Thursday, November 27, 2008

Get Organized

Being productive requires you to control all incoming information. You can begin to do this immediately while you are implementing your information management system. Here are some tips to help you get started:

· Eliminate “clutter” boxes, “miscellaneous” files, and “paper shuffling.” Everything needs a place and a label.

· Create an in-box, out-box, and to-file box on your desk. Empty your in-box and to-file box before you leave each day.

· Never put down a piece of paper without doing something to move it along. Take each piece of paper as far as you can. Do it now. Delegate it now. File it now. Toss it now.

· Set aside one clean-up day every month to purge what is no longer needed or used.

· Organize for usefulness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Plan to Succeed

Begin to compare your current use of time to your important goals. Are you using your time most efficiently? Here are some action steps you can take to move you toward your goals.

1. Use a calendar system. Life is too complicated to rely on memory.
Properly using a good calendar system can add hours to your life.

2. Each week, schedule your calendar for the next week.

3. Each day, review your weekly schedule. Plan your day to support your weekly goals, but allow for flexibility to handle “emergencies.” Leave room so that you can respond to last-minute changes. If you schedule your day too rigidly, you will create unnecessary additional stress when things go wrong and you have to juggle your plans.

4. Schedule creative or challenging activities for your peak hours.

5. Stop procrastinating.

6. Question assumptions. Don’t assume that because you’ve always done something, you should continue to do it. Always ask, “Is this necessary?” “Is there a faster/easier/better/more efficient way of doing this?”

7. Avoid ambiguous language. Make requests and give instructions as specifically as possible. Ask others to repeat what they think you said and immediately correct any miscommunication. Listen to your words. Are they concrete and specific or vague and obscure? The more precise your word choices, the clearer your communication and the less need for repetition.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Steps for Resolving Conflict

Each of us comes from a unique perspective. Even if everyone has agreed on a goal or outcome, disagreements may arise. When this happens, it is essential to know how to resolve conflict.

Here are steps for resolving conflict:
  • State the nature of the conflict from your viewpoint.
  • Identify the facts contributing to the conflict.
  • Choose an appropriate conflict management strategy.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of the strategy you choose.
  • If you choose to resolve the conflict, schedule a meeting with the person to discuss the situation.
Before the meeting:
  • Plan what you want to say.
  • Define the outcome you want.
  • Define what you think the other person wants.
  • Are there areas of agreement?
When you meet:
  • Acknowledge that a conflict exists.
  • Use “I” statements and encourage the other person to also use “I” statements.
  • Avoid personal attacks and judgments.
  • Ask open-ended questions that require more than “yes” and “no” answers.
  • Monitor nonverbal messages.
  • State your desired outcome and ask the other person to state their outcome.
  • Identify what you want in common – where outcomes and goals overlap.
  • Work toward a resolution based on the conflict management strategy you chose.
  • Identify the next step.
  • Agree to take the next step.
  • Set up a follow-up meeting, if necessary.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You Need Positive, Supportive People

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Negative people can sap your energy, especially if you have to defend your goals from criticism. Negative comments and criticism can sour your motivation. If you can't avoid negative people, learn to ignore what they say and remain steadfast in your pursuit of your goals. Author Pearl Buck wrote, "All things are possible until they are proved impossible -- and even the impossible may only be so as of now."