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#perspective

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6 Time Management Techniques for Extremely Busy People

The clock is always ticking, faster than ever for extremely busy people.

The clock is always ticking, faster than ever for extremely busy people.

Successful people are busy people. With career and personal goals stacked up high, and an agenda a mile long, fitting in one more responsibility can be a huge task. People on the fast track to excellence will often get crunched seven days a week. Common place are calls from clients, co-workers and associates to put out fires. Additionally, communication from a spouse, kids, friends or other family members must become a priority even when dealing with a filled work schedule. Being self employed, I am constantly talking to my friends and family about the benefits of self employment. You see, I get to pick which 18 hours a day I work. Yes, I am busy too.

So, with so many responsibilities coming from so many different directions, time management is essential. While time management is challenging in general, time management for extremely busy people comes with its own set of challenges.

Here are 6 time management techniques for extremely busy people:

  1. Say "NO"- While sometimes an easy thing to say, often times saying the word "No!" can be troublesome. A friend, coworker, or especially a family member is hard to turn away. But in order to stay on your path, learn to embrace the word. Although it has only two letters, getting the word out of your mouth is difficult if you feel like you are hurting someone's feelings or are trying to be nice. Try this sentence. "I appreciate you coming to me with this project (issue, problem, situation, etc) and I would really like to help, but now is not a great time for my schedule. If I get a chance to revisit it, I will.

  2. Prioritize Your To-Do List - Before you go to sleep or first thing when your head is clear in the morning, go through your schedule (I know you keep a schedule) and prioritize the list. Don't get into your day without a clear roadmap of what you will need to get done. It's little victories like crossing off a to-do from the list that will drive you harder towards the finish line on your list.

  3. Delegate - The most successful time managers are those that learn how to delegate properly. A great leadership trait is understanding when to hold on to a responsibility and when to delegate it. You will never be able to do it all on your own. The sooner you realize this, the closer you will get to effectively managing your time.

  4. Don't Micromanage - Extremely busy people are generally very successful people. You will need to resist the urge to manage all of the project details you have going on in your life. Once a project task is given to someone else, do not circle back and micromanage the project. Certainly, follow up to verify the project is moving forward, but do not live by the motto, "If it's going to be done right, I've got to do it."

  5. The Small Stuff - Extremely busy people are their own worst critics. Stop beating yourself up over the small stuff. Sure, it's important that the task gets completed properly and professionally, but don't get caught up in the minute details and never second guess yourself about the small stuff. Chances are great that you completed the task with excellence. Make a mental note, and next time this type of task is to be tackled, you will know what you need to do.

  6. Refresh - Seriously, it's 1AM, do you think you are quite as sharp as you were at 11AM? Take a break. There is nothing more challenging than trying to accomplish a task while burning the late, late, late night oil. Your brain needs to refresh and your body could use a break as well. Did I mention the importance of eating your meals at a table and not from behind a steering wheel? You know I am talking to you. Every once in a while, I accept that you are too busy to slow down and eat at a table, but not everyday.

There will come a time in your schedule when you will not be as busy. Try your best to savor those moments when they happen. Just because you are not moving at a million miles an hour does not mean you are lazy. There is more to life than just arriving at your destination; enjoy the journey.

We all know busy people too, please feel free to share this blog with them as well. Thanks for helping me make the world a bit nicer and more manageable, one blog at a time.

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We are all in the PR business!

We are all in the P.R. business. That’s because we are all in the business of People and Relationships. Don’t get confused, or think just because your company sells office supplies that you are in a business of staplers and ink. If you are a part of the insurance business, your company does far more than collect premiums and pay out benefits. And, if you sell cars, you are definitely not in the business of selling transportation. You are in the business of people and relationships, and without them, your business will fail.

When you get approached by a customer looking for you to solve a problem, regardless of whether you sell pencils, health benefits or vehicles, they first look at you as a person. At initial glance, your customer is sizing you up, trying to determine if they trust you and if they do, should they follow your advice. If you deal with people over the phone, you are being judged by your tone, the speed at which you are speaking and your volume level. The words you say, the body language you share and information you offer are all under a microscope. Regardless of being face to face with a customer, over the phone or via email (which has its own set of challenges), you are being judged. Customer thought bubble, “Do I trust this person, do I like this person, will he give me the right advice?”

I’m a newbie to bird watching. Let me rephrase that, I have a bird feeder and it needs seed every few weeks; not because I have birds that come to get their seed on, but rather, because I have a squirrels that really enjoy eating bird food, and a few birds that like to watch the squirrels . When it comes to purchasing bird/squirrel food, I have two choices very close to my house. Choice one - Walmart Supercenter. Choice two - Mother Nature, local specialty shop. While I am a guy that likes to watch my pennies, I am also a guy that loves a great buying experience. The cashiers at my local Walmart are nice enough and they do their job well, but I love the experience of walking into Mother Nature far more. The woman that runs the place is always talking to two or three customers that have gathered at the counter or she is running around the store restocking the shelves. This woman is like a human humming bird. When I have a chance to speak with her, I feel good about my purchase and she makes me feel like I am the only customer in the world. Yes, there are times when Walmart bird department gets my business, but it has nothing to do with the pleasing conversation and good vibes I get when I head over there.

Your business is about pleasing people, even if you never see a single customer in the course of your day. Even if you never speak to a customer on the phone. I would go so far to say that even if your company doesn’t sell a single product, you are still in the people and relationship business. You cannot exist in a vacuum, just like you cannot exist in our society without people. The sooner your staff, co-workers and (even) you realize how important building relationships really is to your business, the sooner you will have a business that is thriving in the market place. The part most people have trouble wrapping their heads around is that even one person in the workplace can create a difference. An amazing customer experience can be flushed down the tubes by a cashier who doesn’t smile or keeps her head down. A huge purchase and weeks of investigation and contracts can be undone in 15 seconds by a customer service rep having a bad morning. We need each other, and it is essential that we build each other up, keep perspective on what other people are dealing with in their lives and know that the frame of mind we are in and our actions affect others. It is not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Our businesses are all built on a foundation of people helping other people. Relationships are the mortar that holds it all together. We are not in the business of products and services. We are in the business of people and relationships. Keep that in mind the next time you say, “How can I help you?”

Please share my blog with others by using the "share" icon below. LinkedIn posts listed in the discussion areas spread my message best but Facebook shares and Tweets are awesome as well. If you have not already signed up for my blog, take a moment and click here. Very NICE of you!

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#Perspective

The hashtag. The eighth wonder of the world. If you think not, think again. What other single character symbol means more and carries such huge implications. Our superhero, the four-line, four intersection, italicized friend.

To a technical newbie, our miraculous symbol represents Twitter or Instagram. To a mathematician the hashtag represents a number sign. To a singer/songwriter the hashtag is a sharp sign. To an older person in our society, the hashtag is no hashtag at all, but instead the "pound" button on a touchtone phone (if you're too young to know what a touchtone phone is, ask your mom). Three of the little fellas in a row represents the end of press release. Our friend, the hashtag has even found his way into the competitive world of online chess. Placing a hashtag at the end of your move represents checkmate. The list of hashtag uses goes on and on.

So, with so many potential meanings and representations, how can the hashtag possibly help us in business? It's all about perspective. We all get so focused on seeing the world though our "hashtag" that we may forget to see a solution to a customer's problem through their "hashtag."

Recently, I received an email from a friend of mine who lives in New York. She was telling me about a smoothie shop she often visits for a delicious and healthy midday snack. On a recent visit to enjoy a frozen beverage, she noticed a change in the recipe; she experienced more of a citrus flavor. When my friend inquired, stating she would love to have the option of having a citrus-free mixture, the barista simply said she would not be able to do that for her, adding "they (management) won't change it, even if I say something to them." Was the shop so focused on making smoothies their way that they forgot to take into account their customer's reaction to the change?

It's time for all of us to see the world through our customer's hashtag. When answering a customer's question, put on your customer's hashtag and get some perspective before trying to answer their question or resolving their problem. Your resolution may not be what's best for your customer. It may be the best solution to the problem from your perspective, but it may create more problems for your customer.

Keep perspective as you interact with others and you will find you are more relatable and people will have an easier time communicating with you. Your relationships will be much improved, all thanks to the hashtag.

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