Category Archives: Magic Monday

Magic Monday: Presenteeism

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

Oy, the past few weeks have been murder. Between work craziness, the unexpected death of a friend, and a springtime cold that I am almost over finally, my productivity has been seriously compromised. I am operating at half-caff today, and working from home, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things, and I missed interacting with all of you! Here’s a new Magic Monday for you. I hope you won’t have to use this advice, but here it is just in case.

This week’s video is about presenteeism. I know that nonprofits like ours are often putting in long hours with fewer resources and trying to make magic happen for our constituents. Sometimes we are tempted or feel obligated to show up to work when we are feeling under the weather, either because of our workload or because of our employer’s compensation structure for sick days. There are several reasons that showing up when you are sick is a bad idea. Your capacity to accomplish our work is stunted; we may spend four days at diminished productivity instead of taking a full day to rest and recuperate. You also increase the likelihood that others will be exposed to your illness. And of course, the obvious: You’re not going to get better any faster by expending what little energy you have on doing what amounts to substandard work.

Believe me, I know how hard it can be to call in, especially if you’re the type of worker I suspect you are. You’re passionate and dedicated. But you’re also not feeling well. You owe it to yourself to look out for #1.

Is presenteeism a problem in your workplace? Have you gone to work sick in the past? Why or why not?

Advertisements

Magic Monday: Getting Back on Track After a Break

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

outofofficeemail2Well, I wasn’t on vacation this week (hahaha I wish), but there certainly is a lot of great information out there for people who are trying to get back in the work swing of things after some well-deserved time off. (This advice also works if you’ve been away from something for a while, which is very helpful in my case.) Here are some articles on the topic that may interest you:

And before you decide that getting back to work after a vacation seems like a lot of work, and that next time you might not take a vacation, don’t forget that vacation is good for you:

And a bit of a funny: A slightly sarcastic (and rather candid) away message breaks the mold. (I also got the image for this post from this article.)

Hope the rest of your week is happy trails and sunny skies.

Do you feel more productive after a vacation? Have you worked for a company that has an unlimited vacation policy?

Magic Monday EXTRA: 7th Inning Stretch

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

If I am working predominantly in the office on any given day, I often find myself looking up at the time to find that it is mid-afternoon and I have been sitting in pretty much the same position for several hours. Because my work environment is self-structured, I sometimes forget to take breaks and lunch if I am in the zone. Fortunately, on the days when I have off-site meetings or donor visits, I get a little more activity.

If you find yourself working diligently at your desk, taking the time to move and stretch would be good for you. The detriments of “sitting disease” can’t be overstated. Moving and refocusing is great for consistent productivity and helps prevent fatigue. The next time you need a short movement break, check out this video about stretches you can do in your office. (You can also read the accompanying article here.)

Do you have any favorite stretches that help you get through the day?

Magic Monday: Stop Multitasking

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

I am the world’s worst multi-tasker. Some days I can’t even walk the 10 feet from my assistant’s office to the time clock without getting distracted. I am very guilty of trying to do too much, in which case everything I am trying to accomplish suffers. Studies have shown that multitasking isn’t worth it for most people. If you have trouble single-tasking, here’s a short video that may help. The difficult part may be focusing on the video without trying to do something else at the same time!

Have any of you largely eliminated multitasking from your work day? Have you noticed a difference?

Magic Monday: Jumping Paper Clip

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

Magic Monday is usually about productivity, but some days you need a little fun in your life. Sometimes a little controlled goofing can make you more productive, as long as you do it in moderation. Looking for something fun to share with your team or your coworkers? Check out this video from Expert Village on your break, and give it a try next time you have the supplies handy. Literally Monday Magic!

I’ll be back next week with some real get-it-done wisdom!

Magic Monday: Productive Procrastination

No limits to what you can accomplish“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

Ugh! In recovering from a road trip this weekend (I slept twelve hours straight once I got home), I owe you two blog posts, one for today and one for yesterday. However, I think one of the best skills that we can do as development professionals is to acknowledge that we messed up, don’t dwell on it, and get right to work making this better again. So I will be bringing you the extra post later this week. In the meantime, it’s Magic Monday!

So I’m back in the saddle today, and looking at my to-do list. Because my mental capacity is a little sub-par, I am inclined to do the easy, no-brainer stuff. (I am a natural “productive procrastinator.”) Once in a while this is great—when it’s the end of a day when you’ve been using your noodle non-stop; when you’ve accomplished a lot but have a short period at the end of the day before you leave the office; or when you legitimately don’t have a lot of brainpower left, maybe just before lunch or after a grueling training.

You can really hobble yourself, though, if you’re using the best part of your day to do menial activities. When your brain is fresh and agile, the most efficient use for it is the knowledge work that moves things forward in a strategic way.

Here’s a great article about this very thing from Next Action Associates. It may help you recognize the difference, and what you can do about it. Enjoy!

Too busy? Maybe you’re procrastinating.

Magic Monday: Be Yourself

Artwork by Dallas Clayton. Find his work at http://dallasclayton.com/

Artwork by Dallas Clayton. Find his work at http://dallasclayton.com/

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

When I first started in development, I was a bit cowed when dealing with people of means. I always made enough to get by, but for some reason I thought that affluent people were otherworldly, that I somehow couldn’t communicate with them the same way that I could with those that I considered to be my peers. Even when I became more used to it, I still felt like I had to be a chameleon and change my personality to accommodate those to whom I was communicating.

Some sandwiches and a bag of chips changed my outlook on things. I was hosting the first meeting of our planning study task force for our capital campaign, and I had mentioned that lunch would be available. I bought a variety of sandwiches, chips and soda and waited for our guests to arrive. As they showed up in their suits and wool coats, stockings and heels, they began to mingle and get settled.

About halfway through the meeting, while I advanced slides for one of our other presenters, I looked around the room and noticed that everyone was eating sandwiches and chips. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I had convinced myself that these otherwordly beings would somehow have transformed their sandwiches and chips into something tidier, or that fancy silverware would have come out of their coat pockets. But there they were, with paper plates and napkins, drinking soda from cans, and I made an important realization: they were just like me in some ways.

I know I have mentioned Asking Matters previously (check them out; I love their site and their ideas). Co-founder Andrea Kihlstedt has written a great article on how to be yourself as a fundraiser. Let me know what you think. If you have any stories about your own donor a-ha! moments, I’d love to hear those, too! 

Magic Monday: A Kanban Plan

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

400px-Simple-kanban-board-

Simple Kanban board image courtesy of Wikipedia. http://tinyurl.com/ajvrzzx

Even if you are in a one-person development shop, chances are you are often called upon to collaborate with others on projects with many components in varying states of completion. Teams often juggle with their ability to track these tasks in a clear way that everyone can view at any time.

One tool for managing these tasks and their progress is the Kanban. Originally developed as a card system for manufacturing by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota, and used heavily by software design teams, a basic kanban board is simple to implement in your own office. It provides immediate clarity in a glance at the current status of your projects, personally or in a team setting.

Read on to get started…

Magic Monday: Routine Maintenance

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your time to startmind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” -Gustav Flaubert

Who has two thumbs and is so not a morning person? That would be me. I am even worse in the wintertime; I think one of my parents must have been a grizzly bear. Most people, however, think that I am generally pretty well put together and pretty “with it” at work. Routines are the secret to my success, both in development and in life.

There was a time when I thought routines would mess with my creativity. Artistic, imaginative people don’t need routines, I told myself. Routines are for stuffy corporate types with nannies and personal assistants. I am super, and amazing, and should have no problem being über competent. Then, surprise surprise, real life happened. Let’s just say I’ve seen the light and hope to never stray again.

I would assert that the first and most important routine you can put in place is an evening routine, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a night owl. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, a good evening routine helps take the pressure off your mornings, so that you can arrive at work on time, relaxed, and ready to be a superhero for your organization.

Read on to Start Your Own Routine…

Magic Monday: Your To-Do List

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

This week’s feature is a great little video from Epipheo Television. It gives us tips from productivity guru David Allen on “How to Hack Your To-Do List.”

While this video is not specifically about development, if you’re like me, the to-do lists that you use to manage your many projects at the office can sometimes get a little convoluted, losing their punch at best and derailing you for days at worst.

If the information in the video makes sense to you, you may want to check out Allen’s productivity classics: Getting Things Done, and it’s “sequel” of sorts, Making it All Work. The philosophy and methods that he describes in Getting Things Done have resonated so much with people that it has started a veritable wildfire of devotee blogs and articles. (Allen’s company, the David Allen Co., can be found here.)

What did you think of the video? Do you have to-do tips that help you stay sane? Any horror stories about out-of-control to-do lists? Feel free to share them here.