Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

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.

I have seen first hand the magic that come from propping up a person for job duties that are well beyond their capabilities, and they surprise themselves and succeed. I have also seen first hand the horrors that come from propping up a person for job duties that are well beyond their capabilities, and they prove everyone right and fail miserably.

There is a lot more of the latter happening in corporate America these days, which would be fortunate if it meant companies were becoming more confident in ‘fail-to-learn’ philosophies.

It happens to fall toward the unfortunate, as it really means too many companies have come up short on manpower after too many successes at cutting payroll. Still, companies are desperate to get the same level of work done despite the obvious lack of numbers to support the workload. Line managers hope for the best by giving addition duties to their workers for various reasons, and then give them hell when they can’t really handle it, even though they suspected it wasn’t going to work out from the beginning.

The real solution would be to hire back the lost employees and work at the regular levels again. That’s probably not happening any time soon. In the meantime, managers need to be extremely careful when putting the necks of the inexperienced on the line, for both of their sakes.


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When you are bitten by a bug, there is a certain amount of time that you just have to live through before the itching and swelling of that bite goes away. Rubbing and scratching the bite will only prolong the experience, the discomfort that comes with it and the time needed to heal. But eventually, the swelling will subside, the rash will fade, and the itching stops.

The same general thing happens when you are bitten by an ‘idea bug.’ Once a new idea come to mind, you’ve got a limited amount of time before you lose the adrenaline rush to put the idea in motion, and possibly lose the idea itself to the million of other thoughts that get processed through your mind on a daily basis.

And just like there are steps to take to help alleviate the suffering from an actual bug bite (don’t touch it, apply some medicated cream, take a pill, etc.), there are steps you can take to prolong the jolt of inspiration of your ‘idea bug’ bite:

1: Write It Down IMMEDIEATELY! – Never let an idea just dissipate from your memory. Just because the ideas are flowing now, doesn’t mean you’ll never go through an idea dry spell and need to look back on a few filed away ideas for inspiration. Write the details of your idea as simply or as detailed as they came to you, and place it somewhere you can routinely review it, lest you waist the effort of preserving it in the first place. Create an idea bank for storing randomly created ideas in a file folder, shoe box, computer file–whatever will work best for you. You can even carry a portable notebook to jot down ideas as they come if you are prone to attract idea bugs.

2: Order Your Steps – Make a quick determination on just how complicated your idea is and just how much work will be involved in your attempt to actually make it happen. Come up with a quick, easy to follow outline of all the steps involved that you can think of, and determine how long you think it will take to get the project started and completed.

3: Gauge Your Timing – Determine if this is the actual right time or place to attempt to work out the kinks in your idea. Let’s use the example of your idea being a ski stunt you would like to attempt and master. If you are nowhere near water or snow, chances are you won’t be working on the stunt by mid-morning. And if you have to lose ten pounds and get in shape before you can even attempt your stunt, that’s just more prep time needed before the attempt. If now is not the right time or you’re not in the right place, schedule a time in the future when you can assure all the conditions are acceptable to make an attempt at your idea. If your idea is not that involved or complicated, and you believe you can work on it now with minimum interruptions, and you are ready for the challenge, then jump on in.

4: Start At Your Earliest Convenience – The average person has about 48 hours or so from the initial formation of a new idea before they lose interest in it completely. And if they don’t take the time to write it down, they could lose the entire idea minutes after they came up with it. It is important to put your plan in motion for you idea as soon as possible, or schedule a time in the near future to get started, with plenty of incentive to get back to it.