How’s your cell phone courtesy?

Smartphones have become a necessity in our lives these days.  No matter where we look, people are texting, emailing, calling, dictating, taking photos, etc.  So much so, that we sometimes lose connection with the people sitting right next to us.

Since July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, I thought it was the perfect time to give some thought to:

  • Who uses mobile devices?
  • How do we use our mobile devices?
  • How can we be more courteous when we do use our mobile devices?

From a 2016 Pew Research study:

% of U.S. adults who own cell phones:

Any cellphone Smartphone Cellphone, but not smartphone
Total 95% 77% 18%
Men 96% 78% 18%
Women 94% 75% 19%

How do we use our smartphones?

From a 2016 Statistic Brain survey of mobile device users:

Percent who said their mobile phone is the first and last thing they look at each day 29 %
Percent who said they need to have the latest mobile technology 18 %
Percent who check their mobile device every 30 minutes or less 37 %
Percent who said they could only go a few hours without their mobile phone 34 %
Percent who said they prefer to communicate by text message 32 %
Percent who have asked someone on a date via text 20 %
Percent who say their mobile device make them better parents 65 %
Percent who would take their mobile device to work over their lunch 66 %

Anyone else shocked by these number?  I sure was.

Which leads me to, how can we be more courteous when using our mobile devices?

Put your device away.

I don’t know of anyone that appreciates having a meeting or meal with someone who chooses to leave their mobile device on the table.  It sends a pretty clear message that the phone is as, or more, important than the person sitting right in front of us.

And remember, unless you are an emergency service provider, it’s probably okay to let a call go to voicemail or look at a text when you are not engaged with another person.  (Caveat:  I will sometimes keep my phone out if the person I’m meeting is late and may need to get in touch for directions; I may pull my phone out if someone has specifically asked to have something looked up, or a photo or contact shared; etc.)

Keep it quiet and calm.

Whenever possible, keep your phone on vibrate mode.  If you need to take an emergency call, politely excuse yourself and take the call in a private area.  Also, remember your voice and gestures travel.  Even if you think you are out of sight or earshot, you probably aren’t.

Follow the law and “house” rules:

Many localities have very stringent and specific laws pertaining to using smart phones while operating a motor vehicle, even when stopped at a light or stop sign (Washington is enforcing much more strict laws starting on July 23rd).  If you absolutely need to check your phone, find a safe place to pull over.

Some places (hospitals, airplanes, courtrooms, libraries, movie theatres, etc.) request no cell phone use as not to disturb others.  Follow the rules for wherever you are, they are there for a reason.

Don’t use you cellphones as a social blocker:

I get it, sometimes we just don’t know what to do with ourselves.  We’ve all been in new or awkward situations where we don’t’ want to feel “alone.”  Picking up our cellphone allows us to “connect,” but not with the people we are surrounded by.  Looking at our phones sends a clear message of “don’t bother me, I’m busy.” Put your phone down, take a deep breath and engage face-to-face with those around you.

Watch where you are going.

Twice yesterday I had people nearly walk into me in the grocery store.  I came to a complete stop in order to avoid someone who was distracted by their phone from running into me. Imagine if those same people were on a busy sidewalk or crossing a busy street. “Don’t text and walk” is becoming as important as “Don’t drink and drive.”

Cell phones are part of our lives . . . let’s all use them responsibly.  🙂

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization:
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.
Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

Every Day Is A New Start

I like to think of myself as a decent golfer.  Not a great golfer, but a decent golfer.  Because I spend a fair amount of time doing it, I frequently use golfing as a metaphor for a lot of life’s little challenges that get thrown my way.

For example:

Skills vs expectationsA golf “index” gives a benchmark of your skill set which helps manage expectations when you are out on the course.  How honest are we about our skill level and how fairly do we manage our expectations based on those skills?

Practice makes you . . . . better, not perfect:  If you watch any professional golf, you will see that even professionals, who practice for hours and hours every day, sometimes hit horrible shots.  It is unreasonable to have an expectation that we will do everything perfectly every time.

Honesty is paramount: Golf is referred to as “the gentleman’s game.”  One of the biggest tenants of the game is that golfers call penalties on themselves should an infraction occur.  This is just as important in life as it is on the golf course.  If you do something wrong, admit it, correct it, and move on.

Don’t give up.  What I find funny about golf (and frankly very frustrating) is that I can golf really well one day, and horribly the next . . . at the very same course under the very same conditions.  Why is that?  I didn’t forget how to golf; the course didn’t change; I didn’t change my equipment.  Just one day I could do it, the next day I couldn’t.  But, for whatever crazy reason, I will try it all over again the very next day.  I won’t give up.

Which leads me to my point on handling life’s little challenges:

  • Manage your expectations.
  • Practice, but be reasonable.
  • Be honest.
  • Don’t give up.

And remember, every day is a new start.

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization:
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.
Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

Family Communication

(June is Effective Communication Month.  I love studying the impacts of how we communicate, so you will see multiple posts this month about effective communication, communication styles, etc. )

Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning “to share”[1]) is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules. Wikipedia

The word that sticks out the most in this definition to me is “intended.”   Sometimes the most difficult conversations I have is within my own family:  siblings, husband, kids, nieces/nephews.

Why is that?  Just to name a few of the disconnects I’ve encountered:

  • Families sometimes develop communication “shorthand” that sometimes fails.
  • Because we may be so close to our family, we think the other person automatically understands our perspective.
  • Different generations have different communication styles and expectations.
  • Unfortunately, we may not be as diplomatic with our family as we are with others.

Shorthand:

You know how sometimes you can just look at someone and you absolutely “get” where they are coming from?  How frequently do you finish the sentence when talking to someone you are deeply familiar with?  How many times have you only had to use a few words to convey a message to someone you are around a lot? Shorthand can sometimes be beneficial or a huge stumbling block if it’s misinterpreted.  Funny story: one of the first disconnects my husband and I had was about cherry pie vs apple pie. So, whenever we encounter a frustrating communication situation we will often ask “is this a cherry pie moment?”  Each of us knows exactly what the phrase means.

Perspective:

Just because we had similar life experiences and perspectives as kids, doesn’t mean we will share the same perspective as adults.  I moved away from the area where I grew up.  Because of that, I’ve experienced things as an adult that my siblings haven’t; my siblings have had experiences that I haven’t.  That’s what happens.   That’s life.  Those dis-similar life experiences change our perspectives.

Styles and Expectations:

I’m a baby-boomer.  I am a verbal processor.  I love to talk.  I like to text.  I over-communicate via e-mail.  I write letters.  I return EVERYONE’s phone calls.  If someone sends me a text, I try to get right back to them.  If someone leaves me a voicemail, I call them right back.  I send “thank you” notes.  Fortunately, my husband and I have similar communication styles.  Some of my other family members, not so much.  It’s not because they don’t love me (I assume they do), it’s that we communicate differently.  I’ve many times left a voicemail saying something like “I need to talk to you about Grandma, please give me a call back” and received a text a couple days later saying “I saw you called.  What do you need?”  Well, for one, for you to call me like my voicemail asked.  (Snarky, I know!)  We have different styles and different expectations which may cause underlying frustration.

Diplomacy

Why is it that we are sometimes the least diplomatic with the ones we care the most about?  I’ve seen people who deeply love each other be sharp-toned, rude, unkind, sarcastic, etc.  When asked about it, they will say “oh, they know I love them and I’m not serious.”  Well, do they?  Are you acting as if you do?

Our families are precious to us.  Let’s make sure we are communicating with them in such a way that they know that.

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization:
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.
Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

 

What are you saying that you aren’t “saying?”

(June is Effective Communication Month.  I love studying the impacts of how we communicate, so you will see multiple posts this month about effective communication, communication styles, etc. )

“Language is a more recent technology. Your body language, your eyes, your energy will come through to your audience before you even start speaking.”                                         Peter Guber

A 1991 University of California study indicated that only 7% of any communication is the choice of words; 93% is conveyed through body language and tone of voice.*  What would it mean to  actually know what people meant to communicate, not just what they said?

A myriad of emotions, including fear, joy, regret, and confusion, are all emotions that come to mind that we may not speak about, but are difficult to hide.

Two large categories of non-verbal communication are posture and facial expressions.

Posture:

Posture is a powerful non-verbal communication tool. What is our posture saying?

Open Posture: May portray friendliness and positivity.  Sit or stand up straight.  Head raised. Relaxed facial expression.  Good eye contact.

Closed Posture: May portray boredom, hostility, or detachment. Arms crossed.  Hunched forward position.  Clenched fists.

I recently discovered an effective posture correcting device called Lumo Lift. The subtle reminder of possible poor posture that Lumo Lift provides has helped me focus on maintaining an open presentation for both my organizing and coaching clients.   I’m not endorsing this product, more bringing to light that there are devices that may assist in our portraying more open and receptive presentation.   For more information on posture visit livestrong.com.

Facial expressions:

A few years ago I had a client ask “Are you upset with me?” during an organizing session.  When I asked the basis for her question, she indicated that I was frowning and she was concerned she’d done something wrong.  Wow! I never experience frustration with my clients, yet my facial expressions were communicating that very emotion to them.  Not only was I thankful she felt she could be open and honest with me, it gave me pause to realize that I was out of tune with, and possibly not able to control, what my body was saying to my clients.

Frowning can indicate negativity, judgement, or possibly just concentration.  Concentration is understandable in organizing or coaching environments; however, negativity and judgement are not emotions I want to portray to my clients.  In order to be more in tune with my facial expressions, I’ve done a couple of things:

  1. Actively focused on thinking positive thoughts during in-person meetings with my clients. For me, positive thoughts result in positive body language.
  2. Mirrors: For phone coaching clients, I employ mirrors to ensure that I’m not frowning. This helps me keep a positive outlook around the call.
  3. Botox (or equivalent): I’ve utilized this for a couple of years.  Although this path isn’t right for everyone (this is a medical procedure, speak to your health care provider), it has resulted in less “what’s wrong” challenges from my clientele.

For more information on facial expressions, visit verywell.com.

Like most skills, understanding and controlling non-verbal communication improves with practice.  How important is it to you to understand what you are communicating and what others are communicating to you?

 

*Source:  Listening to Bodies, A Somatic Primer, Suzanne Zeman

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization:
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.
Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

The Cost of Poor Communication

(June is Effective Communication Month.  I love studying the impacts of how we communicate, so you will see multiple posts this month about effective communication, communication styles, etc. )

Communication is a tricky thing.  Sometimes even when we think we are perfectly clear in our communication, something gets lost along the way.

Why worry about communication?

  • Good communication generally results in good relationships.
  • Bad communication generally creates stressful relationships.

Good communication is crucial to any successful business, but it’s even more crucial in a small business where owners and employees wear many different hats.  Good communication can help you retain great employees and customers; poor communication can cost you both.

I see the cost of poor communication on a pretty regular basis, costing businesses employees and customers.  What does poor communication look like?

  1. Incomplete or inaccurate work expectations: It’s my contention that most employees come to work wanting to do a great job.  Unfortunately, there have been many times in my experience that incomplete explanation of work expectations has resulted in employees either quitting or getting fired.  In general, supervisors have a pretty clear idea of employee expectations, unfortunately they may not communicate fully and clearly to the employee, resulting in a negative work relationship between. Suffer too many of these negative instances and talented employees will quit or get fired, resulting in expensive recruiting, hiring, and training.  Clearly-defined employee expectations will save a company thousands of dollars in the long run.
  2. Incomplete documentation of job responsibilities: When employees wear many hats, the line of responsibility sometimes gets blurred about who is supposed to do what within the organization.  Without clear definition of each employee’s responsibility and timeline for completing tasks, there is a grey area about who is doing what, when.   I worked with a small business where no one was assigned to monitor some pretty important daily tasks, which resulted in  financial challenges, lost customers, and a facility that left a less-than-desirable impression on customers.
    • Financial transactions: To maintain a good credit score (which will result in more favorable banking rates) financial paperwork must be handled in a timely fashion.  Successful businesses see value in  invoicing customers frequently; paying creditors within agreed-upon terms; making bank deposits daily in order to take advantage of any available interest on the account; etc.  Not making smart financial decisions can cost your company hard-earned profits and credibility.
    • Responses to customer inquiries: Without clearly-defined responsibilities about who and how often voicemail and e-mail communication is addressed may result in potential customers being ignored.  With customers’ increasing use of technology, it is more important than ever that these responsibilities and expectations be clearly defined.
    • Maintenance: Although it may seem that routine maintenance items don’t need to be assigned, it is critically important that they are.  Making sure supplies are purchased, rest rooms are clean, light bulbs are replaced, etc. is a clear reflection on how well your business functions and how customers view the professional level of the company.
  3. Incomplete or inaccurate paperwork: Determining the cost of inaccurate paperwork is relatively simple when you know the cost of employee time and raw materials. Here are just a couple:
    • Unnecessary time spent when a client’s physical address is inaccurate for a field representative will result in wasted time for the employee and frustration on the part of the client who will be waiting extra time for a service call. We’ve all heard stories about “waiting all afternoon for the cable guy” which generally results in bad-mouthing the business and loss of future sales.  As business owners, we can’t afford the bad press.
    • Poor handwriting has resulted in more time and materials waste that almost anything. Examples can be as simple as incorrect phone numbers and addresses; the difference between ¼” and ½” when we are cutting a client’s materials to certain specifications;  or the difference between a client wanting their work done on the 1st or 7th day of the month.  Any time written documentation isn’t 100% clear it’s costly to our business.

Clear communication about work expectations,  documentation of responsibilities, and accurate paperwork will save your business time, money, frustration and customers.  What impression does your communication give about you and your company?

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization:
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.
Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

Get ready to hit the road!

Memorial Day is the official kick of the summer driving season.  Some of us may just be taking a quick trip to the mountains or beach.  Others may be taking a long road trip to visit family and friends. No matter the distance or duration, it’s important to make sure your car is in tip-top shape and stocked with essentials before you hit the road.

As a family, we mainly vacationed by car.  We had a large station wagon we affectionately called the “Blue Racer.”  Yes, it was blue, but, trust me, it never, ever “raced.”  There were seven of us: Mom and Dad always in the front; the oldest three siblings nestled in the middle seat; and being the youngest, my brother and I rode facing backwards in the far back (ugh!).  The “Blue Racer” took us to the mountains, beach, sand dunes, Grand Canyon, and multiple trips to our grandparents’ homes.    Although my father was incredibly diligent about regular car maintenance both inside and out, he ALWAYS took it to the mechanic before we started any  family trips.  Because of his diligence, I don’t remember any car-related issues on any of our trips.  That wasn’t accidental, it took planning.

Here’s a short checklist to get you started:

1. Take your car to a trusted mechanic. Most have a multi-point checklist, but if not, ensure they perform at least the following services:

• Check the battery and plugs.
• Check the belts and coolant levels.
• Ensure the tires have plenty of tread and the appropriate tire pressure.
• Check the air filter to ensure maximum efficiency.
• Change the oil.
• Check wiper blades.

2. Clean your car.

• Get rid of what you don’t need. Summer road trips are much more enjoyable if you aren’t dealing with old food wrappers, outdated receipts, and hats and scarves from the winter season.
• Vacuum both the seats and floors thoroughly.
• Protect the interior with a good leather or vinyl protector
• Wash and wax your car. Be sure to check for and repair any scratches that may later result in rust or corrosion.

3. Make sure your car is stocked with essentials:

• Vehicle manual in case of breakdown.
• Jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, flares, warning triangle, and security vest.
• Extra windshield washer fluid, coolant, and a fire extinguisher.
• Small tool kit.
• First aid kit.
• Flashlight (be sure to check batteries).
• Cell phone charger.
• Pencil and notebook for games or just taking notes along the way.
• Snacks. Make sure the snacks won’t melt if the car gets warm.
• Water. Have enough water for however long you will be in the car on any particular day. Due to potential health risks, you don’t want to store disposable water bottles in your car for extended periods of time.

(I know it looks like a ton of stuff to carry around, but, just like good insurance . . . you hope you never need to use it, but if you do, you’re glad you have it.)

With careful planning and a positive attitude, your summer road trip will be safe and full of fond memories.

Now, go enjoy some summer fun!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization:
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.
Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

 

What are you meant to do?

Some NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) colleagues and I participated in a service project this weekend at the University District Food Bank.  My “job” was to work with the food bank’s amazing Director, helping him declutter and organize his office so it would be more inviting to his team and donors.  About an hour into the organizing process, he stopped, shook his head, and asked me “how in the world can you do this every day? I’m exhausted!”  My response: “because  it’s what I am meant to do.”  I wake up every morning looking forward to helping people get unstuck, physically or emotionally, and move forward in their lives.

How do you determine what you’re meant to do?

  1.  Start with a Values and Needs exercise It’s important to know, at your core, what makes you tick.  Using myself as an example, my top Values are honesty, loyalty, and affection.  Anyone that knows me well, knows I’m a hugger; deeply dedicated to my family, friends and clients; and don’t tolerate dishonesty.  So, I would not do well in an occupation that doesn’t afford me deep, meaningful personal contact.  My top Needs include family, peace, and self-worth.  Again, those close to me know I will drop everything if someone I’m close to needs me; I don’t do well with conflict; and knowing I’m providing a valuable service to my family, friends, and clients is what drives me.  (Note:  The link to the Values and Needs exercise is an example only.  I do not specifically endorse the authors or their works.)
  2. What are you good at?  Years ago I participated in Tom Roth’s StrengthsFinder exercise.  Not surprisingly, my identified strong traits markers include Stretegic, Discipline, Relator, Learner, and Responsibility.  All of these traits serve me well as a Professional Organizer and Coach.
  3. What are you NOT good at?  Knowing what you aren’t good at (or just don’t want to do) is as important as knowing what makes you tick.  Deep down, I’m a bit of an introvert.  Get to know me and I’m very open and communicative.  But, in a crowd of people I don’t know, I’m a wallflower.  Hence, I would not make a great salesperson.
  4. What are your skills? Some occupations just flat require some very defined skill sets.  Although I’m a kinesthetic learner, I don’t have fine dexterity skills.  I should not be a surgeon.  But I am really, really good at process, so people are constantly asking me to organize projects and events (and I love it!).
  5. What makes you smile when you think about doing it?  I don’t like to garden. It does not make me smile. I know people that do love to garden and when they think about going outside and getting their hands dirty, they beam!  On the other hand, I love to organize stuff and help people move from where they are (physically or emotionally) to where they want to be.  It makes me smile even thinking about it.  What makes you smile?

Are you frustrated or unhappy doing what you’re doing?  If so, maybe you’re not doing what you are meant to do.

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

 

Think. Plan. Act.

(What’s wrong with this puzzle picture?)

I frequently work with clients on their time management challenges.  I remind them that “time management” is really just a balance between what we need to get done and the time in which we have to do it.

Efficient time management really boils down to a few simple processes:

Think:  Devote time to thinking about what really needs to get done and by when.  To do this, I suggest implementing the following processes:

  1. Create a list.  Take a few (or a lot) of minutes to do a brain dump of everything that needs to be done.  It doesn’t matter if the repository is paper or electronic, just make sure it’s out of your head and recorded somewhere.  I also ask my clients to estimate how long each item will take them to complete.
  2. Determine what needs to be done and group those things together: phone calls, items requiring a computer, errands that require transportation, things that can be delegated, etc.  Just like organizing physical items “like with like,” grouping action items is equally as efficient.
  3. Prioritize items within categories.  Doing this will help you determine when they need to be fit into your schedule (high, medium, low or by due date).

Plan: Now that you have a list of things that needs to get done, where they need to get done, and when they need to get done by, the next step is to put a plan together to get them done.

It’s critical to set aside time to work through your list.  Even  five-minute tasks need to have dedicated time for them to get accomplished.  Make and keep an appointment with yourself to work through your list.  I suggest setting a Time Timer and eliminate distractions just as if you were having a meeting with a client.

Different actions require differently planning processes.  For example:

  • “Create mission statement” may be something that can be done at any time and almost any where, but time to complete the process still needs to be slotted into your schedule.
  • “Complete taxes” is something that really needs to be done by April 15.  This type of item, and the specific tasks that need to be done to accomplish “complete taxes,” need to be scheduled with more critical thinking.
  • “Grocery shopping” may be a recurring weekly task, but still needs to be slotted into your schedule before you run out of milk.

Also think about items that you can do outside your office or home and take supplies with you.  For example, you can make dentist appointments while you are waiting to pick up your children from school or you can text the babysitter while you are waiting in line at the post office.

Act:  Now that you are done thinking through your plan, your next step is to act.

According to Elbert Hubbard “Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”  Self-discipline is sometimes hard, but focusing on the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, will make you incredibly more productive and efficient.

 Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteLevels I and II Certified (8 certificates) Member, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers

Want Some Flexibility in Your Work Schedule?

It’s 70+ degrees in Seattle today and I’m loving the fact that I can be doing some of my work from home and enjoying this beautiful weather.  That got me to thinking about how each of us can create the perfect work schedule for ourselves.

So, ask yourself . . . .

Is your work schedule working for you?

How productive are your feeling right now?

How worried are you about:

  • Getting home in time to pick up the kids?
  • Your lack of energy because of the 12-hour days?
  • Spending way too much time in traffic getting to and from work?
  • Knowing that your most productive hours are in the evening, but your shift starts at 7:30 AM?
  • A 40+ hour work week no longer fits your situation and you really only want to be working 24-32 hours?

If you are interested in getting more out of yourself, and life in general, you may want to think about requesting an adjustment to your work schedule to become happier, more focused, productive, and successful.

Before you make your request, spend some time processing how an adjustment will benefit your employee and you personally.

Some benefits to your employer:

  1. Staggered shifts mean more hours of coverage.  This is becoming more and more important in our global economy.
  2. Tailoring an employees’ shift to their internal body clock may result in more productivity (are they “morning people” or “night people”?).
  3. Happier employees are more loyal, reducing turnover and attracting top talent.

Some benefits to you:

  1. Less stress.
  2. More work-life balance.
  3. Less commuting saves time and money.

Thoughts on making your pitch:

  1. If a custom or flex schedule is new to your employer, they may be very uncomfortable making the adjustment.  Be respectful of that concern.
  2. Spend a great deal of time thinking about how a revised schedule benefits the company.  Your job is to help make the company more successful.  How will your requested schedule serve that purpose?
  3. Give serious thought to IF the revised schedule is really an option for your responsibilities.  If you work on a multi-person production line, customizing your schedule may not be possible.  However, if you largely work independently, the adjustment may not impact your employer or co-workers at all.
  4. Clearly detail what type of revised schedule you are requesting:
    • Revision from five 8-hour days, to four 10-hour days?
    • Co-working (two people sharing one position)?
    • Full tele-commuting?
    • Partial tele-commuting?
  5. Consider how your employer can hold you accountable. 12+ years ago I had employees that wanted to work from home.  This was all new to me and I was uncertain how to ensure they were working when they were supposed to be (were they doing laundry or watching Oprah?). Together we came to an agreement about availability and productivity when they weren’t physically in the office.
  6. Present your request in a professional manner.  Your request will be given much more consideration if it is presented as a fully thought-out proposal vs “hey boss, I’d like work from home from now on.”  Include your proposal:
    • The requested schedule.
    • The “why” behind the request and how the company will benefit.
    • Your vision of accountability.
    • Considering this may be new to your company, ask for a trial period to prove the viability of the new schedule.

Flexible work schedules are certainly on the rise and becoming more the norm.  In large part, this new way of working is due in large part to those employee pioneers that proved flexible schedule really do work . . . benefiting both employers and employees.

Owning my own business allows me to create a work schedule that works for me.  My guess is, given appropriate thought and consideration, you can create a work schedule that works better for you too!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteLevels I and II Certified (8 certificates) Member, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers

What’s Your Power Base: Love or Fear?

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.”                                         –Mahatma Gandhi (brainyquote)

I’ve been reading an incredible book about power. Until recently, my thoughts about power had taken a negative bent: bullying, threats of violence, demeaning words or actions, etc.  The kind of stuff I hope no one ever associates with me.

Personally, I’m not at all interested in having power in an aggressive or assertive way; but I’m very interested in how I can use my power of information, intent, skills, and passion to help move people to the next level of their lives.

When I was choosing a visual image for this post,  waves seemed like the perfect metaphor for defining the two kinds of power: “power to” (Gandhi’s love based) and “power over” (fear based).   A wave’s power to carry a skilled surfer beautifully to the shore has a much different feel than when those same waves have the power over us to physically knock us down when we least expect it.

According to social psychologists J. P. R. French Jr. and B. Raven, there are six basic bases of power:

  1. Coercion: Threat of force, disapproval, or rejection. The main goal being compliance. (Generally Power Over)
  2. Reward: The right of some to approve or deny rewards. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  3. Legitimacy: Generally granted as a position of authority. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  4. Expert: Based on knowledge, experience, and skills. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  5. Referent: Based on affiliation. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  6. Informational: Based on the potential to utilize information. (Generally Power To)

As examples, using power with children:

  1. Coercion: “Adults don’t like children that don’t eat their vegetables.”
  2. Reward: “Unless you eat your vegetables, you don’t get any dessert.” Or, “If you eat your vegetables you can have ice cream for dessert.”
  3. Legitimacy:  “I’m an adult, just do what I say.” Or, “As an adult, it’s important that I keep you safe.”
  4. Expert:  “I’m better than you at this, just do it my way. Or, “As an adult, I know you need a life jacket if you are going to the beach.”
  5. Referent: “I love the energy of a two-year old!” Or, “No wonder they call it the ‘terrible twos,’ they are all undisciplined and wild.”
  6. Informational: “I know multiple ways to solve this problem.  Let’s explore the best one.”

How do you want to be known for using your power?

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteLevels I and II Certified (8 certificates) Member, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers