Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and Hanukkah and Christmas are just around the corner. It’s the time for feasting, giving thanks, celebrating with family and friends, and reviewing progress made over the past year. Q4 is already halfway over and, for many of us, the month of year-end reviews is upon us. It’s a time to reflect over the past year and look at how we have grown, jot down our accomplishments, and come up with goals for next year. Performance reviews are a chance for us to assess and evaluate where we were a year ago, where we are now, and where we want to be in the future. Many of us also get to gloat about our teams and, hopefully, get a chance to nominate a few star employees for well-deserved promotions. While assessing ourselves, we’re also evaluating the processes we have in place for reviews and promotions, and how well the company's documentation and communication show people how they can be successful.
I recently went through an exercise where I cleaned and organized my entire office, getting rid of tons of books, electronics, and old papers that were no longer serving me. Since before graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, I’ve had a dream to become a software engineer, so I kept my college textbooks to help me get there. Fast forward to the present, and I’m a Certified Professional Executive Coach with my own business and a desire to help everyone I meet. Not the same dream I had back in college.
The title of this blog post is credited to my manager at my second “real” job, and it is one of the most profound lessons I have learned. I had been going through life thinking that if I continued to work hard and be honest, then I would naturally get what I had earned. By the time my boss said those critical words to me, I was learning that my previous notions weren’t always true. A short while after starting that second “real” job, my direct boss left, and his position opened up. Having no managerial experience yet knowing I could excel in that position, I asked for it. And I got it.
There’s this awesome t-shirt that has a picture of the Loch Ness Monster with “The Important Thing is that I Believe in Myself” written below it. Naturally, I had to have it, and now it’s one of my most worn shirts. It’s cute, funny, and inspirational all at once! The quote on it is so fantastic because all great things come from a desire to do something and a belief that you can do it. If you don’t believe you can accomplish something, are you really going to try?
The title of this blog post comes from a fortune cookie I ate a while ago, and it is a solid reminder to me to live now rather than putting things off until later. How many times this week have you decided to wait to do something? We tend to have excuses for everything whether it be putting off going out to dinner with our friends, waiting until next week to start our new workout regimen, or avoiding pulling those weeds out front. Why is it that we delay acting even if we know the benefits?
I have this great, soft, gray t-shirt that just says “Nope” in black letters that I wear when I know I’m going to have a hectic and stressful day. When I wear it, I stand a little taller as if saying, “Go away world, I’m busy!” Just the fact that it says “Nope” on it makes me smile, and its softness makes my day that much better. Because my calendar is already jammed pack, I know there’s a high chance that I’m going to have to say no to something that comes up on my schedule. And that’s the real meaning behind the shirt.
This blog post will be part of my eBook and then eventually my real book. What better way to get started on a big project like this than break it down into little tasks and challenge yourself to write part of a chapter every week? I had always been interested in writing and wanted to write a book but never knew what to write about. There was no clear image of my goal until recently. Rather than thinking “Nah, I’m never going to do that” when I first thought about writing a book, I kept checking in on my goal asking, “how about now?” until I had what felt like a really solid idea to run with. The same should happen with any goal you have, whether it be personal or professional, affect only you or your entire company. You (or your organization) may not be ready now, but you will be!
Recently my husband and I redid our back patio. We had brown plastic wicker furniture with gray cushions and it just looked sorta… blah. Originally, we were thinking of getting a whole new patio set but we quickly squashed that idea once we looked at the prices. So, we decided to get new cushions and some side tables that we had been talking about for awhile. After shopping online at Target and going to two stores in person, we have what looks like a brand-new patio - 2 chairs and a love seat with medium-dark blue cushions with gray accent pillows, a new ottoman, 2 rustic-looking side tables with blue in it them that matches the cushions, a blue and white rug for under the table, and a new “Wipe your paws” mat. Our screened-in outdoor area now has a whole new look and feel for half the cost of a new patio set and only about 5 hours of work when all was said and done! All of those little changes we made added up to a big overall difference in the appearance and comfort of our patio.
As humans, we’re hardwired to want things now. Instant gratification is widespread, especially with everyone being connected by technology 24 hours/day. This want-it-now attitude is partially responsible for 92% of people giving up on their goals. According to an Inc.com article, only 8% of people actually achieve what they set out to accomplish. So, how can you make sure you’re in that 8%?
There are so many facts and statistics around everything to do with business - how long your emails should be if you want them to be read, the best time to post on social media, what kinds of meetings work best for what topics, etc. It’s like we’ve taken all of the emotion out of business and make every decision based on pure facts. For some, that seems like a very good thing. Emotions and business do not belong in the same sentence. But what about our intuition (or awareness, perception, or insight)? Have we lost the art of letting that guide us through certain situations?
What do you feel when you start to think about work? Are you filled with excitement and thoughts of opportunities, or do you suddenly feel stressed and drained? If you answered the latter, you’re not alone. According to an article from Bustle, one in four Americans say that work is a source of anxiety for them. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) reported that 65% of workers stated that workplace stress has caused difficulties of some kind and 25% of them view work as the number one stressor in their lives. One study done by the Employers’ Health Coalition found that lost productivity was at least 7.5 times greater than productivity lost from absenteeism. Presenteeism is when an employee is physically at work, but due to some unaddressed physical or emotional issues, they are distracted to the point of reduced productivity. This is bad news for both employees and employers.
There are times when we find ourselves in a slump and our productivity is low - especially on Monday mornings. Sometimes our concentration wanes because we’re doing a tedious task or maybe we’re tired and just find ourselves daydreaming about a week-long nap. When you find yourself with low throughput, here are some tips to help you get back into the game.
The other day a light bulb taught me a lesson. There are four vanity lights in the master bathroom and I was changing them all out. When I took them out, I could take out two light bulbs at the same time very quickly. But when I was putting in the new bulbs, I had to use both hands and really pay attention to get them lined up correctly so I could complete the task in a reasonable amount of time (and without breaking something).
In my January 8th blog post we discussed how to hold yourself accountable for reaching your own goals. But as a manager or a CEO, how are you holding your employees accountable for reaching the division or company’s goals?
It’s the day after the Super Bowl and you really don’t want to be reading this right now. Reading this means you’re not sleeping off your late night and you’re most likely at work. 14 million people took today off as a sick day, making the day after the Super Bowl the biggest sick day of the year. We all have those times when we just aren’t feeling it. We want the day to pass so tomorrow can come and we can have our motivation back and be ready to tackle what lies ahead. How can you motivate yourself even when you can’t imagine doing anything other than turning off your alarm clock and pulling the covers back up? Here are some tips that may benefit you.
We always talk about tools we can use or mindsets we can have to improve our productivity, but we haven't talked about how our environment affects us. If you're not comfortable when you're working, or are too comfortable, you won't accomplish as much if were just the right amount of comfortable. The chair you're sitting in, how your office is laid out, the room temperature and brightness, and noise volume all affect your comfort and therefore have an effect on your productivity.
Now that you have your New Year’s Resolutions finalized, how are you going to make sure you achieve your goals? Setting up a way to be held accountable is the #1 way to help you succeed. Think about it this way: when your boss tells you that you need to get something done, you stay late and work those extra hours to make sure it’s done. When you buy a gym membership, the chance that you’ll continue going for the duration of the membership is far less than 100% because you’re only accountable to yourself.
Remember Christmas Eve night as a kid when you couldn’t wait for the morning to come? You were either too excited to even try to sleep or you would go to bed super early thinking that the sooner you go to sleep, the sooner the morning will be there. You had a plan where you were going to open presents and have the most amazing day ever. That was your intention. And it came true! Christmas morning would come, you tore open all of our presents, and you spent the rest of the day playing with your new toys. It was amazing! Why can’t every day feel like that? News flash – it can. Well, closer than you may think, anyway.
Everyone is always focused on being more productive - doing more in less time. We're always on the go, go, go and barely have time to eat and sleep let alone relax and enjoy ourselves. Remember that one time last year when you took a vacation and enjoyed yourself? What happened when you got back to work? Were you more productive, organized, happier, stress-resistent, and satisfied? You very likely were. Imagine being able to feel more like that every day, not just when you're on vacation!
It’s Monday. And like every Monday when I’m not on vacation, I was a little more stressed than I would like to be. You may have noticed that this didn’t come out around 7 or 8am like I normally try to do. Rather, it’s coming out around 11pm. It’s late, but what’s really important is that it’s out on the day I set out to post my blogs every week.