Time flies by exceedingly faster each year. Maybe it’s because of being busier or just having a full plate, but I’ve had to learn some great time management strategies to keep up with everything. These tips and tricks have worked so well, I’ve told them to others and hope you find them helpful!
6 Time Management Tactics:
- Manage Emails and Social Media Less. Everyone keeps emailing you. Texting you. Calling you. Tweeting you. Leaving comments on your Facebook. It’s difficult to keep up. Instead of getting sucked into these time eaters, make a commitment to only check them three times daily; once in the morning, once in the afternoon and if you must, one last time at night. There’s no reason to do it more than that.
- Finish what you started. Another big time killer is interruptions. You start doing something and then a co-worker or family member busts in and tries to change your track, or perhaps you just think of something else you need to do and get sidetracked. Stay focused on the task at hand and finish it. You’ll feel more accomplished.
- Write down 5 daily time wasters. Evaluate them. I’m not talking about personal time; you need that for yourself to recharge your batteries. I’m talking about those itty, bitty things you don’t really need to do but that you’re in the habit of doing anyway. Try a day or two without them. Does it make any significant difference whether you do it or not? If not, cut them out of your daily routine.
- Come back to earth. What do I mean by this? When things are hectic, it’s a tendency for people to feel overwhelmed, which can lead to a decrease in productivity. Instead of focusing on what is in front of us and most urgent, we may try to multi-task or even sit there with a puzzled and dazed look, wondering where to begin. Multi-tasking can actually decrease the quality of your work and make you more frazzled. Instead, try closing your eyes for a couple of minutes and visualize yourself completely out of where you are now. You are not in the midst of chaos, you are sitting in your happy place (in your mind) whether that is a bookstore, the beach or in your backyard garden. Then when you come back to where you are, you should feel refueled and able to channel your focus on the most important task you need to do now.
- Clear your desk. Do you have mail, paperwork and general “junk” on your desk that you know is very important but that you simply don’t have time to file, respond to or manage? If you don’t have an assistant to do it for you, try devoting one whole afternoon to go through it all. You can also invest in a NEAT which is a cool invention that scans your paperwork instantly and saves it on your computer. When you want to retrieve something important, you can just use your search tool. How cool is that? Get rid of filing cabinets all together!
- Set goals. It’s more often said, than done. Some people have no time for this one, but I would encourage you to make time, and to be specific. For example, if you have an important promotion you’ve wanted to do, mark it on your calendar. Then, back up to today and write one task you need to accomplish every day to get towards that goal.
May you achieve even more than ever. Keep striving and pushing onward towards success!
Be More Like a Coach and Less Like a Boss
As a manager or leader at your company, you have a tremendous undertaking. People look up to you for leadership. They rely on your expertise from training to managing, motivating and problem-solving. But when a boss is not effective, it could be because they lack respect of their colleagues. This can happen when a boss is too “bossy” and overzealous with their term of power. For some leaders, the “boss” title can be taken too far if too much control is implemented.
Instead of standing over everyone’s shoulder and directing them like a traffic cop, try giving your employees more freedom and ability to make common sense decisions on their own. This can be done by showing them how to do what needs to be done, rather than just ordering directions. Sometimes they don’t understand the way you think or what you want to do.
Be clear about goals to put everyone on the same page
Unfortunately, some supervisors think that by running a tight ship they have more control over the organization. However, many times the opposite is true. As a leader you have goals to meet, so the best way to empower your staff is to show them that vision of success. Give them a reason to strive for those goals. Whether monetary or through rewards, recognition and even offering a chance for more freedoms, you’ll notice a difference in the attitude of your staff.
Think about a time when you took up a sport, perhaps in grade school, high school or college. You had a coach who taught you, both as a team and individually. A good coach takes the students / team members aside and discusses their weaknesses and strengths. Instead of pointing them out, some will come right out and ask, “How could you have done that differently?”
Coaches also have a primary goal of winning games. As a boss, your goal is to win new customers, clients, etc. When you pump them up and tell the employees how good they are doing and what you are happy with as far as their performance, it makes them try harder to achieve that recognition. However, when you constantly complain or point out negative aspects of their performance through constant criticism or even yelling, reprimanding, passing out warnings and other forms of admonishment, these types of leadership could backfire. The employee could rebel and even talk badly about you behind your back to other staff, which can open up a really bad situation.
Make time for staff both individually and as a team
This is not to say you should let your employees walk all over you. As a leader you need to gain the respect of your team. This is done through positive reinforcement, encouragement, motivation, helping and guiding. Your employees may feel more comfortable asking you how to do something if you make yourself attainable and approachable for one-on-ones.
As a matter of fact, it’s good to schedule one-on-one sessions with everybody in the organization. Depending on the size, you can make these as frequently as bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly. In this manner, employees can confide in you without being made to feel awkward by being singled out. Schedule the personal sessions with EVERYONE and not just one person on an as-needed basis. Even if the employee is doing great, the personalized attention is an excellent way to build camaraderie, create loyalty and to bounce new ideas with him or her. Consider it like a brainstorming session between each of your employees individually.
Don’t wait until there’s just a problem before scheduling these sessions, either. Then the interface will be met with dread, instead of perceived as a positive thing. Kind of like an, “Uh-oh, the boss wants to talk to me alone.” The employee will be too afraid to talk. However, if you schedule the personal sessions with everyone, then people will open up and talk to you more. They’ll be more open, honest, friendly, and comfortable and may even tell you things they are happy and not happy about.
Then, you can also have “team” sessions. Instead of meetings, create a fun name for your pow-wows. Making the workplace better happens when you take on a coaching mindset.
Backwards Brainstorming and How it Can Benefit Your Company
When you brainstorm or have brainstorming sessions, everyone thinks forward. They come up with ideas of how to make things better, propose different solutions to problems or think of creative suggestions to achieve a goal. But what is backwards brainstorming?
Well, think about going backwards and what it does. To go backwards, first you must look behind you to make sure there is nothing in your way. You have to look left and right to make sure nobody is hiding on your blind sides. You literally have to shift into reverse.
What’s the purpose of backwards brainstorming?
The next time you have a brainstorming session, whether it is alone or in a group of peers, or even with a partner, try backwards brainstorming. Write down or state the topic that you are brainstorming about and imagine that you are going behind the problem. Take yourself out of where you are now and put yourself back… back to before you arrived at the problem. Basically, you are thinking about the opposite of what you wish to achieve.
Sounds silly, but try it and it will open your eyes to a whole new world of brainstorming differently. For example, let’s say you’re brainstorming with other staff members on the topic of engaging customers better. Typically, you would brainstorm solutions such as sending out customer newsletters, writing to them, staying in touch with them on social media, or other similar strategies.
However, with BACKWARDS BRAINSTORMING, you would transverse the topic. Instead of asking how you can engage customers better, you would ask everyone, “How can we disengage customers or turn them off completely?”
So the staff would laugh, of course. But the answers might look something like this:
- We never call them or stay in touch after they make a purchase
- We never send a newsletter or an email
- We don’t thank them for their purchase or for their business, loyalty, etc.
- We do nothing to ensure their repeat business
Suddenly, the room is quiet. There are things on that list that are true. The backwards brainstorming session is a way to reveal unspoken truths or really open up everyone’s eyes to the possibilities. It’s a different way of brainstorming that can make everyone reevaluate the problems they are faced with and perhaps tackle the finding of a solution in a different manner.
This works with many other brainstorming sessions too. Just think of a brainstorming topic. Let the conversation flow. Think of something current at your company. Here are a few examples:
Brainstorm: Let’s think of different ways we can hit our sales goal for the month.
Backwards brainstorm: How can we make sure we don’t hit our goal and fall flat on our face this month?
Brainstorm: How can we find the best employees to fill the new openings at our company?
Backwards brainstorm: Where can we find the worst employees to hire?
By doing these exercises, you will be shocked to find answers or solutions that are completely unexpected! You might discover better ways to ensure hitting your goal or new places to find great employees. How? Well by writing down what doesn’t work, you’ll be looking at solutions from a different vantage point. If you went backwards then you can only look forward, but you’ll be able to see your left and right at the same time for the whole bigger picture!
Can Job Instability Lead to Poor Health?
With the economy the way it is and the uncertainty of a new election on the immediate horizon, this presents a question that may or may not have a clear answer. However, many studies reveal that there is a link between job insecurity and health problems. This is attributed to a number of factors, many of which make perfect common sense yet that are worthy of discussion.
Stable Employment = Better Health
The most obvious reason that someone might have health problems as a result of job instability is the lack of health insurance. Despite Obama’s attempt to overhaul the health care system with health care for everyone, this has not yet gone into effect and therefore many people are finding themselves in a place where they are unable to seek treatment when they have a health problem. Some are due to worry of whether they will be able to pay the medical bills associated with adequate treatment, while others may not even have the transportation or means to get themselves to a doctor for a diagnosis.
Another consideration is the stress that is caused by job insecurity. When someone loses their job, it can cause financial and emotional strain. Worry, anxiety and depression can lead to even more health problems. These three determinants can also lead to sickness.
How can we improve health by promoting job security?
Job stability is something that many companies don’t have control over, however this is a topic that can be addressed within HR departments. When employees get laid off, this is when the snowball effects of other factors can transpire. It may be worthwhile to address the topic at a meeting and to discuss ideas of how to put employees’ minds at peace, which can subsequently lead to greater health and productivity.
Another way is to invite employees to participate in wellness programs. Some companies allow their employees to take yoga classes, for example. These paid opportunities represent the best of both worlds in that they enable employees to feel more stable in the workplace and they promote activity, better health and even a more productive attitude.
As employers, the issue of job security transcends beyond just the obvious. People’s health and wellbeing are also affected.
Top Five Development Books
Just like many of you, I’m an avid reader. I truly enjoy books for the process of self-betterment and to learn more ways to improve my techniques, happiness and get ideas. While I do enjoy fiction reads, I find non-fiction to be beneficial as a way to pick up new strategies. Often I use some of the strategies and techniques to teach others. As a coach and business consultant, it is my job to present techniques that help businesses, individuals, teams and others and to empower them to become better leaders.
That said, there are a number of great books that I would like to offer as my top picks. Each of them for different purposes.
Rita’s top 5 picks for development and leadership reading:
- The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell: This book has achieved 5 star ratings and I can tell you why. John is a known author, speaker and leader who knows that being a leader isn’t about having a certain “title” such as supervisor, boss, etc. This book empowers anyone to take the reins and become a leader with many facets of life.
- Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling by Michael Port: This book helps you to navigate between the decisions faced by new business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders.
- Welcome to the Workforce by Rita Barreto Craig: This book covers five major areas that must be addressed to put your best face forward in presentation, demeanor, communications and more. If you’re new to the job market, this is a must read! Perfect for students!
- The Happiness Project: by Gretchen Rubin: This is a personal favorite and is written in a fiction style, but the book accomplishes what it sets out to do… and leads to happiness and a positive mindset after its finished!
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Usby Daniel Pink: It’s true that many people (including bosses) think that the best way to motivate is monetarily, but that’s not always true. The author persuasively reveals another motivator for high performance, which he reveals in this great book!