1-Minute Strategies: Sept. ’08 — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

1-Minute Strategies: Sept. ’08

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Turn feedback into behavioral change. Discuss with your boss what you need to improve, and then make a commitment to do better. Revisit the topic at a later date and say, “After your feedback, I committed myself to doing better at ___. Based on the past couple of months, what else could I improve?”

Save paper by using “Shrink to Fit”
and rid yourself of those few lines of text that spill over to the next page. Under the File Menu, go to Print Preview and click “Shrink to Fit” on the toolbar or “Shrink One Page.” If the text size or spacing looks too tight, you can always hit “Control-Z” to undo it.

Stop obsessing over your choices and just decide.
Research shows that most people overestimate the regret they’ll experience after making a difficult choice. We justify our big decisions, regardless of whether they’re good or bad. And we’re not good at making decisions involving lots of information. Dragging it out merely wastes time.

Don’t give short shrift to complex e-mail messages.
Communication consultant Debra Hamilton advises replying this way: “Inform the reader that you received the message and will respond later when you have the time to give the topic the attention it deserves. This shows courtesy to your reader and gives you time to craft a thoughtful, complete message.”

Recognize your peak performance times, and schedule as few interruptions during that time as possible. Tuesday is our most productive day at work, says a study from Robert Half International. Apparently, Monday is the day we get our lists in order, and Tuesday is the day we plow through them. 

Gather information when you’re away from your computer
by using a new service called ChaCha (www.chacha.com). Conduct Internet searches by asking a question from your cell phone. You punch (800) 2CHACHA or (800) 224-2242, pose the question and you receive an answer via text message.

Get more mileage out of your money
by comparing gas prices at area stations from your cell phone. Download a free gas-price search program for your cell phone at www.getmobio.com/learn/cheapgas. You can plug in your ZIP code to find nearby gas stations with the lowest prices, as well as a map to get you there.

Voice your appreciation to direct reports
or colleagues at least once every seven days to build a more productive workplace, research shows. Example: If Sandy solves a problem for an angry customer, or Ted stays an extra three hours to get a project back on track, recognize them.

Keep your credit rating as healthy as the rest of you.
One tool to help: CreditReport.com. You can sign up for a free credit report and stop there. Or you may opt for the monthly credit monitoring service, so if some nefarious soul rifles through your trash, steals your digits and heads for Vegas, you’ll see it on your report sooner rather than later.

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