It is excruciatingly easy to fritter away hours, days, weeks, and months of your life, if you don’t have plans, and don’t track what you’ve been doing. Being mindful of how you are spending your time is extremely important, and crucial to your success. Why do I say that? Because when you are not aware of your time, it just slips away. You have no idea whether you’ve achieved your objectives or not, because life sort of just happened to you.
I’ve seen this happen over and over again to my kids, to my interns, and to my full time employees. Being very aware of your time is a requirement for everyone in life. Sure, it’s nice to be able to sit back and relax occasionally, and mindfully take a break. Taking time off is great, and is actually one of the seven habits of successful people- called sharpening the saw. There is a limit though, that crosses over into wastefulness. It’s that time when you think back and have no idea what you’ve done for the last day, or week.
That’s part of why setting goals and tracking what you’re doing as you’re doing it is so important. Those blank spans of time reduce, and go away. Your productivity increases. Your time during work is actually productive, and will help you get where you want to go, and make you a better employee. It’s a win-win all around.
Use this tip during your off time, and your whole life will be more productive.
Have you ever worked with someone who could’t be corrected? Who knew that whatever they were doing was right, no matter what? Were they fun to work with? I think we’ve all worked with someone like that. They couldn’t admit they were wrong, even when wrong, and took offense at everything. Even when there wasn’t anything to take offense to. Here’s another career tip: Leave your ego in the car when you get out of it.
Remind yourself that there will always be someone out there who can do it better, faster, more economically, and all around better. There will always be someone who sells more, does more, closes more deals. You can always learn. You’re not going to learn, unless you leave your ego in the car. It will just get in the way like a bullet-proof vest. You won’t be able to see the advice you’re getting, or learn from the experience if you don’t leave the ego behind.
Also remind yourself that if a colleague is asking you a question about how something went, it’s not necessarily because they are looking for something to pick on or find fault with. They could be genuinely interested in how things went, and trying to help you celebrate what’s gone well. Most people really aren’t looking to throw you under the bus, and frankly if you’re working in an environment where that is the case, perhaps it’s time to find somewhere else to work. Please don’t second guess the intentions behind a question, or put negative connotations on a question. That is especially true if you have no reason to suspect evil intentions on the part of the person asking question.
Ego has no place in the workplace. You can wear it all you want at home, although it’s probably best to not have one there either. When you come to work, come to work without it. Slow down, and accept that most people are out to help you, and that 95% of offense is perceived. Leave your ego in the car, and don’t bring it with you to work.
I got an email at 5 in the morning that made me angry. It pressed every button. It accused. It threatened. It cc-ed people. It attempted to make me feel guilt. It attempted to make me feel fear. I can go on.
I started to type a response and then I stopped. I’m not so great that I can always stop. Sometimes I respond. Sometimes hellfire breaks loose from the carefully constructed dams.
But I’m trying to get better. We find our strength deep in the valley of our fears.
Sometimes the best thing to do is: nothing.
Many productivity books tell you what you can do MORE of in order to achieve goals, purpose, success money, etc. But MORE is hard to do. I’m already busy. Now you tell me I have to make a to-do list with six things that make me feel grateful on top of it? I can’t do it all.
You need to eliminate first. You need to be a productivity minimalist in order to be a success. The key is to find the easy things you can chop off where you can at the very least do nothing instead of doing things that actually DAMAGE your productivity.
Here’s a checklist I use for when to do nothing:
via 5 Ways to Do Nothing and Become More Productive | LinkedIn.
- Do nothing when angry
- Do nothing when paranoid
- Do nothing when anxious
- Do nothing when tired
- Do nothing when you want to be liked
Random acts of kindness have become much more prevalent in our society, and I think that they are a beautiful thing.
“Recently, a friend of mine was recounting the story of how a mutual acquaintance of ours had committed a random act of kindness. Specifically, the person had given money to a homeless person on University Ave. in Palo Alto. The story was memorable for both the size of the dollar amount, and the response of the recipient: “That’s the second time this week someone did that for me.”
My friend remarked that the two occurrences may not have been a coincidence given that his circle of friends was increasingly focused on sharing stories like this with one another in the hopes of inspiring each other to do the same.”
via Random Acts of Kindness? There Should be an App for That | LinkedIn.
What Random Acts of Kindness have you practiced? My latest has been the Strangest Thing I’ve Done with My MBA.
Have you ever had a colleague who who was moody one day, snappish the next? How did you like working with that person? Here’s a career tip for women especially : leave your mood at home. I know, our hormones sometimes get the better of us. I’ve known so many women who have raging hormones from being peri-menopausal, or because they are pregnant. It doesn’t matter the reason. Leave your mood at home.
By that I mean, no matter what’s going on in the background, you need to leave it behind, and focus on your job, put on a happy face. Be nice, be kind, and be super focused on what you’re trying to do. If you are feeling like crap? Take some meds, have some coffee, and suck it up. Don’t take it out on your colleagues, because you will develop a reputation as being moody, difficult, of not impossible to work with. People may even end up scared to work with you.
Remember- the world is a very small place. Most people are only separated by 1 or 2 degrees of separation in any area. When you are moody in a professional environment, you develop a reputation. That reputation will have a tendency to
We are not all the same. Not in life and not in business. As a consequence, maintaining a healthy perspective on differences among people is a critical success factor in a business career.
Some years ago I was struggling to keep a balanced perspective on one of my colleagues. He ignored or at least appeared to be disinterested in fundamental elements of our daily world at RCL. I’m not talking about esoteric stuff. I mean he did not care about what departments we had, who was responsible for them, how information flowed within the company or which of us might influence his success. He simply pursued his interests as independently of the rest of us as humanly possible. I searched for a construct to help me and others understand how to make the relationship with this colleague work.
So I came up with the metaphor of the bee and the tree. RCL is a fairly large organization overseeing a complex business model that requires mastery of hospitality and maritime, two sectors of the economy that do not normally go together. We constantly develop products and services and launch them successfully into the market for our customers or internally for our employees. Yet we are perpetually frustrated that we cannot act faster. Our people, especially those who remember the days when we were much smaller and depended less on corporate process, feel we are bureaucratic. From their perspective, at least, we are a tree. After 45 years we are firmly planted. There is nothing wrong with this. But it is a particular paradigm.
via How to Connect with a Colleague When You Have Conflicting Interests | LinkedIn.
Here’s a great article on how to answer stupid job interview questions. They are frequently illegal, but perhaps pointing that out to your interviewer might not be a winning combination:
“Thinking through your interview questions, and what exactly you are trying to achieve is very important for both the interviewer and the interviewee. It’s something that I don’t think people spend nearly enough time doing. - Thinking things through.
“Our client Angela went on a job interview.
“It’s supposed to be a Marketing Manager job, but they sure talk a lot about graphic design in the job ad,” said Angie. “And the job’s been posted on the company website for six months.”
Angie went to the interview and sat in a lobby for half an hour. A nice woman came to get her and deposited her in a small interviewing room. A not-as-nice lady came in and started grilling Angie with questions, taking notes as Angie spoke (no eye contact – all business!).”
via How to Answer Stupid Job Interview Questions | LinkedIn.”
I am a troop leader to 3 troops. My biggest contribution for all three is to be the cookie Mom to all three troops. This year, I had 48 girls selling a combined 22000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. But that isn’t the strangest thing I’ve done with my MBA.
The strangest thing I’ve done with my MBA has been to figure out how to unload quantities of a new flavor of Girl Scout Cookie that had been ordered by troops. They essentially marooned themselves and owed more to Council than they were going to receive in troop cookie profits. I stepped in and took their leftover gluten free cookies as a transfer. That means I then got to sell large quantities of a flavor of cookie that other troops were having significant difficulties with. So far, I’ve taken in about 70 cases of cookies, including one troop who had 24 cases, and another from 2 hours away with 50 cases.
In less than 2 weeks I’ve shipped out cookies to other Girl Scout troops all across the country. Over 50 cases of cookies. have left my house. The post office is starting to wonder what we’re doing here with all of these cookies. This is probably the strangest thing I’ve done with my MBA. I stepped in to be a Sister to every Girl Scout. Because I could. I understand that I need to get the cookies out. And if I don’t, they’ll go to the Brown Bag ministries. But no troops will be left with them.
Problem solved. It’s actually been kinda fun. Normally, I don’t directly involve myself in selling cookies, because I believe it’s the girls’ thing. I am here in a supporting role. But this once, I’m stepping in, doing about the strangest thing I’ve done with my MBA.
I’ve recently been more than a little bit surprised by different behaviors by employees- tattling on each other, whining, and one that resulted in a screaming match. I guess you’d say that what I’ve seen is a serious lack of professional behavior. That’s perhaps not how to go about doing business successfully. I thought I’d include some tips here for professional behavior.
7 Tips for Professional Behavior
- When confronted with something you’ve done wrong, the first thing you do is apologize. That means simply saying, “I’m sorry”. Don’t add anything else to it. Just say, “I can see your point, and I’m sorry”. Don’t make excuses. Own it.
- Treat your colleagues kindly. In actions, tone of voice, and intent. Be kind where possible.
- Understand that tough decisions are not personal. Understand that very little of how a business acts is personal, even though it may feel that way.
- Keep the screaming inside your head. Don’t scream at your colleagues. If you must, leave, and take it with you.
- Keep your manager in the loop with what you’re doing. Managers like to know what you’re doing, so they can do their jobs. They like to be consulted with, and checked on. Managing your manager is an important skill.
- Behave ethically in all things. The question I have is this: What would your grandmother think if she heard about this?
- Avoid passing judgement on people. Even if you don’t agree with them, that doesn’t make them better. If you don’t get along, or wouldn’t make the same decision, that’s OK too. Just let it go. Stop judging.
In short, act like the employee you would like to have. Be kind, generous, and let things roll off your back. Being unshakable is a good skill to have in the work environment, as people will constantly throw you curve balls.
What are your tips for professional behavior? I can give you some ideas for what NOT to do.
Lately, I’ve gotten to see some great behavior from employees, and some pretty darn lousy behavior. There are, some surefire ways to ruin your career, and your job, so I thought I’d share those here in a helpful post.
7 Simple Tips to Ruin Your Career
- Develop a reputation as being hard to work with. Be snippy, snappy, and quick to jump on others on your team when they make any mistakes. It will endear you to them.
- Speak badly of your customers. It makes people want to spend time around you and makes them think of how lovingly you refer to them when they’re not around as well.
- Throw temper tantrums at work. Crying and regular tears are a winning combination.
- Whine about work regularly. Make sure that your boss knows how much you hate your job.
- Complain about pay at least once a month. Let them know you aren’t making enough, early and often. This is especially helpful in a startup that isn’t making money yet. If they pay you more, they’ll just go bust all the faster!
- Lie, omit information, or otherwise fail to disclose information. These make a delightful combination, and ensure that you are completely trustworthy.
- Avoid your boss, and reject all help. After all, you’ve got this. You don’t need help. And why in the world would your boss want to what you’re doing with all of your time?
Just follow these tips to ruin your career, job, and friendships. You’ll build a fantastic reputation, and people will be clamoring to hire you!
What are your best tips to destroy a career?