Category Archives: improvement

Statement of Purpose

Have a purpose or mission to accomplish, makes achieving your goals easier.  You should be focused on your task or goal.  All your actions and thoughts should be directed towards the goal.

This mind set increases your confidence and it is proven that confident people have an easier time with achievement.

How Do You Get Purposeful?

Think about what it is that you either want to do or are responsible for doing.  Set your goal, or review your tasks.   Focus on what steps you will take to achieve the goals set or mandated.  It is always a good idea to write them down as reinforcement. For example,  I want to ‘stop smoking, lose weight, reduce my golf handicap, learn a language, obtain a promotion, increase my sales etc.  This process transforms you from walking around in a reactionary mode into a proactive, purposeful state of mind.

Next, it is time to visualize doing the things that make progress towards your goal.  It’s not silly, visualizing the steps you need to take brings them to life.  Then visualize you actually achieving the goal and what positive changes it brings to your life.

Before you go to sleep, think about what you need to do the next day.  Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed, keep it positive, focusing on the next step only and the satisfaction, or relief it will bring.  When you wake up, set your mind to the tasks of the day, review the actions needed and get going.

The momentum you build by completing daily tasks necessary to achieve the ultimate goal, creates a level of confidence that is invaluable.  You will also obtain a sense that you must do something, lest you waste a valuable day of your life.

Don’t get ahead of yourself, success is a bunch of tiny victories, peppered with losses, strung together.

It is critical to accept setbacks as natural part of your growth, and to enjoy the small gains made en-route to the big goal!

Set your mind to a goal and break the steps into small increments to guarantee success!

You can do it, start believing in yourself.

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How to Save Time

I decided to put this valueable information all in post rather than a downloadable PDF. Put these into action ASAP & give feedback.

Practical Suggestions to Create Time To Pursue Your Interests & Increase Productivity.

Business

Little Mo – Many business experts and consultants stress the big picture or big task/project.  Rightfully so, if we don’t accomplish the big things the smaller one usually won’t matter.  Because larger scale projects require more thinking and pondering, you can find yourself stuck by over analyzing. What works for me is to tackle a series of small tasks first.  The momentum and sense of accomplishment is something I build on.  It clears my head, readying me for the larger tasks at hand.

Touch it – Do it.  Too often we handle a document, review it, only to deal with it later.  A waste, you’ve invested time in it, complete it now; otherwise, you will re-read / re-review it when you actually deal with it.  Live by the Touch it Once rule!

Email, a huge consumer of our time, is a great place to implement this concept.  When you open an email, deal with it, if possible.  Even if you need to check another document, email etc. for the answer, you will save time, gain momentum and clear your mind to focus on the next.  Only flag the emails that absolutely need input or careful consideration. Read, act, then go on.

Shorten and reduce meetings – We have way too many meetings, wasting the collective time of all the attendees.  First, invite only critical persons, too often people are in meetings with nothing constructive to add or learn. (I am fan though of including, at times, junior staff/interns, as a learning experience) Many meetings are just plain unnecessary. Use email/phone/ or video conferencing if truly necessary.

Don’t let attendees get too comfortable.  Do away with the coffee and donuts, I like standing meetings. Get to the point and get to work.  Shorten meetings, use a timer and let people know you are.

Strategy meetings require ‘homework’ beforehand to be productive.  Demand that participants come prepared otherwise you and the others are wasting valuable time.

Personal Life

T.V.  As if we didn’t already know this sorrowful fact, we watch way too much TV, wasting hours to the detriment of our goals and pursuits.

I confess to being an ex-news junkie but the news rarely changes during the day.  The networks just spin it a bit differently.  Rarely is there a REAL developing story that compels us to watch.  I am not talking about the endless babble about a storm that is days away yet is covered from every minute angle. Pick a news broadcast you like and give it no more than an hour a day.

We are all connected in some way during the day, if there is something you need to know, you can be sure you will know it.  Being an hour or three behind the story will not change a thing.   TV news once a day, should give what you need, watching 2- 3 times a day is just regurgitation, even during a crisis

A TV pet peeve is the time spent on the weather. Broadcasts start with a tease and continue, giving a ridiculous amount of detail.  I couldn’t care less about Doppler pictures and temperature readings in 30 different places.  All you need is what the highs and lows of the day are and if sunny, cloudy or precipitation expected.  You can get all this on your phone, web, or in seconds on the weather channel.

Use commute time productively – We spend a lot of time commuting and if we use that time on something like reading a book we want to, studying something we have an interest in, listening to an audio book if we are driving, or the news and weather so we don’t have to waste time watching it on tv!

Bank on Line – I realize there is some trepidation about this subject but clearly it is as safe as any other means we use to pay bills.  You can set up your regular payments and forget about them.  Schedule your payments to vendors who accept payments via ACH for the last due date. No need to address envelopes and buy stamps.  You will also have an easy organized place to check your payment histories.   I also advocate receiving bills on line.  Schedule for payment and then save them into a folder, dramatically reducing the handling time.

Reading material – Slim it down, we are inundated with reading materials concerning the field we work in. Depending on the area of expertise, condense the publications/materials you read.  Most times they are all a version of each other.  Find the one that covers the bases and stop wasting time on others. A great example are newspapers, there really is no need to ready two or three papers a day.

This said with an eye towards the flood of sources we now draw from (web, mobil, tv, radio, print…)

DVR – Instant time saver -get a DVR, 30%, yes 30%, of each hour is devoted commercials.  Record a show, fast forward thru them and ‘pocket’ the time!  An easy way to pick up time.

Don t make your schedule based upon TV programming!  Use your ‘prime time’ to pursue your hobbies and interests.  If you choose, you can watch your ‘DVR-commercial free’ later (in place of the news and weather you already know!)

Lunch hour – we all need to be refreshed but we can use our lunch time to pursue an interest we have or to get a bit exercise (freeing up time we wd use later in the day)

Multi Task – we are a nation of mult-taskers, or so we think.  They number of people who cannot perform two routine tasks simultaneously is astounding.  Learn to do it NOW!

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Saving Time – Ways to Save Time

As promised, I have concrete, time saving ideas that actually work!

These free, practical suggestions apply to both your work and personal life.

To get your free copy via email, please subscribe to my blog (its free as well).  You will also receive all new posts via email automatically.

You will not receive any offers, advertisements, spam etc.

Note – Current subscribers will receive it

automatically.

So, pick up time now!

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Slackers – How to Handle Them

We know them, they are in the office,  are in our department, they are everywhere.

They are the slackers. They do little, hide a lot and get by while aggravating the hell out of us.

Slackers take credit for work done by others, pretending to have contributed.

Slackers are experts at appearing to be busy and engaged.  We may all get equal credit or pay but the reality is that in a group of five, at least one will not make any meaningful contribution.

Take the Slack Out

The only way to deal with the slackers in our midst is by a combination of tight management and encouragement.

First, we must have an honest but polite discussion. Preferably one on one, but if you are on a team or group of some sorts, you can have a meeting and bring the topic up.   Keep it on business terms, don’t attack the person.

Try language like the following;

We need everyone to participate equally in this department or on this project.  It is not only fair but essential to have everyone share the work.  Otherwise, we will be unable to accomplish our goals and will make appropriate changes to address the failures of those responsible. Make it clear there will be harsh consequences for failing to contribute meaningfully.

With the warning in place, you need to designate, if in management or request such from a manager, a specific task and a corresponding time line for completion.  When you designate to a known slacker, you must be definitive in what and when it is expected.  If you leave anything unclear you can be sure they will exploit it.

It may be easier, though tedious, to break down the task into tiny components with corresponding timelines, or to hand feed each piece.  That leaves the slacker with very little wiggle room.  You should engage the slacker, being sure they acknowledge they have what they need to do the task at hand.  Then you need to monitor the progress according to the time line set.

Document any failures, you will need them.

If you are not in a management position then you must get the evidence and be tactful.   Ask for a review or meeting and during that time of feedback you can say you are being held back by someone who is not carrying their weight.  This is a time to identify the person and specify the failures.    General, wishy-washy complaints will not work.  If you want management to take action give them hard evidence!

The Effort is Worth It

We must acknowledge that in any setting there will be one or two who step up and do the lions share.  That is a fact of life.  However that being said, we should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage.

The main thrust is to grow and improve our situations, failure to address slackers is unacceptable.

If you can either expose a slacker and they contribute or are tossed out, you will reap benefits in productivity, not to mention the stress reduction!

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Time Management – Efficiency

Certain people are able accomplish many

things while others are unproductive to say the least!

Why do some habitually hit their goals while others are unable to accomplish things or do so at a slow, frustrating pace?  What contributes to the difference?

What do we do with the time we have?

An important component of productivity is time management.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day,  7 days in a week, it is how we use them that makes the difference!

Many people seem frozen by the agenda of things to accomplish and talk about all they have to do but never make a dent in the ‘pile’.  Can we increase our productivity?

The good news is we can all improve our productivity by managing our time, a precious resource that must be tightly controlled.

Three O’s

I witness three areas preventing or inhibited productivity on a daily basis – Over Thinking, Over Blabbing and good Old fashioned Procrastination.

Many people put themselves in the circle of Paralysis by Over Analysis.   They over think the task at hand, wasting precious time thinking of the best way and every conceivable consequence. I am not suggesting you recklessly pursue action but if you aren’t building rockets or working with nuclear materials, make a reasonable assessment and get t0 work.  Stop over analyzing and take action.

Incessant Talking – We are a culture of chatters.  Communication is essential but there is a limit to the amount of time we frit away discussing a task at hand and about totally unrelated subjects.  Two areas of blabbing  to be dealt with.  First, if related to the task at hand, put a time limit (for most subjects 5 minutes) on discussion.  For meetings large or small, require that the participants stand. Don’t let anyone get comfortable.  As for unrelated, ‘small talk’ ban it entirely until the in box is empty!

Procrastination – First be honest with yourself, face the fact you are putting off doing something meaningful with menial diversions.  It then truly comes down to focusing, blocking out your tendencies to avoid doing something difficult, and getting down to work.

The common thread here is simply to take action!  Don’t let another day fly by without doing what you need or would like to get done.

I have an article coming out that will give you actual tos and ideas to increase your productivity.  The ideas work and are applicable to the work environment and in your personal life.

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Gratitude – Essential to Happiness and Peace

Gratitude is the Right Attitude

Simply acknowledging things to be thankful for is real a game changer. You will surprise yourself with how your outlook and attitude will improve when you recognize and practice this happiness tool.

I am not an advocate of the ‘It could be worse’ crowd as a way for making you feel good that others are in worse shape.  It takes less energy to remind yourself of the good stuff in your life rather than comparing your lot in life with others.

You are guaranteed to be much happier and peaceful.

“Gratitude is the best attitude.”  ~Author Unknown

Practice Being Thankful

There are no shortages of things to be grateful for.  The problem is we take so much for granted that we overlook them.

You need to be conscious of the good things in your life!

We tend to acknowledge things, like health, only when there is a problem.  How about starting the day thankful you feel good? (Okay, after a few cups of coffee!)

You can see, smell, talk, walk etc.  No small thing at all and it starts the day off in the right frame of mind.

On your way to work or play, take notice of the sun, clouds, trees, flowers, snow.. (opps, went overboard there!)  Being aware of and thankful of nature’s role in our world has a calming effect on our lives.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

People In Our Lives

Gratitude is a sure relationship builder or saver.

We have many people in our lives, at times they may cause us angst or put a demand upon us.  It is important to balance this ‘heavy’ side of relationships with the other side of it.

First off, no one is perfect, rather than harping on the things a person may do that irritate us, remind yourself of all the good attributes a person may have and be thankful for them.  You will find that the exercise elevates the relationship dramatically and the annoyance factor dissipating.

It IS the Little Things!

Be thankful for little things, we tend to focus on negative things, which create negative vibes. I am sure we all have arrived at work complaining about the traffic, but did we ever use the time to think not of everything we need to get done that day but on someone we love, some pursuit we enjoy, a recent accomplishment….

Being grateful insulates us from the tendency the culture has towards negativity and the focus on what we do not have.

We must practice being grateful and happy with what already have rather than get pulled into the message that we need this and that to be happy.  You will find that being grateful actually enhances your  joy and growth opportunities.

Do it as soon as you finish this article and drop me a line on your thoughts.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”  ~Epictetus

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Why be Loyal? Key to Relationships

Key to Relationships and Happiness 

Loyalty can be expressed in many forms, to a brand, company, family or person.

We hear people professing their loyalty to products or brands,  “I only shop at Saks” or “I’m hooked on Apple” etc. but the most important expression of loyalty is the type shown to other people.

Being loyal to others is a fundamental ingredient to having integrity.  You simply cannot have integrity by acting in self interest.

False professions

Often times we profess our loyalty but abandon others  whenever that loyalty comes with a cost to ourselves.  People make promises and commitments to others but break them.

This evidences a total lack of loyalty.  At times legitimate issues prevent us from honoring a committment. Thats ok as long as we take the time to explain the reason we can’t live up to our commitments.  We all know people who always have ready excuses but anyone who contiually disappoints another lacks loyalty and integrity.

Dependable

We need to be loyal to our friends and families who need and rely on us, if only for support or company.

Even when some other opportunity presents itself we must keep our commitment. That is the ultimate expression of loyalty, putting yourself behind the needs or expectation of someone else.

Its central to your integrity and connected directly to unselfishness.

Believe it or not it is personally rewarding to honor your commitments!

Loyal to a Fault

As with most things there can be a downside to loyalty when we remain blindly loyal to someone to their detriment.  Protecting some one under the guise of loyalty when their behavior is destructive is unacceptable.

In that case true loyalty and love would demand that we stop enabling and approving of the behavior and help them seek the help they need.

Don’t Break the Trust

Can you be trusted with loyalty? Can you be counted on?

Loyalty –  the elixir for healthy relationships!

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Copy Cat with a Twist – Improve Rather than Innovate

Be A Copy Cat

Originality is a sure fire way to achieve success.

Problem is it can be tough to be original; inventing a new product or idea.

It’s far easier to improve an existing product or idea.

In fact, most success is nothing more than a twist on something already in the marketplace.

Its so obvious, yet we always spend time trying to create something new when the answer is the natural progression of improvement.

Even Entire Nations Do It.

Taking the idea of tweaking an existing product to new level are some national economies who have used this principle to raise their standards of living.

In the early 1970’s Japan began to send their electronic products and autos to the USA.  They were not very good at the time and we tended to call it Jap Crap!

But they kept at it, working to tweak products and the cost structure to produce them and their focus was rewarded quickly.

Japan become an economic power house by improving products already in the market place.  They did not truly innovate, just improved products and processes of manufacture, even focusing on the supply chain to shorten times and inventory levels to get an edge.

As their success grew, they did begin to invest in innovation but the bulk of their success is clearly not creative.

Pure Copy Cat

China at this point has been a copy cat, as most developing nations tend to be. They use their low labor costs to copy and manufacture products others have created or designed.

They have not done much improvement, with most of the engineering and design work is still done in the USA.  At some point soon they will need to create improvement ideas and add some level of innovation as their cost benefits erode.

IPAD IPOD

Apple created two smashing successes with digital music players and tablet computers. But they didn’t create the categories!

They created elegant, user friendly devices that became must haves by vastly improving the existing players and tablets in the marketplace.

You don’t have to go as far as Apple has to get a leg up!

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