About this Blog

The Curmudgeon's Office blog is a spin off from my personal blog, Too Young To Be A Curmudgeon, which is full of random rants and thoughts I have on a whole host of topics. In an effort to be more organized, and also to attract a specific niche of followers, I decided to start a separate blog for my professional postings. At this blog, I'll post my tips, rants, and random thoughts on a host of professional topics from setting up a home office & office gadgets to 5S practices & time management.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Starting Tomorrow, Starting Tomorrow....Starting Now.

Not trying to brag, but I am a fairly productive person. For the most part I keep up an active and busy schedule. For the most part.

While usually productive, at the core I am one of the laziest people around. With a slight lapse in motivation I can come to a crashing halt on the couch watching episode after episode of some series on Netflix, video after related video on YouTube, or just a plain old fashion nap while. I need to put a lot of effort to keep moving, or I'll set down and it's then usually all over.

On top of that, I have a great deal of procrastination wrapped around my core of laziness. Often I say at the end of a day "starting tomorrow..."

Starting tomorrow I'm getting up a half hour earlier. Starting tomorrow I'm going to spend one hour a day cleaning the house. Starting tomorrow I'm only going to watch one hour of TV. Starting tomorrow I'm going to work on this project for at least two hours a day. Sound familiar? If not, you may not be a natural procrastinator like me.

Like so many problems and or habits we all have. The hardest step is to start addressing them and breaking the cycle of repeating them. So lately I've been making a conscious effort to better myself. What's helped me is a couple of little tricks.

One is setting smaller, achievable "to do" list that help me stay on track. I still make and maintain a large list. I just break it down into a series of smaller ones and tackle them in smaller pieces.

Another thing is I no longer tell myself "starting tomorrow." When I tell myself "starting tomorrow" I can telling my self a lie. I am giving myself time to come up with an excuse to push it back another day. Let's face the truth, a lot of the things we tell ourselves we are doing starting tomorrow are things we don't want to do today and we want another 24 hours to put it off.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Short To Do Lists, Lots of Short To Do Lists

I'm one of those people who arise in the morning who usually feels motivated by the clean slate of a new day. Like many, I like to start the day by making a To Do List while I drink my first cups of coffee. I feel motivated, ready to take in the day with all it's tasks and challenges and i write a list. Usually a long list.

The long list is a problem for me. When I started writing the list I was fresh and motivated, but part way through the list I begin to get worn down. Things take longer than I thought, I get side tracked by new tasks, phone calls, emails, etc. my overly optimistic start smacks into an overly pessimistic roadblock. I look at the long list of things that remain on my To Do List and start making excuses on why I can't do them. Before long the list is set aside and given up on. Only to be rewritten the next morning when my positive attitude returns. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The biggest problem of this method is that some big projects I plan, just never get started. Also, the couch potato in me comes out in the early evening and says "let's just take the night off and hit it hard early tomorrow morning." And I listen almost every time.

The solution I found is very simple: shorter lists. Instead of sitting down and writing a list of twenty things I'm going to do in any given day, I write a list of four or five things I'm going to do by 9:00am. Then when the list is completed, I write another list of four or five things I'm going to do by 12:00pm. I continued this processes all day, and I find it much easier to keep momentum and I get much more done.

For me anyway, it's much easier to take on a small list that can be completed somewhat quickly and feel like I accomplished something; the build momentum on that small accomplishment and take on the next small list.

I still make a long list of tasks and I'm constantly adding to it, rearranging items by priority through out the day. But it's kept in the background only to be referenced when a short daily list is completed to pull the next group of tasks from.

At the end of the day, I find myself completing four or five small lists, instead of half of a long list. The best part is usually those small lists when added together are as long or longer than the long list of daily To Do's that I used to give up on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Things a Ineffective Leader Says

A department manager here is a nice guy, but he is in about two position levels above his skill level. He knows it too by the way he operates his department. Many side stepping responsibilities and delegating decision making to his team members or other department leaders.

In any meeting or event of a situation on the production floor that is out of the ordinary, he is bound to say "somebody needs to make a decision." Especially when it's an issue in the department he is responsible for. The closet he ever comes to making a decision is saying "I fine with whatever you guys think."

While a nice guy, this person should not be in a leadership role. Leaders make choices. Leaders find solutions. Leaders are not afraid to take on the responsibility for their choices. Leaders will take calculated risks.

When the person in charge of a department or company does not lead, but avoids risks and responsibilities that department or company at best does not function to it's full potential. At worst it fails completely.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How To Hold Paperless Team Meetings or At Least a Productive One

The above link is to the latest blog post from Evernote on using it's products for a paperless meeting. They have some very good advise, even if you do not use their products. In fact, there are some good tip even if you don't want to have a paperless meeting.

One common problem I've seen with meetings is the lack of communication. Sad isn't? After all, that is the whole point of a meeting in the first place. Many of the meetings I attend are so unorganized, must co-workers leave them more in the dark about the subject of the meeting and before the meeting took place.

The big tip in the above link I would recommend is having a company standard template for meeting notes. I have an agenda that lists the key points of the meeting. Take notes of the discussion and assign tasks as required with due dates when ever possible. Most importantly, before you end your meeting, go over your meeting notes with focus on any assigned tasks with every one in the meeting.

Keeping the meeting short, clear and on track is the responsibly of the person who called the meeting. Having a standard template for a meeting can be a very useful tool for accomplishing that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Want to quit your job? New app does it for you via text message

The above link is to an article on Reuters. When I saw this headline three thoughts popped into my mind.

  • Are we that dependent on others or technology now, that we can't even leave a job on our own? 
  • Are people really such chronic quitters that they could utilize an app to make the process more efficient for them? 
  • Wouldn't quitting via text be just about the most unprofessional way to leave a position?
But after reading the article, I think this app may be a useful tool for setting and refining your career goals.

Reviewing and refining your career goals is something I strongly feel professionals should do on a regular basis, even if they have no intention of leaving their current position or employer. One of the best ways to improve yourself, in any aspect of your life, is to have measurable goals that one needs to review and adjust often.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Value of NFL Players, CEOs and Fast Food Workers

I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. Reading his books, listing to his podcast, and more importantly, following his advice has greatly improved my finical situation and has improved me professionally as well. In the above video shares my views on how people are paid far better than I can.

In this day of "everybody wins and gets a trophy" attitude, more people need to listen to this wisdom. Instead of demanding to get paid more, we need to find ways to bring more pay in. We should never settle for good enough, but always strive for better. The best way to do that is to focus on what you have control to improve. Yourself.

 Here are links to Amazon for two of Dave Ramsey's books that I have read and re-read many times. Both have helped me out immensely.

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is a must read for anyone who wants to get their finances under control. It is surprisingly easy to live debt free once you see how easy it is to live without the trappings we've accepted as normal.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches is a must read for any professional or entrepreneur. Whether you run your own business, want to start your own business or succeed farther in your profession.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How To Eliminate Piles of Business Cards from Networking Events

The above link is to a recent article on the Evernote company blog. As I have mentioned many times here before and I will many times in the future. Evernote is one of the most useful and powerful apps out there. I have been using their free version daily on all my computers, tablet & smartphone for several years now and I wouldn't want to be without it.

With the constant improvements to their Evernote Business package, I feel I will be signing up for that shortly. This business card organizing feature may be worth the $10 per month fee alone.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Three Tips for Going Paperless at Work

Three Tips for Going Paperless at Work

The above is a link to a nice article on going paperless with Evernote. I use Evernote constantly and I would not want to live on this planet without it. It is one of the most useful free apps I have ever used and it's on my work & personal computers, along with my tablet and phone.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't Make Resolutions; Make Realistic, Measurable Goals.

Don't make resolutions; make realistic, measurable goals. I can't stress that enough. Resolutions are just dreams or wishes. Realistic, measurable goals are an actual plan with trackable milestones. Don't just figure out what you want from 2014, figure out and stick to a real plan to make it happen.

Both in your personal life and professional, merely setting goals alone won't get you anywhere. They need to be realistic. They need to be measurable. And most importantly, you need to keep vigilant with it and see it through.

Write your goals down and keep them posted where you will always see them. Set deadlines and milestones to keep and track. Stay focus on the end result. Keep things realistic and achievable.

One book I can not recommend enough is EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the TrenchesThis book is a must read for anyone in business from an Entry Level Cubical Jockey to Senior Management. I almost wore out a highlighter on my copy of this book.

Happy New Years, everyone! I wish you all a safe, healthy, and productive 2014. Good Luck with your realistic, measurable goals!