4 Ways to Make Work a Little Easier

Implementing a few simple practices will make your work life run a little smoother:

Start the day in your Calendar

  • Whether using Outlook, Google Calendar or something else, start each morning by seeing what commitments you have that day. The, schedule time for specifics tasks or projects that require your attention. Do not start in your email inbox. It will suck you in like the lighting quicksand in the Fire Swamp.

When sending a meeting invite include the purpose for the meeting in the request

  • It’s annoying to get a meeting request and have no idea why the meeting is taking place. Even better, include an agenda. Alert attendees that an agenda has been include by adding [A] in the subject line. Attendees will appreciate having an understanding of the meeting, and your meeting will run more effectively.

Change Subject Lines where relevant

  • Email communication is great, but can become a maze of confusion very quickly. As an email chain switches directions, update the subject line to ensure it’s relevant to the most recent topics being discussed. The Subject Line field is editable for a reason.

That gray, rectangular, boxy object on your desk, it’s called a phone – use it 

  • Again, email is great; so are project management programs like Asana, JIRA and Basecamp. Often the quickest way to communicate is still verbally (mind blown)! So just pick up the phone and speaking directly. The power of spoken language is amazing.

Got any other best practices or quick tips? Please share.

 

Doug

As a Business Leader You Only have One Job

number-one-1256037-640x480Recently I was asked what I most needed from my boss. Not referring to my current job or current boss, just a general career question.

After much consideration I came to the conclusion that I only need one thing from my boss:

Clear the Path

That’s it!

Clear the path of any obstacles, thereby enabling me to do the job I was hired to do.

As a boss, a manager and business leader that’s what is most important – clear the path so your team can most effectively do their job. If you can’t do that, nothing else matters.

 

The Winds of Change are (Always) Upon Us

brazilian-coin-1481557-640x480In the 1989 cult classic movie UHF sing / songwriter ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic plays George Newman, an obsessive daydreamer who can’t keep a job, but ends up managing his uncle’s TV station. Throughout the movie a man in tattered clothing begs people for change.

“Change, change, mister…” he begs.

George ignores the man many times before finally reaching into his pocket and offering a handful of coins. Instead of snatching the money the man counts out enough coins to reaches 100 cents. Then he takes the change from George’s hand replacing it with a one-dollar bill.

“Gee, thanks mister” he says.

A new school year is about to start. Each year my kids exhibit feelings of excitement and nervous anticipation. My youngest son, now nine years old, reminded me of the school’s annual fundraiser called the Winter Store. The store sells homemade items by the 6th grade students. A great learning opportunity for students to learn about business, cost of goods, and profit margins

Several years ago I accompanied my two youngest sons, then six and eight years old, to the store. Each boy was given five dollars to spend on the variety of fun and unique items ranging in price from 25 cents to five dollars. When we arrived at the store it was filled with enthusiastic youngsters holding their precious money, eager to make a purchase.

My boys took quite different approaches to the shopping experience. The eight-year-old quickly snagged a couple of items he wanted asking me hold them while he socialized with friends. My six-year-old on the other hand roamed around and around the display tables, the vast options virtually overwhelming. As the time for school to start quickly approached I prodded him to make his final decision.

Only minutes before the bell rang he finally selected two items and got in line to pay. The older son had selected items worth exactly five dollars, his total budget. I noticed my younger son on the other hand had $3.75 worth of items. I brought this to his attention letting him know he had another $1.25 to spend.

“Quick, go find something else for $1.25 while I wait in line to pay” I said.

“No Dad. I want change” he replied with excitement.

Each boy arrived at the cashier’s table to pay. The cashier helping my younger son took his five-dollar bill then placed a dollar and a quarter in his small hand.

“Here’s your change” she said.

His eyes opened wide. He grinned from ear to ear. He lifted his open palm towards me showcasing his money.

“See, I got change!” he cheerily said before scampering off to class.

The idea of buying something paled in comparison to the joy of getting change.

Change evokes the strongest of human emotions – sadness, remorse, anxiety, and fear; contrarily eagerness, excitement and enthusiasm. Change is a constant. It is inevitable; often viewed as something to endure.

Sometimes we control change, often we do not.

This year I’ve changed jobs. Changed industries I work in. Had family changes with the loss of a parent. But I am reminded of the powerful example a six-year-old showed me in how to approach change.

Altering our paradigm of change is liberating. It could be time to recognize change as ‘getting back, more than giving up; moving forward, more than leaving behind’.

 

Doug

 

3 Apps to Keep You Motivated

Motivation appsSix months ago I decided it was time. Time to get serious. Time to stop making excuses and start making real change. Time to get in shape! Yeah, that’s what everyone says in January, right!? Most people want better health, more energy and to feel a sense of accomplishment. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with it for six months now. I’ve lost 25 pounds, built muscle and increased my overall stamina.

My focus has primarily been strength training with some cardio. And, for most of the time I’ve done a pretty good job eating a healthy diet.

It hasn’t been easy, but there are a few key factors that have contributed to successfully keeping me motivated.

Having a workout buddy has been crucial. Rain or shine he picks me up at 6:15 am to head to the gym. Thursdays he’s quite chipper as those are dedicated “Shoulders day” for us. For the record, I hate shoulders day. #Ihateshouldersday

Technology has been my other secret weapon to staying consistent with both daily workouts and healthy eating. While there are countless apps available I’ve found three apps especially beneficial for staying motivated. All three apps have a free versions and are available for Android and iOS.

Make My Plate#3 Make My Plate

This beta app provides detailed meal planning, recipes, and shopping lists. Simply input the daily calories you’re targeting – including macros, and the app creates three meals, plus two snacks daily. Even if you don’t follow it religiously the app gives plenty of meal ideas, so you don’t get stuck eating plain chicken and broccoli every day.

One of my favorite features is the Restaurants sections. Make My Plate gives you suggestions and nutritional information for forty national fast food, fast casual and full-service restaurants. A perfect resource for when you’re on-the-go.

 #2 BodySpacebodyspace1-675x449.png

This app is an extension of the BodyBuilding.com website with articles, exercise tips and a supplement store. The app allowed me to pick a workout routine based on my fitness goals. It gives me a daily plan with detailed exercises including videos to ensure you use proper form while lifting to guarantee maximum results. From novice to pro that app has all the workout routines and advice you need.

#1 My Fitness Palmy_fitness_pal_logo

Now owned by Under Armour, this is my #1 app for keeping a daily food log of everything I eat. Helps me ensure I’m getting a high amount of protein, while keeping fats down and managing carbs effectively. I enter my weight on a weekly basis to visually see my progress. Yes, I even enter the cheat day calories so I know how much I’ve got to work off the next morning.

Motivational blog articles and recipes can also be found in the app. And of course, a link to buy Under Armour gear.

MyFitnessPal syncs with my FitBit to track my steps and approximate calories burned, adjusting my daily calorie intake from food. It’s pretty slick! I don’t track my workouts here, but the functionality exists.

Here’s the next six months of success!

DJ

 

How are you using technology to keep you motivated?

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY AMERICA!

ID-100427595I love international travel! I enjoy meeting new people, attempting to learn new languages, tasting new foods and experiencing new cultures. In the past year I’ve been to Italy, the Bahamas and most recently the Dominican Republic.

Returning home however, I’m always reminded that there’s truly no place like home. The familiar sights and sounds of home are comforting.

July is a spectacular time to be in the USA, especially over Independence Day weekend. I love the hot summer weather, parades, apple pie, American BBQ, picnics, and fireworks. While riddled with its own set of challenges I still believe this is an amazing country and I’m proud to be an American… after all I was born on the 4th of July.

May you enjoy friends, family, fun and food in your home this weekend – wherever that might be.

Happy Independence Day!

-DJ

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Learning from being a Dad

ID-100218845Being a Dad is the most challenging and gratifying part of my life. It’s a role that requires me to constantly be learning and improving. The lessons learned as a father directly impact many other areas of my life, including being a more effective leader.

As a Dad…

You adapt to different personalities

No two kids are alike. In fact, all four of my kids are unique in their likes, desires, motivations, stresses, hobbies, and more. To be effective I have to adapt in the way I interact, encourage and occasionally chastise. A strong correlation exists between my ability to adapt to each personality and how well we connect with each other.

You make the best with what you have

Almost all Dads deal with limited means – time, money and resources. Waiting until there is a surplus of these things simply isn’t an option. So you get creative, become innovative, develop patience and just find ways to make it work.

You invest in the people

Giving my kids attention is far more valuable to them than giving them money – although my two teenagers may argue this point. In the end it’s not the house, the car, or the yard that matter. It’s the people. When you invest in people, relationships flourish, expectations are exceeded and individuals accomplish far more than you ever expected.

You have to laugh

A sense of humor might be one of the single most important characteristics a Dad can have. If you’re not careful the seriousness, stresses and pressures of life will weigh you down. Sometimes you just have to laugh it off.

You laugh to lighten the mood.

You make others laugh to brighten their day.

Sometimes you laugh to keep from crying.

-DJ

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Here’s the my amazing family!

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