Jul 27, 2012 - Time Management    No Comments

The Organized Monk

Raise your hand if your mornings are chaotic and you’re always in a rush to get out the door?  If you raised your hand then this post might be of use to you.

Every morning I get out of bed like clockwork at 8:15 and with the demeanor of a Monk who is in deep meditation (Those of you who are not morning people know what I’m talking about). I step into the shower at 8:15 and I get out of the shower at 8:25. Then I’m out the door by 8:35 and off to work. This is my morning routine and each step in my morning routine is exactly 10 minutes and I’ve perfected to be exactly that. But what if my alarm goes off a little late? Or I hit the snooze button one to many times? Want happens then?

Like most people my morning turns into a chaotic nightmare and I’m no longer an Organized Monk but a Psychotic Cheetah who’s only thought is “How in the world am I going to make it out the door in time?” and more often than not these are the mornings where I can’t find my keys, I forget to take my lunch, or I leave the house without my phone and wallet.

There are many things we all have to do each morning before we leave and this morning rush can be exhausting and frustrating. Those that have children understand this better than most. Because with children all of these tasks are magnified, you have to get them dressed, feed, pack their lunch, and make sure they have their homework. Not to mention the task of getting them to school and then yourself to work. And with children it seems like the same questions are always asked on your way out the door: Where are my keys? Do you have your homework? Where are your shoes?

One solution to this rat race and probably the easiest one to accomplish are to have things ready the night before. But due to busy schedules and getting home at late hours this won’t always be an effective solution. So what else can we do? Here are 3 suggestions that you can try:

1) Create a checklist that you can reference each morning before you leave the house. Hang it by the front door and give it a quick glance before you leave. Here are a few things that you could include on your checklist:

7. ETC

Try also making a wallet size copy that you can tape to your sun visor in your car. That way you’re sure to see it before you leave.

2) Have an organizer by your front door. Whether it’s a box or a bowl try having some sort of container by your front door to put your keys, phone, sunglasses, or wallet in. This will help you keep track of those small things that always seem to get lost.

3) Buy a small beeper or alarm and attach it to your keys. This will help you find them in the morning and it will also remind you that its time to go. Set the alarm too go off at the time you must be out of the door.

I hope these suggestions are beneficial to you and hopefully they will help you keep the chaotic nightmare of the mornings at bay and help you be a more Organized Monk.


Jul 20, 2012 - A little about John    No Comments

The Therapeutic Barber

My friend was in the barber chair and the barber was trimming away. Sitting a few seats down from me was a young man no more than 25 years of age. He sat there patiently and quietly waiting for his turn, and giving extra effort to sit there unnoticed. Once he was in the barber’s chair he got a big smile on his face and started talking like he hadn’t talked in years, and he continued to talk until the barber finished. He then slowly got out of the chair, said “Thank you.” and with the same depressed demeanor as before and without saying a word he paid the clerk and left. “Why did he seem so enthusiastic to talk to the barber and no one else?” I gathered that they weren’t relatives or friends on account that they introduced each other when they met.

There is an understood and unspoken bond of trust between you and your barber. You trust them to style and shape your hair into what the rest of the world will see. Giving your barber this trust tells them that you’re putting your appearance in their hands. With this trust grows an atmosphere of warmth. There becomes an established bond between you and your barber of unbiased opinion that lets you feel safe. That is the reason why many people share their lives and world with the people tasked to make them look appealing to it. People develop strong relationships with whoever they spend a majority of their time with. Whether it’s in their families or work places people search for friendship. But what if someone doesn’t have a strong family life or they work in an unfriendly environment? Who are these people going to talk to?

If you’ve never help feed the poor I suggest you do. They always love to talk, and it’s not because they’re hoping you’ll show them generosity but that you’ll listen to what they say. I believe this need to be heard spans from the fast growing selfishness of the world. The world is turning into a very un-personable place. We have Facebook, and self-service checkouts lines so that we don’t have to look at each other in the face. It is human nature to place ourselves above others, which in turn makes those selfish people unappealing to those that are in need. There are countless people striving to find someone to talk to and most often than not these people go unheard. We all remember what it was like in grade school. We would anxiously give a note to a girl or boy asking them if they liked us. We acted this way when we were children because it was more comfortable then talking face to face. The note would read,


A phone call now days can be a real encouragement to people. When you text it’s a way of avoidance. This is not to say that texting is wrong. But there is a time and place for everything. I encourage you to give someone a call rather than sending a text. I encourage you to be willing to listen to someone you haven’t listened to before. The Big Picture here is that many people are striving for relationships anywhere they can find them and all people are in need of friendship and love.

Often times the most successful marriages and best of friends are those who really listen to one another. Try to carry yourself in a way that is inviting. Don’t walk with you head down; no one wants to talk to someone that’s in the dumps. Positivity is a very attractive quality and people are drawn to it. Strive to be one of those and you will be blessed.


Jul 13, 2012 - The Work Place    3 Comments

Building Communication at Work

The first thing we need to remember is that everyone is different. Some people are inherently more social than others. Some of us are better communicating in writing while others are better at speaking. Some people are better at reading information and some at listening. It all depends on the information being delivered and received. When you deliver information consider whether it should be spoken or written depending on the content as well as the preference of your receiver.

Here are some ideas that will help your communication skills grow.

  • Be an active listener: Make a conscious effort to really hear and understand what the other person is saying. Work at understanding their words as well as their body language and tone. Practice holding off thinking about how to respond or interrupting until you have thoroughly heard what they are saying. Often times the best communicators are also the best listeners.
  • Be clear and direct with your audience: Whether the information that you need to send is spoken or written it is so important that it’s clear and direct. Try and use language that is specific (we don’t want any guess work). Check that the person understands the information as you intended. Try to avoid acronyms, there is a chance they will be unclear or might be used as a form of passing the buck.

    As time goes on more and more of our communication is done via email and texting. There are many pros and cons to each of these, depending on the message and the audience. Texting can be effective when a quick question or answer is needed without further explanation. But don’t text when it cannot effectively and directly communicate your message.
  • Work at paraphrasing: The object of paraphrasing is to ensure you are clear about what has been said and it lets the talker know that you care about what they are saying. Both are equally important in effective and successful communication. Try saying, “What I hear you saying is . .”.
  • Use Face to Face communication when needed: Whenever you have difficult information to send or something that could have many questions, try having a direct face to face conversation. You will also have the huge benefit of non-verbal communication cues including tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.
  • Know your audience: Communicating with your boss, co-worker, or customer will many times require a different style of communication. When communicating with your boss be careful to pick the right time and ask for what you need and what you expect they can reasonably deliver. With a co-worker try and be direct, transparent, and open-minded. If a customer calls with a problem, listen carefully, always apologize even if it wasn’t your fault, and offer a solution.
  • Always be respectful and positive: Being respectful of others is key in communication and it builds morale in the work place. Work at using the other person’s name, looking them in the eye, and nodding to let them know you understand what they are saying. If you’re communicating in writing, reread your message before sending to ensure that it could not be misinterpreted or taken as disrespectful. When on a phone call, don’t multitask even if you think the person on the other end of the line doesn’t know that you are.

    Also regardless of the conversation keep it positive. Even the harshest feedback can and should be delivered in a positive, supportive, team-centric manner. Stay focused on your behavior and performance. When you’re on the receiving end avoid getting upset by difficult messages. Look at the bigger picture and the long term implications. Work on taking notice of your personal communication habits. This will help you gain insight into any problems you are having. If you consistently act in a professional and respectful manner, others will notice and your communication skills will grow.
  • Make personal goals: Having good communication is so important because it can build workplace morale, and will build efficiency and productivity. If communication is a significant issue in your workplace, consider setting personal goals for improving communication skills, and giving yourself awards with you meet those goals.