Sunday, July 31, 2011

Are you a flexible thinker?

A mind is a terrible thing to waste is a cliché that may be overused, but has some validity. Flexible thinkers are people who seek first to understand then to be understood. They use both sides of their brain, rationalize, and ask questions before making decisions.

Benefits to flexible thinking:

  • Improve decision making skills
  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Improve listening skills
  • See both sides of the issue clearly
  • Hold higher, authoritative positions

Are you a flexible thinker? Here are 10 characteristics of a flexible thinker:

  1. Think outside the box.
  2. Weigh their options first.
  3. Always have a plan B.
  4. Get a second opinion and a third if needed.
  5. Listen to all sides of the story.
  6. Don't make snap judgments.
  7. Think before they speak.
  8. Rationalize before criticizing.
  9. Always seek learning opportunities.
  10. Spread their knowledge to others.

In a 24-hour day, we will have over 3,000 thoughts and in a regular 8 hour work day, there will be approximately 375 thoughts, in one hour we have approximately 47 thoughts, becoming a flexible thinker will help you to eliminate negativity, and think more clearly in order to make appropriate decisions.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is this meeting really necessary?

I have attended many meetings in which nothing was accomplished. It was like sitting at a ballgame with no players. I have clients who have daily and weekly meetings with their boss with no root objective, just to meet to talk about 'what's going on.' These kinds of meetings are time wasters and productivity killers. The next time you think you need to call a meeting, ask yourself the following:

  1. What is the purpose? What is it I need to accomplish?
  2. Will there be action items for attendees to report on at a later date?
  3. Is follow-up needed? If so, how often?
  4. Do I need an agenda?

I ask that last question because for a meeting to be effective and meet goals and objectives there needs to be an agenda and it should be followed. If no agenda is needed, in other words, a meeting that serves as a follow-up or FYI (for your information) then perhaps a teleconference or an update by email would suffice. Here are a few tips on how to host effective meetings.

I find it amazing that people go to 2 or 3 meetings a day (or more) and come out of them more confused and frustrated than when they went in; furthermore, unproductive meetings reduce productivity to accomplish other tasks. So, from now on, think before you meet and save yourself some time and energy.



Monday, July 18, 2011

5 Movies that may depict your worklife but don’t take their advice

In the workplace, we have to deal with bad bosses, hostile co-workers, and angry clients, but the question is how? We look to books, podcasts, webinars, presentations, and television for answers. But sometimes we get so caught up "unreality" TV that we really believe that it is reality. I even heard the phrase, "reality TV is actuality." Here are 5 movies/TV shows that are funny (in a sense) to watch, but are not good ways to deal with conflicts at work.

1. Nine to Five (1980)
A hilarious tale of three women who seek revenge on their tyrannical, chauvinistic boss.
Even though it seems logical to hog tie your boss and roast him over an open fire and he or she may even deserve it – don't even think about it! These days they have places for people who wish to impose these kinds of tactics and that place is called jail! If your boss doesn't want to listen to your ideas, steals your ideas, and makes undesired passes at you- report the situation to HR or the next kind of picture you will be taking is a mug shot.

2. The Office (NBC TV Show 2005)

A show about a boss who steals ideas and claims them as his own, has no clue on how to manage a staff, and makes poor decisions.

Now this seems more realistic in today's business world. There are bosses out there who make bad judgments and you wonder how they got that job. The people on the TV show do one thing - tolerate his antics. Makes you wonder about them, doesn't it?

3. Office Space (1999)
A movie about a man who undergoes hypnosis to deal with his many bosses who don't know what the other is doing, this movie clearly depicts a hostile environment because all of the employees are disgruntled in some way. The hypnosis works, or so he thinks, and he becomes a more assertive individual, telling what's on his mind which works in his personal and professional life. Well, if you must learn assertiveness skills, why not use hypnosis?

4. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
A story about a woman who wants so desperately to work for a tyrannical, unfeeling, boss and will put up with her insults and inappropriate behavior to break into the designing business. With the way the economy is going, I suppose we really do need to put up with a lot just to keep the paychecks coming. But when is enough –enough?

5. Horrible Bosses (2011)
This movie is about three people who hate their bosses so much that they hire a murder consultant to get rid of them. I will refer back to #1, if you hate your boss that much quit! It's not worth the jail time and lawyer's fees.

If you are having a difficult time dealing with your boss or co-workers or work in a hostile environment, it's time to seek resolution or find a new job, but before you do, seek consultation from a worklife coach who can help you get a clear understanding of the situation and weigh your options to achieve positive results. Don't let TV dictate your actions! It's great for entertainment, but bad for execution. For a free 30 minute consultation, contact me today at or get a copy of my e-book, Dealing with Workplace PMS - Poor Management System.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Enter to Win a DYMO Label Printer

Ever wonder where your office supplies went only to find them on a co-worker's desk or in the copier room? Can't find office supplies in a cluttered closet? Is searching for a file becoming a chore rather than a task? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's time to get organized by using labels to simplify your work life.

I have had the privilege of using DYMO labels and its printers and have made my tasks so much easier. I can find files, supplies, identify binders, and even make reports look neater and more professional.

Using labels in your home or work office will do the following:

  1. Increase your productivity because you will be able to find what you need in less time
  2. Reduce the stress of searching and hunting for files and items in a cluttered drawer or cabinet.
  3. Make you look more professional and organized.

Do you have suggestions on how you can use labels to make your office more organized? Enter this contest to win a DYMO label printer. There's two ways to win:

  1. Email:

    Subject line: Dymo

    In the body of the email, make your suggestion on how labels will simplify and organize your work life.


  2. Go to the Facebook page and post a tip at Post your suggestion on the 'wall.'

The winner will be chosen randomly.

I had the pleasure of trying out various DYMO products and I have been compensated for the reviews (which are worth writing!) So, tell the world how you would DYMO! Enter today and good luck!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10 Qualities of an Amazing Assistant

Nowadays office assistants have more responsibilities than ever. Being able to managing the office and support the supervisor effectively are just a couple of the duties that require excellent soft and interpersonal skills. What qualities do you have that make you an amazing assistant? Here are 10 qualities:

  1. Consistently looks for learning opportunities
  2. Knows how to use what he or she knows
  3. Builds positive work relationships
  4. Uses active listening skills
  5. Is proactive not reactive
  6. Resolves conflicts immediately
  7. Learns from mistakes
  8. Constantly looks for ways to improve
  9. Asks questions and seeks answers
  10. Consults a Worklife Coach

Your amazing ranking:

9-10 qualities: You are truly an amazing assistant! Any qualities you do not have or have trouble in acquiring, you can achieve them by continuing to read this blog to get the techniques and tips you need and practicing them in the workplace.

5-8 qualities: You possess great qualities, but there is always room for improvement. Don't limit yourself explore your talents and expand.

4– below: There is much work to be done! First, work on changing your attitude and an approach to developing your skills.

No matter what your rank, obtaining a Worklife Coach to help you determine your career path, cheer you on when you need uplifting, lend an ear to hear your concerns, and help you make the appropriate decisions to improve your work life; this is the best investment you can make in yourself. Contact me today for a FREE 30-minute consultation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do you use spell check or brain check?

Nowadays with the latest features in technology it has gotten easier to just hit a button and have the computer spell check a document. But what about those words that sound the same but have different meaning or contextual errors, words that are spelled correctly; however, do not depict the meaning of the sentence. See the examples below:

Sound the same but have different meaning (homonyms):
*Breaks and brakes
*Too and two
*Bite and byte

Contextual errors:*'Asses' but you mean to write 'assets'
*Inconvenient and incontinence
*Than and then
*Effect and affect

Spelling errors in a document will reflect unprofessionalism and turn the reader off; contextual errors have the same impact and depending on how the word is used, could be offensive. So the next time you're drafting a document, use the spell check feature for evident errors but also use your brain and look for the uncommon errors. Here are two ways you can use your 'brain check:'

  1. Print the document and proofread it word by word, line by line. Then shift focus on something else for a few minutes and come back to the document. You will be surprised when you find an additional error or two.
  2. Get a second pair of eyes to review the document. They always say two heads are better than one, in this case four eyes are better than two. Because everyone's 'brain check' operates in different capacities, the second opinion may find other errors, like grammar or punctuation, which will help make the document more appropriate for public reading.

It is a good practice to not heavily rely on the computer's spell check; a missed mistake could hinder the company's reputation and yours as the office professional. Use your internalized 'brain check' to double check the document.