Archive for the ‘attitude’ Category

Thank you cards?

July 10, 2013

Do you write ‘Thank You’ cards? As I was driving along yesterday listening to the radio I was so surprised when an ad came on and the person speaking asked ‘Do you write Thank You notes?’ The person in the ad went on to say that his mother taught him to write a Thank You note when he was given something. Listening to this ad I was wondering where it was going? Have you heard this ad? Anyway, the person in the ad continued by saying he wanted to thank McDonalds. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the ad. I wish I had because I don’t know what he was thanking McDonalds for. I was so taken with the idea that the advertising industry thought to include the notion of writing a ‘Thank You’ note.

I believe in writing ‘Thank You’ notes. So much so that in the second edition of my book I have added a section on how to write a good ‘Thank You’ note as well as why you should write them.

So, back to my original question… do you write ‘Thank You’ notes? If you do, is it because you feel obliged to write the note or is it because you really want to convey your gratitude to the person (or business) who gave you something?

Oprah refers to expressing gratitude in her magazine often. I can remember first hearing her talk about a gratitude journal. I thought it was a great idea to everyday, at the end of the day, write down three things for which you are thankful. I’ll be honest, I did not go out and buy a journal but hearing that idea did prompt me to everyday list in my mind some of the things, the blessings, I have in my life for which I am eternally grateful.

Writing a ‘Thank You’ note is such a small task. Yet, it can give someone a boost in their day to know that the recipient of a gift acknowledges the gift and is appreciative of the donor’s thoughtfulness. Why not take a few minutes, put pen to paper, and write someone today to let them know you are thankful for whatever it is they have given you? 

Take Time to Save Time

May 21, 2013

Quite often I hear things like this from my clients: I don’t know where to start; I have so much to do, I don’t know what to do first; I sit around and think of all the things I have to take care of and by the time I’ve decided what to do I don’t have time to do it.

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? Do you ever find yourself wondering what task to begin first or having so much to do that you spend all of your time trying to remember all those things and doing none of them. Then, perhaps, you feel a little guilty or unhappy with yourself because so much time has gone by and nothing has been accomplished.

I suggest that you take the time to make a list. Taking the time to write everything down (either on paper or electronically) will free your mind of having to remember all the tasks you want to complete. Then you can take a look at your calendar, review your schedule, and decide which tasks you have enough time to either complete or, at least, start.

When should you make this list? That’s up to you. What day and time makes the most sense to you? I make my master list on Sunday afternoons. I take a look at what I’ve accomplished during the preceding week and think about what I’d like to get done this week. Then I write everything down, recognizing that not everything will get done but if it’s on my list, I know I won’t forget! Every evening, after work, I make a short list for the next day. I first review my master list that I made Sunday afternoon, I look at my calendar see what time I have available to use and schedule my tasks accordingly.

I created the daily habit of doing this every evening because then I don’t worry during the night about what I have to do the next day. Taking the time in the evening saves me time in the morning – I know what I’m doing. I’ve already reviewed my tasks and prioritized them. This is not to say that I can always, everyday stick to my list and complete it – I can not. However, because I have this method and it works for me, when other unexpected things have to be taken care of first I am confident that I can juggle my schedule and manage the top priority tasks.

First Impressions

October 24, 2012

First impressions are so very important.  When you make a good first impression it’s easy to have a conversation and get to know someone. When you make a bad first impression you have to work really hard to erase the other person’s pre-conceived notions about you in order to then have a conversation.  This is particularly important if you’re going on a job interview. If you make a good first impression with the interviewer that person will want to know more about you and your qualifications. If you make a bad first impression with the interviewer the time spent in that interview may be cut short. You know you only have about 5 seconds to create that good first impression so how do you do this?

First of all be sure to stand up straight, have a pleasant look on your face, and look the interviewer in the eye when you greet them. I’m sure you know that if you’re slouched over with your shoulders slumped forward you give the impression that you’re not interested. You want the interviewer to see you as an interested and interesting person. You also know that if the expression on your face is worried or concerned with your brow wrinkled that you convey a lack of confidence. That’s the last thing you want an interviewer to think! By looking the interviewer in the eye you are telegraphing confidence and interest.

Dress appropriately for the job. If you are a man interviewing for a teaching position you may want to wear business casual wear. A woman would want to dress demurely; nothing too short or too revealing. If you are interviewing for a job at a bank or at a law firm then business atttire for both men and women is appropriate. But, what if the job is at an advertising agency? Then I suggest you dress creatively. You would want the interviewer to know by looking at you that you have an imagination!

Have you heard the expression ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’? Well, if you have I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. If you haven’t… Be sure to have washed up before you go on a job interview. Take the time to make sure your fingernails are clean and tidy, no rough edges. Have clean hair and clothes. Don’t overdo it with the afershave or perfume. Smelling pleasant is fne but you don’t want your perfume or aftershave to walk in the room before you or stay long after you have left the premises.

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but how many times have you been drawn to open a book by the interesting graphics or picture on the book jacket? So, create interest in yourself by being confident and showing that confidence in your body language. A friendly expression and a steady gaze will go a long way. Cultivate these things in yourself and you will be sure to create good first impressions.

Living in Today

October 2, 2012

Do you find yourself living in the future? I mean, are you the type of person who says something like ‘I can’t wait for …? I know when my children were very little I would say to myself ‘I can’t wait for my baby to roll over’. When he was able to do that I went on to say ‘ I can’t wait for my baby to sit up’. This went on through the years and now both my babies are young men and living on their own. I did appreciate the moments as they happened but what I realize now is that I was always focused on something in the future. Focused on what would (or should) come next. I am learning to be better about living in today.

Now, having said that, you need to know that I still like to plan. I almost always plan my day the night before. That is to say, before I leave my desk at the end of my work day, I create a prioritized list of the things I want to do the next day. I factor in my appointments and any errands as well as household chores and the tasks I want to accomplish. This frees my mind and enables me to enjoy the evening. Planning the night before also allows me to get up in the morning knowing what I am doing today. I am intent on bringing my best self to the day instead of letting my mind create illusions about what the next month or several months may hold in store for me.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t have (or that you shouldn’t have) long term goals. I do have a long term goal. I have broken this long term goal down into a series of shorter term projects. I have further broken these projects down into smaller segments. These segments, or baby steps, are planned into my day – as the day allows. The thought I am trying to convey is that I am not simply striving toward achieving my goal. I will, certainly, celebrate and be happy when that occurs. I am actively living in today – appreciating the small accomplishments of each day – and enjoying the here and now.

This is a shift in attitude and perspective for me. It’s one that has brought me peace of mind. I’m happier and I find I’m much more appreciative of what today is offering me. I’m interested to know if you live in today. Do you spend your time revisiting what has happened – living in the past? Or, do you look to the future? Write me back and let me know. I look forward to your comments.

Digital Manners

February 28, 2012

Do you think that manners should not play a role in our digital communications? I disagree. For me manners are important. I know that it’s a challenge to be polite and follow rules of decorum in text messaging but I also know that it’s not necessary to be rude when you are being brief. The same thing holds true when writing e-mails. Here though, I believe some rules and manners can be applied.

For example, if a student is writing an e-mail to a teacher (or a professor) standard letter writing protocol can be followed. What do I mean? Well, I think a proper salutation should be used (Dear Mr., Ms , Professor, or Dr.followed by the last name). Often I think that because they are using an instant form of communication  people assume they can be familiar or friendly with someone they either don’t know or don’t know well. Also when writing an e-mail to someone unfamiliar put a good but brief statement of intent in the subject line.Then, following the salutaion,state why you are writing, a little about the topic, and the outcome you are hoping for then close with Regards and your signature followed by your full name and contact information.

This lets the person you’re writing know that you are professional, respectful and you are someone with whom they may consider doing business.

Consider the alternative. When a person receives a message that begins with “Hey” and that person doesn’t know the author of the message the outcome might not be what the author is hoping for.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to be polite and follow a few simple protocols. You can always relax those protocols and be more familiar in your e-mails if need be. It is very difficult to go from familiar to formal – that essentially is backpedaling.

I’m interested to know if you are always familiar in your e-mail writing or if you are sometimes formal.

Thank You Notes?

January 9, 2012

I finished writing my Thank You notes for gifts I received for Christmas over the weekend. I enjoy the process and take my time writing these notes because I want to recipient of the note to know that I appreciate the time, effort and thought they put into my gift. I also write notes to thank people for having me over for dinner or for helping me with a volunteer project. I think that this (the art of writing a thank you note) is something that should happen more regularly. Too often, we send notes via e-mail or text. I know it’s fast and easy. There is certainly something to be said for checking that item off your ‘to-do’ list. However; when someone takes time to find a perfect gift, or they take time out of their busy schedule to volunteer for a project, or they take the time to host a lovely meal I believe they deserve a small hanwritten note in return.

So, my question to you is: do you write thank you notes?

Here are my guidelines for writing a great note.

1. Thank the person for the gift (include a detailed description), the time they volunteered, or (fill in the balnk)

2. Say something about how you will use (fill in the blank) or about the event

3. Include a sentence or two about something you are doing – a new endeavor, perhaps

4. Close with something like ‘Thank you so much for your genorosity’

Keep in mind that this is a note, not a letter, so it should be brief. Also, this is a wonderful way to really show appreciation to someone who cares for you!

Do not procrastinate!

December 7, 2011

Earlier in 2011 I made myself a promise to make and keep appointments with the variety of doctors that I see.  I did just that and had seen everyone I was scheduled to see by the end of August. However, the doctor I saw in August strongly suggested that I make an appointment for a colonoscopy. I was reluctant but this was something I had been putting off – procrastinating about – for several years. I went ahead and scheduled first the visit to meet the doctor and then the colonoscopy. I thought  what’s to worry about? I exercise regularly, I am at a normal weight, I eat healthily – lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ll be fine, I told myself. I had the colonsocopy and the doctor found a polyp which he could remove then and there – good! – but he also found a very large growth, a tumor, which had to be surgically removed. This involved removing a section of my colon. Scary thoughts now entered my mind.

I am very lucky. I had the surgery 2 weeks ago. The fact that I exercise regularly and that I am in otherwise good health has helped speed my recovery along. The polyp that was removed and the tumor were benign. Hindsight, by its very nature, is perfect. In hindsight I wish I had listened to my doctor five years ago when he first started strongly recommending a colonoscopy. Maybe if I had not procrastinated I could have avoided this surgery. I will never know and wondering about it does not do any good.

If you are someone who has been putting off this test thinking to yourself I am healthy, have no problems and do not want to do this please think again. Listen to your doctor and have this test.

Do you really want to change?

October 22, 2011

Have you ever decided that you want to change something in your life? Maybe you have said to yourself that you want to exercise more or that you want to spend more time working on a hobby. Maybe you have told yourself that this year you only want to have clothes in your closet that you really wear or that this year you want to be more organized, have less clutter in your home, and be on time for all your appointments. You may have guessed that these are things I sometimes hear people say!   

The owner of the fitness studio I attend often posts thought provoking statements on the chalkboard outside the front door of the studio. This week the chalkboard reads “if nothing changes, nothing changes”. Dan frequently tells us if you don’t add more to your workout you won’t see the changes you are hoping for as a result working out.

If you really want to change then you have to make changes in your habits and routines. That is really hard to do and it takes time, perseverance, and patience. Small changes are the easiest to make. So, start with baby steps. Let’s say you have decided to only have clothes in your closet that you really wear. When you go to put an outfit together and you decide, after trying on a combination of clothes, that this particular combination doesn’t look right. Something just doesn’t make you feel like you want to walk out the door dressed this way. Don’t put those items back in your closet! Take a moment. Figure out which item (or items) is simply wrong. Put those things into a shopping bag. When the bag is full take it to a donation center, like Goodwill. Someone else will make great use of your clothes. If you follow this routine you will have only those clothes that you want to wear in your closet.

What is it in your life that you want to change? Are you just making noise or are you ready to do something differently in order to make that change you have been talking about happen?

Modifications are good!

October 13, 2011

This past Saturday I went to a yoga class. This was my first class in a few years. I had not taken in class since the surgery on my ankle and was a little fearful of some of the poses. As usually happens at the beginning of an exercise class, the instructor asked those participants she did not already know if they had any injuries. I told the instructor about my ankle and then the class started. It was a wonderful class and I was so happy to have set aside the time to attend. At one point during the class, the instructor helped me modify one of the poses so that I would not strain my ankle and so that I would have the full benefit of that pose. After she provided me with that modification she told the class that we were all there in the class to have the benefits of personal instruction and modifications and not to hesitate to ask for help. Further, she said that if we wanted to we could have rented a yoga DVD and practiced yoga on our own. Then she said sometimes students are afraid to come to class and try new poses because they think they will not be able to do it. As I thought about what the instructor was saying I thought it related directly to my professional organizing services. Sometimes people are reluctant to begin the organizing process because they don’t know where to start. It is easier when you have a professional organizer by your side to guide you through the process and to teach you strategies that are modified to suit your learning style and your lifestyle. Just as it was easier for me to complete the yoga class with the instructor helping me and teaching me how to modify certain poses. If you have an organizing project in mind and don’t know here to start or if you are feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in your life find a professional organizer to make it easier for you!

Professionalism

April 16, 2011

Last night my husband, Nick, and I went to the Atlanta Opera. Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart was playing and we are opera fans. In case you didn’t know, there were alerts for storms in the area – and the skies were definately threatening. We met up with some friends, had dinner, and went to our seats at the appointed time. Then the power went out. So, here we are in this huge performing arts center with no lights. Now, let me tell you the place was packed full of people ready to listen to beautful music. In fact, the orchestra was in place and was tuning up for the start of the performance. We, the audience, went completely still and quiet when the lights went out. The emergency lighting came on pretty quickly and the generator kicked in also. Then (and this is the point of my  blog today) after about 25 minutes of wondering what was happening next, would the electricity be restored would we see the show we came to see or would be all be sent home someone in charge of the opera came out on stage. He told us that even though the opera house had only generator power on at the moment people were working to retore the electricity. He also said the singers were in costume and ready, the sets were ready and we would see the show we came to see – just without the dramatic lighting. In otherwords the show would go on. We were thrilled! So, without delay the lights were dimmed, the conductor came out and the show moved forward. We (Nick and I) were very impressed. Under difficult circumstances the opera company put on a wonderful performance – I believe that is professionalism at its best. The saying that goes something like ‘when life hands you lemons make lemonade’ comes to mind. In my business, I never know what situation I might encounter when I go to someone’s house to give them a complimentary consultation. Sometimes it is an easy assessment to do and sometimes not so easy. I have a ‘can do’ attitude and ,clearly, last night the opera company had a ‘can do’ attitude also. They made the most of a less than optimal situation and the show was fantastic.