Author: Stephen Haunts

Practical Techniques to Improve Your Self-Motivation

Lack of motivation is something most everyone has experienced at some time in their lives. We can often jump into action if we are prompted by someone else, but when it comes to self-motivation, we must be both the motivator and the motivatee. 

Practical techniques to improve your self-motivation by Stephen Haunts

This isn’t always easy, as we can be prone to procrastination and, let’s face it, laziness. True, we can be too lazy to do something we need to do. It’s so much easier to ask someone else or convince ourselves that it’s not worth the effort to perform a specific task or go to a particular place. 

I should write a book, but I doubt anyone would read it. 

I’d love to become an teacher, but going back to college… no way. 

The boss wants me to represent him at the award ceremony tonight, but I’d probably say or do something stupid.

I’m too tired to go to the gym today. Maybe tomorrow. 

Demotivators are continually looking for an excuse to avoid doing what they need to do to succeed, to reach their goals, or to simply do something or go somewhere. As shown in the above examples, there can be varying reasons for a lack of motivation. Whether it’s a headache or other physical ailment, a lack of self-confidence, or a lack of desire, you’ve probably been guilty of at least one instance of demotivation. 

We all have. And that’s why this article was written. We’ll explore some tips and techniques that will help you to get up and go, do the unthinkable, and conquer the world. 

Okay, so maybe you won’t conquer the world, but you can conquer your world. So, let’s get started!

Understanding Interpersonal Relationships

If you are interested in improving your interpersonal relationships at work but have always found it difficult, then you might like my Pluralsight course, Building Healthy Interpersonal Relationships at Work, where I talk about how to build, and maintain effective relationships, how to manage conflict and how to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Having a great day at work is one of the top ways to boost your mood and self-confidence. When things are going right in the workplace, you feel a sense of security that just cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Most of us need this type of workplace stability to become successful and productive. If you have ever felt that you love your job and you don’t mind the work involved, but there is still something out of place, consider the relationships that you have built with your coworkers. Interpersonal connections are essential in your daily life, and this includes your professional side.

Understanding Interpersonal Relationships by Stephen Haunts

When you work in an environment where you feel that you can be heard and understood, you are more likely to succeed. Those with hostile work environments tend to not only be more stressed out on an average daily basis but also find ways to take this stress out on loved ones or other uninvolved people. Getting along with your coworkers and supervisors can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one.

Consider the way that you communicate with your peers. Is the interaction healthy? Productive? Do you feel that you lack something? This course is meant to help you dissect your interpersonal relationships at work while striving toward more robust connections. 

Extending the Profanity Detector

In my previous article, I talked about a simple profanity detector that I opened sourced on GitHub. Since launching that code example I have had a lot of people get in touch with some suggestions for new features as they wanted to make use of the library. There were some really good suggestions, so I have implemented them all. In this post, I will walk through what was requested and what I have added to the library.

Profanity Detector by Stephen Haunts on Github.

Using the Library via Nuget

The first suggestion was to have NuGet support for the library as some people don’t want to clone repositories and deal with the source directly, so I have made the compiled Profanity Detector library available.

Profanity Detector library by Stephen Haunts available for .NET developers on NuGet.

You can include the library directly from your package manager in Visual Studio, Visual Studio for Mac, VS Core, or Rider. The documentation for using the library is available on the Profanity Detector GitHub page.

Review of the Peak Design Tech Pouch

When I travel to conferences or workshop I have a whole heap of cables, adapters, and tools that I use on my trips and in my everyday working life. When I upgraded my everyday carry bag to the Peak Design Everyday Backpack, I also became aware of the Peak Design Tech Pouch.

In the following video, I do a review and an unpacking of my kit to show you how much space is in this tech pouch.

Available from Amazon.com

Available for Amazon.co.uk

Review of the Peak Design 30L Everyday Backpack

For a few years I have been searching for the idea laptop bag and everyday carry mobile office. I have wanted something strong, stylist, and robust enough to service lots of travelling on trains and planes. I have tried many bags that almost fit the bill, but they all seem to fall short. That is until I discovered the Peak Design 30L Everyday Backpack.

I have recorded a video review that contains all my thoughts on this bag, but essentially I have found my perfect bag. It isn’t a cheap bag by any stretch, but it fits the bill perfectly and feels like it will last for years to come.

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Detecting Profanity in Users Input

Since writing this post, I have had many great feature suggestions for the Profanity Detector. I have implemented all the suggestions I have received and written another blog post about it. You can read the 2nd post here.

On several projects that I have worked on, we have had a requirement to detect profanity in users input. This includes things like general swear words, sexual acts, racial slurs, and sexist slurs, etc. Over the years, I have built a pretty comprehensive list of these profanities used for the detection process. The list has been built from combining lists I found on the internet. The lists are allegedly used by a lot of the large social networks in their profanity detection; although I can’t verify that.

Profanity detector on GitHub by Stephen Haunts

My profanity detector is on GitHub, and released under an MIT license, so it is free for anyone to use and modify. The main list of profanities can be found in the ProfanityList.cs file. If you are easily offended and a bit sensitive to language then I recommend you DO NOT open that file. It contains some pretty gross language, but to detect the language, you need to be able to define it.

I am now a Microsoft MVP

A few weeks ago, I was awarded the Microsoft MVP award. The MVP award is recognition for the community work I perform in teaching people about different software development subjects using Microsoft tools, such as .NET and Azure.

To get the award, I had to be nominated by another MVP. Once the nomination happened, I was invited onto a website where I had to detail everything I had done community wise over the past 12 months. My community contributions include user group and conference talks, open-source contributions, free workshops, and co-running a software development user-group.

It is a big honour to receive the award, and I am very grateful to be nominated and to receive it. Recipients of the award get many benefits, including access to all Microsoft software to use for free, credits to use towards our Azure subscriptions, access to training through Linkedin Learning, Xamarin University, and many other benefits. We also get a beautiful glass statue award and a framed certificate to display in our offices. The one advantage I am looking forward to, though, is attending the MVP Summit at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond next March. At the summit, all the MVPs get together, and Microsoft tells us what they are working on. Because of this, we have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement so that we don’t release any information early. It’s great that we get to see what’s coming and have some feedback into the process by talking directly to the teams building the software.

On my daughter’s request, I made a YouTube unboxing video of the award. According to her, as a 10-year-old YouTube expert, no-one reads blogs, and I need to do an unboxing video. You can see above if you are interested in seeing what comes in the award box.

MVP awards are reassessed every year. To keep getting the award benefits, I have to continue doing what I am doing by helping people in the software development community. I think this should be easy to do as I love teaching people. I feel I have always had a skill for taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand, which is why I do well-produced training for Pluralsight.

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