Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Project: Time Management for The Speed Skaters of Life

Is everyone going too slow, or is that you are just going too fast?

When others are dependent on you and your business is dependent on others for revenue, your option for a pause button, for a step back and a week or two off is just not a convenience you can afford.

You are passionate about your business, your people, your product.

You want success, but you also want to protect your sanity and keep the company inline with a healthy and constructive direction – one that benefits from the head employee, down.

You want structure, and you want to guarantee satisfaction. You want to manage your company efficiently. You want more hours in the day. We all do. However, we all get 24, and we all need sleep and there is only so much coffee can do, so for those of us that speed skate through life, what are our options?’

Here are ten business tips that will help curb those 18-hour days down to 12 hours and maybe, someday, even just one day here or there, down to 10 or 8 hours!

1.    Make a List and Check it Twice
Writing down your tasks is essential. Even if your cognitive and memory skills are sharp and superior have your day-to-day tasks written out is important for your entire staff and team, specifically you. And nothing is more satisfying than crossing it off once completing. Then crossing it off again. Done. 

2.    Delegate
Does it really need to be done by you? Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you have to. Delegating is a great opportunity to build the next generation of the management team. This will help ease your burden when overloaded, as they will have gained experience to make executive decisions in your absence or do the tasks when you cannot. Delegate. Say it with me, delegate.

3.    Develop a Routine
Embrace the mundane and rename it if you have to as tradition. Creating a sense of routine within your company culture will help establish a sense of calming reassurance and reliability. If everyone knows where they should be when, what time things need doing and how things need to look and feel, the representation of your company will always be cohesive, and time will be utilized more constructively and efficiently.

4.    Sync Your Schedule
Google calendar, iCal – whatever system you use, using an OS platform, program or app that allows you to have remote and on-the-go access will enable you to stay ahead of your game, especially if you can grant different levels of authorization and calendars to other associates and employees. Being in the know is important when you are on-the-go or just need to know where to go and when and why.

5.    Have a 15-Minute Recap and Reboot Session
Begin your day right. Gather with your staff for a recap of the progress from the previous day or week and reboot in the morning with a project review for what needs done that day or week.

6.    Block Out Mental Productive Blocks
A little social media, here, just a quick question, a brief conflict resolution with the stuck ink cartridge. These seconds add up, and the sum is equivalent to an hour, maybe even two. Sometimes the My door is always open for you mentality needs to have a sabbatical. Just an hour a day where you can clear your inbox, rest your head on your folded arms on your desk for 10 seconds of that hour.

7.    Don’t Bring Your Home to Work, and Don’t Take Your Work Home
It is worse than mixing work with pleasure – sure go golfing. Do get some business clients – but never shall the two (home + work) mix. Mixing the stress of those two lives is a huge time management drainer. When you leave the house, try to leave your dirty dishes at home. When you leave work, try to leave the overflowing inbox there.

8.    Say Yes to The No Word
Does it really need doing? Does it need done by you? Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should, or have to.

9.    Provide Undivided Attention
Focusing 100% on the things right in front of you: We talk a lot about not multi-tasking. About the importance of seeking your purpose and dedicating your life to that cause and how that single decision can alter the significance to our rate of success. All profoundly and astoundingly true but sometimes we forget that focusing on the one person in front of us is equally important. Whether it is the person on the phone, the subject of our email or face to face physical person staring at us waiting for direction or just a, Hello, how are you this morning? Undivided attention is never a waste of time.

10.    Don’t Ask. Start Tracking
“I cannot believe it is already August. I cannot believe school has already resumed, the summer is gone, and I have barely vacationed. Where has the time gone?”  Don’t ask, where has the time gone? Start tracking it! No, no, no. Let us not get carried away and use those “clock in” time machines. But between syncing your calendar and utilizing time management systems like FunctionFox, you’ll see where your time has gone, and where it has not gone. That is always the more interesting answer, is it not?

Now, take a breath and pick one of the above and begin enjoying your managed time.

-The Green Couch

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Project: The Importance of Being Earnest

Yes, you are in the right place. We are still all about entrepreneurs spilling their risk taking gutsy, inspiring others to speak, follow and fulfill their dream.

(Meaning no, this is not IMDb. It is not a summary of Colin Firth’s 2002 RomCom 1890 period drama with the same title, The Important of Being Earnest.)

Today we are going to talk about being an earnest entrepreneur. What exactly is that - who is that- according to Webster's definition?

Here are three characteristics of an earnest person and the importance of them:

1.    Passionate: Recently we encountered young sibling entrepreneurs who shared this beyond their age advice, “Just realize it’s going to take longer than a day or week or a month to reach your goal.”

The Importance of Being Passionately Earnest: If it is your passion, does it matter how long it takes to pursue it [your goal]. Passion overrules impatience and nurtures a patient spirit.

2.    Diligent: Last week we spoke about dreams becoming reality when you turned your Saturdays into a work opportunity from home and explored the concept of, “What if your second job could be your passion and turn into a primary focus?”

The Importance of Being Diligently Earnest: One small startup step at a time until you are an entrepreneur puts everything into perspective. Diligence is the difference of between whether we are going to have three wheels or two.

3.    Purposeful: I heard a kind man with a loud voice once say (and then I repeatedly hit play), “Your why is what matters. Your why is what gets you up, gets you going. Your why.”

The Importance of Being Purposely Earnest: If it changes, when it changes, the WHY it changes, the reason behind your passion and your diligence determines your success and the road to success. Purpose is the language when your heart, soul and mind get gutsy and get things done. Nike gets it, do you? Just do it, right? Right!

So dear entrepreneur,

Be earnestly passionate.
Be earnestly diligent.
Be earnestly purposeful.

Because the importance of being earnest will overrule the impatience, helping you see the power of your dream, and it will put everything into perspective - it will always remind you of your why.

Now, why wouldn’t you want to be earnest?

-The Green Couch 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Project: The Saturday Startup

The countdown to Christmas has started. That is what is trending on social media and soon that will dictate the cyclical sales. The season of merriness has hit us before the school season has; how has this happened already?

20 Saturdays someone mentioned. Why are we counting? Because it’s at this time people start procuring and securing second jobs, or maybe even third part-time jobs.

But something significant happened in 2014. Either people realized they wanted more, more than just 20 Saturdays of work to pay off the extra wishes. Or maybe realization that retail positions for them was not as fulfilling as they expected.

Either way 2014 brought more prospects.

While we may be nearing the fourth quarter, it is not too late to partake of what may be a trend –and one we hope takes hold and continues.

It is called small startups. Weekend jobs. The Saturday Startup. Moreover, if you start now you can still be in business not just 20 Saturdays from now, but 52 Saturdays from now.

You do not have to be a contestant on America’s Got Talent (are they still accepting auditions for this year?). If you have a niche or have an education in a specific field, then take some time to sit down and plan your short and long term goals of how you can exact those skills. Imagine; you get to pre-qualify your proficiency.

Let’s get started with some creative options that are in high demand and are trending online as well:

  • Exterior Decorator
It seems like everyone is doing it; yes. But how often have you seen outdoor “interior” designers. I believe the term I am looking for is an exterior designer, correct? Not quite a landscaper, and while this may seem seasonal if you like Christmas and all that twinkles, staging outdoor Christmas sceneries and hanging Christmas lights could be your passionate part-time entrepreneurial pursuit. (Say that five times fast when you position yourself to potential clients!)

  • Professional Organizer:
Pinterest gives us a false sense of self-help and achievement. No matter how many Ikea bins and iron rods some may invest in, there is a lot to intake and still the overload of belongings requires focus, dedicated timing and planning; something the household owner does not necessarily have and you might. You put the passion into your problem-solving and the passion will lead you to the next problem - thus an enterprise that could earn you a reputable living.

Perhaps you never even thought this could turn into a job opportunity, as this has always been a therapeutic, hobby of yours; looks like therapy pays off after all.

  • Personal Shopper:

Groceries, shoes, clothes, school supplies or pet food. If you like to shop, and it is cathartic and it’s not your cash and now you get paid to do it…I rest my case.

  • Handy Man for the Elderly:
It takes a patient, understanding and sometimes even physically fit person to be able to make someone’s day by taking care and protecting their home: Making sure everything is safe; lighting, water fixtures, locks, etc. It’s a community service to ensure the lesser able are safe and secure. Enabling senior citizens to live comfortably by establishing yourself as a business savvy person in the home repair industry is a needed skill. If you enjoy the challenge of fixing things to their former glory and find it relaxing to work with your hands, how relaxing will Saturday be for you?

These are just a few ways you can make 52 Saturdays a super success in your life. And who knows? Maybe they’ll work Monday-Friday as well.

-The Green Couch

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Project: It Takes Gutsy To Be A Good Leader, Part II

For every good leader I can reference, you can point out 2.5 misleading pop culture leaders and five poor examples that you have encountered in life. It is true, isn’t it? I mean, you probably have pulled out your trusty finger calculators as we speak trying to configure whether or not that is true. (Which is why I created my statistical number under 10 as, yes, I often find myself resorting to using my fingers.)

For me, these numbers are quite correct – and not just because I generated this statistical factoid off the top of my head. As much as I love you, Michael Gary Scott; The Office, NBC your leadership qualities are unorthodox and sorely lacking.

If you are going to be a leader you might as well do it right, and do it right on the first try right? Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. That is probably one of the first lessons a leader will learn: The lesson of humility. So while you are down there in your humble stance, here are a few other ways your employees are seeking out for you to…

    Lead By Example, Not By Exclaiming:
Start by being in the presence of your employees. The mentality of being the first one there, the last to leave is an honest approach to setting a standard of showing up to work and investing in a company with heart and soul. A good leader is never too afraid to get their hands "dirty." They never ask of their employee what they would not do. You celebrate the accomplishments; offer constructive criticism when others would offer destructive criticism. In essence, they will show, not tell. That is leading.

   Lead By Pushing, Not Pulling:
Sometimes you have to get behind your people. There are times your team will not believe in themselves. So if you are pulling them along they cannot see where they are going. You have to get behind them and their dream to help them see and understand their purpose and their power. So sometimes a little kick in the rear is good for the morale!

    Lead By Logic, Not Leverage:
There are moments when it is easier to speak down to people. You are an authority figure, probably have a higher salary figure (if you are cutting their paycheck you should know this) and in the presence of others it is human nature to want to show your dominance and achievements by exuding the charm of a slightly egotistical superior. It is in all of us. Whether we are taller, older, excel academically or athletically - it is how we cope. However, a leader respects the intelligence of their "inferiors" (and I use that term for illustrative purposes) instead of using their superiority as leverage; as a mechanism; a method of manipulation to “motivate” others into doing what needs doing, they use logic. Sit down, have systematic conversations, have performance reviews and find a way to understand each other.

    Lead By Confidence, Not Cowardice:
There will be conflict, and there will be rivalry, there will be times you have to downsize, and there will be times you have to fire without the reason of downsizing. Leadership is about short and long term decisions. It is about living the mission statement and trusting yourself and your instincts. Those around you will take their cue from you and as a leader you cannot hide behind the excuse of, “I want to hear what your thoughts are on this," so as not to have to make an executive decision. It is about responsibility, taking a vision and confidently and effectively delegating and putting it into action. 

So will you? Will you put your vision into action?

It takes gutsy to be a good leader. Do you have what it takes?

-The Green Couch