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What fun being at work can be! In researching my latest account of the 100 Acre Wood family, I went online to the Disney website and took the “Pooh-sonality test”.

I’m not sure how much I want to divulge, but apparently out of all the 100 Acre Wood animals, my personality type resembles Pooh Bear. According to the test results I have an uncomplicated philosophy and a simple unguarded sense of wonder. It gets worse….I see everything simply and it only takes a “smackerel of something” to keep me cheery (mmm…it’s beginning to sound far too familiar). Finally I lack worldly understanding but more than make up for it with my imagination. I keep reminding myself that this is a personality test aimed for kids and to not take it too personally.

In previous instalments of this blog, we looked into the different personality traits in the 100 Acre Wood family. So how about Winnie-the-Pooh? Do you remember reading this...?

“Here is Edward Bear (later named Winnie-The-Pooh), coming downstairs now, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping a moment and think of it."

 I think this paragraph sums up how many of us exist in life. We’re so busy bumping backwards down the staircase of life, that we never make time to stop and think that there may be a better way of reaching our destination, whether that be in our work or personal life.

A few years ago, with the help of a very pointed comment from a good friend of mine, I recognised that just like Winnie the Pooh, I too had a tendency to bump down the stairs backwards and really needed to make some changes. I was moaning on the phone about how I was frequently late for everything and felt my life was chaotic from the moment I got up until my head hit the pillow at night. She had obviously heard me say this one time too many and quickly recommended a book that she thought might help me.

Enter ‘Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play’ by Mark Forster. This book turns the concept of managing time on its head. There is nothing we can do to change the pattern of 52 weeks in a year, 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day and so on. Mark Forster’s view is that there is no such thing as time management, time just is. But what we can do to make time work for us, is to focus more effectively. Mark’s theories include looking beyond immediate tasks and learning to say “no”. Sorting the significant from the trivial and costing everything we do at a notional hourly rate of pay. By doing this, you can work out the ‘cost’ of every activity you do, be that work based or play related. His belief is that the main reason people don’t do things is disinclination - not a lack of time.

From reading the book, I realised immediately that, a) I always said yes to everything, even if I knew I didn’t have the time or headspace to deal with what the situation may incur, and b) I was always late because I wouldn’t stop work until the very last minute, then leg it out of the door, leaving behind a trail of complete carnage at my desk. As a result I would then arrive frantic at my destination as I was late, and fraught at the fact that I was going back to the chaos I had left behind. I learnt from the book to stop work 15 minutes before I needed to leave for my meeting, make sure I had tied up any loose ends and cleared my desk. It took a while for me to adjust, but before long, I was very rarely late and felt more in control of how I spent my time.

Time is what our lives are made of. Failure to use this time properly can have an unnecessary negative impact on our lives. This sounds like such an obvious statement but so many of us are still bumping down those stairs backwards because we can’t see the wood for the trees. It can be hard to find our way out of the thicket without a little help and a point in the right direction.

The Pooh…sonality test was fun, and I’ll be recommending it to my daughter. However, I won’t be basing my journey through life on an understanding that a ‘smackerel of something’ will keep me cheery and that I have an uncomplicated philosophy!

360–degree feedback is a powerful tool that can help you stop bumping down the stairs backwards. It acts as a virtual blind-spot mirror, revealing a 360 degree view into working relationships and opportunities for improvement.

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