Monday, July 31, 2006

Work Life Balance ? Confucius says YES!

In this never-ending pressure cooker we call business, it is a commonly held belief that we have to be committed and running at 110% of capacity to stay in the game. In fact, a number of studies support this by pointing out that we don't even take all of our vacation, or that if we do take vacation, we still stay connected. What kind of vacation is that???

Some say that the best ideas have all already been had, and in this matter, I believe Confucius has cornered the market! He said "To go too far is as bad as to fall short. While I dont claim to be a Confucian scholor (or any kind of scholar for that matter) this little gem really stands out. He's telling us that running at full speed will keep us from achieving all we can, but the WSJ.Com article by While we are all so busy running full-throttle just to keep up, we are missing key messages, opportuniteis and our lives! Letting up on the throttle, just a little bit will give you the time to THINK! Stopping just long enough to check your compass may be all the break you need to see how far off course you have run and take corrective action.

Take a little time to assess just how much time and energy you are expending each day and examine if or how this exertion is helping you meet your goals. If it's not... it's time to make a course correction to a pure focus on YOUR GOALS! I'll bet keeping this focus will help you find the time you need for your family and your sanity.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Better meetings - the Cranky Middle Manager way

Think about the last meeting you attended. Was it a meaningful and productive use of your time, or did you sit in a room with a lot of other "victims" and try do drown out the discussion by immersing yourself in your crackberry?

It's a sad but very plain fact that most meetings are horrible! The unfortunate part is that while we all see this, very few try to actually do anything to help. Thankfully, there is a new voice on this topic. You may know Wayne Turmel from his Cranky Middle Manager Podcast.

I have know Wayne for a while now and he's one of the rare breed of middle managers who "gets it". He has a very informal and engaging style to get his message across. Judging by the size and loyalty of his audience, I'd say that they think he's onto something - I surely do!

Wayne has recently published an e-book titled "Meet like you mean it - The Cranky Middle Manager's Guide to Painless and Productive Meetings". I have had the opportunity to read this and I dare say that Wayne has nailed it. Sure, this book may not sit well with the starched collars at IBM or Accenture, but for the rest of us living in the trench-warfare we call work, it's a great read. I know more than a few organizations for which this should be required reading!

Take Wayne's book, or any other on the topic of running effective meetings
and read it - then pass the knowledge on to every meeting-calling knuckle dragger you know. Stand up for your rights and demand that if you have to have meetings - do it like you mean it!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Summertime and the livin is... CRAZY!

Ok, now I'm on two weeks with no posts... I don't even know where the time has gone. Like most folks, I am trying to fit in as much work/life balance as I can, but as much as I love blogging, work/life balance doesnt leave a lot of room for blogging in the summertime.

But in this situation, just like almost everything else in guerilla world, there is a lesson to be learned: Balancing is harder than it looks!

I love to blog but I also love to do other things like camping, floating in the pool and enjoying meals, drinks occasionally, hangovers with my friends. Summertime is much more conducive to the beaches, beer, binges and ballgames than blogging, so it is easy for blogging to get lost. Warm weather, cold pools and good friends are WAAAYYY more fun than sitting at a keyboard!

But, I claimed to have a lesson here - and that is that it is ok to NOT get it all done! Some things, no matter how important they may feel, are not as important as others. Sure, I am passionate about my little blog here, but I am sure that I wont really regret missing a few posts along the way as much as I might regret not having spent some quality time with my family and friends.

STOP! Take a deep breath. Now take stock of the important things in your life. Are you spending enough time on them. Can / should you steal some of your life back from work/school, or whatever else is taking you away from these important things? Imagine that today is your last day - will you face that day with regrets? If so, you need to re-evaluate and get back to the balance you know you need.