Practical Practice Management

How Can I Do More With My Time?

I was at a conference this past weekend talking with office managers and the conversation turned to time management and the struggles with getting things done in the time allotted.  Ultimately, taking action on managing your time is what needs to happen in order to master it.

I am sure I am not the only one who wishes for an extra day or hour so I could catch up on the things I need to do.  Realistically, would that one more day or hour make a big difference?  What would happen when the next day came along?

With our smartphones and the many other organizational tools and apps that we have access to, you would think we would have this time thing under control.

For me, the light finally came on when I realized that time management is really not about having 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Managing time is really about what I do and how I utilize every minute and hour of each day.

Mastering how to use your time to the best of your advantage in whatever area you are working will maximize your potential to be more successful and have a better work and home life.  Sounds nice, but is it that easy?  Here are a few things you can do to jump-start a Time Management/Self Management plan:

1. Have a priority list for work and home.  Keep it simple, you can always add to it.  It is always better to complete your list and be successful than to make your list so long that you fail.

2. At work, keep distractions down, focus on what can be realistically done each hour from your priority list.

3. Don’t overbook yourself, this leads to stress.

4. The night before, plan your day for work and at home.  Thinking about it and planning ahead of time will make you more successful at completing it.  This has been proven to be true.

5. Have just one calendar and use it.

6. Establish routines for yourself in the morning and at night.

7. “Be flexible” this is very important.

8. The most important thing on your schedule is to make sure there is “me” time so that you can regroup, relax and have a better positive mental attitude to carry on getting things done.

We cannot add any more time to the 24 hours in a day, but we can learn to master ourselves in what we do with those 24 hours.

“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Keep moving forward,
Tina

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Grow Your Service Level

Brendon Burchard said, “You grow into the service level you want to provide.”  We know it is our choice how we present ourselves each day at work with our customers and coworkers.

But, I think the message that Brendon is trying to get across though is that we need to make the effort to grow our service skills in order to continue to provide a higher level of customer service.  If you go to work each day and never invest in yourself to become better, how do you expect it to happen?

Ask yourself these questions and then rate yourself from 1-5, with 1 being poor, 2 average, 3 good, 4 very good and 5 excellent and see how you tally up with your “service skills” score.

  • Am I friendly all the time at work?
  • Can I have a positive attitude even when the encounter I’m having is not so positive?
  • Do I make it easy for customers to do business with my company and myself?
  • Am I helpful to the customers and to my coworkers trying to make their day a better one?
  • Do I empathize with customers or coworkers when they have a problem and try to help them?
  • Do I remember that my actions can and do trigger other’s actions, either for good or bad?
  • When I see a customer is my first thought, “I want to make their experience a great one?”
  • At the end of the day have I earned a “gold star” by the service I have given?

How did you do?  I know working with the public can be difficult and trying and it is not for everyone.  If you think your career is in the customer service field somehow, then I hope you take Brendon’s advice and continue to grow your service level, it will make your career more meaningful.

There are so many great books, videos and courses out there that you can take to improve not only your skills but to become a better you overall.  Here is a current Google link to some of the most popular books on Great Customer Service out there at this time.  I have read many of them and will continue to read, listen, learn and grow- I hope you will too!

Brendon Burchard

Great Customer Service Books

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Thank You For Your Efforts

Changes at work can be challenging to say the least.  For the most part employees like knowing what they need to do each day and how to get it done correctly.  When restructuring job tasks are necessary due to growth, or better methods of keeping the people who do the tasks involved in the process is number one, the expectation is for the transitions to go smoothly.

All sides of the job tasks need to be looked at and evaluated.  Hearing from those who perform these tasks is a must in order to get a realistic picture of the job.

In most workplaces, employees will appreciate when management is trying to make systems and tasks function better.  During times of restructuring, it is very important to let all employees know how much they are appreciated so that they don’t feel like the changes are about them personally.  Below are a few things that you can do to make the transitions go smoother.

  • Take the time to talk to individuals personally about how they feel about the change and to let them know you appreciate what they do.
  • Write a personal note thanking employees for working together during the time of change.
  • Buy lunch for the team or bring in some healthy goodies.
  • Let employees go home early one day unexpectedly.
  • Take time to talk to the team as a group thanking them for their efforts and work through the transition.
  • Ask for feedback, letting them know that their input is important to the company.

Showing appreciation is something that should be done on a daily basis, but when changes are going on it is very important that extra effort is put in to show employees how much they mean to the company (and you) in order to keep everyone’s spirit up during the transition.  A heartfelt thank you can mean more than you know.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Does My Employee Have The Job Flu?

Employees can feel down at work and show signs of disinterest.  It happens for many reasons, some are temporary and are caused by external problems and work is difficult because life is difficult at that time.  They come to work, but they act like they are suffering from an illness.

It is when it is truly about the work we do, that we need to do something about it.  Below are three signs of employee disengagement due to disinterest with their job or those they work with.

  1. The employee does just enough work to get by, and when questioned by their manager or employer they make excuses, very weak excuses, ones that they actually believe their employer will accept. (But they do not)
  2. They begin to disengage and give a cold shoulder to those they work with. They may become impatient and critical of others and possibly verbally snap at someone when they are asked a question. (I am amazed when I have seen this happen, do they really think we think everything is okay?)
  3. Their coworkers start to complain that something has to be done about their coworker’s attitude. They have had enough and want help to resolve the issue of working with someone who is making their daily work life difficult. (When this happens react like the fire alarm is ringing and do something!)

Based on my 20+ years of management experience here are three of the most common reasons employees are unhappy with their workplace:

  1. They feel under-appreciated.  They have worked hard but it has gone unnoticed.  Even when an employee likes what they do they will leave a job because they do not feel appreciated by their employer.
  2. They are underpaid for the job they are delivering.  There really is nothing worse than working for less than you are worth.  When you take a job make sure you know how raises are earned and how often they occur.  If an employee knows what the expectations are to earn a higher pay they will be much happier as they work towards the goal.
  3. They have not received adequate training for their job position. Demands are made on them to deliver their share of the workload yet they are not sure exactly how to do it.  Training is an ongoing investment that employers need to make to ensure that their employees are able to perform at a high level. Investing in employees is an investment in your business.

As a manager, you should be interacting with your staff on a daily basis and know what they are doing, what they need to accomplish and most of all how do they like what they do.  If you are a manager that truly cares about your staff this must be a regular practice in order to diagnose a potential problem before it becomes a true illness.  You will be able to help your employees more by spending time with them than staying inside your office just waiting for someone to go to the infirmary.

What kind of manager would you like to have manage you?

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Putting People In their Place

Why is it that so often when someone does something that we do not like or agree with we think that we should correct them?  Do we really know all of the “correct” answers and think others should think or do what we say?  Maybe we should take Jay’s advice and put ourselves in their place first before we open our mouth or take any action.  Sounds like pretty wise advice to me, right?

Jay Shetty has developed deep wisdom which he shares on how to live and behave.  I have learned many valuable lessons from his teachings lately.  If you haven’t had the chance to listen to him I highly recommend you visit his website and check out a few of his videos online.

I think people are hungry for the words he shares as he has over 16 million followers on Facebook!

Today, let’s strive to develop the mindset to listen and understand others first before we pass judgment.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Pursuit Of Happiness

To feel good and thrive, researchers say that people need a 3:1 positivity ration.  That means we need to hear three positive statements for every negative statement.

Having a positive attitude has been linked to mind-body-spirit benefits including:

  • Greater creativity and increased intuition
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of stroke.
  • Increased resilience and happiness

Challenge:  Can you say three positive statements three different times throughout your day today?

Not only will your mind-body-spirit benefit from this exercise, but so will those that are present when you are being more positive!

You can read more about research on positivity on the website Pursuit Of Happiness

Be well,

Tina

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9 Key Ingredients For A Successful Work Team

Many times clients will tell me how hard it is to get their people to become a functional team.  I have found that in many cases managers or team leaders think that it should be easy (especially if this is their first try at putting a team together).  Creating any type of team takes time, patience and communication (a lot of it) and the willingness to move through the bumps along the way knowing that they are going to build a great workforce.

Overall, we must continue to remember that we are working with “people” and we can be difficult as we all are different.  A team can only truly succeed if its players are willing to put others on the team ahead of themselves and keep their focus on the common purpose and performance of the teams’ goals.

Being selfless and focused on the team goals is not easy to do all of the time, but it is necessary to do in order to have a triumphant team.

Along with these two key elements for team success, there are 7 other elements that need to be displayed by all team members at all times.

1. Be generous – The heart of selflessness is generosity, it brings people together and advances and enhances team efforts.  If each team member is willing to give of themselves generously to the team as a whole, it will be successful.

2. Mutual accountability – Each team person holds the others accountable for the success of the organization.

3. Avoid Internal Politics – One of the worst forms of selfishness can be seen when one team member positions themselves for their own benefit regardless of how it might damage the team (playing for themselves).  Good team players worry about the benefit of their teammates more than they do of themselves.

4. Display loyalty – If you show loyalty to the people on your team, they will respond with loyalty.  One for all and all for one!

5. Common approach – Interdependence over independence.  The team members work together, helping one another see the big picture of what needs to happen instead of just individual, small parts.

6. Complementary skills – A variety of talent, skill and ability are needed for the team to be successful.  It takes time to get the right people on the team and in the right position.

7. Promote someone other than yourself – Find positive things to say about your teammate’s actions, accomplishments and qualities and talk them up.  Everyone appreciates when their efforts are noticed and acknowledged.

These nine key elements will make a big difference in your work team. It is worth the time and investment to discuss often, as a team, the ways that you could continue to improve how the team works, which in turn will improve the work culture extensively.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

TP 8/2019

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Before You Speak

“You are master of what you say until you utter it, once you deliver it, you are its captive.

Preserve your tongue as you do your gold and money.

One word could bring disgrace and the termination of a bliss.”

~Hazrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A.S

(Excellent daily food for thought!)

Be Well,  Tina

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You Need To Listen To Solve The Problem

When I was at a conference a couple of months ago a Malpractice Attorney was speaking on how to handle problems with patients or clients to keep them from escalating and becoming serious issues.  She said that most problems can be solved if we would just take the time to ask questions and then listen to what the person has to say in order to find a solution that would be satisfactory for them.

Active listening and clear, concise communication is the key to resolving almost all problems, yet it is something that we fail to do because we allow our own emotions, thoughts, and opinions to get in the way and react to them instead.  She shared the story below and I thought it was a good example of what we so often do, so I am passing it along.

A busy mother was on the phone talking with a friend and she heard her two daughters in the kitchen fighting with each other.  After a few minutes she asked her friend to hold on while she took care of the problem with her daughters.

When she walked into the kitchen she found her daughters fighting over an orange.  They were yelling at each other stating that they needed the orange for something they wanted to make.

The mother thinking she could settle this issue quickly took the orange and a knife and cut it in half and handed each girl a half of the orange. She told them they should have been able to figure this out in the first place and walked out so she could continue her call.

Later that day, to the mother’s surprise, both girls were still upset over the orange. When the mother asked them why were they still upset, as the problem was handled fairly, the girls replied one at a time.  One daughter said, “You promised that I could have the orange to make juice for a cake and half of the orange did not give enough juice so I couldn’t make it.”

The other daughter said she was mad because her mother told her she could make cookies and she needed the peel of one orange to make candied orange strips for the cookies and one half of an orange peel was not enough so she could not make her cookies.”

Because the mother did not take the time to hear both of her daughters’ stories and just reacted to what she thought would solve the problem, neither of her daughters got what they needed.

If she just would have taken the time to ask a couple of simple questions and then listened, both of her daughters could have gotten what they needed and both girls would have been happy.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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