New Tricks …

Starting a new job involves learning new techniques, processes and methods of doing things. Even if you have been in the industry a while you will need to learn how this company does things and every organisation has it’s own way of working. So how do you learn something new?

Firstly you should keep an open mind to what you are being shown. We have all done things before and we all know how to send an email or open post but if company policy says all emails must be tagged and all post logged respect the Company’s right to make their own rules and accept that is your new way of working

Know that the conscious mind can only process seven tasks at any given time and that anything new is managed by the conscious mind; hence making them feel alien, complicated and often a little difficult. Once we have repeated something a number of times it gets moved into our subconscious which you could liken to running on auto-pilot. Remember your first driving lesson? How were you ever going to be able to look in the mirrors, signal, change gear, manoeuvre and look where you were going all at the same time! Now you probably drive routes and don’t even recall the journey. That is because when the conscious mind was processing so many tasks in one go it was stretched to it’s limit. The subconscious is where most of our routine functions are managed and has the ability to process in excess of sixteen million tasks at one time; therefore driving a car, singing along with the song on the radio, thinking about dinner and eating a sweet are all possible at the same time.

This is also true for all new tasks at work. When you start them they are in your conscious mind, the more you are trying to focus on at one time the trickier it is going to be. Get up to, or try to exceed, the magic seven and you are going to feel stressed and possibly even a little panicky. Where possible try to focus on one new task at a time and therefore keep the amount going through your conscious mind to a minimum. This will help. Then the only thing for it is repetition. As often as you can will click you through to the subconscious quicker and therefore bring things into the ‘ease’ category.

Theories vary on how many times you need to repeat something to make it stick but as new habits are formed by repeating tasks for thirty days (good news for all of you looking to acquire a new habit) then I would estimate that thirty repetitions will have the task mastered for most people.

There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I don’t subscribe to this. I think you can learn new things at any age as long as you give yourself the luxury of an open mind and repetitive action. When you watch a small child learn to walk they don’t master it on their first try. It takes many times to become skilled but we all know this is something that as able-bodied adults we do with no thought at all. If you take the determination and attitude of the child you will master anything. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.


For help getting onboard in a new company or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at

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