Archive for the ‘ Work Smarter ’ Category

All Work, No Play…

In college I worked as a branch manager for Kinko’s –hands down one of the best companies I have ever worked for.  It was in that role I learned about aligning team goals to corporate goals, using the correct measurements to drive performance and results and about having work-life balance.

Part of the Kinko’s philosophy said:

“We strive to live balanced lives in Work, Love and Play”

(Learn more: http://www.paulorfalea.com/background/kinkos.cfm)

So, what does that mean and how does one achieve it?  I have worked for big companies; I have started new companies and invented new products – sometimes doing more than one of these things at the same time. All take a lot of time, and can create periods of time when life is out of balance – and that is ok.  You cannot always be balanced, but when you forget what balance is, and fill your life with only work you run the risk of waking up one day wondering where it all went, or if there was a point to it at all.

Schedule time for work and time for play:  My personal approach is to use my Outlook calendar and task list.  Blocking out big chunks of time to play with kids, connect with old friends, read, write and exercise.  No one can schedule over the top of an hour that shows as full on my calendar. (they’ll try, you decide if it is worth it)

Manage your task list, don’t let it manage you:  Write it down, assign it a date and if appropriate, a time.  Prioritize tasks.  I use an “A, B, C” model.  A’s get done first, B’s Second, and C’s can be pushed to tomorrow if need be.  (Note, if C’s get pushed to too many tomorrows, why are they even on the list)

Follow your dreams and passions:  Not everyone can do the job they would be most passionate about (I never did get to sing in a rock band), but find a role or job that fulfills more than just the paycheck need.  Life can feel more balanced when you are passionate about work.  I work hard and play hard.  Many times I play hard at work, because work is so much fun!  In both my companies I love the clients, team-mates and industries I get to play in.  And I get paid for it.

Written by Zack Clark, MBA

Zack is a Senior Consultant and one of the founding partners at Five Degrees Consulting. Connect with on LinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

This is a blog we share  between several of the Consultants at Five Degrees, guest authors and colleagues.  We work with companies large and small on People and Organization strategies.  Our work specializes in organizational development, leadership effectiveness and executive development. With a focus on working with leaders at all levels to create an intentional corporate culture, we help organizations increase employee engagement, energize working teams, develop critical leadership competencies and enhance strategic communications for more information about our services, please connect with us.

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My Inbox is Out of Control!

My Inbox is Out of Control!

If you are like many executives in today’s fast-paced, digitally interconnected world, you receive some overwhelming number of email each day.  In 2004 it was estimated that the average worker sent 34 and received 99.  In 2009 researches estimated that the average size of a persons inbox was nearly 3000 messages!

A few tips on managing that out of control beast:

Prioritize / Filter

–       Color-code contacts – Outlook and other programs allow you to add colors or categories to your contact lists.  When email comes in from those contacts, the subject line is the color of their “category”.  I keep family one color, customers another, and vendors another.  This allows me to quickly prioritize in what order to respond and allows me to visually sort through the messages.

–       Use multiple accounts – Use a separate account for those things that might be optional, or lower priority like subscriptions to news sites, social media, blog feeds or even online purchases.  Visit those when you have time for lower-priority tasks and reserve your primary address for those important messages

Touch them once

If you can, respond to the message, forward to someone else (delegate the task) and don’t come back to the message.  Once you have responded, get it out of the Inbox.  If you need to keep it, set up folders in the system to allow you to archive and find it later.  If you don’t need to archive, use the delete button.  Never look back at the message again.   Keeping your inbox small will allow you to see everything in front of you that you still need to deal with and will feel much less overwhelming than the 3,000 items which are lurking there now.

Schedule Email time

Schedule time in your day to “DO EMAIL”.  Having your email program running in the background means that every time a message comes in, you are prone to be distracted from whatever else you are working on.  Find a routine that fits: Once an hour, Three times a day, whatever works for your email volume and your daily schedule.

I would love to hear any additional tips you might have for managing your inbox!

Written by Zack Clark, MBA

Zack is a Senior Consultant and one of the founding partners at Five Degrees Consulting. Connect with on LinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

This is a blog we share  between several of the Consultants at Five Degrees, guest authors and colleagues.  We work with companies large and small on People and Organization strategies.  Our work specializes in organizational development, leadership effectiveness and executive development. With a focus on working with leaders at all levels to create an intentional corporate culture, we help organizations increase employee engagement, energize working teams, develop critical leadership competencies and enhance strategic communications for more information about our services, please connect with us.

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