Change….have we?

As we head to the end of 2012, I find myself thinking about what has/hasn’t changed.

Many kids today have no idea what a record is (let alone an 8-track); can’t imagine not being able to ‘nuke’ a snack; don’t know what it’s like to look for a pay phone to call someone; don’t know what a busy signal sounds like and can’t imagine not being able to be in touch with anyone at anytime.

Yes, I could go on and on but I think it’s more important to focus on what hasn’t changed.

Kids today are still bullied; those with a different sexual orientation are still harassed; many in America are hungry and homeless while we support the same groups in other countries; there are still traitors, thugs and cheats - and that’s just in law enforcement. Our different ‘crime fighting’ organizations still argue over jurisdiction and information, and our litigators are still rated based on their win-loss record - instead of focusing on finding the bad guys and ensuring that the guilty really are. (Note: I have many friends who are lawyers and are good people. This is a general observation based on so many news stories.)

We innovate and move forward with our technology and science, yet somehow we’ve left behind the idea of unity and doing what’s right.

Are we changing in the right way?

Let me know your thoughts…

Time & Traffic

Sitting in traffic you decide you’re wasting time and could/should be productive. Since you’re not moving you figure it’s okay to check emails, send a text or read the newspaper on the seat next to you.

Next time you look up you see the cars ahead of you have moved and you are holding up the line behind you. Congratulations, you have actively contributed to the traffic jam that you hate sitting in.

What if you spent your time thinking: devise a solution for a problem you’ve encountered; develop a way to improve a process; enjoy a fond memory.

Productivity requires thinking, not just responding.

Traffic jams are less painful when everyone keeps moving forward.

Read before responding

Seriously, I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted because people don’t read the email. These are even people I know (whom I yell at), who continue to respond without looking to see what they’re responding too. So please, I beg of you…..

1. Do not respond to a subject line before looking to see if there’s content

If you receive my newsletters you’ll know that I usually use an attention grabbing subject line. This is good for my open rates, but not for those readers who reply based on the subject line only. Not only do they miss the whole point, but I then have to reply to their inappropriate response.

This goes back to my past email tip - - Do not read your emails until you are ready to process them.

2. Do not respond based on just the first line of an email

Time and again I have had to resend/rewrite/telephone a recipient because they responded to the first line of the email only - neglecting to address any other points or questions further down.

If you’re not working efficiently, you may be making it difficult for your clients/vendors/partners to work efficiently.

So, take a deep breath and slow down. You’ll end up saving time!

The etiquette of technology

Just because you can text/email/tweet/call/post on facebook - you get the idea - doesn’t mean it’s the right format for what you’re trying to communicate.

Just because someone calls/texts/emails you, doesn’t mean it’s the right time to respond.

Technology is a valuable resource when used properly - it is not (should not be) a wall to hide behind.

So, some rules (aka common sense):

1. If you must read/respond to/initiate an electronic communication when walking down the street, step to the side out of the way of the flow of traffic.

2. When walking up/down the subway stairs do not be reading/responding to/initiating an electronic communication. Put down your device and walk.

3. If you must finish a conversation before going down into the subway, do not stand on the stairs or block the stairs. Move and let others by.

4. If you’re expecting an important communication while socializing with someone else tell them. If a communication comes through that you weren’t expecting and isn’t potentially critical - ignore it. Yes, that’s right, you are allowed to ignore that incoming call/email/text if you are busy.

5. If you’re driving, that email/text/tweet is not important. If it is, the person will call you and you can talk using your hands free device. There’s a reason the saying “curiosity killed the cat” exists.

Is it really necessary to walk down the street checking 2 phones (so many people now seem to carry a work phone and a personal phone, both of which they seem to think they need to check constantly)? Is every message truly that critical? Imagine you’re at a doctor’s office or an event, where you can’t use your phone… would everything around you collapse? Try walking down the street one day and observing all that is going on around you. You’ll be amazed at what you may learn.

So why did you answer the phone?

I call you.

You answer the phone and say you’re in a meeting and can’t speak now.

So why did you answer the phone?

If you’re in a meeting then focus on the meeting. There is no need to pick up the phone - that’s what voice mail is for.

If you don’t know, don’t click!

A stranger rings your doorbell and says there’s a bomb in your house and you have to evacuate immediately at least 2 blocks away. You start to question but he’s so insistent that you run. You don’t stop to notice that there are no emergency vehicals around and that none of your neighbors are being evacuated, you just run.

Of course, when you return you find you’ve been robbed.

Okay this isn’t a likely scenario but, it’s exactly what so many do on their computers.

A colorful window pops up and starts flashing ‘virus alert’ ’ virus alert’ click here immediately to have your computer scanned and viruses removed. So you click. Never mind that you haven’t done anything - downloaded a program, opened a link on a strange email, etc. You were told you had a virus so you must and you clicked.

Congratulations, you have now given yourself the virus.

Moral: Don’t let curiosity rule and don’t click if it doesn’t make sense.

they work!

Your timely tips helpl  love your blogs  

If you’re done with your hours today may I have the rest of them?

How about that extra hand I’ve always wanted?

Many of us think we need more hours in our day to accomplish what needs doing. Really? Do you think that will help?

If you move to a larger house, for how long do you really have more space? Just as we expand our stuff into the space we have, so we tend to expand our work into the hours in a day.

There is a better way. It’s called process.

I know, I know….you know how to use your technology and your process is perfect. The only problem is the day is too short. Wrong!

Think about what you do each day that sucks the hours away - How many times do you touch each email? How much time to you spend looking for a document? How often are you looking to see if a colleague is at their desk so you can ask them a question? How much time do you spend on your ‘to do’ list?

The little time drains add up to lost hours.

If you want those extra hours, you have to open your mind to the possibility that the way you are doing things may not be the most efficient.

So, the question is -How badly do you want time?



I already picked up two useful tips from your very first blog. Keep ‘em coming.