Saturday, August 08, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Posted: 31 Jul 2009 05:49 AM PDTEver encountered someone who frustrates you so much that you feel like you want to pull your hair, jump around the room and just scream out loud? You're not alone.
Over the years, I've encountered my fair share of difficult people. People who don't turn their work in as promised, people who don't show up for meetings, people who stick vehemently to their views and refuse to collaborate, people who push back on work that they're responsible for - and more. Even as I run my own business, I work on collaboration projects and there are times where there are difficulties in getting a consensus because everyone is so firm in their views.
Years ago, I used to get bothered and worked up over such situations. I'd think, "Why are these people being so difficult?", "These people are so irresponsible!", "Just my luck to work with them" or "I don't ever want to work with these people again!".
After a while, I learned that these people are everywhere. No matter where you go, you can never hide from them. Sure, it might be possible to avoid the 1st one or two difficult people, but how about the 3rd, 5th, 10th person you encounter? Hiding isn't a permanent solution. What's more, in the context of work, it's usually difficult to avoid or hide from someone, unless you quit from a job totally. Well - I don't know about you, but it doesn't seem feasible to quit every time someone has an opposing view or is being difficult.
So rather than turn to some drastic decisions each time, why not equip yourself with the skills to deal with them?
Here's 9 tips which I've found to work in dealing with such people:
- Be calm.
Losing your temper and flaring out at the other person typically isn't the best way to get him/her to collaborate with you. Unless you know that anger will trigger the person into action and you are consciously using it as a strategy to move him/her, it is better to assume a calm persona.
Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. Would you prefer to work with someone who is predominantly calm or someone who is always on edge? When the person you are dealing with sees that you are calm despite whatever he/she is doing, you will start getting their attention.
- Understand the person's intentions.
I'd like to believe that no one is difficult for the sake of being difficult. Even when it may seem that the person is just out to get you, there is always some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way. Rarely is this motivation apparent. Try to identify the person's trigger: What is making him/her act in this manner? What is stopping him/her from cooperating with you? How can you help to meet his/her needs and resolve the situation?
- Get some perspective from others.
In all likelihood, your colleagues, managers and friends must have experienced similar situations in some way or another. They will be able to see things from a different angle and offer a different take on the situation. Seek them out, share your story and listen to what they have to say. You might very well find some golden advice in amidst of the conversation.
- Let the person know where you are coming from.
One thing that has worked for me is to let the person know my intentions behind what I am doing. Sometimes, they are being resistant because they think that you are just being difficult with them. Letting them in on the reason behind your actions and the full background of what is happening will enable them to empathize with your situation. This lets them get them on-board much easier.
- Build a rapport.
With all the computers, emails and messaging systems, work sometimes turn into a mechanical process. Re-instill the human touch by connecting with your colleagues on a personal level. Go out with them for lunches or dinners. Get to know them as people, and not colleagues. Learn more about their hobbies, their family, their lives. Foster strong connections. These will go a long way in your work.
- Treat the person with respect.
No one likes to be treated as if he/she is stupid/incapable/incompetent. If you are going to treat the person with disrespect, it's not going to be surprising if he/she treats you the same way as well. As the golden rule says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
- Focus on what can be actioned upon.
Sometimes, you may be put into hot soup by your difficult colleagues, such as not receiving a piece of work they promised to give or being wrongly held responsible for something you didn't do. Whatever it is, acknowledge that the situation has already occurred. Rather than harp on what you cannot change, focus on the actionable steps you can take to forward yourself in the situation.
If you have already tried everything above and the person is still not being receptive, the best way might be to just ignore. After all, you have already done all that you can within your means. Get on your daily tasks and interface with the person only where needed. Of course, this isn't feasible in cases where the person plays a critical role in your work - which leads us to our last tip.
- Escalate to a higher authority for resolution.
When all else fails, escalate to your manager. This is considered the trump card and shouldn't be used unless you've completely exhausted your means. Sometimes, the only way to get someone moving is through the top-down approach, especially in bureaucratic organizations. Be careful not to exercise this option all the time as you wouldn't want your manager to think that you are incapable of handling your own problems. I have done this several times in my previous job and I found it to be the most effective in moving people who just refuse to cooperate otherwise.
|Written on 7/31/2009 by Celestine Chua. Celestine chose her passion over everything else when she left her high paying Fortune 100 career in 2008. Today, she enables thousands to achieve their goals and dreams through her popular personal development blog CelestineChua.com and her coaching.||Photo Credit: Kevin Lawyer|
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Posted: 28 Jul 2009 08:30 AM PDTIt's true that Google Docs isn't perfect. It's true that it cannot be compared to Microsoft Office. Not yet. But the fact of the matter is that it is the best web office tool available and millions of users use it everyday.
Google Docs, since its inception has been rising steadily in popularity. It has added some wonderful features over the years and if you are someone who doesn't need to play with lots of complex data everyday, then Google Docs could easily suffice most of your requirements. It's free, easy to use and can be accessed from any computer which has internet.
Here are some tips which would help to enhance your everyday experience with Google Docs.
Import / Export & Backup
- Windows users can use DocList Uploader, a nifty app to bulk upload documents and sheets to your Google Docs account. You could either drag and drop files or right click and add files.
- If you use Google Desktop then there is a nice Google Docs gadget which makes the task of uploading multiple files to your Google Docs account easier. Just drag and drop files and you are done. It also allows you to search and access online documents from your desktop.
- GDocsUploader is another such tool for those using Mac OS X operating system. It can be used to quickly upload files and even photos to Picasa web albums.
- If you need to bulk download your Google Docs files then you need to use this Greasemonkey script in conjunction with DownloadThemAll add-on for Firefox. The script page has detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
- GDocbackup is another tiny utility which can export all your documents from Google Docs to your hard disk drive. It also allows you to choose the export format, which is pretty cool.
- Offisync is an excellent tool which can sync your Microsoft Office Documents with the web based Google Docs. Check out this detailed post on Read Write Web which talks about some of the cool features of that tool.
- If you are looking to download your Google Docs documents to your computer, edit them offline and then sync them back, then Syncplicity can help you. To know more, check this article on Digital Inspiration.
- If you want to quickly track your expenses across different banks, credit cards or other sources then take a look at this awesome trick involving Gmail and Google Docs. In fact this trick could be used for tracking a lot of other things too. Really cool.
- A tip which I've personally found to be quite useful while working on Google Docs is using the full screen mode. It reduces the clutter and helps you focus on the main thing. Just press Ctrl+Shift+F or go to View -> Full-Screen to use it.
- A neat feature of Google Docs is that it allows you to run online polls or surveys and quickly gather information from friends or customers. Here is an article describing the steps to do it.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
It seems like a life long battle for some folks. I recall my first drivers licence 30 years ago had my weight at 135 for a guy who was nearly 6 feet tall!
Then in my junior year of high school I ate a fourth meal after dinner with my family, I picked up some more food on my way to my job. A few years later I was at 175.
Now there are at least 4 or 5 of us in my family that are making adjustments to reduce weight. Here's a few tips from the DLM blog:
Posted: 27 Jul 2009 09:26 AM PDTIf you have ever changed jobs you know the transition can often mean big changes to your daily schedule and habits. Due to the advancement of technology, many people are finding themselves behind a desk rather than out in a field or on the go. While I am thankful for the technological advantage of our current time, I cannot help but notice the alarming rate of obesity.
After college I noticed many of my friends heading out to sedentary jobs, many of which were behind a desk. Over time I noticed almost all of them slowly gaining unwanted weight and I knew exactly why; none of them changed their habits. They were so used to being very active as they spent most of their day walking to and from class, going to the gym and going out at night. Now all they were doing was going to work, sitting on their rump and then going home to sit some more.
I recently relocated and found myself at a desk job similar to all of my friends. However I knew that I didn't want to gain the excess weight as they had. So if you have recently changed jobs or have been at a desk for some time and have put on some weight, here are some tips I utilized to maintain my weight despite my activity levels decreasing drastically.
- Eat Less
I know this sounds easy but consistency is key. If you were like me, running around on campus 5-6 hours per day required a lot of food energy to maintain my weight. As you can imagine my food choices were not the healthiest and I usually went for the most calorie dense bites I could find. When I began my desk job I had to make a conscious effort to eat less at first but in time the habits were ingrained in my psyche and it just felt normal. Here's what I did.
- I consumed fiber rich foods – I decided to stick with foods higher in fiber to keep me full. Instead of eating my usual pop tarts and cereal for breakfast I made sure I ate more fruit and veggies. The extra vegetables added a lot of bulk to my diet which allowed me to feel full on a fraction of the calories. Fruit and veggies contain more water than other foods which also helps with satiety. This made adherence easier.
- I lowered my meal frequency – I knew that I wouldn't need to be consuming the same amount of calories as I was in college so I dropped my meal frequency down from 5 meals to 3 meals per day. This was an easy way to cut back on the calories.
- I ate more lean protein – Protein is the most satiating of the three macro nutrients. It's a good idea to eat lean protein with every meal due to the hunger blunting effects it can have.
- Move More
So how do you move more when you are chained to a desk all day? Here is a concept you must get creative with. Depending on the rules and structure of your workplace, you may not have the freedom to move about as you'd like. Here is what I did to ensure my expenditure increased somewhat.
- I walked a lot – I found the bathroom farthest away from you desk. Each time I had to relieve myself I walked clear across the building. During both of my fifteen minute breaks, instead of sitting around in the lounge I would head outside and walk a few laps around the building. This always woke up me up and the fresh air was nice.
- I took the stairs – Working in an office on the tenth floor posed a great opportunity. I took the stairs every morning. Sure, it took longer than the elevator but I burned a few extra calories in the process. When it was time to retire for the evening I also took the stairs down.
- I asked to have my desk raised – Working while I stood gave me a little more freedom to move around as opposed to keeping my rump parked in the chair for 2-3 hours before going on break.
- Add An Extra Day Of Training - If you are participating in a regular workout routine you can always add an extra day to your schedule. By making this change you will increase your expenditure, which will decrease the likelihood of gaining any unwanted body fat.
One way I increased my activity was by going hiking every Sunday afternoon for about an hour. When it was warm enough I would go for a swim in the lake. Just adding a little more exercise can really add up over time.
- Do Not Snack At Your Desk
Mindless eating is the epitome of unwanted weight gain. 99% of those around me that are overweight have some kind of snack at their desk. None of them have apples or bananas to munch on; it's always an energy dense bag of candy or chips. When you eat out of boredom you develop a bad habit of curing your boredom with food. Don't get into this habit by allowing no food at your desk.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Posted: 26 Jul 2009 10:47 PM PDT
If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Benjamin Franklin. He was America’s first self-made man and set the standard for generations to come on how to live a full and prosperous life. Franklin shared many of his “secrets” to success as short maxims under the pen name “Poor Richard” in his yearly almanac of the same name. The adages focused mainly on the virtues of industry and frugality. In 1758, Franklin reflected on all the maxims he wrote during the first 25 years of publication of Poor Richard’s Almanac and wrote The Way to Wealth. In this essay, Franklin took on the role of “Father Abraham” and dispensed knowledge to his readers by quoting heavily from that wise old sage, “Poor Richard.”
Franklin’s adages in The Way to Wealth teach us that success is just the consistent application of hard work and thrift. Despite what late night infomercials claim, the principles to success haven’t changed much in 200 years. Below, I’ve collected all the maxims from The Way to Wealth in one list. Read through them, pick out a few favorites, and memorize them. They’re perfect for keeping you focused on becoming the most successful man you can be. Enjoy!
- God helps them that help themselves
- Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright
- Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of
- The sleeping fox catches no poultry
- There will be sleeping enough in the grave
- Wasting time must be the greatest prodigality
- Lost time is never found again
- Time-enough, always proves little enough
- Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy
- He that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night
- Laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him
- Drive thy business, let not that drive thee
- Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
- Industry need not wish
- He that lives upon hope will die fasting
- There are no gains, without pains
- He that hath a trade hath an estate
- He that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honor
- At the working man’s house hunger looks in, but dares not enter
- For industry pays debts, while despair encreaseth them
- Diligence is the mother of good luck
- Plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep
- One today is worth two tomorrows
- Have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today
- Be ashamed to catch yourself idle
- Let not the sun look down and say, inglorious here he lies
- The cat in gloves catches no mice
- Constant dropping wears away stones
- Diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable
- Little strokes fell great oaks
- Employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure
- Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour
- A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things
- Trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from needless ease
- Many without labor would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock
- Industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect: fly pleasures, and they’ll follow you
- Keep the shop, and thy shop will keep thee
- If you would have your business done, go; if not, send
- The eye of a master will do more work than both his hands
- Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge
- Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse open
- In the affairs of this world men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it
- Learning is to the studious, and riches to the careful
- He that by the plough would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.
- If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself
- A little neglect may breed great mischief
- For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse the rider was lost
- A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets,keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last
- If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting
- What maintains one vice, would bring up two children
- Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship
- who dainties love, shall beggars prove
- Fools make Feasts, and wise men eat them
- Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries
- At a great pennyworth pause a while: he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real
- Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths
- ‘Tis foolish to lay our money in a purchase of repentance
- Wise men learn by others’ harms, fools scarcely by their own
- Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets put out the kitchen fire
- A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees
- Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom
- When the well’s dry, they know the worth of water
- If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some
- He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing
- Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy
- ‘Tis easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow
- Pride that dines on vanity sups on contemp
- Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infam
- The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt
- But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities!
- When you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty
- Lying rides upon debt’s back
- ‘Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright
- Creditors have better memories than debtors
- The borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor
- Disdain the chain, preserve your freedom; and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free.
- Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue: ’tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright
- Creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times
- Those have a short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter
- The borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor
- For age and want, save while you may; No morning sun lasts a whole day
- Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain
- Tis easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel
- Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.
- Get what you can, and what you get hold; ’Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into go
Which of Franklin’s maxims really strike a cord with you? Let us know in the comments!