Archive for the ‘Life Balance’ Category
I don’t know about you, but I get a LOT of email. Actually, I’m sure you do too. Even my 10 year old gets a lot of email. I am so grateful to belong to some amazing groups and to be on some teams that are doing cool work together. But, I am not grateful to be on distribution lists that I don’t need to be on. Here are some things to consider that can help minimize the noise in YOUR inbox:
To: Perfect for sending to one to five people who all have each other’s email addresses and know each other.
CC: Distribution lists are a great way to quickly communicate with a group of people, to make an invitation or to get some quick support or feedback. When sending emails, only include the people who actually need to be on the list. Don’t include the whole board just because they’re there and it makes you feel important to send an email to a dozen people.
BCC: If the people you are emailing don’t know each other and/or don’t need all the RSVPs, questions and responses that you are requesting, use BCC to keep their emails private.
Subject: PLEASE use a UNIQUE subject in your emails. I can not tell you how many emails I get where the subject is the name of the group. Please indicate specifically what your email is about in the subject line. You are more likely to get a quick response.
Reply: When you reply to an email, you don’t necessarily need to change the subject. However, when that email ends up going back and forth 10 times, it is helpful to change the subject as the subject changes. Just notice when it might be helpful to change the subject instead of assuming that you don’t need to.
Reply All: THINK about it, before you hit “Reply All.” That’s all I’m asking. If you think I need to know, then include me. But, if you just want me to see how clever or smart or supportive you are, I already know. Simply reply directly to the person that needs your answer. Please don’t tell me that you, too, will be at the board meeting tomorrow night. I’ll see you there.
Edit: Please do everyone a favor and re-read your words before you send them. If you aren’t a strong speller and you don’t want to look like an idiot, use spell check. It’s built in.
Send: If you aren’t 100% sure that it’s a good idea to hit send, then hit “Save as Draft” and walk away for an hour (or over night). It is not a good idea to send email when you are sad, mad, frustrated, PMS, just got off a long flight or when you have been drinking. Save yourself some trouble and think before you “Send.”
Improving what you send and how you send it will improve the quality of what you get back. People will do what you do. Let’s start a trend of being a little more conscientious with our emails.
Yes and No. They are two of the first words we learn and they are simple and complete. Wow, do we complicate them, though.
When do you…
Say Yes and do Yes. This is what most people think you mean when you say Yes. They think that you will actually do what you say, when you say it and how you say that you’ll do it. Yes means Yes. When we say Yes and do yes people trust us and we trust ourselves. We act in integrity.
Say Yes and do No. Sometimes we say Yes but do No. We don’t do what we say. There are so many things that this could mean. It could mean that we meant to do what we said, but something got in the way and we have a really good excuse for not doing what we said we’d do. It could be that we said Yes only because we thought that was the “right” thing to say and that we tried to talk ourselves into doing yes but just couldn’t. We might resent the other person for asking – this is a big clue that we are saying yes when we mean no. We might feel guilty – which is a clue that we actually wanted to do yes but didn’t. Normally, we are betraying ourselves or others in this situation. The result is that people stop trusting you and/or you stop trusting yourself to do what you say you will do.
Say No and do No. Gosh this seems like a simple idea, right? It is truly liberating to say No, mean No and do No. Some of us have a hard time with this one. Try it on. No is a complete sentence. You do not need a reason or an excuse to say No. You do not need to justify your No. If you feel like it lands too hard to just say No, try adding Thank you. No, thank you. Simple. Complete. People actually trust you and you begin to trust yourself when you say No and do No – when your No has integrity.
Say No and do Yes. This one is messed up and all too common. We say No and then we give in and do Yes. Generally, we feel guilty or we get talked into something or we are afraid that people won’t like us/love us if we stick to our No. The problem is that when we do this, we train other people not to respect our No. We lose other’s respect and our self respect. If you’re going to do Yes, say Yes. If you’re going to do No, say No – and practice exercising your boundaries.
- Say No when you mean No at least 3 times a day all week and stick to it.
- Pause before you say Yes and make sure you mean it.
- Notice when you say No, but do Yes and get curious about what is going on.
- Notice when you say Yes, but do No and get curious about what is going on.
The other night my youngest boys came running into the living room in a panic because, evidently, “a hundred giant bugs” were in the house. I was on the phone with my sister talking about her exciting new move and helping her sort out the details, so I was trying to empower them to take care of the “giant bugs”.
Okay, you need some background here. I have four boys who spent their toddler and pre-school years chasing bugs with bug nets and building little habitats for them to live in. I’m not sure where along the line they turned bug phobic. My oldest son is now in college and is really not fond of spiders. He can handle most other bugs, but he wasn’t here, so I couldn’t call on him to pull out the combination of karate lessons and AP Science genius to help me. My fifteen year old was home but insulated in his room with his iPod and computer and pretended not to hear the commotion so that he wouldn’t have to let on that he’s also afraid of bugs. My husband was out of town, fortunately. The last thing I needed in that moment was my big, tough hunka man pulling out an arsenal of chemicals and weapons to declare war on the beasties to cover up the fact that he’s also afraid of bugs. And, my dogs find bugs beneath their dignity and completely ignore them. They won’t chase anything smaller than a bunny. So, that leaves me with my youngest two who are 11 and 12. They are smart, resourceful and fully capable of taking care of a problem of this caliber. They are both clever on their own, but they are scary smart together.
So, I tell them to “put on their big boy pants and go figure it out.” I kept talking to my sister while they tried catching, shooing, swatting and shooting at the bugs (with Nerf darts). Next thing I know, they come running into the living room and shut off all the lights. “We can’t do it, Mom! There are too many of them and they are freaky! You need to help us!” I ask them, “Uh, why are we having this conversation in the dark?” They have determined that the bugs are attracted to light, so they have turned out all the lights in the house except the kitchen so that they can collect them all in one place. Oh, smart, but why the kitchen? I don’t want bugs in my kitchen!
My sister’s move is really a big, big deal. She’s 21 and moving from a small town in Oregon to Alaska by herself on a one year internship. I really wanted to talk to her more than I wanted to join the bug battle. So, I told the boys that the bugs are harmless and that I’d take care of them when I got off the phone. They were huddled next to me on the couch in the dark and wouldn’t leave or let me turn on any lights, so I sent them to learn about the bugs on the internet. They held their breath and ran to my office swinging their arms wildly around their heads in case of fly-bys and slammed the door. I guess it was safe in there.
Five minutes later, they came running back into the living room with the solution that they got from www.howtogetridofstuff.com: Vacuum them up! Oh, I thought that was a good idea and told them to get to it. At this point, though, they were so freaked out from the close up pictures of the bugs on the internet that they wanted me to help them. Uh, do they know who they’re talking to? I don’t mind bugs, but I do NOT vacuum! I haven’t vacuumed since 1988 when my new husband first realized that we would need to make enough money to hire a housekeeper. Well, one thing that my boys are really good at is gadgets, electronics and tools, so they got out the vacuum and plugged in all the attachments and taught me how to use it. And, I sucked it up, got off the phone and sucked up all the creepy crawlies. I do have to admit that I felt a little bit sorry about killing them all, but I really couldn’t have a hundred bugs living in my kitchen.
Women Entrepreneurs are among the busiest people I know. But busy does not mean effective. Do you need more time in your day? Do you need to be more effective?
Here are some 5 Minute Time Management Strategies for you to try on. Why 5 Minute Strategies? Because you’re BUSY! If it takes more than 5 minutes to implement your time management strategy, you probably won’t do it!
- Stop Answering the Phone! Now this isn’t for everyone. If you are in customer service or responsible for scheduling clients, then you probably still want to answer the phone. Most of us, though, answer the phone because it’s ringing. We react. Instead of being reactive, be proactive. Plan your calls. Pick up messages and return calls all at once when you have the time to do it, not when you’re in the middle of something else.
- Stop Checking Your Email, Facebook and Twitter! If you’re anything like me, you could probably spend your whole day in front of your computer (or on your iPhone) checking your email and your social media platforms. You will feel busy and you will look busy, but you might not get much done. Schedule 3-6 times per day (for 15 to 60 minutes) that you will check email and your social media sites and respond to whatever you need to respond to. It takes discipline, but it’s worth it. This tip alone can free you up to do some “real work” and get some real results!
- Use NET Time! NET stands for “No Extra Time”. Listen to teleclass recordings in your car, learn a language while you work out, check your email while you’re in the drop off circle to pick up your kids from school, prepare your sales presentation or your upcoming class while you’re hanging out at baseball practice. You get the idea.
- Say “No” or “Not Now.” There are a lot of distractions in life. Practice saying “no” and “not now” to distractions. If it’s something that’s really important, schedule it.
- Make a List. Top 5, Top 6 or Top 10. Every evening or every morning, make a list of your Top 5, 6 or 10 things that you must accomplish during the next 24 hours and do them.
You’ve probably heard it said that you are the sum total of the 7 people you hang out with most. So who do you hang out with most? And, do you like who you are and who you are becoming in that company?
If you want to lose weight, hang out with healthy, fit people. It makes it easier. If you want to be more successful, surround yourself with people who are MORE successful than you are. If you want to be in a fulfilling marriage, hang out with other couples who represent that for you.
Conceptually, this sounds great. But, I think it’s harder than it sounds. I know that the people I spend the most time with actually are my children. When they were little, it was hard for my brain to keep from turning to jello sometimes. As an entrepreneur, I spend most of my time working with clients or in pursuit of new clients. I have to make a conscious effort to put myself in environments that stretch me and to surround myself with people who propel me forward.
Here are 7 Ways to Create a Powerful Peer Group:
1. Be at choice about who you spend your time with. Of course there are important people who you are in relationships with that may not serve your vision of who you are becoming. Choose when to spend your time with them and how much time and energy you want to invest in that relationship. I’m not going to stop hanging out with my kids. But, I am intentional about that time. I love to play games with them, help them with their homework, make meals, go to the movies and just hang out with my kids. But, I don’t play Xbox or WOW with them. You get the idea. I also love my extended family dearly. I come from a long line of women who love with food – lots of delicious food. If I am watching my diet, I need to plan ahead when I attend a family event. It’s also true that I love with food and make regular attempts to kill my loved ones with enchiladas and cheesecake. They need to plan accordingly and enlist my support when they come over.
2. Bring the people in your current peer group up with you. So, in the case of my family, especially my immediate family, I am not going to stop eating with them as a long term solution. But, I can enroll them in eating better with me. Now, I have a peer group that supports me. You can do this with your office staff, your management team, the Little League moms or any of your other friends.
3. Join networking and business development groups or start your own. My favorite business development group for Women Entrepreneurs is The Association of Women Entreprenuers. I am inspired by the motivational and inspirational speakers. I love the mastermind groups. And I cherish the friendships that I have made with like-minded women in pursuit of MORE.
4. Join or start a mastermind group. Be intentional about who you choose to mastermind with. Look for people who compliment you and stretch you. Many coaches and consultants offer the opportunity to mastermind with them for a price. If this is your next teacher, then the price is generally worth it. You can mastermind with me, if you are so inspired.
5. Attend conventions in your field. Conventions are a fabulous opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals who are moving in the same direction that you are and conventions generally offer progressive educational opportunites in your field.
6. Pursue a credential. Most credentialing programs give you education with a peer group, or tribe, built in. One of the tribes that I am proudest to belong to and most stretched and fulfilled by is my CTI Leadership Tribe. My coaching certification, CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach), also admits me to an amazing, international tribe of coaches and leaders. I continue to be inspired and grown by these associations.
7. Join an association of professionals in your field. As a coach, I belong to The International Coach Federation and The International Coach Federation in Los Angeles. I know I am among “my people” when I attend any ICF event. Know your tribe! If you are a designer, hang out with other designers. If you are a realtor, work with other realtors. These collaborations make us all better at what we do and help us to serve our clients better by bringing up our whole industry.
Whatever you do, do something. You’re success depends on it!