Busy, but not productive?

Anyone who knows me knows I do not enjoy wasting time, and I’ll admit that relaxing can be a challenge for me, and that I actually will schedule time to relax. This works for me, but certainly isn’t going to be a strategy that will work for everyone. I wouldn’t expect it to, but I do expect that if someone wants to be more productive versus being only busy, then you are in the majority of people I talk to.

In our society today, saying you’re busy is what others expect to hear you say. Seldom do you hear someone tell you they don’t have much going on, or that they are never busy. Busy is one of those words which is a way of politely expressing you have a great deal going on in your life, but that does not require you to explain what this means. This statement applies to both work and life, and you would almost never say at work that you are not busy. If you said this, it could be quite detrimental to your current employment.

So, when someone says they are busy at work, they typically will justify and explain how and why they are busy. They may not go into details about what constitutes making them busy, but essentially when they express this, it generally means their time is consumed by doing a number of things related to their job. However, if you are a manager and someone tells you they are busy, your job is to ask questions to see what the person working for you means by this expression, since there are multiple interpretations of this word.

If you are wondering how to determine if someone is busy versus being productive, here are some questions you can ask them to find out which one they are.

  1. Do you feel good about the list of priorities you are working on?
  2. How are the timelines on the projects you are focusing on progressing today/this week/month?
  3. Are your projects and the completion of them positively impacting others?
  4. Is the work you are doing and accomplishing being communicated to others well?
  5. Do you have a good sense the work you are doing is well focused, or does it need to be redefined to increase the productivity of the work?
  6. On a scale of 1-5, (5 being the highest level) are you feeling overwhelmed, or well supported to get your work done?
  7. With your workload, are you feeling that you need more resources to accomplish your work, or that you have the right amount of support?
  8. Do you ever feel like you are “spinning your wheels” on the work you are performing? If they answer ‘yes’ to this question, or do not give you a convincing response and tell you ‘no’, chances are they may be falling into the only keeping busy category.

Keeping busy for the sake of either not being bored or unchallenged is fine for some people. However, if you are running a business, then it’s not so fine. Having employees or teams who are only appearing to be busy, yet who are not actually productive can be the beginning to a serious engagement and management challenge. Taking on this challenge is not easy, and often requires an external perspective to help identify and determine where to start with fixing and then addressing the situation.

Knowing your team or company has a productivity issue should be addressed as soon as possible, as it should be obvious the situation will not improve upon by itself if it is ignored. The good news is that productivity can quickly come back. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you or others are too busy to address this matter.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Connected socially, but not really

My father is the perfect example of someone who has enormously benefitted from mobile and social media connections. He was not someone you would classify as an early adopter of technology, but when he was reluctantly coaxed into purchasing his first mobile phone, it was a life changing experience for him.

Having three children and seven grandchildren, with his mobile phone, my father now had a new way to communicate with people that was far different from the standard way of speaking with people on the phone as he had done so for years. He still enjoys speaking on the phone, but his mobile phone has opened up a whole new way for him to communicate.

Texting appears to be his newest favorite form of communicating, and based on the number of emoji’s he has, I personally think he must send emoji ideas to designers, or has them created for him. He also loves sending all of us unique photos which tie into our interests and hobbies, and I am also amazed at how he does this so well.

Although mobile communications and social media are powerful connecting methods, they are also only one to two-dimensional in terms of being able to connect people. Connecting with people face to face is still the most powerful way of communicating with others. However, given the choice, it seems that more people will opt to engage with people via social media versus seeing them in person. Obviously, there are some people who we cannot easily see in person due to distance or other extenuating circumstances, and this is an upside to social media interactions.

Since engaging with social media has a relatively low barrier for easily being able to interact with people, I have seen that more people will defer to this type of engagement rather than making the effort to see people in person. What they may not realize, is that the social media interactions they have do not have the same level of genuineness and impact level that in person interactions have. In person interactions take planning and time, and given the fact people are so busy, they will generally defer to interacting via social media versus in person connections.

Fewer in person interactions and increased social media interactions are what in my opinion have contributed to people being less apt to have strong face to face conversations, as well as making them feel less connected to others. There is a serious disconnect that occurs when we exclusively communicate via social media, or have this method of interacting with others at such a high percentage rate which causes an imbalance for us socially.

Humans have a strong need and desire to socially engage with others, and our social media interactions cannot be a complete substitution for this. However, when you are out in public, look around and just about half or more of the people you see will be heads down, with their phone commanding their full attention. I have often wondered if due to this phenomenon and new reality, if it has contributed to our levels of anxiety and depression. This could also be despite the fact people think they are fully socially engaging with others, but in reality, they really are not.

In person communications takes both patience and practice, and engaging in social media does not necessarily contribute to helping to enhance these skills. So, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are on the increase, consider utilizing your social media communications to set-up face to face interactions with people. Doing this will make you feel much more connected, and will help to develop your actual and real relationship with the people you are engaging with either personally or professionally.

Start queuing up your in-person meetings with your on-line people right now. Once you do this, you will then start enjoying the benefits of truly leveraging the full power of your on-line world of connections, especially when you have them cross over into your real world. What are you waiting for? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

(10) Reasons why we should all be daydreaming

When was the last time you caught yourself daydreaming? This is something I find myself doing regularly. It often serves as inspiration for the work I do.

Daydreaming can even be helpful in solving challenges – an extension of the thinking-through process. Some might refer to the act of daydreaming in other expressive ways.  This concept serves multiple purposes and results in more positive than negative outcomes.

No one would argue that time is one of our most precious resources, but they might tell you daydreaming is not a productive use of time. I disagree.

Let’s imagine if people did not daydream. Would they be more productive, happier, healthier, and ultimately more satisfied with their life? Probably not. Daydreaming is a form of natural therapy which can calm anxiety provide hope and inspiration to do and achieve what once seemed impossible.

I have found that when daydreaming, I am, in fact, architecting in my mind the potential outcome.

I use daydreaming to help me think through conundrums either for myself, my clients, friends, or family. Since most of us do not remember our overnight dreams, I am thankful we can remember our daydreams. We can leverage them to transport us to places we might not otherwise be able to go for any number of reasons – health, mobility issues, finances, fear . . .

Do you daydream?  If not, why not?  Is it because you think it is a waste of time? Is it because you do not have anything you think is worthy of daydreaming about? Or, does the possibility of seeing yourself in a better place seem too scary? Regardless of which camp you find yourself in on the debate of whether daydreaming is a worthwhile exercise, here are my ‘pro’ daydreaming reasons.

  1. Daydreaming can be like taking a mini mental vacation each and every day.
  2. Daydreaming can encourage you to do more than you think you can.
  3. Daydreaming allows you to place (or imagine) yourself in different scenarios and can help you to prepare to step up or in when the actual time comes. It is similar to the concept of visualization.
  4. Daydreaming can provide your mind and body with a way to decrease stress by thinking about things that are more positive.
  5. Creative minds need time to relax and capture mental power from various sources. Daydreaming is often a source that fuels those with creative minds.
  6. Inspiration can come from daydreaming, which in turn allows you to continue, to pursue or to embark upon something you want to achieve.
  7. Numerous inventions have been inspired by daydreaming as the catalyst for the idea to come to fruition.
  8. Problem solvers, or people who have to figure out solutions to challenges will often apply the act of daydreaming to help their minds switch gears and develop methods and solutions.
  9. Healing can take place when our minds have an opportunity to check-out from reality and go to a happier place, which in turn can release natural healing chemicals in our brains.
  10. Those who are dealing with physical or mental issues can apply the pros of daydreaming to help them see themselves in a better and more positive situation than the one they are currently in.

In other words, daydreaming can offer people hope. On days it may be in short supply. Since daydreaming does not cost anything, and is easy to do, why not give it a try? See if you change your mind, or reinforce your beliefs, about the benefits and positive aspects of this practice after you have given it a try for a week or two.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching takes place individually, or via customized workshops.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

It’s all about the now.  Or is it?

I’ll admit that patience is probably not one of my super powers.  To my credit, I do practice being patient, and many people who have worked with me actually think I am patient.

Perhaps I come across as patient, but if I were a duck, you would likely see my feet paddling extremely fast underneath the calm surface of the water. Being, or appearing to be patient can have advantages. In many business situations, it is imperative to come across as steady, yet able to make swift and well thought-through decisions when necessary.

There have been numerous articles written about the power of now, and a book with that very title by Eckhart Tolle extols the virtues of spiritual enlightenment, living in the moment, and not concerning yourself with thoughts from the past.

In the business world, we are trained to both look in our rearview mirror and to leverage this information to inform our decisions. This knowledge will make us more competitive.

When we take the time to slow down and leverage analysis to help with strategic planning, we go against the concept of instant gratification. However, this is absolutely required and usually takes years of experience to do well, or without guidance.

Being strategic about decisions can be a challenge, especially if you’re a newcomer to the business world. It can also be frustrating to those who are driven by our instant gratification society.

We are fortunate to have technology to rely upon to help provide insights into data that even five years ago would have been difficult to obtain or analyze. Reading and interpreting the numbers is skill that is best developed over time. Having instant access can be enormously beneficial, but taking the time to review the information with others more experienced will serve you well.

An example of this would be reviewing your social media marketing investments to determine if they are providing you with the expected results you desire or forecasted. Fortunately, social media is one of the marketing investment areas which can be adjusted in “real time” if the results are not suitable, and this is one example of appealing to instant gratification.

Not all business disciplines are driven by instant gratification, but sales and marketing teams often are. This is fueled by expectations from senior management who either report to a board of directors or potentially to venture capitalists who have extremely high expectations. In both of these instances, time is not on the side of the teams who are on the front lines of performance. There is a great deal of pressure on these teams to perform well, and in the spirit of now.

Depending on how the powers that be manage their team, employees working for them will be captured by a great sense of urgency and potentially a feeling of being under a performance microscope. It is critical that upper management know how to minimize these emotions, as this type of pressure is not sustainable.

Seasoned managers know how to guide their teams through bursts of pressure and show them how to embrace the power of instant gratification in smaller doses. Since marketing and sales teams are typically quarterly driven, they should pace themselves through their performance journeys.

Some people are naturally adept at pacing themselves, but most people need a bit of guidance or coaching, and over sustained periods of time. Having superior time management skills will contribute to making the marathon pace seem less daunting, and allow the team to embrace the concept of slowing down enough to realize they do not need to have instant gratification for every aspect of their work.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

How to Build Your Reliability Reputation

One of the pillars of a successful business is reliability. The concept comes in a variety of flavors. Let’s focus on human reliability. Without reliability as an embraced (strategy, hypotheses, belief) in an organization, by all members, the fundamentals of running the business simply will not thrive.

On a recent trip to Australia, I witnessed how the concept of reliability plays such a critical role.

The 16-hour flight provided many opportunities to think about reliability and to see it in action.   The amazing Qantas flight crew worked in harmony and relied upon each other to do their jobs. If you think about all of the elements associated with what it takes to get a large commercial plane off the ground, and the incredible amount of details which need to be executed to make this possible . . . What a wonderful demonstration of teamwork – and reliability.

When people are doing their jobs well, and most are reliant upon others to some degree, amazing things can happen. Conversely, when team members lose sight of the fact that being unreliable can have negative consequences that will impact others, bad things can happen. That’s bad news on the ground, but in the air?  No!

This may seem incredibly basic from a common-sense perspective, but more often than you think, you or your colleagues lose sight of the power of reliability.

So, how do you stay focused on being reliable? What does it mean to be considered a reliable team member?

Staying focused is easier than you think, especially if you care about your work performance.  What’s more, doing a great job is going to help not only you, but others, now, and in the future.

One way to stay focused is to break your tasks into segments. About 30 to 45 minutes is ideal, as most people start to lose their ability to focus well past this point.

Not all jobs will allow you to pause and take a short break, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to do this, the result will be of a higher quality, and you will have renewed energy for resuming the assignment. Your colleagues will likely also be impressed with the outcome, and you will begin to build your reputation for producing quality work, and more importantly, be considered reliable.  You will have an enviable reliability rating!

Another way to remain focused is to segment the type of tasks you tackle. For example, consider checking email at the beginning, middle, and end of the day versus constantly checking messages throughout the day.

If you have the type of work that requires you to be in meetings, whenever possible, plan them at the beginning of the day. That leaves the remainder of the afternoon to accomplish the assignments for which you are responsible.

Save the work you enjoy most for the end of the day. This way, you will have it to look forward to, and, because it is the type of work you like, you will have a renewed sense of energy.

Another trick to remaining focused is to take brisk walks around the office. Consider these jaunts as mini rewards for accomplishing the task on which you were working.  Plus, any kind of exercise is a bonus, and who knows who you’ll meet out walking around!

Being considered reliable is a designation you earn from your colleagues. When you demonstrate to others that you are reliable, your entire team or the company you work for will benefit. Amazing things might also begin to happen.

Think about a time when you had to rely upon someone and they did not follow through. How did that feel like? Not desirable, right?  And it made you think twice about being able to rely upon that person the next time you needed to do so. Keep the concept of reliability in mind the next time you are tasked with a responsibility for doing anything related to your job. It helps to keep you focused on a much more positive outcome, and your colleagues will enjoy working with you even more than they already do!

Dedicated to Elfi at Qantas Airlines. Thanks for your inspiration!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.