Happy Chinese New Year!

2014 is the year of the horse!


Working from Home

I cherish the days when I can work from home and am grateful that I am even allowed to do so.  It really helps me feel like my work and home life is balanced.  During lunch hours I can clean up the house and in the mornings, instead of sitting in my car for 40 minutes, I can squeeze in a workout.  But what about those work hours?  How are you staying on track?

For me, I love to do lists.  It helps me stay focused and on pace.  But are there any gadgets that might help you feel like you are at work…but in a much more comfortable environment?

Well, entrepreneur.com came up with a pretty awesome list of a few gadgets, in their Work from Home Like a Boss article, and I am drooling over the iStick Multifunctional desktop Organizer.

What are your tips for getting the most out of your work from home days?

Drowning at Work

Whoa! Two posts in one week.  What can you do, when I need to blog, I blog.  Anybody else out there feel like they’re drowning in a giant pool of deadlines, e-mails, and random requests?

Well, as usual, I like to google some tips on how to get out of the funk of just wanting to hide somewhere, kick up my feet with a hot coffee in one hand a book in the other and just general quietness all around.  Well, I came across a nice little blog, yourkickasslife.com, that offered up some tips we all forget about when in a state of distress:

1. Admit, even if it’s just to yourself, that you can’t do it all.

2. Cry when you need to, even if it’s “inappropriate”.

3. Remember that there will be “the other side”.

4. Ask for help.

5. People may tell you how to feel. Don’t listen.

All great tips, but today, I think to make myself feel better; I will go to the grocery store, buy myself a nice salad, some flowers and just forget about things, even if it is just for 15 minutes.  Oh, and then re-prioritize the completely booked schedule I already have 🙂

What do you do when you feel like you’re drowning?

Resignations and How to Handle Them

So…what do you do when an employee resigns?  First step is to ask if the employee can write up a quick resignation letter, if they haven’t already.

Next step, ensure that the remaining time that they are there, they tie up any loose ends, or at a minimum write up a list of projects they are working on, where they are with those projects and what needs to happen for you to take on managing those projects if needed.

If you are like me and are or have been in this situation, endlessly googling what you should make sure to do, let me save you some time and point you in the right direction to some interesting articles:





Setting Goals

I like how an article about metrics driven goals starts out, “A dream without a goal is just a wish.” – Dave Kerpen

I think I am going to have to adopt this as one of the mantras for when I speak with a lot of the vendors I work with.  There are those instances when it just seems like someone doesn’t want to be measured on something, nor held accountable, and that’s simply unnaceptable. 

Personally, I wish I could be super succesful.  But wishing and aiming for a certain goal are two different things, as is generalizing success.  The success I have in mind has many layers and if I don’t identify what theya re and set individual goals for each layer, I’ll be left wishing, wanting, and hoping.

What did you do today?  Did you set any metrics driven goals?

How to Be a Better Manager

LinkedIn never fails to bring the most interesting articles my way.  Today’s article is how to resolve to be a better manager in 2014 and covers 6 Fundamentals.  Below are the 6 fundamentals and my comments:

1. Be open to new ways of looking at things – “The best managers are flexible, adaptable, and closely attuned to their environment.” –> The husband and I have been watching the Netflix Original series LilyHammer where in one of the episodes in season two, one of the characters goes to a management course and learns about the way monkeys peel bananas, which is from the top and not from the stem.  The point is that sometimes we should think about peeling the banana from a different side, a.k.a. think about solving a problem a different way.

2. Expect excellence – “Set high but not unattainable standards and expect your employees to meet them.”–>I’ve written about this before.  I feel like I set my own standards high and hence expect the same thing from my employees.

3. Make sure your employees know – clearly – where they need to focus –  “About those high standards just noted in point number 2… be sure your employees’ job objectives clearly reflect them.”–>I have been working on my communication skills trying to ensure that things are brief and to the point with the end goal and deadline clearly defined…esentially making sure to cover the following in conversation and email: what, when, who, how, why, what if, what next

4. Protect your time as if it were gold (or perhaps Bitcoins?) – “Time is an underrated but crucial management asset, essential to thoughtful decision making.   Managers are routinely pulled in too many directions.”–> This is sometimes hard to do as I try to make sure that my employees are happy and well listened to.  However, I am realizing that sometimes, I need to make sure that I am happy, and able to get things done, which means delegation!

5. Communicate regularly by providing meaningful feedback in real time – “Sure, effective communication may sound a little trite, but that’s because its so fundamental to sound management.”–>I am also making sure to work on this as well.  The trouble sometimes is that my employee and I work in different states and get carried away doing things we need to get done, but I am beginning to realize that a lot of times it is indeed much easier, and quicker, to just pick up that phone!

6. Don’t duck conflict, but deal with it directly and fairly – “As any manager knows, the workplace environment is a fertile breeding ground for conflict.  Interpersonal issues, compensation, recognition, cost-cutting, layoffs, management-employee relations… there’s never a shortage of emotionally charged issues that can lead to conflict.” –>This again is something I’m trying to work on.  I am now aware of the fact that if “you see something, say something.”  What I mean is, don’t wait for problematic behavior to develop a pattern, bring it up the first time it happens.  Otherwise, you need to find a good time to talk about it, and there just never seems to be a good time, but if you nip the problem in the bud right away, it’s one less thing to think about down the road.

What did you do today?  Did you reevaluate your strategy as a manager?