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Archive for the ‘Work Life’ Category

In this economy and recession, the most common comment I hear among co-workers and friends is “I am too overloaded with work, but how can I tell my boss that it is too much?”  This is a tough question. Most people are worried that if they tell their boss that they can’t handle the workload that they will be seen as inadequate and that you can’t handle this job. Even though there is a possibility of this, most involved bosses should know how much is on your plate and what the realistic workload is. My definition of an involved boss, is a boss who is involved with your work enough to know what you do, how well you do it, and how long it should roughly take. If you have an involved boss then they will already know that you have too much work before you even approach them. However, if you have an uninvolved boss, this is a great opportunity to work together to create a manageable workload and make him aware of how much is on your plate. It is important to note, however, that you need to be careful with how you approach this issue. Here are a few tips to help you begin this communication:

Tip #1– Don’t go in complaining that you have too much work and can’t handle it. Approach it as more of a “How can I improve processes to reduce the amount of time and work involved?”  Or “Is there anything that you think I can change to help make the workload more manageable?” Make it about improving yourself and that will get a much more positive reaction.

Tip #2- Approach your boss with some possible solutions to make the workload manageable, but be careful not to suggest that it should just be moved to someone else (they most likely have a similar work load already as well). However, if you suspect that there might be someone else that might have some time to help out of take over part of the load, you can simply as “Is there anyone else that might have time to assist was some of these projects?”

Tip #3- Carefully look at your work and see if you have the appropriate prioritization approach to the projects or tasks you have to accomplish. Are there some tasks that can wait till later? Or are there large projects or tasks that can be broken down into smaller pieces so that they are more manageable and less intimidating.

It comes down to the fact that no one likes to ask for help, but if you are overloaded or on the verge of burnout, you have not helping yourself or the company. When overloaded and burned out you are less productive and efficient, thus actually accomplishing less than if you were not overloaded. Try not to stress as much about how much is on your plate and concentrate on how to tackle you plate in a productive and efficient manner. Communicating with your boss is crucial and should not be forgotten.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below!

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One of the hardest things most people struggle with is the art of delegating. This can be extremely difficult for those of us who are perfectionists or control freaks. The biggest fear when delegating is that the project or task either doesn’t get done up to our standards, or doesn’t get done at all! However, in order to be the most efficient, whether you are a manager or not, delegating plays a crucial role in achieving efficiency. The following tips should help you design a delegating strategy:

Tip #1- What should you delegate? At the beginning, start delegating small projects. Projects that you don’t have a problem letting someone else control how they get to their outcome. Allow enough completion time to field questions and to help resolve any errors or issues that arise when reviewing the outcome. In addition, do not delegate items that you yourself do not want to tackle. This will lead to your team losing respect in your position.

Tip #2- Choose who you should delegate to. Be selective when you are delegating a task. Take a look at the strengths and proficiency levels of your team members and delegate accordingly. You want to choose the best people for the job to be done efficiently, effectively, and accurately. You also want to make sure that the people you select can work independently from your supervision. If you have to supervise everything they do, then you aren’t saving any time for yourself with delegating it.

Tip #3- Clearly Communicate the Outcome. Clear communication is critical for any project, especially when delegating. Give clear and concise communication as to the expectations of the work to be performed. In addition, it is critical to include a timeline of when items should be completed and provide all the necessary information for your team to accomplish the project.

Tip #4- Check In and Offer Guidance. Check in with your team members periodically to make sure they are not spinning their wheels, however don’t be overbearing. Still give them the freedom to determine the best way for them to complete the task, but offer assistance for when they might be stuck on something that you might be able to assist to get things progressing along.

Tip #5- Give Credit Where Credit it is Due. As with any project, always give credit where credit is due. You will gain respect from your team when you reward and recognize them for assisting you in completing your goals. If you take all the credit for their assistance, you will find that they will be reluctant to help you out in the future. If you directly receive any awards based on the project, make sure to include them and share them with your team.

Delegating is one of the most important management tools. With the above tips, you will be off to a great start in learning and maintaining a healthy delegating environment.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below!

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The desire to be a perfectionist is common in our society. We all want to be perfect at everything we do, but at what cost? Perfectionism can be extremely exhausting and can lead to burnout and decreased motivation. These all are negative attributes towards increased productivity. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, you tend to spend too much time to complete a project perfectly at the expense of other items that may have been put on the back burner.

Most perfectionists have trouble delegating to other because they are too worried that someone else cannot do the job as well. The result of this is being overworked which leads to burnout, higher stress, and even poor health. If you are a perfectionist and ready to make a change to reduce your perfectionist traits, just remember that it takes time to incorporate this kind of change in your life. So be patient, celebrate your milestones, and don’t give up when things get tough.

Here are a few ways you can overcome perfectionism:

  • Develop awareness of when you are or think you are a perfectionist.
  • Create a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
  • Accept self as a human being and forgive self for mistakes.
  • Find the happy medium between perfection and just good enough.
  • Set healthy goals of realistic accomplishments.
  • Realize that the important thing is to be positive.

Perfectionism is a serious problem that will affect many things including productivity. The first step to overcoming perfectionism is to recognize that it exists. Once you do this you can start to work on the issues that come with perfectionism and find a balance between perfectionism and productivity. The key to a productive yet good quality outcome is to maintain a good balance between perfectionism and productivity.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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It has been studied many times and proven that with increased motivation you will increase productivity. So my question is why are so many businesses taking away items that provide motivation and can directly effect productivity? I have seen this done not only in the payroll area of reducing peoples pay, requiring furloughs, and freezing salaries, but also in employee appreciation.  It is understandable that companies are looking for any way to cut costs but are they truly calculating the true cost of making these cuts?

Motivation and productivity are twin concepts in organizational development. First, motivation works as the means toward attaining productivity as an end. Another point: Motivation is the best cause to reach productivity as a favorable effect. Lastly, motivation is the stimulus to trigger productivity as a response. All these are concrete connections between the two factors.”

~http://www.brighthub.com/office/home/articles/83187.aspx

There are two basic ways to motivate a person. One is through extrinsic motivation or material satisfaction, and the other is through intrinsic motivation or providing intangible rewards.  With the economy the way it is and the companies goals of cutting costs, it would make more sense for the companies to reduce their costs by developing an intrinsic strategic, instead of obliterating all costs to scrap all motivation strategies. I believe that removing all methods of motivation and thus reducing overall productivity can have a more costly effect on the company’s bottom line than if they maintained a small level of intrinsic motivational strategies.

Here are a few examples of how you can reward your employees through intrinsic means:

  • Verbal or Written Recognition of Achievements
  • Say “Thank You”, “Great Job”, or “Well Done” to show you appreciate their hard work.
  • Promote from Within Your Company
  • Create Informal Leadership Roles
  • Consistently Provide Development Opportunities

There are some additional benefits to increasing motivation than just increased productivity. You can also benefit from the following results:

  • Improved Morale
  • Lower Absenteeism
  • Higher Retention Rates
  • Improved Bottom-Line Results

So I urge you, if you are at a high enough level to influence management or are part of the management team that is making the cost cutting decision to carefully consider the balance needed for motivation to keep a highly productive work force.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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Most of my friends and colleagues ask “How do you do it?” “How do you be a mom of 6-year old twins, a business professional, and a student and still have time for yourself and the things you enjoy doing?” The answer is easy, sort of! It is about creating efficiency in all aspects of your life. That is what my blog is all about. To share the ways that I have been able to create balance in my life by creating efficiencies in my work life, home life, financial life, and even my travel life. I hope that some of my previous blogs have been helpful to you! Here are a few of my favorite ones:

The main thing to remember with creating efficiency in your life is that it takes time, it can’t be done overnight. However, if you take it one step at a time and not give up, you will see improvements in no time. In addition, with many things in life, there is always room for improvement so in order to maintain efficiency you must constantly re-evaluate how things are done because with time comes change, and with change comes room for improvement. To create efficiency in your life start with one area of your life and list all the things you feel could be done better. If you need to, also do some research on how you can accomplish efficiencies with specific task or subject areas. Work through each area of your life in this manner and before you know it you will find that you have more free time and possibly more money to spend on the things you like to do the most.

I hope that you will find my past blogs and my future blogs helpful in your endeavor of creating an efficient life. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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At the suggestion from a colleague (Thanks Karen!), this blog is about how to say “NO” to too many commitments.

It is a well-known fact that in order to be productive, we have to manage our commitments. If we spread ourselves too thin we will lose focus and reduce our productivity and usually the quality of our work.

The hardest part about saying no is that it can hurt, disappoint, or even anger the person you’re saying no to, and most of us prefer not to confront these kind of issues. Instead we just continue to say yes to appease those asking. However, with requests for our time constantly coming in we have to decide what items are more important than others in order to complete the tasks. Some of this can be at the detriment of focusing on the most important things which could include specific projects, ourfamily, or even our health.

So the question is, how do we say “no” without jeopardizing the relationships with the person(s) asking for our time? Here are a few tips to help you say “no”:

  1. Know your priorities! If you are aware of all your current and possibly upcoming priorities you can more easily assess whether you have extra time to take on more. The big question is that if you have extra time where do you want to spend it? The answer to this may be extremely different from what someone else would like you to spend your time on. You have to choose which one is more important to you.
  2. Value your time! Now that you know what your priorities are, you have to then assess the items that you have already committed to. Your time is valuable and you have to manage that time very carefully. If someone asks you to help them      and you know that your time is already committed you need to communicate this to them. For example, you can tell them “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.” If they know that you are already overloaded then they should understand that you can’t take on more.
  3. Don’t apologize! Apologizing can make you sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about knowing your limitations and the time you have available.
  4. Practice Saying No! As we have all heard while growing up, practice makes perfect. So why not practice ways to say no? Maybe even record them and listen to them as if you were the one being told no and see how it comes across to you. Just remember, the only way to get control of your commitments is to take control of them.

Most people have a hard time saying no, especially to their bosses. Just keep in mind that if we say yes to too much and have a hard time completing all of it at a high quality it can look worse to your boss. However, if you can explain to your boss the reasons why you can’t take on more and that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. The main key, in my opinion, to being successful when saying no is communication, communication, communication.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics, please send me a comment below! 🙂

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It will be a few months before I can fully answer this question, however, in preparation for a class that I am hoping to take this fall called “Mindful Leadership” which will be taught at the University of Nevada, Reno as part of their MBA program, I began to research how meditation can improve productivity. Here is what I have found so far.

Meditation can help us by:

  • Improving Focus
  • Improving Memory
  • Reducing Stress
  • Increasing Creativity
  • Increasing Motivation

With all these benefits to meditation, imagine what this can do for your productivity and those of your team not only at the office, but also away from the office! Increasing your productivity usually depends on your ability to let ideas to flow easily and quickly through your mind. Meditation can help us to do this. Just think about a work environment where the stress levels are lower, people can focus at a higher level, as well as the other benefits that come along with meditation, and how this would increase moral and the general outlook of its employees when it comes to getting work done. I think this really could be a huge life changing event not only for individuals but also for whole organizations that embrace and encourage this technique.

“Many doctors have studied the statistics on people who meditate and now prescribe meditation for their patients. These patients have reported more energy, higher productivity and more patience. Business owners have reported that among employees, who meditate, absenteeism is lower, production is higher, and the quality of their work is better thus proving the statistics on people who meditate are right.” ~ http://www.project-meditation.org

I am looking forward to this new class in the fall! When I learn more about meditation and how it can increase efficiency in all our lives, I will pass it along!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics, please send me a comment below! 🙂

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