How many times during the day do you think something to yourself? Probably more than you think. The truth is, you (yes, that person in the mirror) are the biggest influence on how your life
turns out. And if we can’t change our thoughts, we very well can’t change our actions, now can we? So let’s make sure the following thoughts get shut down before they even start. 1.) I can’t/it’s too late/I’m not good enough/it doesn’t matter anyway/what’s the point.
Yes, all of these excuses fall under the same category and all of them are collectively number one on this list for a reason. Don’t sell yourself short
because your mental guestimate of your abilities is inaccurate. You are just as capable and deserving
as anyone else, and it does matter
or you wouldn’t be having this conversation with yourself right now. Your body is an amazing thing; if you want it to stand up, walk across the street and talk to the cute guy in the coffee shop it will do it. The only thing stopping you is your mind. 2.) I don’t have time.
they don’t have time, but then something comes up and they end up making
time. So make time now! Research has shown that the average person can find an extra six hours (six hours!!)
in their day if they were to prioritize
their tasks and work more efficiently. 3.) I’ll do it someday.
Why someday? Putting it off until “someday” conveys the idea that you aren’t able to do it now, and why? Is there really
something standing in your way? Right now, at this very moment, you are the oldest and wisest you have ever been, while at the same time being as young and able as you have ever been. Don’t waste time
dedicating part of your life to “someday.” Do what makes you happy now
. 4.) I could make a fool of myself.
Yes, you could. You could also trip and fall walking through the grocery store, so do you stop going to the store? No! And the reason: because you’ve been to the store and not tripped and fell
enough times that your mind doesn’t recognize it as a realistic threat. There are many opportunities to make a fool of yourself (many of them you are enormously overthinking), but if you avoided all of them you would be a hermit. Live a little bit and let yourself make mistakes. The fear of being a fool is not keeping you from being one; it’s keeping you from living, period. 5.) It didn’t work out the last time. Circumstances change
and people learn, including you. If you let your past determine your future, your future is going to be an exact replica of your past. 6.) Well if so-and-so thinks it’s a good idea…
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what so-and-so thinks! It matters what you
think! Granted, everyone needs a little advice from someone else once in a while, but constantly needing someone else’s opinion causes you to forget to have one of your own. After all, if so-and-so has a different opinion than you, and you always
go with their opinion, what’s the point in even having your own? Do what you want to do
, regardless of what others may think.
Slumps…we all have them. They’re those little sections of life when things just don’t seem to be going right. Maybe you haven’t been to the gym in a month and no matter what you do just don’t feel like going. Maybe you’ve been behind at work lately and you just can’t seem to catch up. Or maybe it’s your mood; maybe no matter what is going on in your life right now you just feel kind of…blah. These are slumps, people, and once you’re in one it can be hard to snap out of it, but it’s definitely not impossible
. Here are some of the best ways to get yourself back on track. 1.) Stop.
More specifically, stop thinking. Stop thinking about what you have to do tomorrow, what you forgot to do today, how your mother-in-law is driving you crazy, how you’ve gained 6 pounds since June when you promised yourself you’d lose 10: just stop.
Whatever you’ve been doing lately hasn’t been working (you are in fact, in a slump), right? Right, so stop and take a deep breath; you are about to change gears
. 2.) Focus.
Find a place where you can sit, with pen and paper, undisturbed for a few minutes and think clearly. That means you step away from any electronic distractions (the television, the computer, your cell phone, etc.) and go somewhere comfortable. And don’t let yourself make excuses; the world is not going to explode if dinner is 30 minutes later than it usually is for the love of God. 3.) Write it down.
Our minds are constantly running
(as you probably already know). Research has shown that when we write down what we are thinking about on paper (how upset we are with a loved one or what we need at the store, for example), our mind can relax a bit knowing it doesn’t need to keep thinking about that information. It’s the same thing that happens when someone gives you their phone number; you repeat it to yourself until you enter it in your phone or write it down. And as soon as you do, you stop thinking about it, right? Problems you are dwelling on work the same way. So take a second and write down what is bothering you. 4.) Refine.
After you write down what is bothering you
(don’t worry if it’s an insanely long list, chances are you’ve needed to get some things out), take a look at what you’ve written. Did you write “Dan won’t fix those shelves I’ve asked him to fix for 2 weeks” and “Dan didn’t pack the kids’ lunches” and “Dan made work plans on our anniversary night” the problem might not be all of those little things. Instead, the problem might be “Dan and I need to communicate better.” 5.) Determine a resolution.
If the problem is that you and Dan need to communicate better. Write down a time that the two of you need to talk, undisturbed. Not while both of you are running to your cars in the morning, not the second he gets home from work. Pick a time when you can both talk. The same goes for other issues. If the problem is that you’re completely overwhelmed at work, think of a way you can take off some of your workload. Is there a fellow employee that can help you out for a bit (they could be in charge of the phone lines for the day while you work, for example)? Can you speak to your boss about getting caught up on your current assignments before taking on any more projects? If you’ve been feeling unmotivated, think of a way to get motivated
. Haven’t gone to the gym in a while? Maybe you need a new pair of running shoes. 6.) Move on.
Once you’ve addressed these issues and understand what you need to do, move on. Get up, make the dinner you’ve been postponing for 30 minutes, and stop thinking about it. Enjoy your dinner, watch some television with Dan, and get some sleep. Tomorrow your slump ends
Morale tends to be one of those tricky words thrown around meetings. Every company wants good morale
around the office but very few companies actually go through the trouble of determining how to achieve it.
But really quick, before we get into how to destroy morale (and why this would be a horrible
thing to happen), what exactly is
Morale can be loosely defined as the level of confidence or optimism felt by an individual or a group. It’s the feeling a person gets that they can make a difference in their environment; that they matter, and that they are valued. A high morale gives you employees that are committed and motivated to their task. Low morale gives you apathetic, uncaring employees that are probably searching for other jobs during their breaks. Which would you rather have? Exactly.
So if you’re looking to have the most productive environment possible, here are the top five things you should avoid: 1.) Embracing ignorance.
The old phrase, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” has no place in a workplace environment. Essentially, it means you’re rewarding poor communication and giving them an excuse for a low level of motivation. Don’t just explain the project to your employees, explain the reason
for the project, allowing them to become invested
in it as well. 2.) Assuming.
How’s it go? Oh that’s right; assuming just makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. It all comes back to communication. How many movies have there been made based on a simple plot of miscommunication and assumption? Too many to count. Don’t let your workplace turn into a shenanigan-stuffed Hollywood comedy. 3.) Fault-finding.
There’s a difference between giving out constructive criticism and finding faults in every little thing.
Believe it or not, sometimes someone just does a good job and they should be recognized and awarded appropriately. Everything
does not need to be a learning experience
. 4.) One-Upping.
Everyone has been guilty of this at one point or another, and most of the time we probably don’t even realize we’re doing it. But when an employee comes to you describing a certain success they’ve had (maybe they finished that 12 page report in only three days), explaining how you once finished a 50 page report in only four days isn’t going to be an amusing story, it’s going to downplay their success
. 5.) Not caring.
As much as people want to keep work and personal life separate, the fact is the two tend to mix at least a little bit. Things are going to happen at home that affect a person’s performance at work (perhaps a loved one has just passed away) and things are going to happen at work that certainly affect a person’s home life. Plus, most people spend even more time at work than they do with their own families. Remembering little things, like birthdays, or asking how someone is doing after they have suffered a loss or tragedy can give a much needed boost
to a low morale environment.
As much as we would all like it to, the concept of teamwork
does not simply “happen.” Instead, it takes a great deal of time working through details to make sure a team works together effectively. But some businesses and families are one step ahead of the game; by creating a culture that facilitates teamwork, constantly
, a groups’ members are already comfortable with the idea of working together. So how can you achieve this in your home or place of business? Read on! 1.) Reward and value efforts of teamwork.
The lone employee has their place, but placing a large amount of reward on something an individual employee does on their own can often give the impression that an individual can be valued more than the group. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of personal recognition, of course, but try to keep larger rewards (bonuses, compensation, etc.) distributed to groups of people as a display of a team working together successfully. 2.) Build teams to solve issues.
If you are constantly forming teams to resolve issues that arise, people are going to start doing it on their own. If you typically ask for a group of volunteers to solve a problem, the first time a problem comes up while you are out of town group members will follow the protocol; which is to form a team and work through the issue together. 3.) List a teamwork culture as an identifiable value.
The concept of teamwork shouldn’t be inferred, it should be openly accepted. Make sure the idea of teamwork is added to employee handbooks or written agreements so group members understand that it is a priority. 4.) Bring up topics that were solved by teamwork.
I used to work at Billings Clinic, and I remember when they were given a Magnet rating (the top rating for nursing in the country; very few hospitals have achieved this), credit was given to the committee that worked tirelessly to make sure the hospital met specific qualifications. No single individual was acknowledged; it was considered a group effort. 5.) Exemplify teamwork at the executive level as well.
As parents, it’s tough to expect your family to run as a team if you and your spouse do not act as a team as well. The same goes with a business. If Mom is asked a question, saying “I’ll run that by your father” shows that teamwork happens at even the highest level
. Make this a practice in your business as well.
In a perfect world, all teams would work perfectly together; meetings would run smoothly, problems would be easily ironed out and everyone would be happy. However, as we all probably already know, we don’t live in a perfect world. And while one person may believe a team is functioning as well as it could be, another member may have a different opinion. The fact is, just as every other aspect of a business
needs to be evaluated, and so does the collaboration process
of the actual team.
So gather your team members together, provide a few snacks (a few cookies work wonders for cutting tension) and explain that a simple evaluation needs to be done. Make sure all evaluations are anonymous, and have each member rate the team against the following criteria: 1.) Clarity of team goals.
Is it clear what the team is actually trying to accomplish? Is it clear who exactly is benefitting the most from the accomplishment of the team’s goals
? If a member from one department feels accomplishing the stated goals only benefits members from another department, it could mean that some of the team’s goals are too narrow or that they aren’t being explained properly. 2.) Clarity of individual roles and responsibilities.
A friend of mine works as a coach for a university softball team. When the university was hiring new athletic trainers, they informed her she had been nominated as the chair of the committee. However, no one explained her responsibilities. People would just call her office asking if she turned in “that review” or had completed her “recommendation rundown” and she had no idea what they were talking about. Encourage your team members to describe times they have felt like this. 3.) Efficiency of time and resources.
Ever been to a meeting that was a complete waste of time? One that was simply a gathering of people so your supervisor could hear herself talk? Hopefully your team meetings aren’t like this, but if they are it’s an incredible waste of resources. Have team members list ideas to make meetings more efficient. Maybe a memo could be sent out before hand with a list of required paperwork or the itinerary could be emailed out letting people know exactly what part of the meeting will be relevant to them. 4.) Facilitation of ideas.
Do your team members have a voice? If they suggest something, do you get defensive or hear their ideas? Are they constantly interrupted by other teammates? Is the environment conducive to a productive meeting or is it absolutely freezing and they can’t wait to get out of there (don’t scoff; a comfortable room temperature is actually very relevant to productivity)? 5.) Rewards and general concerns.
While accomplishing a specific goal
sounds like it should be enough, more often than not, it isn’t. Encourage team members to list possible incentives or ways productivity could be increased. In addition, have them list any general concerns they may have about how the meetings are run. This could be scheduling or even fairness. I worked nightshifts at a previous job, and until someone mentioned it all meetings were held at 3:00 in the afternoon. That’s great if you work day shift, but it’s an awful time for nightshift. Everyone was much happier
when meetings were changed to 8:00 in the morning, right between shift changes.
Are you a procrastinator
? Go ahead, you can answer honestly…
That’s what I thought.
The truth is, procrastinating is an extremely common habit. The stress of something easily makes it seem like putting it off until later is a good idea, but we all know how that ends up. So let’s examine a few ways
to get rid of that procrastinating bug. Not forever, mind you, we are realists, after all. But these tips should get you going in the right direction when you desperately need to focus
. 1.) Really prioritize.
Believe it or not, we all have a limited supply of willpower that gradually drains throughout the day. That’s why you see so many more fast food advertisements at the end of the day than the beginning; because that’s when they’ve been found to be the most effective at convincing people to call the number at the bottom of the screen. Focusing on tasks that need to be completed is no different. Therefore, it’s important to start with the toughest stuff first
, while your willpower is at its maximum.
Plus, then you get to enjoy the wash of relief you often feel after your most stressful task is completed, making the weight on your shoulders feel just a tad bit lighter. 2.) Get rid of distractions.
Distractions are everywhere (as a writer that works from home on a computer hooked up to the internet 24/7, I whole-heartedly understand), but that doesn’t mean you have to give into them. Instead of checking your email every 10 minutes, vow to check it once every 2 hours. Turn your phone on silent, keep the television off and for the love of God stay off the internet.
If you have
to be on the internet or your phone has
to be on, you can still screen what you’re looking at. Facebook is not essential, it can wait, just like that text from your friend wondering if she should wear the black or the red pumps tonight. Those issues aren’t important right now; you have work to do. 3.) Find what motivates you.
It doesn’t have to be much. For example, when I am writing an article and feel myself draining, I’ll suddenly notice that I’m a bit thirsty. Instead of getting up and getting a glass of water, I’ll tell myself I can have one after I write one more paragraph. It’s a tiny thing, but it always works. 4.) Time yourself.
Looking at your workload and thinking, “This will take hours!” will not help you reach your goals. Instead, set a timer for only 10 minutes, and vow to work feverishly straight through those 10 minutes. No excuses whatsoever. Anyone can handle 10 minutes of work, and you’ll often be surprised at how much you can get done
. 5.) Break apart your work.
Tackling one giant task all at once is sure to make anyone shy away, so instead think about what you could realistically do in the next 10, 30, or 60 minutes, then start there. Breaking larger tasks into smaller ones is a clever little way to tricking to the brain into thinking the workload just got a whole lot lighter.
When you are running a business
, it’s perfectly natural to want to do everything on your own. You’re looking to cut as many costs as possible, so doing your own books, taxes, advertising and anything else seems like a reasonable decision.
Let’s read that again, this time with the correct emphasis.
Doing your own books, taxes, advertising and anything else seems
like a reasonable decision. See where I’m going here? The fact is, you can’t do everything yourself, nor should you. Here is a list of people you should consider hiring if you want your business to have the best chance of success. 1.) Professional Accountant.
Taxes are nothing to joke about. One slip-up could cost thousands of dollars in fees and wasted time, not to mention legal issues and a damaged company reputation. Get your taxes done right by someone how knows what they’re doing. 2.) Lawyer.
And speaking of legal issues, a decent lawyer is essential. Your company may be held liable for a number of things, and in the unfortunate instance that a problem should arise, every contract or written agreement is going to be gone over with the most intense of scrutiny. It would be wise to do this while drafting up the contracts. You’ll want to make sure any potential issues are discussed long before you find yourself in hot water. And if you do
find yourself in hot water, you’re going to want a good business lawyer on your side, especially one that already knows your business inside and out. 3.) Professional Web Designer.
If you don’t have a website
, you’re already behind, plain and simple. Did you know over 64% of adults under 25 years old don’t even own a phonebook? And why would they, they can find everything they need on the internet! You need a website, but a site that is messy and difficult to navigate won’t do you any good. A professional web designer will give your business the web presence
it needs to be successful. 4.) Social Media Expert.
The phrase, “adapt or die” hasn’t been around for nothing, and in this day and age social media is an essential part of business
. Not only does it provide free marketing to a constantly growing and evolving audience (it costs nothing to have your own Facebook page or Twitter account), but it also gives your customers additional ways of interacting with you. Hiring someone who is proficient in the ways of social media helps give your business the identity and presence
you want it to have.
No one wants to end up in court on account of something someone overlooked, especially when that something could turn out to be illegal. No one is perfect though, and even the most innocent of owners will make a mistake now and then, so here are some guidelines to make sure whatever mistakes are
made, none of them will land you in hot water with the judge. 1.) Have a No-Tolerance policy for illegal behavior.
That means performing random drug tests and following all rules and regulations. Are you handling food? Get licensed. Are your workers working more than 40 hours a week? Pay them overtime. The law is the law for a reason, and you need to follow it. 2.) Have an employee handbook.
However, certain rules can be a bit gray, so before you go off expecting your staff to be mind-readers,
make sure they all have a copy of all the companies policies; what is or isn’t a violation, what happens should a violation take place, etc. It’s also important to have each employee sign a form acknowledging they’ve read and understood the handbook, ensuring everyone is on the same page
. 3.) Pay your taxes and cooperate with government officials.
If someone from the IRS stops by your place of business, don’t immediately become defensive. After all, they could just be here to clear up a few things, meaning you haven’t done anything wrong and you won’t be getting in trouble for anything. Just in case though… 4.) Keep records.
Tax returns, receipts, signed forms and other paperwork is given to you for a reason; as a written record of your transactions and policies. If you need to prove your innocence, the easiest way to do that is having the paperwork backing it up. 5.) Do background checks.
You need to know who you’re hiring, plain and simple. If you run a daycare, you need to be able to promise parents that their children won’t be coming into contact with any registered sexual offenders. If you run a delivery company, you’ll need to make sure your drivers have a clean driving record, which means 16 DUI’s is definitely going to be a deal-breaker. In order to trust your staff implicitly
, you need to know who they are. 6.) Investigate complaints.
There is no quicker way to find yourself in hot water than to have a list of complaints that you do nothing about. If you receive a complaint, whether it’s from an employee or a customer, it is absolutely essential that you look into the issue. And if it is a serious issue, like allegations of sexual harassment, you need to inform the correct authorities.
Are you in love with your business
partner? Not just for their love of numbers, the company you have created together, or their customer service skills, but their cute little nose, their manly smell or the way they make your knees go weak with a passionate kiss?
Whoa, back up. Passionate kiss? Can entrepreneurs do that sort of thing?
They can and they do! Even though the U.S. Census Bureau does not provide exact data on the number of businesses own by couples, they do show that approximately 3 million businesses are owned equally by men and women, estimating that the vast majority of these are businesses owned by an “entrepreneurial couple”. It would wrong of us to assume that none of these couples are romantically involved. Out of 3 million…that sure is a lot of lovin’ in the office.
In addition, the phenomenon occurs even more regularly when applied to small businesses with less than 10 employees. Apparently when people live together, laugh together and decide to build a life together, the imagined life of working side by side through the long hours required of business ownership is a logical next step. And it is. They trust each other, they enjoy being together and they are often passionate about the same things. These couples jump into the business with all of the passion that got them into bed the first time and it is a beautiful, passionate journey; most of the time.
To ensure it is a passionate and wonderful journey all of the time,
here are 5 things to consider: 1. Take a break.
Not from the business, but from each other. Go for a walk, go on vacation and go out with friends…alone. You simply have to have moments apart so you have something to talk about when you come back together. No one wants to be the boring folks ignoring each other over dinner and no one wants to be the bickering couple either. Spending time in separate locations keeps you both interesting and able to be just a little bit nicer when you are together. 2. Take care of the couple first.
Someday the kids will be gone, the business will be gone and you will be left staring at the person you decided to build a life with. Don’t wake up and wonder how you ended up in bed with a stranger. Be romantic. Be spontaneous. Be a flirt. Step away from everything but each other once in a while. You deserve it. 3. Set clear goals.
There is nothing worse than working side by side hour after hour only to realize you were both going in different directions. Knowing where you are going, when you want to get there and who is doing which tasks is essential. Deciding your direction now
, when everyone is calm, is a better plan than waiting till you hit a fork in the road; because that fork could very well be used to stab someone in the leg. 4. Hire help.
Someone out there likes to clean toilets and I bet it is neither of you. Someone also knows how to fix a computer, balance the books, and run social media. Let them. Make a list of everything that needs to be done- and what has to be done by you - then farm out the rest. The trick is to use the time you are not doing menial tasks to earn money to pay for the people doing those tasks or to take care of the couple as talked about in point two. 5. Don’t be the boss.
You can kiss your entrepreneurial partner, but you probably don’t want to kiss the boss. The boss is a Big Ol’ Stinking Slob. They think they are always right, use volume and intimidation instead of effective communication and would rather watch others work than participate in work. If you are acting like the boss and your partner doesn’t like it you can be fired. That firing usually means the kids and the house are divided and happily ever after is not going to be the end of your story. Be kind. Be helpful. Be a partner. Don’t be a stinker: don’t be a boss. Bonus Point: You need other people
. And you have to let them into this crazy project you are doing together. Enlist the help of a coach, an accountant, a lawyer and probably a therapist (better early on than when it is too late!). Well-meaning friends and family do not know what you are going through, and truth be told, you probably don’t either. There are people out there who do, and people who can help you lay out a game plan that will keep you sane, prosperous and most importantly, together. Let them.
Now go kiss your big ol bundle of entrepreneurial passion- and don’t stop till their knees go weak. But, do it fast, you have work to do
Let’s face it; everyone has a few personality traits that can be a bit of a…pain in the neck. But for the most part, they’re harmful. So you don’t like it when your green beans touch your pork-chop, or you tend to talk a little too long when you’re on the phone, it’s probably not going to be the downfall of your business
or the unraveling of your family
. The following personality traits, however, are going to cause some serious difficulties in your life, and it’s recommended that you do something to make some changes, stat. 1.) You focus on the negative.
No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer, but have you ever tried working for one? Don’t defend yourself by saying, “Well there’s always room for improvement.” Sometimes a job well done is just a job well done, and it needs to be left at that. Could your employee have turned in that report a day sooner? Would you have done anything with it if it had been
turned in a day sooner? No? Then let it go. No one will want to work for you
if nothing they do is ever good enough. 2.) You misplace your frustrations.
Everyone has a bad day once in a while, but that doesn’t mean you are allowed to scream at your employees when you are really still upset about your alarm not going off this morning. Or maybe you yell at your husband during your late night phone call when in reality you just haven’t seen him in a month and you miss him. If you’re upset about something, address it
. Don’t let your receptionist or your spouse take the brunt of your bad mood. 3.) You’re apathetic.
An individual who is apathetic appears to not care. You may care a great deal about the goings on in your daily life, but you have to act like it for others to get it. An example would be if a costly mistake occurs and you say, “Oh well, let’s not do it again.” A caring person would want to determine why the mistake was made and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. Remember, if you don’t care about the work being done, why would anyone else? 4.) You nag.
A nagging personality is one of the most draining personalities to be around, and why? Because you are never fully alone when you are with a nagger. Everything you do is under constant scrutiny. Are you going to turn that in on time? Are you doing that right? Will they like it? Are you following all
the directions? Exhausting, isn’t it? So stop. When you ask someone to do something, let them do it. Their process for completing a task is fully their own; you don’t have a say. Assign a task and then wait until either the task is complete or the deadline arrives before you make your critiques. 5.) You don’t listen.
Knowing how to really listen
(and I mean really
listen, not just sit there quietly waiting for the other person to finish so you can say whatever it is you want to say), is one of the most invaluable traits there is. The fact is, you are not
always right and you do not
know everything. If you need to make a conscious effort to stop talking, then do it.
The problem with most of these personality traits is that the people that have them don’t realize they have them. Take a second to really examine yourself, every day, to make sure you’re not falling into one of these traps. The most successful teams are happy teams, and you want a happy, successful team