Be Thankful for the Simple Things – Like Managing the Email Clutter

Be Thankful for the Simple Things – Like Managing the Email Clutter

“‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free…” ~From the Shaker song – “Simple Gifts” – written in 1848 and sung by the Ingalls family at Thanksgiving on Little House on the Prairie.

This song makes me think about Thanksgiving because it reminds me of the simple things like gathering with family and friends and being thankful. It also reminds me that the biggest challenge many of my clients face in getting and staying organized is having a SIMPLE SYSTEM. The goal of having a simple, easy to implement system is to have a work environment that not only functions well but supports who you are in your business and your life.

Here’s the thing about implementing a simple system – it’s like a hobby – the more you practice, the better you get; the better you get, the more you like it; the more you like it, the more you do it! And it doesn’t have to be complicated; it just requires commitment, discipline, determination, and perseverance.

In my book, Enough is Enough Get Control of Your Stuff – One Woman’s Insight into an Organized Life, an entire chapter is dedicated to Taming the Technology Tiger. But here is one tip to get you started on the road to a clutter-free inbox:

First, ask yourself, “Would I go to my regular mailbox every day and only take out what I want or need and leave the rest”? Of course not. So why do you do that with your email inbox? Remember, your email inbox, like your regular mailbox IS A LOADING DOCK, not a final destination for things you don’t need or want or want to deal with.

So, start by sorting your inbox by “Sender.” Then go down the list and delete all of the emails that you know you no longer need. And be realistic. Are you REALLY going to read the e-zines that are a year or two old? (If so, create a folder called “Read File” and drag all of those into it, where they can live until you find the time to read them (or not)).

What about the email that you were tracking to make sure something got done? Was the due date May 2016? If it’s not done by now, it’s a sure sign that something needs to be done to your inbox immediately! Remember, you can highlight multiple emails and delete all at once, so if you have 52 emails from Sue Avery and you need none of them, highlight and delete them all at once. Stick with this simple process and you won’t believe how quickly you can move unnecessary emails out of your inbox, and out of your way.

Stay tuned for the next steps on what to do with the emails that are left and how to keep the backlog from coming back. If you simply can’t wait until my next post, you can head on over to Amazon to purchase my book, where I’ve devoted an entire chapter to Taming the Technology Tiger.

I love speaking on this topic. If you are in need of a speaker at your next event and you love this topic as much as I do, contact me today!

Key Points to Consider When Hiring Your Keynote Speaker

Key Points to Consider When Hiring Your Keynote Speaker

I know that hiring a professional speaker for an event is an important task and can seem overwhelming as well. However, there are a few key points to consider when making this critical selection.

Choosing the right keynote speaker for your corporate event, private function, or training seminar (or workshop) can have a huge impact on the overall success of the entire program. However, with so many expert speakers available, it can be difficult to find the best fit and determine who will best meet the needs of your audience.

Below are 5 points to consider when evaluating whether a particular speaker will be a good fit for your event.

Must Have a Commanding (but Likable) Presence
A strong speaker will have a dynamic presence on stage and off. This person needs to be able to shake up the audience to gain and hold their attention while commanding respect in a fun and memorable way. You’ll want to choose someone who can easily interact with the audience and make them feel comfortable. It’s a good idea for the speaker to attend any pre-conference networking events if it’s a larger conference. For smaller events, joining the group for lunch is also a good idea. This should be a pleasant, easy-going experience for both the speaker and the audience members. It’s up to the speaker to make it that way.

Must be Matched to the Audience
When hiring a keynote speaker, the biggest concern is finding someone who will connect with the audience. The right speaker for a group of doctors will likely be quite different from the right speaker for a group of college-aged entrepreneurs. Each audience will find motivation in different things and will listen to different kinds of people. So, it’s up to the speaker to figure out how to be unique and interesting to THAT audience.

If you are a meeting planner, you’ve likely decided on a basic theme and goals for the conference, so be sure to choose a speaker who will most meet attendees’ expectations, both in content and entertainment, often referred to as “edu-tainment.” If a speaker has several topics to choose from, it’s a good idea to ask if they can combine two or three to better customize a presentation for your event.

Must Have Video of the Speaker in Action
The best way to determine the quality of a speaker is to see him or her in action. If you can’t view a presentation live due to your geographical location, have them point you to recent video clips of them in action if they aren’t readily available on their website. Most professional speakers will have videos available for viewing online (from their website or on YouTube). Watch a few and take note of the energy level, content, audience reaction, and audience interaction.

Must Have a Big Personality
Because your corporate event, private function, or training workshop is a time investment for you and the attendees, you want to get the MOST for that time. You want the audience to learn from the event, remember the message and become transformed. A dull, boring, and “mediocre” speaker can’t deliver that kind of result. Sometimes you have to be in their face (in a subtle way), sometimes a little irreverent (in a professional way), and most of all, be impactful while having fun at the same time. To do that, your keynote speaker better have a BIG personality.

Must Have Recommendations and Experience
It’s likely that the more experience a speaker has, the better the performance will be. Be sure your keynote speaker has client testimonials and recommendations. If a speaker has worked with well-known companies and brands or presented at large events, chances are good that he or she will provide a quality keynote speech.

With so many speakers available, it can be a daunting task to find the right one. So, keep these 5 points as your “checklist” when looking for a keynote speaker for your next public or private function.

Don’t Let the Perfect Get In The Way of the Good

Don’t Let the Perfect Get In The Way of the Good

I have a theory. It’s not really MY theory, but one I subscribe to . . . “what we focus on expands.” I’m thinking of this in relation to a topic I teach, train and coach on – self-defeating behaviors! My challenge is how much do I focus on something I don’t want to expand? But it’s relevant to everyone’s efforts toward increased productivity and living our best lives, so I’m touching on it, just a tiny bit. I ask you to do the same – read this, integrate what you need to keep moving forward, and then promptly put it behind you.

There are three ways we sabotage ourselves.

Procrastination, or putting off tasks that you just can’t face. I know, I’ve been there. My work in radio sales involved creating a sales budget for the year, the thing I disliked the most. So, of course, I put it off and put it off and then crammed the night before it was due. Talk about stress!! But here are two things about procrastination:

1. The tasks we put off are usually not nearly as bad as we think.
2. The key is in the STARTING of the task that we can’t seem to get to, not the completion of the task.

My best advice for procrastination: COMMIT TO STARTING THE PROJECT FIRST. Put a date/time on your calendar and only bite off as much as you can do in that time-frame. And then again and again until, voila! Project done! One more thing, think of a great reward you will give yourself for starting the project. And okay, maybe another one for finishing!

Perfectionism, or a worthy goal, but totally unreasonable to try and live up to. Of course, we all want to do our absolute best. But really, at the end of the day, if you have strived for excellence and done your very best, then accept the strongest result you can produce, even if it’s not perfect.
Think excellent and great, both of which are attainable and are a much better use of your time than fretting over not being perfect. If you know your own work ethic to be that of always doing your best, trust me, your work won’t suffer by taking pride in a product that is GREAT!

Workaholism, or give everything you’ve got to your work at the expense of the rest of your life. I get it. It feels like we’re all being asked to do more with less, to stay longer and do more. But here’s the thing. If you are worn out, worn down, and tapped out, you risk not having anything to give to your job, your family, or yourself. If your physical and mental health is at risk from workaholism, you are left with nothing to work with. And who does that serve well? No one really. So build in personal break time to re-charge and re-group in order to give of yourself fully to all aspects of your life.

So as I like to say in shorthand, Get to It, Let Great Be Good Enough, and Too Much of Any One Thing isn’t always the answer. Be good to yourself and your self will be good to you!

De-cluttering the E-clutter Toward a Simpler, More Productive Way of Work

De-cluttering the E-clutter Toward a Simpler, More Productive Way of Work

I don’t believe in email. I’m an old-fashioned girl. I prefer calling and hanging up.
~ Sarah Jessica Parker

In the past, I extolled the virtue of having a SIMPLE SYSTEM as the key to getting and staying organized. And I gave away some of my best tips for starting to de-clutter your e-clutter. Now I am here to give you the next steps! By now you should have moved all of the unnecessary emails out of your inbox. So now it’s time to face your inbox and realize that the goal is to process instead of putting out fires. “How in the world do I do that?” you ask. It’s simple and elegant! For every single email, you will now and forevermore MAKE 1 OF 5 CHOICES:

Let It Go. How do you Let Go of an email? Delete it.

Let It Go To Someone Else. How do you Delegate an email? Forward it. A quick and easy way to track those that you delegate is to ‘blind copy’ yourself on these and when they come back to you, drag them either to your tasks on the dates they are due, or create a folder called PENDING RESPONSE and put them there to track.

Do It Now. How do you Do It Now? Use my “2 minutes or less” rule – so as emails come into your inbox if you can pop them out into someone else’s “court” in two minutes or less, just do it. During this de-clutter process, you can choose to either do all of these now or drag them to an AWAITING MY RESPONSE folder to do when you have the time.

Move to a Future Reference Folder. For all emails that you may need to ‘refer’ to later but don’t need to take action on now, simply click on one email or group of emails and drag them to an appropriate Future Reference Folder in your inbox or save to your hard drive. You may need to create new folders in your inbox or hard drive to store these.

Move to a Further Action Folder. For all of the remaining emails that require you to “take further action on,” here’s my suggestion: Set up a “to do” system in your folders. Call it COMMAND CENTRAL. Under Command Central, create a folder that says ACTION THIS WEEK, and one that says NO DEADLINE. Then when the email comes into your inbox, you can move it to the appropriate folder, and then work out of that folder, not the inbox. The big key here is processing as you go so you don’t end up with the backlog you started with EVER AGAIN. As I like to say, “Process people, PROCESS”!!!

I have so much more to share on this topic and you can find it all in my book, Enough is Enough Get Control of Your Stuff available on Amazon. There are also many ways you can work with me. I’d love to help you de-clutter!

Here’s to an empty email loading dock coming to a computer near you soon!

Cancellations as Opportunities

Cancellations as Opportunities

Yesterday I had a cancellation at the last minute. Not what I prefer, but as I say so often…” it is what it is.” So when that happens, I try to see what the positive is in this because I could go to the negative space of “Ugg, now what?”, or “why can’t they let me know earlier so I can accommodate someone else in their place?”

But here’s what I did instead. I looked at all the things I have not been able to get to because my calendar is so full of coaching, training, speaking, etc. I looked at what needs to actually get done for September when I’m traveling almost every week for business/speaking and have lots of moving parts to those trips that need handling. Yesterday, I took that free time to work on all things “September”. And it’s only the beginning of August! And let’s just say at the end of the day, I ROCKED some important tasks that I can knock off my list and feel great about having done this early in the game.

What’s on your list that, if you had a last-minute cancellation right now, you could actually get started on, or maybe even wrap something up that’s an uncompleted task? How can we make lemonade out of lemons every time, so that regardless of how things shake out, we are getting important work done – no matter the deadline? Let’s face it, the work we’re doing today might not be urgent now, but the more we put it off, the closer to urgent it becomes, right?!

So, bring on the cancellations, and know that it’s just the Universe opening your calendar up for you to knock some things off your list that you might not have focused on yet. Get it behind you…nothing feels worse than the hanging on of an uncompleted task!