Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taming your inbox

Here's a truly great article about organizing your email inbox. To quote:
But many people are struggling with e-mail overload and overwhelm these days, and from my consulting and training on the topic, I think I’ve figured out part of the reason why: people are keeping their information in e-mail format rather than converting those e-mails into what they really are: information, tasks, calendar events, and/or contacts.
I used to think I was so organized because my email box has so many folders and subfolders to store my old messages. After reading this article, I've spent a good chunk of time this afternoon going through my email at work and doing exactly what the author recommends. It's quite liberating, really.

I've created several new documents that "document" library procedures and now have all my usernames and passwords in one giant spreadsheet.

Speaking of being unorganized, our new library security monitor was mentioning that different staff members run the closing procedures differently at night. Well, no wonder. The closing procedures document was made up of no less than four different documents printed out and put into one binder. There's no easy way for the staff to figure out which online documents to look at when doing the closing procedures.

So my other big project for the day was to pull all that information into one, easy to access document that both the staff and the security monitor can use -- AND to properly label any other documentation that the security monitor and closing staff might need. Mission accomplished! (I think!)

Uh-oh -- the air conditioning in the library just went off -- again! Curses!

Monday, June 08, 2009

What do you do with a surly teenager?

Calling all parenting experts! Or just people who have management experience. How would you respond in this situation.

Some "friends" of ours have two daughters. One is 14. We'll call her "teenager". The other is 11. We'll call her "little sister". This family has fallen into a pattern of behavior that so far only results in the parents getting angry, teenager sulking and little sister ending up stuck in the middle.

Sample scenario. Parents want the whole family to do something together. It may be running errands, attending a church event or even just going for a walk in the park.

When parents bring up the topic, teenager says that she does not want any part of it and wants to know why parents are always punishing her by making her do things she does not want to do. Parents acquiesce and say that teenager does not have to go. Little sister says she will go, so parents end up going with little sister and little sister ends up with a small reward, usually a trip to the ice cream store.

Upon returning home, teenager finds out that a reward had been made and is now even angrier because, had she known that she was going to get a reward for going, she would have gladly gone along. Parents tell her it was her choice, but teenage still storms off to her room and slams the door in typical teen fashion. What follows is parents lecturing about how slamming doors is not appropriate and it will not be done, etc. etc. End result : no one is pleased with the outcome. Well, maybe little sister is, but she feels guilty for getting the reward and knows that she will pay for her actions at a later date somehow from teenager.

So, parents know that they have fallen into a pattern. Parents know they need to do something unexpected to break the pattern, but what? They are stumped. In recent cases, teenager has been forced to go along with the family and even gets the same reward, but chooses to remind the rest of the family that she does not want to be there and is merely being forced to do so.

Some options:

The "over my dead body" approach. Parents realize they can deliver one whopping, screaming speech to teenager about disrespect and backtalk and threaten and deliver the "as long as you're under my roof..." speech.

The "what goes around comes around" approach. When teenager balks at family participation, parents still acquiesce, however, the next time teenager wants something, parents act like teenager does, telling teenager that they don't want to take her to the mall or they take her to the mall but remind teenager constantly that they don't want to do it.

Keep doing the same thing. Maybe teenager will finally "get it" one day and figure out that to do things as a family when the parents want the family to be together results in rewards for everyone.

There has to be at least one other approach, doesn't there?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?