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1-Minute Strategies: April ’09

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in Office Management,Workplace Communication

Cut back on workday spending by bringing breakfast foods to work, like dry cereal and milk or instant oatmeal. You’ll be less tempted to pick up an expensive muffin on the way to work.

Keep your mind primed for work
by clearing away the cobwebs. Health economist Patti Peeples suggests setting aside one day every month to wrap up any unfinished projects or address incomplete tasks. When people spend most of their time on high-priority projects, it’s important to designate a time to clear away the cobwebs and resolve any old issues.

Does venting relieve stress? Yes and no. It relieves stress only if you do it as a way to move past the problem. “If you go down the hall to vent to an associate, that’s OK,” says Matt Grawitch, a professor at St. Louis University. “But if the next step is to go upstairs and vent to someone else, then you’re holding onto the incident, and it can become very disruptive.

Think “ABB” or “always be briefing.” That’s how Bernie Benson, the executive assistant to Dwight Logan, mayor of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, keeps her boss prepared for whatever is on tap. Before any event where the mayor must appear, Benson provides a brief, so her boss knows what’s important about the event and why he’s there—and he can produce a better sound bite for the media.

Uncover wasteful spending with creative thinking.
Example: Connecticut Community Bank’s staff realized that by ordering larger quantities of printed materials like forms and letterheads, the bank could get bulk discounts. Also, using one vendor vs. three resulted in savings. Result: They’ve trimmed 10% from the annual printing budget.

See yourself as an adventurer on high seas when things feel bleak, advises Joan Burge. “Notice things that you don’t see in calm waters. Look for the lessons—the gems of knowledge you can gain right now.”

Downside to happy hour: witnessing co-workers do inappropriate things. Steer clear of these happy hour don’ts, cited as the most common examples in a CareerBuilder.com survey: badmouthing, sharing a secret about a co-worker, kissing a co-worker, drinking too much, sharing a company secret, singing karaoke.

Do women derail other women at your office?
Peggy Klaus, who leads corporate training programs, urges women to start “treating one another not worse or better, but simply as well as we already treat the guys—or better yet, the way we want our nieces, daughters, granddaughters and sisters to be treated,” she writes in The New York Times. See a colleague doing it? Call her on it.

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