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.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Little Things Matter for Maintaining an Professional Image

Recently while walking the dog, I came across another example of a business representing itself with a poor image. As my dog and I made our way around a corner, we walked past a house in the neighborhood that was for sale. The metal reality sign came loose from one end of the wooden frame and was hanging awkwardly at an angle. Since the place is currently someone’s cabin, I stopped and fixed the sign for them.

That was when I noticed that the hardware that mounts the metal sign to the wooden post were threaded connectors that were left open. This allowed the wind to knock the sign off the attachment at one end, leaving it looking neglected and uncared for. And the way the sign looks represents gives the first impression of the real estate agent representing the cabin.

It took me less than 30 seconds to place the metal sign back in place and close the threaded end of the hardware to secure the sign. 30 seconds that the real estate agent apparently didn’t think was necessary.  But that extra thirty seconds can make a difference. It was the difference from a presentable public image of the real estate agency to one of an agency that just carelessly stuck a sign in the ground and left.

Everybody who represents a business, especially us small business owners, must always be putting forth our best effort to have a good image. We need to make sure our company signs are professional looking. We have to take pride in our store fronts and vehicles by keeping them maintained. The first object that represents your business to a potential client or customer sees will be the first impression of you they will have. We need to put forth a constant effort that it is a positive professional image, not a for sale sign falling off its hinges.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Sabbath

There are many things one can take out of the Bible that people of all different faiths or no faith at all can agree are good ideas. Of course there are the obvious ones like don’t lie, cheat, or steal; treat others as you would want them to treat you; don’t kill, etc. There is no argument that those are some great ideas and rules to follow.

There are even some faith specific items that the concept of should be applied to everyday life. One in particular is the Sabbath. Even an atheist can benefit greatly from the Sabbath, in concept alone.
A simple way to look at the Sabbath, in conceptual form, is even God needs to take a break every once in a while. In today’s fast paced digital world the hours of professional and personal lives blur together. On top of that, many of us are working full time while doing side projects, taking classes or both. Not to mention personal commitments for family and friends. At the pace we run these days, stress, fatigue and burnout are just the way we go forward.

Being employed full time, a part time student, working on multiple side projects and trying to live a life outside of work; I’ve been living my life on the edge of burnout for quite some time. The past few weeks I’ve decided to incorporate the Sabbath concept. One day each week, usually Saturday or Sunday of course, I go into a semi-shutdown mode. No answering work emails, no homework, no QuickBooks, no spreadsheets, no CAD models, no Word documents; just a day of rest. The way it should be.

Sure there are sometimes deadlines that trump this, but overall I have fully adopted the work/study six days a week and have one day of rest routine. This took quite a bit of effort to get on track with this, but it has greatly reduced the stress in my life.

Now more than ever we need to take some time off of our daily task lists. Overtime and multi-tasking is the normal instead of the exception for many of us. Especially for us who are not satisfied with just doing what is required or expected, but do the extra work to exceed beyond the rest. Sure it only takes a minute or two to reply to an email from your smartphone, but our minds, bodies and souls need a day off to recharge.

Since I started making an effort to shut off work for one day a week, the rewards are showing. I have more focus and energy during the other six days. I feel more productive and not stretched so thin of all my commitments, tasks and goals. Who knows, maybe someday I will take an actual real vacation someday. Well that won’t happen. I can’t totally unplug for an extended period of time.