structured into five key parts, each of the 50 concise chapters also contains a practical exercise to help the reader understand and implement the concepts and ideas of this book.

Latest figures from financial services roles, show a boom in short-term contract roles.
Permanent placements dip

Professional recruitment firms reported that overall placement numbers for permanent roles dipped by 1% in January 2017, while contractor placements simultaneously increased by 2% year-on-year.

Financial services sector scrambles for contractors

Recruitment of professional contactors increased by 2% across the board year-on-year, with much of this activity attributed to a surge in the number of roles within financial services.

Despite the fact that permanent placements dipped by 6% year-on-year in this sector, contract placements increased by almost a quarter (24%) during the same period as uncertainty around the City’s future post-Brexit deters decision makers from committing to permanent hires. Engineering was the only other sector which enjoyed modest growth in temporary hiring, with contract placements increasing by 3%. This is likely to be attributed to the number of large-scale infrastructure projects currently underway across the UK, coupled with acute skills shortages in the sector as reported by industry body, Engineering UK, this month in its annual State of the Nation report.

Average salaries down

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 1.4% year-on-year. This figure is characterized by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with IT, for example, recording an uplift of 1.8% while in banking average salaries were down 4.7% year-on-year.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) comments: “This data suggests that as the as next month’s deadline approaches for the UK to start its formal withdrawal from the EU, organizations are slightly more hesitant to commit to bringing on board permanent staff. Thankfully, the strength of the UK staffing market lies in its flexibility, and it seems that organiz­ations are bridging gaps with contractors to keep the wheels in motion.”


Depression will be the focus of World Health Day on April 7 2017. Our sleep patterns and mood are closely connected and chronic insomnia may increase the risk of developing anxiety or depression. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in the UK*.

Sleep guru, Anandi, demonstrates in her book, ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’, how working with the breath as a tool can bring your whole being back into balance by soothing the nervous system and increasing serotonin levels, giving you the gift of better sleep.

After suffering with insomnia and bouts of depression for over fifteen years, Anandi cured herself of her sleep problems using an entirely natural solution which uses the principles of Ayurveda, a powerful ancient Indian healing system. She says, “I discovered the breath takes us from the dungeon of sleeplessness to the heavenly experience of sleeping well. Sleep is vital for repairing and rejuvenating every organ of the body, from skin to the brain and it is as vital as water and food.

“Everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. When you’re not tired, you’ll see the world differently, most likely from a positive space. Havoc is wreaked on the mind and body from sleeplessness causing irritability and stress whilst healthy sleep enhances wellbeing.”

Besides good sleep, there are multiple benefits that can arise from good breathing including general mental and emotional wellbeing, a better immune system and the feeling of being grounded and calm during stress. Working with the breath can also lower blood pressure and enables the body to be more efficient at releasing tension in muscles and internal organs.

In ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’, Anandi offers a proven step-by-step system to improve your sleeping pattern, soothe your nervous system and naturally increase serotonin levels using the healing power of the breath. Anandi has devoted a chapter in her book to the power of vyana vanu. The energy of vyana, if flowing freely with space to move, will enhance mood.

In Ayurvedic teaching, vyana means expansion and it is this energy that allows you to be open. Anandi says, “Vyana is the world’s best antidepressant and increasing vyana will bring you a sense of joy and openness. It will make you feel full of vitality. If you are feeling low and anxious, it means you have disconnected from the universal spirit and become separate and small. Take time out to breathe. “

Over the past five years, Anandi has developed a five-step personal sleep review method to help people conquer their insomnia. This step-by-step tailored approach is based on her personal experience of Ayurvedic healing. She says, “I absolutely know it’s possible to overcome insomnia, stress and anxiety using the principles of Ayurveda, a powerful natural healing system dating back 5,000 years.” Unlike more traditional methods, it works to remove the cause of the sleep disturbance, rather than masking the problem with drugs, leading to long-term results.

Anandi’s top tips to improve a night’s sleep are:

• Go to bed early and avoid technology for at least one hour before retiring

• Avoid caffeine and alcohol

• Lengthen and deepen the breath, which calms the mind

• A busy mind is never going to sleep well – a daily ritual that nurtures the soul is vital for deep sleep

• Enjoy a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables

• Turn the lighting down in the evening

• Avoid heavy conversations before bed time

• Keep your bedroom tidy and free of clutter

• Aim for a minimum of seven hours of solid sleep per night.

More helpful tips and exercises can be found in Anandi’s book and on her website. The book offers many practical tools which can help detox the digestive system, calm the nervous system and stimulate the circulatory system.

Breathe Better, Sleep Better is now available on Amazon and on Anandi’s website.

Anandi’s Website:

Source* (October 5 2016)

Most of us let chance decide what our networks should be like. It means that we establish the contacts we make by chance. In short, we lose control of our goals and efforts when networking without a strategy.

When we are not focused, we tend to establish lots of accidental contacts that are not very close.

Two important things about networking: It takes time to build good relationships, and you have to CULTIVATE your important contacts.
With too many contacts in your network, your guilty conscience is bound to come up – and that is not very nice. You will be running out of steam very soon because the time you spend on networking sessions, follow-ups and taking care of relationships exceeds your possibilities, and consequently your network will become inefficient.

What should we do? Recent research shows that we cannot handle the great number of contacts we establish. Actually, a loose, extensive network has a paralyzing effect, which is why we have to prune it.
First of all, we now know that most people can handle a maximum of 100-230 contacts. In return, networks this size can establish deep and close relationships, which, according to experts, will give you far better quality.
Secondly, we should not let chance decide our networking. Therefore – create a vision for your network! Find out what you want to use your network for and how it can help you!

By creating a vision, your work will be focused. You will know what to go for and you can more easily sort out what you do not need. Your wish for networking will grow because the strategy works, and your results – be it job opportunities, promotions or establishing businesses – will begin to show. Moreover, you will see that smaller efforts can result in greater output.

Life as a conscious cognitive networker is fantastic – when you see your goals being achieved.


Simone AndersenAbout Simone Andersen: is a speaker and author of the bestseller: The Networking Book, 50 ways to developThe Networking Book strategic relationships. Simone is a journalist and has a Master’s degree in media science. She worked for many years at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) as an editor and talk show host. She is an expert in business networking and building relations. Simone has just written the bestselling book “The Networking Book” and gives talks on this subject.


Contact: – +45 26161818




“There are simply not enough hours in the day and that’s the end of it” the MD said to me. He meant it.

You could see that he was exhausted, trying to do too much and ending up chasing his own tail. His wife was now pregnant, he had to recruit three new roles and the bank and shareholders were starting to make unreasonable demands.

He continued, “I just have to work evenings and weekends like I always do. That’s the only way. And hopefully something will happen to ease things up begore the baby arrives. But I am not sure quite what it will be.”

Jerry was stuck on a treadmill. He couldn’t get off. Couldn’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel.

My simple if glib reply to him was, “Surely, it is all about priorities.”

His response was “But what do you do when all your priorities are equally important?”

I chose not to tell him about the true meaning of the word priority and that by definition you cannot have lots of “the single most important thing”. A priority is a singular word. You have a priority, a number one. Just the one.

I decided to talk about how to fill a large vase with rocks, stones, sand and water. He knew this one.

He went on, “It’s a total mess if you start with the water. And you won’t have a chance of getting the rocks in if you leave them till last. What you do is start with the rocks, the stones, then the sand, then you top it up with the water at the end.”

Clearly, he knew this exercise but not as a metaphor for priorities.

I continued. Your big ‘priorities’, what is most important, are like the rocks. You should deal with them first. Then, you can fit the progressively smaller tasks around them (stones then sand) and you finish infilling (if there is space or time) with the least relevant, the water.

Boom! He got it. Not all projects are equal. Some are more important than others. Some are crucial; some are nice-to-haves. As soon as you create order then everything starts to fall into place.

However, he was still faltering, “There still isn’t enough time to do it all. Not unless we create a 36-hour day or a 9-day week.”

But no sooner had he said this than the penny dropped. The exercise was about choice and about his role in making choices. His inability to say “no” had created this untenable situation where he felt he was letting everyone down. Failing everyone and feeling rotten about it. He had created an impossible schedule and unreasonably high expectations. He was bound to fail.

Staring into the distance you could visibly see him having his own aha-moment.

“I need to choose my top rocks, the must-do projects in my life. Only then can I fit the less important ones around it. And, you know what, it is OK to say no to things, to things that I don’t really want to do or don’t help me to progress. And maybe, if I do fewer projects better, then the overall results will be better. This is about gaining clarity about what matters and taking control.”

In his moments of clarity, he was able to turn his life around (and the business as well). He systematically identified the several big rocks in his life and the secondary stones that would fit around them. By getting the important things done and cutting out the less important he not only became more focused but he was also working on higher impact activities. A sense of direction brought with it a sense of momentum. And, because of significant de-cluttering and a generous use of the word “no” and delegating, he was able to take ownership of his own evenings and weekends. A result.

Robert Craven (@robert_craven) is an international keynote business speaker, author, consultant and owner of The Directors’ Centre, a consulting and training company which helps owner-directors run the business they want to run.

Robert Craven photo

His latest book (co-authored with Adam Harris) is the Check-In Strategy Journal: Your daily tracker for business and personal developmentCheck-In Strategy Journal: Your daily tracker for business and personal development