Archive for the ‘insanity’ Category

With Labor Day coming to us in the U.S. this Monday as the unofficial end of summer and the first holiday of the fall, now is a good time to review your personal ‘time-off’ policy. And even if you’re a workaholic with to many open projects (like myself), you still need to find some time to get away from the work that you do, and more importantly, all the work going on around you, to keep yourself sane (or relatively sane, as in my case).

Try working this three pronged approach of scheduling time off:

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Care Of ‘Overflow’: You can get away from normal business and the chaos of those working around you so that you can take care of a few things, work related or personal, uninterrupted. It’s not really a vacation, but it gets you away to accomplish some important things that can relieve some of your personal stress. Just make sure you eliminate as many personal distractions as possible and get the work you’re getting away to get done done.

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Time Off…And Then Take That Time Off: This is your set up for a real vacation, away from any serious work. Don’t try to force yourself into having a good time by getting stuck to an itinerary, and don’t feel guilty if while inside some relaxation time your mind comes up with a clever idea to fix that nagging problem you left at the office. Jot it down quickly, then set it aside to deal with when you get back to the office.

Schedule Some Time Off To Review Where You Are: This one is pretty simple, and doesn’t need HR involvement. Set aside a regularly scheduled time and location where you can do a quick overview of tasks, goals, and maybe even life. It can be as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier in the morning, having lunch with just your notebook on a Thursday, or a full weekly review on Saturday morning.


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This is not the first time on this blog that I have taken on the time honored tradition of the customer always being right, but I believe it is the first time I actually offered a solution that involved dealing with the customer and not just reassuring the employees who deal with them that the abuse they take is worth it.

Once again, I will admit that I am a horrible closer in sales, but once committed to a client and product, they get 100% effort, routinely overshooting their expectations. But in the cases when you are not meeting the needs of the customer to their satisfaction, despite delivering exactly what they asked for and more, I offer three solutions:

– Sell Them At A Lower Price: Times are tough right now for all of us, and your clients are no exception. They are feeling just as much pressure to cut costs or get more for the money they are spending, and they are driving you insane with worry for loss of revenue I you can’t meet their panicked demands. Now is the perfect time to take a small loss with a loyalty discount for those long time customers, especially big spending customers. A limited batch of discounted goods and services might be to ticket to keeping them at bay.

– Sell Them At A Higher Price: Custom orders, rush delivery, and last minute changes are enemies to your bottom line, especially if your customers are coming to you discounted and not premium prices. If your customers are making requests that mean increases to your normal cost of service, you are well within your right to share some of that cost increases with those customers. If your customers are just annoying, well, make sure you can both justify and prove the necessity of the cost increase

– Stop Selling To Them: If you were no longer serving the best interest of a client, you would expect them to stop using you. It is odd that the opposite is usually not an expected option. If a client becomes too much trouble or expense, and you can come to no workable discourse, you have to fire the client. You would do better using the time and energy to focus on your profitable customers or finding a new replacement customers.

Monster Learning
A little soul searching in this time of uncertainty.

A status update on Facebook stating that all past American Idol champions should thank their lucky stars that Adam Lambert wasn’t competing in their seasons because “That boy is MADE OF WIN” got me thinking about my situation at the day job, which in turn got me thinking about this grand scheme of a side gig.

I am currently stuck with nowhere to progress at work. I’m not surprised with the direction of the business in this economy, but this is the first time I have ever sat in a job with nowhere to move AND some well applied hand breaks to the other duties as assigned that to keep me sitting still long enough to stew in my own frustration.

In a time where jobs are being slashed at all levels in broadcasting, there are still opportunities for the next big radio star. Just not many. So a combination of my timing of testing the market along with the timing of the actual market is my problem.

Or is it? What if I we’re actually so entertaining, so compelling, so dynamic that with minimal airtime I could truly be a turnaround player for the radio station I work for in the market?
One would think that someone would take a chance an take on potential star material, even if it means pushing subpar talent out of the way. Me having game changer talent is far from the case, but how far exactly? How much talent do I actually possess, and would it actual be enough to carry some steady on-air time?

Applying that same level of thinking to this business and personal consulting business that I named Fast Forward Business Properties, LLC., is the timing of starting a small business as my spare time is being overtaken by more and more uncompensated work hours the bad idea? Or, is my ability to actually consult not up to par, meaning the excuses don’t matter as much as I have no real growth potential in the first place?

Are you facing a decision to continue down a path that isn’t paying off as expected, but are unsure whether your obstacle is bad timing or insufficient talent? When I read Seth Godin’s book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) almost a year ago, it seemed like the talent I had would be adequate if I just rode out time until my number came up. Now, I wonder more and more if that time will actually come, and if I will still have the talent (or possibly even care) if that time actually comes.

How are you dealing with timing versus talent dilemmas?

Take the time to plan for your child's future.

Upromise: Take the time to plan for your child’s future.
Early into my marriage, my stepson, who was about 11 at the time, did two things that 11-year-old boys do pretty frequently: did something dumb enough to get himself grounded when he eventually got caught, and ratted himself out under the assumption he could guilt his mother into going easy on him.

But I wasn’t having it. The two foolish acts of the 11-year old was just too blatant to let go, despite and pressure I knew he was going to toss his grandmother’s way to pressure us to him off easy. he was grounded as soon as we got home (we were about 15 minutes away from a Christmas party for my wife’s job and we had one of her co-workers riding with us, so there was literally no turning back), with the major consequence being the ‘super fun activity’ planed for the next day (I have no recollection of what the actual activity was) was definitely canceled.

Having parents with the annoying habit of punishing me when I did something wrong, I was prepared to be the bad guy. And I was, to my new wife, who was so hyped up on whatever we were going to do the next day she didn’t want to ground her son at all, at least not until after we had finished.

The lesson I wanted to teach my stepson that went over his head as I battled with his mother is that all actions have consequences, and as bad as most of the consequences may seem, once you deal with them, there gone. As long as you don’t repeat the situation that got you in trouble in the first place, your chances of avoiding similar consequences are extremely high.

The lesson I wasn’t trying to teach my wife that went over her head as I battled with her was that plans change, and sometimes pretty quickly. When those plans change, it doesn’t matter how much you have vested in current plan of action, if the plan is no longer valid. My stepson had ruined the chance for fun for himself AND the rest of the family by messing up, and looking the other way would just reinforce his bad behavior as valid.

I’m sure there are similar instances that have occurred in your personal live, made much more obvious if you are raising kids at home. I’m also sure that if you think about it, you can find similar instances around the job.

Missed deadlines and sales projections are more common than they should be in today’s business place. While they might just be used as guideline and aren’t considered ‘that important,’ why even have them if you’re not at least giving some weighted consideration them? If you’re taking the time to put a plan in place, and you see the plan isn’t going to work, take the time to come up with another plan. If you’re seeing people missing the mark because they know there is no consequence for not trying, add some sort of consequence (not punishment).

The lesson I ended up learning as I battled with my wife over the immediate punishment of my stepson was to stand my ground, since both my wife and I knew the right thing to do was to cancel the fun because my stepson had done quite a bit to un-earn the rights to have fun in the span of his ten minute confessional. I learned to not be upset with my wife for being disappointed and upset, but having my parents teach me my since of right and wrong wasn’t just a way to pass the time until they could kick me out of the house at 18. It was the basis for the life skills I now have the honor and privilege of teaching my stepson, so that when his 11-year-old kids and his subordinates at work starts mouthing off (and we all know that BOTH will), he’ll have the mechanisms in place to properly handle the situation. If he fails to do so, well, there will of course be consequences.

A to-do list is a tool. It is not magic, but the results you will receive from working a to-do list can seem like voodoo or witchcraft for some, based on how unorganized and unplanned you pursuits have been in the past. This post will show you how to create a simple list with a bit of a theme to make it a little fun.

So why are we targeting a dozen items? Because ‘Your Daily Dozens’ sounds cool. If you just want to write down a standard ten item to-do list, or just a listing of as many things you can think off, is up to you.

If you are like most people who seem to do a lot of things in a busy day, but at the end of your days can’t really recall what you have actually accomplished, you will not come up with a dozen items before you get your day started. You understand that the emergencies of the day are different every day, and that you’ll find ways to accomplish things you would have never thought you would have to do.

Creating your list as a starter list will help you get a focus on what you need to accomplish first in your day. As your day goes along, and you gain more tasks you have completed, you can add them to the list. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t end your day with a full 12 tasks completed. And especially don’t be worried if your completed list, or even your starting list, goes past a dozen items. This is just a simple to-do list. It is just a simple tool for organization and prioritization.

Whether you want to use an electronic organizer or just a pocket spiral notebook, you will want to keep your daily lists together so that you can quickly compare your previous days’ efforts, as well as having a way to easily see what unfinished business items you will need to transfer to a next day.

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One of early members of child was wanting to be President of the United States. Then, I wanted to be President of NBC. Then a DJ. Then a center for the Atlanta Hawks. Somewhere along the way I ended up going to college to be study to be an engineer, and ended up being an Air Force Acquisitions Officer, to give it all up to become a DJ.

Never once did the thought of becoming a fireman cross my mind. But that is main role with my company, despite every effort I take to make it otherwise. This becomes more apparent every time I take a true day off like I did Tuesday…then came back to mass insanity of half-projects yesterday…which lead to me working about 6 hours (so far) on work related project on this supposed day off…and will drive probably drive me insane as I am slated to take off every Tuesday and Thursday in the month of December to burn my vacation days.

Because the real reason I hate taking the day off and being to myself: I can effectively schedule a productive day for myself. I can also be flexible enough for interruptions and emergencies. In fact, I found I could make a list of things to do for the day, and then could chose to blow off every activity on the entire list, and would have found some way to accomplish something.

At work, I often begin with a long list of things to get done, and find myself quickly confronted with various ‘emergencies’ that take me away from my list that after completion didn’t pan out to be exactly emergencies. And I always end the day by leaving work late, and always leaving work frustrated from not making any actual progress in the job.

Unfortunately, I can not change my fate at work (oh, have I tried…) at this moment, and as I choose to continue showing up every morning, I am stuck with the weary and tireless (yes, I know they mean the same thing) life of a fireman, keeping a corporation from coming down on itself.

But for you, I offer some advice. If you find yourself stressed out at work by maximum effort but minimum, if any, progress, steal a moment to yourself and think about what your workday might be missing:

A Routine: the act of following a ritualistic daily routine will help you easily gage your progress in your daily tasks…unless you routinely never get anything done.

Proper Focus: the ability to focus on a single goal as you move toward it, or even focus on a single task as you try to finish it, will do wonders for your sanity and productivity.

A Score Card: I might not have mastered getting anything checked off my daily master list, but I still attempt it. Your to do list becomes your roadmap to success, or at least a way to gauge when you have finished something.

A System To Keep People Away: If you don’t plan out what you are going to do with your time, someone else will easily fill that time up for you. But if you have bosses that respect what you do for you company and themselves personally, they will find ways to divert some of the problem children and their problem projects far enough away from their office aces (you are an office ace, right?) to minimize distractions. If the boss can’t help, partner up with a co-worker to work a little misdirection for each other. And if you are lucky enough to be a supervisor, make sure you take good care of that assistant who is able to say “no” in just the right manner to get the point across. - $11 Billion in Scholarships – $11 Billion in Scholarships