Archive for the Organize Category

Here’s an idea to help you make your minutes count!

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on December 18, 2015 by Chuc Barnes

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When looking through this blog, you’ll quickly notice that I love to visit The Grand Canyon. I also like to talk about The Grand Canyon when I’m speaking for different audiences.

After speaking for an audience this week, a lady asked me, “What do you mean when you say ‘there’s a Grand Canyon inside you?'” I loved that question because I’m absolutely convinced that there is indeed a Grand Canyon inside you and a Grand Canyon inside me.

Here’s what I mean.

First, please picture the Grand Canyon itself. (If you’ve never seen The Grand Canyon in person, you can get a good idea of how vast and awesome it is by visiting the following web site where you’ll find beautiful photos and excellent videos.)

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm (You’ll also find this in the “blog roll” on the right of this page.)

Now notice how big and spectacular The Grand Canyon is. Take a moment to check out the different colorings and formations and realize they are always changing. Next, please consider all of the unexplored territory that is in the canyon itself — so much so that, even if you start exploring it today, you will never finish being able to closely examine each nook, cranny, plant, waterfall, animal, trail, stone, water hole, and formation, even if you float down the Colorado River itself.

The Grand Canyon is simply too big for you to see it all.

Now please think about your own mind. Consider all of the unexplored ideas, plans, dreams, thoughts, possibilities and creative breakthroughs that are waiting inside you. I suggest that you and I have a vast assortment of fresh, new memories and experiences waiting inside our minds for us to enjoy and to act on if we take the time to examine the ideas and create the possibilities.

(Sadly, I notice that most people today are racing so fast, and dealing with so many interruptions and clogged schedules that they miss out on the gift of time.)

I furthermore suggest that when you invest a few minutes to create a good memory or experience for your family, your friend, you boss, your customer, and even for yourself, you then are making your minutes count. I also propose that you and I are capable of creating scores of positive memories and/or experiences that live in our minds — and the minds of others — for years and years just like The Grand Canyon has continued to live on our planet.

Does this make sense to you? Please leave your comments here

Here’s your most important priority!

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Stress, Time management, Time management/Self-management on May 9, 2015 by Chuc Barnes

BlueRibbon

When working with a group yesterday, a woman asked me, “If you were to make just one suggestion to me, Chuc, what would it be?

My quick answer was: “Make time for you before you do anything else.” When I said this to the lady, she gave me a puzzled look because she was thinking about everything except herself.

Please realize that YOU are your #1 Priority.

It won’t do you any good to answer e-mail, handle interruptions, make phone calls, and check social networks if you aren’t healthy and sane.” Thus, be sure to schedule time for you – every single day — or you won’t get it. After all, you deserve health and sanity, don’t you?

Here one of the biggest time wasting questions you can ever ask:

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 22, 2015 by Chuc Barnes

Dice

“Why did you do that?”

Our parents asked the above question so many times that we often use the same question when correcting other people.

I hope you’re not using the same question.

Please realize that the “Why did you do that?” question solicits an answer for something that occurred in the PAST (de-motivating), whereas good motivation is about the future, not the past. Not only that, the question puts the other person on defense.

Picture a basketball team who wants to go to the Final Four. Will they be better off if they work on strategies for next week’s game or last week’s game? Clearly, they’ll be better off investing their time in preparing for next week’s game (the future). You’ll also notice that when the other team is on defense, you have to work even harder and that takes more time.

Here are four timesaving suggestions:

#1: When correcting someone, move your question to the future. Example: “We know what happens when that occurs (the past) so, if it happens again, how would you see yourself handling it? Note that you’re moving the thinking from the past to the future.

#2: When you’re being introspective, do you ask yourself, “Why did I do that” questions? Or, do you ask yourself, “If that happens again what strategies would help me? Clearly, you’ll be better off if you focus on strategies for the future.

#3: Replace “Why?” questions with “What were you accomplishing by ____?” questions. This will help you learn specifics and prevent de-motivating, defensive explanations.

#4: Reserve “Why?” questions for information about creative matters (Why are you telling me this, Chuc”).

I’m telling you this because when you focus on the future, you’ll come up with better ideas that help you move forward—and you boost motivation.

Does this make sense? Please write you comments here.

How slowing down helps you improve your perspective!

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on January 4, 2015 by Chuc Barnes

GrandCanyon

It was early in January on almost the same date as today, and my wife and I were excited about getting to stop and see the Grand Canyon again.

As soon we got out of our car we could sense that something was different.

Looking in the canyon, we were surprised to see that a large cloud had settled inside the canyon itself. That cloud was so large that it blocked the usual “view” of the brilliant colors, unusual formations, numerous trails, and vast size you would ordinarily see. We laughed because that “view” of the cloud in the canyon was one more “view” of the canyon we had never seen.

Looking around us, we heard people say, “I thought the canyon was supposed to be something big and beautiful. How disappointing! Let’s hurry on to Vegas.”

It saddened my wife and me to realize that the people who hurried away left with the impression that the Grand Canyon was only a big hole with a cloud in it.

(And, by the way, the cloud left the canyon a few hours later. What a glorious sight that turned out to be!)

It occurs to me that life is like this. We often get in such a hurry that we draw the wrong conclusions about the remarkable people and experiences that are around us, and we quickly move on to other places and items that are not nearly as important to our life experience.

Wouldn’t it a lot better to slow down and appreciate where we are and what’s around us? I think so. What do you think?

Please leave your comments here.

Why don’t people listen today?

Posted in Balance, Customer service, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Presenting, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on November 29, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

Listening

Can you remember when your mother spoke to you and said, “Listen to me.” Perhaps your mother even said, “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

Your mom was not just teaching you a skill to use with her. She was teaching you a crucial skill to help you save time when dealing with other people too.

Karen Anderson is a friend of mine and a mom. She also is a teacher, speaker, and consultant. Karen constantly tells her students and clients that “good leaders LISTEN.”

I agree with Karen–and I agree with your mom. Good leaders listen!

Simply try to imagine how can you effectively lead a group in a meeting or any endeavor if you’re not listening to them and paying attention, not just to their words, but also to their body language?

As a former Marine, I can tell you first hand that a good leader, whether in battle or not, is constantly watching his or her team in order to “listen” to what’s going on. And when in battle, leaders and team members use signals so they can communicate without the enemy knowing what you’re saying.

This also is true in sports. When playing basketball or baseball, isn’t it true that players on a team receive messages from their coach from signals (a method of communicating and LISTENING) in the middle of a game?

OK, forget battle and sports for a moment. Think about yourself. Are you a good listener? Do you pay attention to what other people are thinking and saying?

Do you listen to what your customers are saying?

What about your friends? Do you actually listen to them?

And what about today’s politicians. Do they listen? If so, why do they have such low favorability ratings?

Realize that young people “listen” differently than you do. They communicate with friends by sending messages on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. (Text messages are enormously popular.) They therefore “listen” to words and they look at photos and videos. Thus, they don’t use much body language.

I’m writing this post right now to remind you, as the leader and self-manager that you are, that LISTENING is a crucial skill — a time-saving skill that too many people are overlooking today.

Do you agree with what I’m saying about listening being a time-saver? If you do, great! If you don’t, that’s OK. Either way, I’d like to “listen” to your opinion so please jot your comments here.

Your life is a lot like the Grand Canyon.

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on April 14, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

CWBGrandCanyonI speak for a variety of audiences and last week I told a speaker friend, Marian Madonia, that I like to talk about The Grand Canyon in my keynote presentations because 1) even if people haven’t been to The Grand Canyon, they quickly relate to its enormous size, and 2) I love to hike and float through The Grand Canyon myself (as you know from the things we’ve discussed in this blog).

I told Marian that I enjoy saying to audiences that there’s no need to run at The Grand Canyon because wherever you are at The Grand Canyon, you’re already there.

Marian has a very fast mind and she immediately said, “Chuc, The Grand Canyon is a lot like your life. It’s right there for you to see and experience, but you can’t see it all.”

I loved what Marian said because in my way of thinking Marian is right.

Marian went on to say that lots of people spend lots of time focusing only on the steps they need to take and that, if you only focus on your steps at The Grand Canyon, you miss out on the big picture and the richness of the entire experience.

I loved that comment too because it also is true.

When hiking at The Grand Canyon, it of course is important to watch the steps you take because trails are steep, rocks are apt to be in the way, and you could even step in a hole or fall off the trail. What’s just as important, however, is not just to watch your steps, but to look around to enjoy and appreciate the beauty and vastness of the canyon.

Isn’t this also true of life? I think so.

The Grand Canyon is so beautiful, so awe-inspiring, so vast that you simply can’t see all of it in a moment. Even if you fly over The Grand Canyon, you can’t see the flowers, smell the fragrances, feel the temperature changes, examine the caves and ancient dwellings (See the photo at the top), and you certainly can’t experience the true depth of the canyon. It is simply too big to see it all at one time.

I propose that your life is mighty big too. I suggest that your life (just like mine) is right there in front of you and me to see, experience, and enjoy. And, if you agree with me, wouldn’t you say that it’s a good idea to make a plan for your life so you can follow the trail that takes you where you want to go? Likewise, wouldn’t you say that it seems silly and wasteful to do all the hurrying that everyone is doing? After all, why hurry when hurry makes you miss so much?

Everyone has their own perspective about the way they see The Grand Canyon and the way they see their life. For example, my sons and I were standing on the edge of the South Rim of the canyon and admiring the beautiful colors and formations when a bus full of tourists pulled up. The tourists got out of the bus to look at the canyon and my sons and I laughed when one man looked at the canyon and said, “Boy, that sure is a big hole. Ok, let’s go on to Vegas.”

Pretty funny.

I think planning is important, whether you’re exploring the canyon, traveling to Vegas, or trying to make the most of the minutes in your life. I think teamwork, scheduling steps at the right time, prioritizing and taking breaks are important too.

How about you? Do you have an opinion? If so, please share your thoughts here.

You won’t find time. You need to make time.

Posted in Balance, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on March 16, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

CalendarWhen speaking at the University of Maryland (UMBC) for a truly great audience, by the way, several listeners said they were having trouble finding time for key priorities and they asked for suggestions.

I explained that in today’s fast-paced, highly interruptible world, there’s only a glimmer of a chance that anyone can “find time” for anything. I suggested that, instead of trying to “find time, “ it’s important to “make time” for key priorities.

When suggesting this, I wasn’t trying to be cute or flippant (and I’m certainly not trying to do so right now). I’m absolutely serious.

Please permit me to illustrate what I mean by pointing out that I will never find time for my wife, even though I love her dearly. Too many
things will interfere.

My wife is a priority for me so I’ve got to make time for her.

I won’t find time for my kids, even though they are very, very special to me. They are priorities to me. Thus, I’ve got to make time for my kids.

I won’t find time to finalize my third book (which is now almost complete). That is a priority for me so I’ve got to make time to complete the book.

I’m suggesting that “making time” is actually a matter of scheduling time for key priorities, whereas “finding time” becomes an ongoing struggle to squeeze things in (and struggling is time waster and stress producer).

If you agree with me, you can see why it’s essential to – first, and always — know what your key priorities are! When you know what your priorities are (precisely) it becomes easier to schedule time for them.

Does this ring true to you?

Take time to smell the flowers.

Posted in Balance, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 25, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

FlowersI met a terrific man this week. While working on the job, he is being treated for cancer.

I wrote my new friend to tell him I enjoyed meeting him and he just sent me the following e-mail that I’m sharing here because of the helpful, sensible observation he makes:

“Some people think it is odd when I tell them that the cancer was a great gift. It forced me to stop and look at life and make a determination on what is important and what isn’t. Some people go through their entire life never doing this. I was forced to do it at 51 and while you would never wish cancer on anyone I do wish more people understood how many things in life are petty and unimportant and how lucky they are to receive the chance to live each day.”

My new friend is absolutely right. Being a cancer survivor myself, I don’t want anyone to get cancer. I do think it’s important for all of us – just as my friend says so articulately — to stop and think about how lucky we are to live each day.

Make sense to you?

Doublecheck your New Year’s Resolution

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on January 7, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

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It’s now early January when most people notice they broke the resolution they made for 2014 and they say “Well, I broke the resolution, so I’ll wait until 2015 to try this resolution again.”

Suggestion: If you’ve broken the resolution you made for 2014 (or perhaps you’ve been thinking about breaking it), change your timing. In other words, instead of waiting until 2015 to declare the 2014 resolution again, make your resolution for next Week. Thus, one week from now you can see how you’re doing again and, if need be, you can then adjust your resolution for the following Week.

You’ll find you’re better off setting weekly goals than yearly resolutions because you’ll then have 52 new weeks to readjust rather than only one New Years day.

This change in thinking will help you and it makes sense doesn’t it?

Here’s some ideas to help you value your time!

Posted in Balance, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on December 11, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

HelpWantedSign

If you believe time is money, as most people do, I’m sure you’d also agree that it’s a good idea to save as much time as possible, right? After all, why waste a lot of money?

Ok, now let’s do some math.

Let’s say that you earn $50 an hour (for talking purposes). This means that if you save one hour a day for every day of the work week, you’ll end up saving $250 in the week ($50 an hour times 5 work days in the week), right?

So if you save $250 in one week, it’s also obvious that you’ll be saving $1,000 in one month ($250 a week times 4 weeks in the month), correct?

Good for you. You’ve just saved $1,000.

Now let’s keep the math going.

If you save $1,000 a month, you’ll obviously save $12,000 a year for yourself ($1,000 a month times 12 months), correct?

Ok, you now are either agreeing with what I’m showing you here or you’re not agreeing.

If you are agreeing with me, notice that by saving one hour a day, you’ve just saved enough money to now hire a part time helper who you can pay $1,000 a month to help you get more done. (And, if you earn $100 an hour, you now just saved enough money to hire two people.)

If you are not agreeing with me, please tell me what’s wrong with the math I’m showing you here.

The problem with what I’m showing you here is not with the math. The problem is that time is not money. People say that it’s money, however.

So now let’s now apply common sense.

Time is not money. Time can’t be given to anyone. Time can’t be put in a bank. Time can’t be compounded and you can’t earn interest from time. And one other item: Time sure can’t be won on a game show.

Let’s face it. Time is not money. It’s your most valuable asset, however.

Time is your life.

I suggest that when you stop worrying about time and begin focusing on ways to create positive memories and experiences for your son, your daughter, your husband, your wife, your friend, your neighbor, your co-workers, your customers (and even for you) you’re making your minutes count. And isn’t creating meaningful memories and positive experiences what maximizes life?

Does this ring true to you? Please leave your comments here.