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.

 

Are you approachable?

If you do not consider yourself to be approachable, do you consider this to be an asset or liability? For me personally, I consider it to be an asset, but appreciably not everyone thinks the same way I do. Some people would consider being highly approachable as a distraction, or something they do not have time for. Looking at this from the inverse, if you are the type who is highly approachable as a person, you potentially have more positive opportunities to consider pursuing based on more people interacting with you.

What makes someone approachable? Is it their body or actual verbal language? Are they more outgoing and upbeat than those who are not considered approachable? Do you think they have always been an approachable person, or is this a trait they have been working on? Can someone learn to be more approachable if they want to be so? I think they can, and here are some ways you can work towards adopting a more approachable persona, providing you want to do this.

  • Sincerely engage with everyone you interact with. Go beyond the cursory hello and onto one or two more sentences of engagement.
  • Ask people how they are doing, and truly listen to their response. If they are having a bad day, or give you a neutral response, tell them you hope their day continues to improve from this point on. Sometimes a small dose of positivity can go a long way.
  • Think about who you know that you would consider to be an approachable person. Do you have traits in common with them? Which ones don’t you have in common? How could you work on developing the ones you do not have in common? Hint: You might not need all of these traits to become more approachable.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Do people often ask if you are mad or upset about something? You might not realize that you appear to be coming across this way, when in fact you are not.
  • Do you consider yourself to be overly critical of yourself and others? If you are, this is an area you can work on decreasing your level of criticality, which will help towards making you more approachable. No one enjoys interacting with someone who they believe is going to only give them criticism, even it is considered constructive.
  • Give out compliments, or start to give them out more liberally. It doesn’t cost you anything to do this, and as long as they are sincere and within the acceptable boundaries of what is politically and socially correct, this will serve you well.

If you are in a leadership role, or considering going into one, increasing your approachability rating will be something you want to strive to do. Leaders who are approachable gain the benefit of having more engaged and happier employees, less attrition in their organization and a better pulse on what is really happening in their organization. Having access to information about the realities of your business is invaluable information, and you need to be an approachable person to earn having access to this difficult to come by feedback.

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.

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

 

When is it the right time to invest in yourself?

How is your investing going? That is, the investment in Y.O.U.? Is this something you actually consciously and strategically think about doing, or are your investments purely sporadic and absent of any planning? If your self-investments fall more into the second category, you are not alone, but it might not be the best category club to be in. Although the good news is it is never too late, and there isn’t a perfect time to invest in yourself. You simply need to get started.

Fortunately, the options to invest in yourself are only limited by your imagination. Some of your investments, such as financial investments offer a greater return. Investments in your attire should be on the easy end of the difficulty scale of investing, but make sure if you are at all fashion challenged, you seek the counsel of someone who has expertise in this area. This applies to both men and women. Although the good news for men is that the options for selecting the right attire is far less complicated than it is for women.

Depending on whether you have recently graduated from college or some type of professional training program, or have been in the working world for over 20 years, your level of educational investment is going to vary.  Regardless of whether you graduated last year or decades ago, you should always be investing in your education. I’m not suggesting everyone needs to obtain their master’s degrees, but I am advocating for some type of continued education. Your continued education can either be in the field you are working in, or in an area you might consider going into. It could also be studying about a topic which simply interests you.

There are numerous conferences and on-line resources for you to further invest in your education, and depending on the company you work for, some companies may in fact pay for your educational pursuits, or professional certifications. Learning is something everyone should consider investing in. Why? Because it can help to increase your level of proficiency, provide you with more job satisfaction and make you a more desirable employee based on your added level of educational expertise. Unlike some other things in life, your educational investments cannot be taken away from you, so they are generally sound investments for you to make.

I have written about how traveling is one of the best methods for you to learn about the world around you, and how it inherently makes you more aware about the world you work and live in. Traveling can also provide you with a greater appreciation for how and where you live, and help to inspire you both personally and professionally.

When you travel, you also become a more interesting person, as you can share your traveling adventures and what you have learned with others. When we travel, we also have a different mindset which can also help us to think about and solve challenges we have not been able to solve when we are physically too close to a situation.

Investing in yourself can take some planning, and every moment you invest in doing so will be worth the effort you put in. Not all of your investments have to take place during a particular time of the year or cost a fortune, and you can begin the process at any point. Everyone should be investing in themselves.

Still not convinced? Think of yourself as an investment bank account. It if is empty, it will not have a chance to appreciate. However, if you start saving and wisely investing in your account and specifically for the purposes of investing in your future, it will all be worth it…because you are worth it.

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.

 

 

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.

 

Break down the silos

Businesses thrive on many things, and two of them are being well managed and having solid structured processes in place to grow the business. If your company has more than 15 people in it, chances are you have a few different departments which have specialists in the traditional business disciplines such as operations, marketing, sales, customer service and accounting.

Depending on the size of your company, you could in fact have dozens of different departments, and each of them will function interdependently if they are running smoothly and are well managed. When the departments start to operate as independent units, or in what I refer to as silos, this is when challenges within your business will typically start to emerge.

Due to the fact the silo effect tends to move at a slower pace, it may in fact not be something you notice having happened. At least not until the negative aspect of a silo appears. Some examples of this could be finger pointing, lack or reduced communication, reduced efficiency and potentially a reduction in trust between the business departments. So, who owns or should recognize the silo effect occurring?

Typically, someone on the Operations team will begin to recognize the signs of the departments taking on the characteristics of becoming siloed. However, the marketing and sales teams are often the first ones to feel the effects of this. When this happens, the heads of marketing and sales should take steps to begin figuring out what caused the silo effect to occur, and then commit to coming up with a solution to start removing the reasons the silos have been developed.

Here are some tips on how to tackle breaking down the silos.

  1. Recognize and admit you have created silos.
  2. Silos are often a source of management power for certain types of individuals, but what they do not realize is that they will be stronger and more powerful when they collaborate with others.
  3. Mutually determine and agree upon the fact the silos created are not actively supporting the growth of the business, and could be harmful to its growth.
  4. Appoint someone from a neutral team to help with identifying how to begin taking down the silo barriers.
  5. Keep the initial meetings to discuss the silo problem small (e.g., 3-4) people, and typically the heads of the departments.
  6. Come up with a list of tasks, people, processes or systems which have contributed to the silo effect.
  7. Assemble a silo dismantling team, and partner people from the opposing teams to work on this project together.
  8. Determine a time line and milestones to accomplish breaking down the silos. The goal of doing this will be to focus the teams on ultimately contributing to eliminating the silos.
  9. Once the silos have been dismantled, celebrate the fact they have been, and leverage the experience to help other departments or teams which have become siloed.
  10. Similar to weight gain, the silo effect can creep back into the business. So, have your teams be aware of this, and commit to being disciplined about not allowing silo creep to occur.

Once the silos have been officially dismantled, you will see a noticeable lightness and higher levels of collaboration amongst the formerly siloed teams. The team members from the various departments will also be much less stressed, and potentially even enjoy doing their job more. I’ve seen the positive impact results from taking down silos happen, so you can take my word on this, or give the process of dismantling your silos a chance to experience this on your own.

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.