Tag Archive | organization

A babe speaks out about the Presidential election

Babe? No, I’m not talking about a hot looking woman; rather, I am referring to those who are considered too immature to count or have an opinion that matters. Yet this 13-year old young lady demonstrates that there is hope for the future. In fulfillment of a class project, Jenny makes a great case by looking at the track records of presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and gives each of them a grade based on their performance – novel concept. Looks to me like she’s already moved beyond the elementary teachings as she ably researched and organized her information to deliver it in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand format.  As a former teacher, I’d give her an A.

You may have seen this youtube video in other blogs, but I think it bears repeating for several reasons:

  • Jenny did an excellent job. We need to recognize and affirm our young people for excellent performance so that they will continue to move forward. It does not help anyone, especially the children, when you keep passing them on so that they won’t feel sad or unworthy. Instead commend them when they do well so they’ll learn to accept responsibility to do better or continue on their forward trek.
  • Jenny was more professional in her presentation than many adults in business today. Not only was she neat in her appearance, but she smiled and presented her information in a clear and concise manner. Obviously the debates were not her model.
  • Jenny was articulate in her speech – unless I missed it, there were no “Yo’s or dudes” in the entire presentation. She prepared her material, primarily factual, in an interesting, relatable manner. Everyone could “get it.”
  • Jenny had excellent mentors. Sounds like Mrs. Jackson and her father have accepted their responsibility and opportunity to teach her well including the newest technology.
  • Jenny made some outstanding points.

I’ve seen some comments related to this video stating that a 13 year old was incapable of producing a video of this quality. Maybe the commenter’s kids went to inferior schools. I have 3 grandchildren who could produce an equally professional video, but then they have parents who encourage them to do their best.

Want to watch it again? Click here:  http://youtu.be/prmGb1o3dcQ

Kudos to Yasniger for sharing this information.

Are all writers stackers?

For someone who loves summer as much as I do, Labor Day evokes some sadness. Yet along with the turning leaves and entourage of school buses, the coming of fall does seem to bring a semblance of structure and renewed purpose, and I can certainly use some of that. So on this day when we are supposed to honor hard work, I chose to perform some and begin the season with some organization in my office. My problem, however, is not getting organized, it’s staying that way. Does that problem resonate with any of you?

Because I enjoy writing for both fun and profit, I spend a lot of time at the computer. I find, however, that I frequently have stacks of papers, articles, and notes on either side of the keyboard representing various projects I’m working on. It seems if I put them into a file drawer, I forget that they’re there, and soon they all come tumbling through the proverbial cracks.

Interestingly, I have been talking with a few other writers who have the same problem. They want to work in a neat and orderly environment, but the stacks appear almost out of nowhere. (Maybe it’s not our fault.) Like me, they’ll block out time and expend the effort to start the reorganization, but it’s not long before the piles of files reappear. Is this a problem characteristic of writers or just those of us who have “messy” genes lurking in our ancestry? Is there a secret known to the rest of you who have pristine desktops? If so, please share and let the rest of us in on it so that next Labor Day, all of us can enjoy the day off.

Happy Labor Day all!

Picture credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zSVIqFYOHCk/S58ZNvyTMsI/AAAAAAAABiU/LTfvWqv38io/s400/stack_of_paper.jpg

6 Steps from Memory Lane

Do you remember singing the song Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush? It’s definitely for the pre-school set, but the interesting thing is what it teaches us as adults.    

The original lyrics included a daily to-do list with each day dedicated to a certain task or priority.  For example, they dedicated Monday to washing clothes; Tuesday, ironing the clothes; Wednesday, scrubbing the floor and so on culminating with Sunday, going to church. Back then multitasking was out of the question. It actually took all day to scrub the clothes, hang them outdoors to dry, take them down, and prepare them for the next step in the process – ironing, also an all-day event. 

Aside from the benefit gained as children burn off lots of energy singing the song, think about what you can learn (or relearn) from the lyrics. Although the days of one task per day are long gone, a key message is prioritize. If you’re one who is easily overwhelmed by things that need to be done or procrastinates on projects taking you out of your comfort zone, try these tips to help you focus. 

  1. Make a list of what should and can be done in your day. Be realistic.
  2. Assign time frames for each item on your list. (This is often a good way to reduce its size.)
  3. Dedicate a certain amount of time to one task or phase of a project and work on that.
  4. Use a timer. Besides providing a measure of accountability, you can see there’s light at the end of the tunnel as well as how much you can accomplish in your time allotment.
  5. Ignore rabbit trails or interruptions seeking to divert your attention. Unless it’s a matter of life or death, it can usually wait.
  6. Stick to it until the time is up or you’re finished. 

The self confidence you’ll gain from your achievement will be well worth the time it takes to prioritize your day and focus on what’s most important. 

If you still have little children around, see what other benefits you can gain from their songs. By the way, today’s version of the Mulberry Bush ditty addresses hygiene issues so feel free to continue to sing it with your kids.

WDW – It’s not just for kids

Traveling to Walt Disney World for the first time this past summer generated far more than pleasant days watching the kids’ faces light up when they spotted their favorite Disney character or experienced a rousing ride like Space Mountain. Even walking down memory lane, aka Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, could not compare with the lessons so subtly taught throughout Disney. What I learned in this trip surpassed the countless classes I endured to get my business degree, and it included a lot more fun.

Disney was a genius not only with his cartoon characters but also in the world of business. His values-based leadership and dedication to excellence spills out in the quality employees (cast members), products and services they offer. Guests enjoy outstanding accommodations and food. Disney’s highly trained staff not only anticipates and meets every need, in most instances, they exceed your highest expectations. 

We actually interviewed several employees and learned more about the extensive planning that went into the complex, and it did not stop when WDW opened its doors. On the contrary, Disney World continues to grow, change and evolve to meet the dreams of coming generations. Even as we chatted, teams of employees worked behind the scenes to make the WDW organization run like a well-oiled machine. You don’t often see that practiced in the business world or taught in business courses. Perhaps that’s why Walt Disney also planned for the Disney Institute to prepare his employees in the fine art of knowing your customer. Long before Facebook or LinkedIn, Disney knew how to establish and build lasting relationships. 

During our entire stay, only once did I see anything amiss. A pop-up thunderstorm had deluged the area and the resort’s guests flooded the lobby with their dripping clothes and soggy shoes. The restrooms had a continuous flow of people trying to dry themselves. I actually spotted a little paper on the floor and an empty basket that previously held towels. I marveled to myself that this was the only time I saw a restroom in disarray, but when I returned a few minutes later, I found the room immaculate. They must have invisible staff or just maybe Tinkerbelle’s magic pixie dust is real. Whatever their plan, it works. 

Fun abounds at Walt Disney World, yet you can take home a lot more than souvenirs and it won’t take up room in your suitcase – unless you take copious notes. WDW is not just for kids.

Picture from Google Images

What’s the use?

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit a botanical garden like Longwood Gardens in the outskirts of Philadelphia, you know firsthand about the fantastic displays both indoors and out. It is an awesome experience. You make your way through the various buildings and flora-lined walkways, but as hard as you try, you just can’t take it all in on one visit. 

Can you imagine how many people and how much effort goes into making each garden bloom on cue according to the seasons? (You don’t grow poinsettias in April or daffodils in October.)  They do all of this while maintaining the grounds and facility in readiness for a vast number of tourists seven days a week. Think, too, about the challenges these horticultural wizards face between the elements of time and weather alone. It goes without saying they tackle other obstacles on a daily basis. Yet they achieve outstanding results because they continually focus on the plan. To the outside world, it looks easy. 

As we go through various seasons in our lives, we, like Longwood Gardens, must adjust to new expectations. At times, this requires a total makeover. All of this reinvention requires prayer, organization, time and action in order for a successful change to take place while life goes on and business continues as usual. Some days you can remain on task and schedule, while on others it seems you meet obstacles at every turn. When this happens, return to the plan (or make one if you started off without one), refocus, make adjustments as necessary and move forward.    

Doing this may be difficult. You could find a host of people and situations to blame or throw your hands in the air crying, “What’s the use,” but that won’t get you Longwood results.

Savings on email

Do you get overwhelmed over the volume of email you get each day? 

If you work in a business office, you’re bombarded throughout the day with electronic messages. Did you know that it takes an average of 2 minutes to open read and close an email? This means if you send and receive 50 emails per day – I realize this is likely a low estimate, you spend 100 minutes per day just on email. Let’s see, based on 260 days per year that works out to about 18 days you’re dedicating to email alone. All of this does not include any action or follow up the email may generate nor does it count texting or IM. You do your own math based on your volume. 

Several years ago, I read the Hamster Revolution by Mike Song, Vicki Halsey and Tim Burress, which offered several strategies to reduce the time spent on dealing with email. They claim to save you 20% on your time. Their methods do work, though I never actually measured my results. 

One of the ways they suggest to lessen the load is to use the ABC approach for messages you write:

Action Summary – one sentence specifying action, purpose or your key point

Background – body of message using bullet points and white space whenever you can

Close – niceties, next steps, and auto signature (this really saves you time). 

You might identify with their hamster analogy if you expend a lot of energy handling messages while your real work piles up on the desk. Throw in frequent meetings, and you’re loading your brief case to take the work home. Not good. To establish more work/life balance, try different strategies to lighten the load.

Help for Information Overload

Would you say you don’t have enough hours in the day to read all of the information that comes your way? And, do you ever find yourself in situations where you have to wait, like in an airline terminal, doctor’s office, or traffic and all you can think about are the things you could be doing were you not in this spot?  It appears to be a common problem, and I’d like to offer some tips to help in both areas.

Take interesting articles you’ve printed from the web and place them into a special colored folder. You want it to protect the articles and be easily located so you can grab it quickly when you go out the door. Keep it in your car or take it with you when you travel or go to appointments.  Then when you get one of those delays – I mean opportunities — pull out one of the articles to read.

Treat magazines in a similar fashion.  When they arrive, glance through the articles and cut out those that capture your attention, and yes, they go into that same file.

Keep a ziplock bag containing a pen and a highlighter in the folder.  Then, as you read the articles, get TUF with them … that’s T – U – F.

  • T – Reading through the article, you may glean all of the information you want.  If that is enough, then mark the upper right hand corner with a T.  When you get home just throw it out.  
  • U – If you find information that is useful, highlight it and mark the corner with a U.  This means you’ll take some action with the information to use it immediately, pass it on or … 
  • F – Mark it with an F to file it for the future.

Another way to catch up on books is via audio or downloaded to the iPad.  The audio books provide a hands-free way to catch up on your reading traveling travel back and forth to work.  Not only can you enjoy your favorite authors, but you can redeem your time as well.  Zig Ziglar suggests turning your car into Auto University using audio volumes to learn new strategies, languages or whatever you choose.   

I’ve used these tips and hope they’ll also help you.