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Monthly Archives: November 2011

The most common problem in project management is falling behind schedule. It’s difficult to avoid delays, but you can often improve the situation and still complete the project on time. Try one of these three approaches before accepting the inevitability of a hold up:

  1. Use the end to recover. Look at the long-term plan. Find places later in the schedule where you can make up for lost time.
  2. Narrow the scope. Focus on the true goal. Eliminate nonessential elements to reduce cost and save time.
  3. Renegotiate with stakeholders. Explore alternatives. Discuss the possibility of increasing the budget or extending deadlines to keep the project on track.

Source: Harvard Business Review – Management Tips of the Day

 

Recurring meetings are a drag. These regular updates exist for a reason, but they are often boring and even unproductive. Here are three ways you can freshen up your standing meeting:

  • Review the meeting’s purpose. People may show up just because it’s on their calendar. Remind them why the meeting exists and ask if it still serves a purpose.
  • Solicit agenda items in advance. Give attendees the chance to bring up issues that are of interest to them.
  • Cancel if there is no reason to meet. No agenda items? Cancel. People will respect that you aren’t wasting their time and will show up engaged when there is work to be done.

Source: Harvard Business Review – Management Tips of the Day

The holiday season is swiftly approaching, bringing with it great fun and family events. As you are preparing for this great season, it is important to plan accordingly. The friends and family you invite into your home bring plenty of warmth and cheer, but can also create quite a mess. For this …The holiday season is swiftly approaching, bringing with it great fun and family events. As you are preparing for this great season, it is important to plan accordingly. The friends and family you invite into your home bring plenty of warmth and cheer, but can also create quite a mess. For this reason, organizing your home for the holiday season is very important, to anyone who wishes their home to stay as clean as the freshly fallen snow outside.

Organizing your home entails assembling a good number of storage containers for everything from sugar cookies to Christmas lights and ornaments. The tree can create a mess as well, and if you choose an artificial tree, it will also need to be stored. When it comes to getting yourself and your home ready for this holiday season, challenges abound. Getting started early, even before Thanksgiving, is a good way to thwart the coming stress of December.

While one may not want to start decorating until after Thanksgiving, there is no real reason to not prepare for decoration. This is where organization can become an issue.

1. The first thing you need to do is to begin cleaning your entire house. All of your non-seasonal knick-knacks need to go. Throw rugs and blankets may need to be replaced as well.

2. Boxes of all sizes are invaluable for holiday storage and organization. This starts with storing your non-holiday items in order to make room for the Christmas tree and more. Label the boxes by room, and begin filling them up with the items that you are getting replacing. When a box is full move it into storage. Once your home is thoroughly desolate and devoid of decorative flair you can begin to think of your Christmas decorations.

3. Getting your actual decorations out can be a major hassle. This is the year to overhaul your storage system. Get rid of those cardboard boxes and replace them with plastic containers. Plastic is sturdier, stacks more easily, protects your items better and can simplify your storage process. Furthermore, plastic containers have been tweaked to fit any purpose. Many boxes can easily fit up to sixteen ornaments in safe individual compartments. The boxes come in three snap together trays that can, when put together, can safely store twenty-seven or twenty-eight ornaments. You no longer have to worry about losing precious keepsakes when you store your ornaments. Furthermore, you can avoid the waste of time that comes with wrapping ornaments in layer after layer of newspaper. These simple boxes provide perfect protection for all of your tree trimmings. They also can work wonderfully to stow bows, ribbons and other wrapping accessories.

4. Another frequent organizational nightmare associated with preparing for the holiday season is dealing with all of the wrapping paper and ribbon. Keeping these items stored without damage can be a significant challenge. It’s a good idea to store all your gift-wrapping supplies in one location. Hang them on a door for storage, so they don’t get crushed. This can help you keep the rest of your house organized for holidays.

5. A final crucial step for getting your house organized for holidays is to prepare your kitchen. The holiday season can easily be referred to as baking season, and if you plan on doing a lot of work in your kitchen, then you better be ready. Forget your spring cleaning routine, now is the time to get that kitchen cleaned out. Get your spice rack organized, move those pots to the most accessible location, and get your appliances reorganized to fit your baking needs. For most of the year your kitchen should be organized to meet your day to day needs. But during the holidays, your day to day necessities are thrown aside. Rather than focusing on the meat and potatoes of mealtime you may find yourself emphasizing the cookies and cakes during this time of year. One of the largest organizational disasters that come along with the holidays is trying to work around a kitchen that is not built for baking. You need to rework this room, or your sanity is going to be tested throughout the entire season.

Getting ready for the holiday season should start just before Thanksgiving. Even if you are one who refuses to decorate until after Thanksgiving, there is work to be done and the benefits can be very rewarding. Begin your organizational work now, and you can be well on your way to a more relaxed holiday season around the house or apartment. However, if you procrastinate, things can quickly become quite hectic and stressful. Invest in the proper storage materials, deal with the problem of wrapping paper and overhaul your kitchen. These steps should set you well on your way to a happy and peaceful holiday season.

Author: Get Organized

Without a doubt Thanksgiving is a day that ought to be filled with hope, gratitude, and happiness. It is a time of togetherness and for appreciation of our family and friends. It is a day to be celebrated in joy and liveliness.

Although this day is great on its own, it is possible to enhance the day for your family. There are many things that can make your Thanksgiving holiday exceptional. Your kids watch and notice much of what you do. How you talk about your family, the attitude you have about this special day and life in general is all being recorded by your kids.

As such this article is intended for parents to examine how they are currently celebrating the day and to find tips that can enhance this experience with their family.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Begin with a thankful mindset
Start the day off with a happy and thankful attitude. You can ask all family members to write down one positive thing about each of the other family members they are grateful for. Decide to read these notes out loud when you are together at the dinner.

2. Cook together & eat together
Cooking and eating are important for human bonding. Sharing a meal with others is what makes the food even more enjoyable. This is an opportunity to share your daily experiences (the good and the bad) with those you love and those who love you the most. Thanksgiving Day, however, is a good time to share your gratitude with each other. When we share positive ideas with people we grow closer to them. Remember that food is more than just nutrition for the body and brain. It is nutrition for the mind and soul.

3. Celebrate the gift of life
Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate life, not only by saying “Thank You” but also by stepping out of the home to experience something fun (e.g., family sport game, hike, photography, picking wild flowers, appreciation of nature). Joy and happiness are the best vehicles to gratitude and a zest for life.

4. Build family connections
As adults, people recall many memories from their childhood years formed during family events. Many adults have great memories of “crazy Uncle George” or “eccentric Aunt Martha” which they speak about with their siblings and cousins. This is a good time to put aside any family disputes. Model good family relations to your children so they can grow up and value the relationships they have with their siblings and extended family.

5. Be thankful for your family
Much information exists on “How to survive the holidays with your family.” Nobody’s family is perfect and most of us have a family member that is difficult to get along with. Use Thanksgiving Day to remember all the positives about everyone and to recall all the positives they have done for you. Find a subtle way to tell everyone what you appreciate about this family member and watch his or her attitude change that night. This is a great opportunity to show your kids how family can connect.

6. Volunteer
Give some of your family’s time to a shelter or food bank. This is good for the kids and it is good for you. You will come home with a feeling of contribution, a greater gratitude for what you have, and with feelings of humility. This helps keep us all grounded, but it helps kids form a positive attitude about the life they were given, and it can show kids how their actions can make a difference in their community.

7. New and old tradition
Sometimes it’s just easier not to cook the traditional favorites or put up the decorations. But believe it or not, these little, seemingly unimportant traditions are what we crave and what we remember from our youth. Celebrate your yearly traditions and think about developing a new tradition that incorporates the uniqueness of your family! As a family unit, what is your strength and what are your interests (e.g., using arts and crafts, visually represent what each of you is thankful for)? Use your family’s uniqueness to establish a new yearly ritual.

Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to your family!

Author: Ivana Pejakovic 

Imagine finding time to:

• Fulfill life’s daily demands,
• Make headway on your big goals, and
• Be able to pursue your favorite and most self-nurturing activities.

I know I don’t have to tell you … that can be a very tall order, requiring lots of focus and discipline!

And do you notice that often, after you’ve put in your best efforts, you may let go of that last item on the list above – your promise to yourself? Do you say you’ll find time for that weekend away or that special event “another time”?

If that’s a pattern for you, then I advise you to start following through on rewarding yourself, starting as soon as you finish reading this article.

Why?

Well, let’s start with 3 immediate benefits you gain from rewarding yourself consistently:

1. You provide yourself with the enjoyment you deserve.
When you follow through on rewarding yourself you return to your daily life refreshed and alert, with more energy and optimism than you started with.

2. You build your trust in yourself.
Just as a child looks to a parent to keep promises, you integrate and bolster your energy by matching your words with your actions. Don’t you deserve to be as good a friend to yourself as you are to others?

3. You strengthen your focus and self-discipline.
When your promises are backed by concrete action, you heighten your incentive to tackle the most daunting tasks … and succeed.

You may be saying, right about now, “That sounds great, but how do I get there?”

Here are 7 Timely Tips to help you set this positive cycle in motion:

1. Actions, not words.
If you are used to pushing past your own promises to yourself, you need to rebuild self-trust. Start small, and be sure you only make promises that you know you can follow through on.

2. Don’t retract; reschedule.
When life throws you a curve ball, don’t let it through you entirely off course. If a planned reward evaporates, replace it with a new one you create.

3. Aim for success.
Break your goals into smaller steps or chunks, so that you experience success. Don’t punish yourself by making your rewards conditional on overambitious benchmarks.

4. Go public.
If you need reinforcement, enlist a friend’s help. Report in, or ask your friend to check in to ensure you’re keeping your promise to yourself.

5. Daily does it.
Build in small rewards every day. Practice builds proficiency.

6. Build up.
Gradually escalate to larger rewards, and try including friends in this. Then be sure not to let them down!

7. Free treats.
As you establish strong patterns of success, build in time for yourself that is not dependent upon achievement. This is so important! You could, for example, take one day a month and use it to do whatever you want, no matter what. This enables you to recharge your energy and enhance your creativity.

In addition to the short-term benefits described, when you keep your promises to yourself, you will feel more energetic, be more productive, and enjoy other long-term rewards as well. Here are just a few …

• Your health benefits when you are able to remain alert and refreshed.

• You come to know yourself better and better. Keeping current with what you truly enjoy enables you to be more skilled at providing meaningful rewards for yourself.

• The more you look to yourself for satisfaction, the less you’ll be tempted to place unrealistic demands upon others to make you happy. So your relationships benefit and thrive.

• You recognize the daily pleasures that surround you when you build balance into your life. Gratitude adds to your pleasure, and you become less susceptible to work-a-holism, urgency and defeatism.

Remember, time for yourself is always within your power! When you keep your promises to yourself, you’ll find that your energy, efficiency, and effectiveness all receive a huge boost. What could be better?

So, what is your next step for enhancing your quality of life and productivity … and finding time?

Here’s one idea. Sign up for our free gift, “The New Finding Time Boundary Template: 9 Simple, Sequential Steps to Find More Time and Recharge Your Energy!” at http://thetimefinder.com/TemplateSG.html

This time template will help you move beyond overwhelm, disappointment, and frustration. Using a workbook format, with room to record your answers, you will discover that 24 hours really are enough!

By Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder Expert.

My daughters bought me a rock that says “Today’s crisis is tomorrow’s joke” engraved on it. I absolutely love it, and it’s displayed prominently in my home office. I look at it several times a day to remind me that while it’s certainly true that life is chock-full of dramas, it’s also true that dramas come and go, and come and go. They always have, and they always will.

Before I go on, please know that when I say “today’s crisis is tomorrow’s joke,” I’m obviously not referring to any of the hundreds of “life-changing” events that can be categorized as a true “crisis.” Instead, I’m referring to the virtually unlimited number of relatively minor events that most of us tend to stew about that, in retrospect, really aren’t that big a deal.

Have you ever gone to a family or high school reunion and listened to the conversations? It’s fun, in part, because the conversations sometimes tie into this bit of wisdom. So many things that used to be seen as “big, giant, huge emergencies” are now the topics of great jokes. They are funny because they are seen with a bit of distance. We may have been furious at someone, for example, for God knows what … and now it seems so silly and insignificant. So, while we used to get really uptight about it, we now laugh about the very same set of facts.

And I’m not sure about you, but when I think about the way I was behaving just yesterday–running around like a chicken with my head cut off, as if there were not enough time–it seems funny to me now. I see how absurd it was. The trick to getting to the point where life doesn’t seem like just one crisis after another is when we can see it as funny, not after the fact, but actually while we’re acting a little crazy and taking life a bit too seriously. I’ve obviously got a way to go, but I’m working on it!

One of my favorite spiritual teachers has a great line. He said, “If you don’t have a sense of humor, it just isn’t funny.” I think that says it all. Without a sense of humor, you’re in for a tough ride, no doubt about it. You’re going to be super serious. So lighten up, especially regarding taking yourself and others too seriously. Try to see yourself and everyone else not as people who should be trouble-free or perfect, but rather as “characters” on the stage of life. When people act strangely, or when you do, rather than take it personally, try to see the humor in it.

The world is a big, confusing place, and most of us are doing the best we can. It’s far easier to develop the perspective that people don’t have to be perfect or live up to some made-up set of standards than it is to get all uptight when things don’t go according to plan, or when life isn’t living up to our expectations.

Lighten up and live a little. It’s a heck of a lot more fun and an easier way to live.

Often, though, you might find it difficult to see the humorous side in certain aspects of life–particularly during times when you’re feeling harried, frustrated, or angry due to events beyond your control.

One of the most memorable self-help seminars I ever attended was way back when I was a teenager. Since I’m 44 years old now, that was about 30 years ago. One of the main topics the trainer covered was obnoxious drivers.

I’ll never forget the conversation because I’ve rarely been frustrated by bad drivers ever since–particularly those who tailgate and who are aggressive, two of the main components of road rage.

In the seminar, the trainer posed the following question: What would you do if you were being tailgated?

The answers were all over the map, but two that stood out were “I’d put on my taillights so the person behind me would think I was putting on my brakes” and “I’d put on my brakes so that the bad driver behind me would have to slow down.”

Both of these answers are terrible ideas in today’s world.

As we all know, road rage is a very real thing, and it’s very dangerous. The last thing we want to do is make an angry driver even angrier.

Actually, this is one of the simplest strategies I can offer you and one of the easiest ways to get rid of angry drivers who are tailgating you or putting you in danger.

All you have to do is this: simply pull over and let the jerk pass you by. Allow him or her to go and have an accident somewhere else. It’s that simple.

You’ll be safe, and chances are you’ll never see him again. Then let it go, and don’t spend another minute thinking about it the rest of the day. Be grateful it’s all over.

The best thing to do is to try and remember that while it’s true that there are many bad drivers and, in fact, many bad people, it’s important to keep it in perspective. I have no idea on the actual percentages, but I’d guess that for every angry, horrible driver on the road, there are probably 50 perfectly courteous and safe ones.

The same applies to people in general. True, there are jerks. But there are so many more nice people.

Try to focus on that instead. When you’re driving, notice the thousands and thousands of people who are following the rules and doing the best they can, given the circumstances.

Notice the people who do let others into lanes of traffic or move aside, even when it’s not convenient for them.

There will always be road rage, and there will always be jerks. However, there’s no rule that says any of that has to bother us one little bit.

So let the jerks–and all of those minor events–pass you by, and you’ll have a great day.

By Richard Carlson