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One More Thing to Add to Your Schedule

balance We were at an event recently as was one of our friends. As he was leaving, he announced that he “had another thing”. Now he’s a really busy person; there’s no grass growing under his feet as the old saying goes. He’s into his job, which requires a lot of meetings.

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But his “another thing” remark got us thinking. What a great way to politely excuse yourself!

And that “other thing” could even be personal. He may have been going home for dinner for all we know!

It leaves a good impression – you’re a busy person. You like to stick to your schedule. It’s also a great way to excuse yourself, even from people who like to talk your ears off!

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georgeI’ve used this before. As a business owner, I had some flexibility with my schedule. I would go to a “lunch meeting” which sometimes meant I was meeting a friend. Or I’d sneak in a work out in the middle of the afternoon by saying I was off to a meeting.

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marylynn When I was in radio, we used to have a “Morning Show Meeting” once in a while. My co-host and I would get off the air and sneak out for some breakfast. It was a great way to bond, talk about work, and just get away for a bit. We found that sometimes we got more done by leaving the office!

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Now we’re not recommending that you use this technique to excuse yourself for a huge part of the day. But as a busy person, sometimes the best way to balance your personal and professional lives is to integrate the two!

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There’s a new study that shows mean breeds mean. Next time, we’ll discuss how to avoid the trap. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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You Will Enjoy Your Vacation if You Know This

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

You probably have a good grasp of your daily pattern. The bigger challenge is understanding your patterns for refreshing yourself, for getting away and recharging.

With vacation season upon us, we thought it would talk about these patterns. Obviously, your ability to fully control how you take time off depends upon your flexibility at work. 


George said that his dad was always looking for a job with two paid vacations a year … six months each!

3 questions to make time off more rewarding

#1 – Do you need a long break or a series of shorter ones?
Some people are so stressed by the time they take a break that a short one just won’t do. They never get past the stress so they can relax and enjoy their time off. If that describes you, then take a long vacation!

Others get more stressed if they’re away from their normal routine too long. They start worrying about getting further and further behind so they don’t relax. If you’re one of these people, take a series of long weekends.

#2 – Do you need a day or two to get back in the swing of things after a break?
Do you need a vacation to recover from your vacation? If so, plan your vacation so you get an extra day or two to “unwind from unwinding”. If that’s not possible, try to schedule your daily routine a little lighter for your first day or two back in “the real world”.

Others get back from vacation, whether long or short, and are immediately ready to jump into daily life again. If that describes you, you can max out your days at your destination.

#3 – Are there certain times of the year when you really need some time off?
Some of us have extremely busy seasons. A break immediately after the season is often the best medicine! You’ll be able to keep pushing, knowing that some needed time off is on the horizon.

Another example is people who live in areas where the winter months are cold, long and dreary. Time away in the sun is just the prescription to cure their winter blues.

“Vacation is what you take when you can’t
take what you’ve been taking any longer”
Author unknown

Our top 5 signs that you need to take a vacation

#5 – The last time your phone rang at your desk, you picked up your stapler and started talking.

#4 – You’re secretly hoping to get sick so you can take a day off.

#3 – You’ve been at the airport so much, security is greeting you by your first name.

#2 – You had to call your spouse and ask for directions home.

#1 – When you look in the mirror, you realize that you actually look like your passport photo.

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Failure to Do This Harms Relationships

Have you ever had a service company just show up at your door even though they told you someone would call first?

Have you ever had a co-worker promise they would get information to you but then drop the ball?

Have you ever asked a sales person to get back to you on a proposal but then they never did?


What was your impression of that company, co-worker, or sales person when they didn’t follow-through?

It probably wasn’t favorable. You realize that you can’t count on them to do what they say they’ll do.
   
Follow-through: an essential element to building your personal brand.
A brand carries with it the promise of expected benefits. Every time a promise is not delivered, the brand suffers.

Promises are easy to make, but not as easy to keep. But if you want to build trust, you have to make good on your promises.

“Say what you’ll do, then do what you say.” Author unknown
 
This separates people who achieve bigg things from people who don’t. Even if it’s just a little thing, you risk leaving the impression that you don’t follow through.

We often have the best of intentions, but it’s impossible to judge someone on their intentions. So we do the only thing we can do – we base our opinions of people on whether they deliver on their promises.

Be careful not to over-promise.

If we surprise someone, we should surprise them in a good way – by doing more than we say we’ll do. It’s not good to disappoint them by doing less than what we say … or not doing it at all.

Today’s bigg action item – Develop a system to record every promise you make.

Do whatever works for you, whether that is an old paper system or something using new technology.

One simple way to do this is Jott. Whenever you make a promise, just call and leave a message about what you need to do. Jott will send you an e-mail or text message reminder. That coupled with your personal calendar can keep you on track. Here’s the best part – Jott is a FREE service.

There are two keys to making any system like this work:

  • Budget a little extra time after each activity.
    This will allow you to write down or record anything you promised.
  • Make it a habit.
    Really focus on using your system every day for the next two weeks.

Or you could do what George does. Mary-Lynn reminds him of his promises. Speaking of which, he has to go pick up the dry cleaning that was ready last week!

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12 Ways to Make Your Next Meeting Your Worst Meeting

Studies show that we spend about 15 percent of our work week in meetings. If you’re lucky, right? Many of these meetings are a huge waste of time … and money.

We thought we’d list some ways to make sure the next meeting you run is a bad one:

#1 – Call a meeting even if you don’t have anything to discuss.
Better yet, just call a meeting on the fly because an important issue has come up for you, and you need answers now! It’s important to you so it must be the most important thing for everyone else.

#2 – If in doubt about whether someone should attend the meeting, invite them.

Or just call an all staff meeting, even if it only affects a small percentage of the group. It may be peripheral to their jobs, but they should hear it anyway!

#3 – Make your agenda so vague that no one knows what the meeting is about.

Don’t distribute it in advance so people can come to the meeting prepared. Keep them in the dark about what’s going to be discussed. The best way to do this – don’t have an agenda at all.

#4 – Don’t start the meeting on time.
Or up the ante … don’t be on time for your own meeting. It doesn’t matter if everyone is waiting for you. Your time is more valuable than theirs.

#5 – Kick off the meeting on a negative note.
Tell everyone how bad things are. Look for scapegoats – call them out in front of their peers. People just love that.

#6 – Don’t stick to the schedule.
Or don’t have a schedule at all. Who really cares when this meeting will be over? Nothing is more important than your meeting. Nobody else has anything to do.

#7 – Don’t ever defer a conversation to a later date.
Even if a point of discussion starts eating into precious time, keep it on the table. It was on your agenda, so it must be dealt with today. The meeting can either go long or you can just give the other points less attention.

#8 – Do most of the talking.
Don’t plan for participation. People love to hear you talk. Dominate the conversation. There’s no need for you to listen during a meeting. That’s certainly won’t help solve any problems.

#9 – When someone presents an idea, be quick to shoot them down.
There will be no free flow of ideas in your meeting! You’re in control. Who do they think they are anyway?

#10 – No matter how long your meeting runs, don’t take any breaks.
People love to just sit and sit and sit. It’s best to introduce new ideas to your staff or try to find the solution to an ongoing problem after they feel lethargic from a lack of activity. And of course, no one needs to use the restroom.

#11 – Let that guy (or gal), who loves to hear himself (or herself) talk, go on and on.
Don’t cut them off. Don’t bring the meeting back to its focus.

#12 – Make sure nothing gets accomplished.
When the meeting is finally over, there should be no plans for action, no decisions should have been made, no issues should get resolved, and no follow up should be scheduled. People love sitting around in meetings that don’t accomplish anything.

Our bigg quote today is by Steve Kaye:

“An employee who needs permission to buy a box of paperclips can spend
tens of thousands of dollars worth of employee time on bad meetings.”

Waste is waste … whether it’s paper clips or time.

What are your pet peeves about meetings? Leave a Comment and let us know.

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How to Reclaim Your Weekend

Many of us work hard all week only to work hard on the weekend! By the time we do complete our list of chores, the weekend is over. We wonder, “Where did it go?”


Get ready to reclaim your weekend

#1 – Track your time
Record everything you do, both at work and at home, for a full week. Sure, it’s a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it. 

At the end of week, look at your journal and answer these two questions:

  • What items don’t need to be a part of your life?
  • What could someone else do?

#2 – Outsource
Take a page from the corporate playbook – outsource! Find a business to clean your house, mow your yard, take care of repairs, and so on.

More and more families are outsourcing more and more. Of course, if it’s something you enjoy doing, keep doing it! But for those things that truly are just tasks on the to-do list, pay someone else to do them.

#3 – Stack tasks into your week
Squeeze your weekend chores into the week. For example, do a load or two of laundry every day throughout the week, instead of the whole pile on the weekend.

#4 – Rethink your work schedule
Instead of working every Saturday morning for a few hours, work a half-hour longer each day. Then you can have your Saturdays to yourself!

Reclaiming your weekend

#1 – Make a list
Write down a bunch of things you would like to do. Get your whole family involved. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to do because there are so many things you want to do. Creating this list allows you to pick and choose depending on your mood.

#2 – Schedule an activity

If you don’t schedule these fun tasks, chances are they won’t get done. So schedule just one activity from your list for next weekend. Then pick another one for the weekend after that.

As you get used to having more time on the weekend, you can add activities to your schedule.

FREE tools that can help you prepare and plan for weekend fun:

Ta-da List

Leading-Edge Applications: Cozi Central

Our bigg quote today comes from Douglas Pagel:

“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”

So color your world by reclaiming your weekend.

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Next time, we’ll discuss 10 ways to get de-motivated. We’re sure it won’t be uplifting! Until then, here’s to your bigg success! 

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Start a Dinner Club with Your Friends

By Bigg Success Staff
04-22-08

Work – Life Balance

dinner_club 

Would you like to see your good friends more often?

Here’s an idea – start a dinner club!

Before you think that’s a crazy idea, allow us to clarify what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about taking turns hosting a dinner at your house. Although, you can do that if you want.

We’re saying organize a regular time to go out for dinner with your friends. Figure out how often you’d like to get together and make it a regular event.

For example, you may meet on the first Wednesday of every month for dinner at a certain restaurant at a specified time.

Obviously, not everyone will be able to make it every time. However, by getting together on a set day, you and your friends will find it easier to schedule around it.

4 things to keep in mind

  • Keep it simple.
    Unless someone volunteers to coordinate things, you may just decide to meet at the same place every month. Of course, it’s completely up to your group.
  • Don’t make it cumbersome.
    That’s why we used the “once a month” example above. However, if your friends seem to want to get together more often, by all means go for it.
  • Be considerate of everyone’s budget.
    Don’t go to the priciest place in town if you know you have friends who will struggle to afford it. The point is to spend time with people you care about, right?
  • Determine the “rules”.
    While there should be few of these, you should discuss them upfront to align expectations and avoid uncomfortable situations later. For example, can you bring guests? If your group has kids, will they be invited as well?

If you want to keep it simple, a standing dinner event allows you to get together with your friends without a lot of upfront time. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time with them instead of planning how to meet up with them?

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