Time To Look Back

jumpYour team just barely made the deadline. It was a struggle and despite the best planning a lot of things went wrong.

You think so much could have been handled differently, but now is not the right time to ruin the party you might think?

I respectfully disagree. Now is the best an probably the only time to look back at all the mishaps and reasons for why this was such a struggle.

One of the best chances for improvement lay in the few days after a completed project.

The memory is still fresh and everyone is most forgiving. (more…)

Show Gratitude

autumnleafGratitude doesn’t happen once a year. It isn’t something you practice only at home.
Exhibiting gratitude in business and at work shouldn’t be weird. The appreciation for your customers will serve you as a daily reminder for whom you are serving. It will become a habit if you internalize it.
And most of all, it will eventually show and serve your customers as a reminder on their side to why they are working with you.

Despite everything what we may not like about our job, there are always a lot of reasons to come back every day. Appreciate those. Every day.
Show it and give credit whenever you can.  Eventually, the reasons to come back will multiply, because appreciation is contagious.

Don’t Read If You Enjoy Waiting In Line!

this-can-take

Everything has it’s time. We have productive and unproductive hours. I accept that now. I am also slowly managing to accept when I don’t accomplish what I had planned. But I am having quite a hard time accepting when I feel like my time is wasted by the hands of others.

I mean, who likes that?

We don’t like waiting in line forever when we just want to pay for a few items. We don’t like traffic jams because we want to get home. We also don’t like to be surveyed on the phone, because we want to continue doing what we did before we accidentally picked up the phone.

And I don’t appreciate sitting through meetings when half of the agenda remains untouched because we lost track of time. Have you ever been too late to work although you accidentally woke up 15 minutes too early? Same effect. If everyone thinks, they have plenty of time they will take more than they should. (more…)

Tags: |

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPN-TunnelBearAlthough I knew what a virtual private network (VPN) was, I wasn’t aware how simple it has become to set one up. And as with many tools you only realize what you can do with them when you use them the first time. Such was the case just recently with VPN.

I was sad that I couldn’t watch short web clips about European Soccer Games here in the U.S. although they are free to watch in EU countries. IPs outside of Europe are simply restricted from accessing these videos. So I tested the Tunnel Bear app just to watch some soccer and loved it because it was so simple to use.

A traveling friend suggested Tunnel Bear because she used it while traveling abroad. With Tunnel Bear she can access sites in the US that are restricted in some of the Asian countries she visited. YouTube is one example. Her employer’s server can also only be accessed with an US IP address.

I am not an expert on VPN software. When I recommend Tunnel Bear then not because I compared it to all other VPN services, but because it couldn’t be easier to use. I love how it looks and I like the attitude. I’ve used it over a week now and the app works great. Here is a good review about Tunnel Bear along with many other tested VPN services. My main point of this post is that using a VPN makes a lot of sense even when you are not traveling. (more…)

Tags: |

The Recipe Against Worries

Take-the-stairsLooking into your future is there something that worries you? I am not talking about the zombie apocalypse or another more probable disaster. I am thinking about something that you know is coming, which is not really terrible, but gives you this queasiness in your stomach. Maybe a contract with an important client is ending, and you are not sure if he will renew it. Maybe a financial review of the project you are managing at the end of next month and you know it is not looking good.

Maybe you know you have to move out of the apartment in three months, but don’t want to think about it. Maybe you have a very important job interview next week that you are trying to get out of your head.
I have to give a talk in four weeks. It is not really important, but of course I don’t want to mess it up. I also don’t want to think about it; it makes me a bit nervous. Not that I mind public speaking, I actually enjoy it at lot, especially when I know the talk is good. But I also know that some of my talks have been not so great. I don’t want to say this ever again, regardless of the topic. I’d rather just forget it for now. (more…)

Draw a Line

draw-a-line

This is not the original post I wanted to publish today. I couldn’t stick with my plans because I got stuck writing the post I had planned. Well, that is not true, not at all. I couldn’t publish it because I sounded like a douchebag of the worst kind. I read what I wrote and hated myself. Then I wrote it again and deleted the whole thing. Then I started again. I couldn’t stop writing because I was unable to turn this mess around.

Do you know those moments when you know you should stop talking, but can’t? I’ve had these a lot. I believe it got better, but that may be wishful thinking on my side. I also write myself into dead ends a lot, which is fine. I Just start over and do it again. That is my idea of how to become better.
Eventually, I hope I’ll be able to always find the right words. Maybe that never happens, who knows. (more…)

Ever Been Hit by Citrus?

on-stageWhen life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade. If live handed me lemons, I’d be looking for salt and tequila, but the idea is the same. It doesn’t matter how you handle it when things don’t go as expected, as long as you make the best of it you’ll be fine. You have no chance, take it! Paths don’t just exist, they are made my walking them. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep moving…

Enter: Pink invisible unicorns, Glitter, Butterflies, and David Hasselhoff…(*screeching sound of stopping tires*)

I know that is just too much to take. Have you ever realized that most motivational proverbs and quotes are useless? They make us feel good, but don’t really help? Another good one I just read is this one: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Seriously? If you don’t have a door, where did you think it would knock at? Well, it sure does make me feel better that I am a step ahead at getting ignored by good fortune. How about leaving the house?

Whatever, clear is you cannot mourn over misfortune forever and of course do we all want to get better. We’d love to take the biggest mess with poise. But isn’t it often in business and in life such that one thing comes to another, and suddenly your entire situation has changed?

When all those minute plans are thrown overboard by one short series of unfortunate events. You can plan for power outtakes and get a generator, you can get a back-up pump, but things get dicey, when on top of it all, a no traffic day is announced and you have to walk (been there). When the deadline you cannot miss is today, right when the office is hit by a norovirus epidemic and you suddenly lost 85% of your workforce. When your WiFi fails and… (more…)

Say No and Move on

NopeHaven’t we been trained to take every opportunity that presents to us? So we say ‘yes’ way more often then ‘no’. And I think it is a great attitude to live by. A lot of yeses brought me great experiences and  even a few others that weren’t great to live through turned out to be great lessons. A ‘no’ wouldn’t have gotten me any of that. However, there are occasions when a yes doesn’t align with your goals. When you can see that a no is the best option. Time is limited and the more happens in your life, the more often you have to say no. So you have to pick your yeses and nos carefully.

In the moment a yes often seems easier, entails less effort, and is less uncomfortable, but only in the short term. With the decision to friendly decline the invitation, a new dilemma begins. How to say no?

I still spend ridiculous amounts of time  brooding over such emails in an effort to find good reasons for my rejection. The reasons I find are never entirely false, but usually, they are not 100% correct either.

“I am sorry, I cannot (want not) make it on Tuesday (or any other day). I have a doctor’s appointment (yes, but that’s in the morning and doesn’t keep me from anything). I am sorry ( I am), but I think you can have the meeting without me (always).”

Too often I would get a happy reply telling me how Bob decided to move the meeting to Thursday. And then I find myself either drafting another elaborate email or end up in a meeting I never wanted to attend. (more…)

Ten to Plan, Three to Act

103Hesitation is great when you are about to walk into a car, because it can obviously save your life. However, when you are about to write a post and you hesitate to write the next sentence, it kills you. Slowly and certainly. Wasted seconds of your life… well my life in that case. Hesitation, if it is short  aids you in maintaining your sprint. A pause for a millisecond lets you avoid the pothole, but if the hesitation endures for too long it brings you from running at full speed to a standstill. The longer you wait, the more energy it will take you to get back into action.

You are excited about this conference and enter this room just to realize you know nobody. Among all choices you have there are really only two that are most likely: A) You approach the next person you see and say hi or B) you hesitate a bit too long and screw up your chance. From here you may either pull out your phone and become one of these guys, you may circle the first group and maybe get another chance or you may end up as the person who feels all alone and awkward. How do you avoid B and get to A? The answer is three seconds. (more…)

Infinity is an Illusion

moebiusToday’s fact of the day is: Abundance is bad. It may seem counterintuitive, but everything becomes more attainable when you limit your resources. Rightly so, because infinity is an illusion.

Let’s say you were tasked to organize an office party and your boss says: “Money is no issue!”. Doesn’t make “Plan this party, make it great, but don’t spend over $5000.” your life much easier?

The greatest and the worst attribute of the internet is that it offers a virtually infinite amount of information. The difference between “Find all information on topic XYZ you can get” versus “find all information on topic XYZ you can find in the next three hours.” is significant. Right? Impossible becomes attainable.

There are likely unlimited ways to define a project, but my favorite definition is the following one: (more…)