Archive for January, 2013

21 jan

WorkplaceRx: Is Hoarding Burying Your Company Alive?

MichelleKerriganThe topic of hoarding has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. Anxiety-driven by a fear of letting go of something that may be needed later, the subject is portrayed buried under mountains of items that are not only no longer needed, but hidden from existence. The hoarder seeks shelter from change in a storm of stuff, and can barely function under the weight of it all.

In my years of working in corporations and with private clients, it has become apparent that hoarding is not just limited to the home. It spills into the workplace, not in the usual sense of “stuff”, but in the plethora of processes and procedures that may give some people comfort, and can bury an organization alive.

I have seen this all too often. I have heard it often too. Phrases such as “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a hundred years…” is usually a call to action to take a much closer look.

Too often, clients come to me complaining that their company has just gone through a massive downsizing, and as survivors, they are now weighted with the responsibilities of those cut as well as processes that may not make sense in the new order.

A perfect example would be when I replaced a director who left unexpectedly. I inherited a massive report he distributed every week for 20 years to 250 executives. This report was miles long in excruciating details and took up to a full day to prepare. Since the company was rapidly growing, I needed to jettison as much as possible to make room for new goals. So, one day, I just stopped sending the report. The upshot: Only one person called to inquire. Yes–one.

So—as a new year is here, I offer you 8 tips for purging what may be keeping your company from functioning and meeting new and important goals:

1. Review and renew your goals and keep and/or adapt only the procedures and processes that bring your organization closer to them. Let go of the rest.
2. Whenever you downsize your organization, repeat this process.
3. Look at meetings, reports and schedules that could be shortened or deleted. Keep a log of how long these things really take—you will be amazed. That’s time that could be holding you back from more important endeavors.
4. Remember that not all things are created equal: some processes or reports may need to stay, but may not need to be as complex or as detailed as they were before.
5. If you truly fear a procedure or process may be needed again, write it down and store it in the archives. Keep only active ones at point of use.
6. Get input from your team and the departments you touch. Often, processes, meetings and the like have intrinsic value to only you and no one else. So, you may be holding on to what you think is treasure but is trash to others.
7. If you hear or say the magic words “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a hundred years”, it may be time to start sorting and purging, keeping only what’s essential to reach the company’s goals.
8. If you still have trouble letting go, always prioritize (and purge) according to the revenue line. Ask yourself: is this making my company money? Is it bringing us new or repeat customers, improving our products, or increasing our market share? If not, it’s time for the heave-ho.

Avoid being a hoarder—it will lighten the road ahead for you and your organization and keep you both from being buried alive.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping organizations and individuals improve performance and productivity in the day-to-day workplace. A trusted expert who uniquely combines extensive leadership and operations experience with powerful coaching and organizing techniques, Michelle helps clients develop skills and confidence critical to the bottom line. More at

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on January 21st, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

21 jan

How to Talk to a Crush at Work This Valentine’s Day

JennaSmithCrushes at workplace are common, so if you have one at your co-worker, it’s nothing new. However, if you want to take things a step further and talk to your crush on this special day, then here are few tips that can help you strike that most-wanted conversation…

1. Ask Her to Lunch: Business associates and colleagues often discuss work over lunch. So asking her to lunch is a pretty harmless request, for which you won’t have to venture much out of your comfort zone. However, if you’re nervous about it then invite some of your other co-workers to join you.

2. Give Non-Threatening Compliments: Valentine’s Day is when women are more receptive, so why not show your interest to your co-worker by paying her some nice compliments? The only thing you need to be careful with is your choice of words. Be subtle in your approach and avoid saying anything that may look inappropriate.

3. Walk With Her Through the Building: If your workplace is in a building where you have to move from one place to another, then make use of this time that you travel through the building with her. Even spending a few minutes with her on this special day can do wonders if you don’t do or say anything uncomfortable while you’re walking.

4. Tickle Her Funny Bone: One easy way to begin talking to your crush is to crack some jokes because humor will make it easy for her to let her guard down and connect with you as a person, not just a colleague. However, do make sure your jokes are squeaky clean so that you don’t end up offending her right on Valentine’s Day.

5. Get Her Coffee: Sometimes even the smallest gestures matter a lot. If your crush likes coffee, then why not bring her one on this special day? It’s a great way to break the ice and get a conversation started. She will see your gesture as sweet and not aggressive. If you see her comfortable then you could take things forward and arrange for regular coffee dates.

6. Stop By Her Desk: While there are many indirect approaches you can take to spark a conversation with your crush this Valentine’s, the most obvious and direct approach is to stop by her desk for some official work, and get the conversation going where you try to ask her out.

7. Have Flowers Delivered: Flowers and Valentine’s Day go in hand hand, so what you can do is order some good flowers like daisies at and have them delivered at her desk. This will let her know that you’re interested in her and will make it easier for you to approach her.

Go ahead and use the tips that we discussed above with complete confidence, and don’t miss out on the chance to talk to your crush and ask her out on this Valentine’s.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on January 21st, 2013 in General, Personal Stories, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments

20 jan

New Year, New Baby: The Couple’s Guide to a Happy Family life

JennaSmithIt’s a new year, and you’ve got a new baby! You’ve undoubtedly already felt the stress, strain, and exhaustion of raising your son or daughter. You may have already asked yourself, “Can we have fun anymore? What about the baby!”

You will need to get a little creative; but you can still find ways to enjoy the company of your spouse and have a wonderful year, while caring for your newborn baby. Here are some great ideas to help you have fun this year.

Five Activities for Couples with a Newborn

1. Stay in and Watch TV

Catching up on a show you’ve wanted to watch is something very easy you can do. The baby will be all curled up at home, while you and your spouse can curl up on the couch and watch The Office. Relaxing in front of the tube will not only keep you entertained, but will also allow you and your spouse to spend quality time together (not to mention it’s really relaxing). Add a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of wine to make the night even more easygoing.

2. Enjoy a Walk

A great idea you can try out is to bundle up your baby and enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood. This is a good time to enjoy some quiet time as a couple, let the cold breeze wake you up, and show your little baby the world outside of the crib. Hold hands and enjoy your time together without worrying about putting the baby to sleep.

3. Go to a Late Movie

After your baby is fed and ready to sleep, consider taking in a late night movie. Bringing a newborn to a movie might be uncommon, but as long as the movie isn’t full of explosions and loud noises, you might just be able to sneak through it. Most of the time, if you choose a movie that’s been out for a little while, the theater won’t be as crowded and you won’t need to worry so much if your baby does wake up and make a little noise.

4. Go out to Dinner

Just because you have a newborn baby doesn’t mean you can’t go out for dinner during the holidays. You just need to make sure you plan the restaurant choice and you take everything you need. In fact, every couple should make date nights a big priority. Having a baby is a wonderful thing, but you need to make time for yourselves too.

5. Spend Time Together as a Family

Sometimes, you don’t need to do anything – no movies, no television, no going out. Simply cuddling up together in bed is relaxing, comfortable, free, and it builds an intimate relationship between the parents. Spending downtime together also helps with a solid, secure environment for the baby. Just relax. Talk about your day, read to your baby, tell each other you’re so happy to be with each other, even if life has been really hectic recently.

Just because you now have a baby to look after doesn’t mean you cannot have fun as a couple. You can use the five ideas above or you can come up with your own creative ideas. Take time out to spend with your spouse this year and make sure it’s not always just about the baby.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on January 20th, 2013 in Family | No comments

10 jan

Coping with and Managing Stress

RobertCordrayThe American Institute of Stress reports that stress levels have steadily been on the rise in the workplace. According to a recent survey, 80% of workers feel stress on the job and almost half of those say they need help learning to manage their stress. The American Psychological Association is concerned about the stress levels of teens between 9th and 12th grades, stating that teens who don’t learn healthy ways to cope with stress are susceptible to serious long-term health implications. Chances are that those stressed out teens are living in the homes of stressed out working parents. The whole family could benefit from some stress management training.

The Problem With Stress

While we generally recognize that stress is taking an emotional toll on us, we might not realize that it can also exacerbate almost any health condition. The body responds physically to the mental condition of stress as if it were facing a physical threat. Blood vessels constrict, your blood pressure and pulse rise and you breathe faster. Maintaining this level of cardiovascular activity over long periods of time takes a toll on your physical health. Studies have shown an increase in many health problems in people that have poor stress management, some of which include:

  • • Heart Disease
  • • Asthma
  • • Obesity
  • • Diabetes
  • • Headaches
  • • Depression
  • • Anxiety
  • • Gastrointestinal problems

Causes of Stress

Balancing work and home can become a vicious stress-filled cycle. For example, working long hours at work or bringing work home can make home life stressful. Since your home life normally acts as a stress reliever to restore you for the next day’s work, feeling stress at home makes your work life seem more stressful as well. The opposite is also true. When a person feels stress at home due to childcare responsibilities, financial problems or relationship strife, they will often become less effective at work, which compounds the stress they feel both at home and at work.

There are many causes of stress both at home and at work, but the stress management techniques are the same no matter the cause of the stress. You can either change the situation or change your reaction, and sometimes you need to do both.

Changing the Situation

Changing the situation involves avoiding or altering the stressor. However, identifying the stressor is often a challenge. Sometimes we blame our stress on other people or outside events that are beyond our control when really it is our perception of or reaction to these things that is causing the stress. Other times we might view the stress as temporary, not recognizing that its relief requires some action on our part. Keeping a stress journal can help you identify the stressors in your life so you can start working to avoid or alter them.

Changing Your Reaction

You can change your reaction to a stressor by either accepting it or adapting to it. For example, you can try to change your perspective to see the bigger picture. People often find that a situation becomes less stressful when they imagine the impact it will have on their lives down the road a week, a month or a year. You can manage the stress in your life by focusing on the most urgent needs rather than having everything piled up in front of you. You might have to accept stressors that are beyond your control, but your reaction to them is always within your control.

Getting Help

Another great way to cope with stress is to talk about it with someone you trust. A sounding board can often help you to identify the stressor and even set goals to avoid it, alter it or change your reaction to it. Many people have had success in learning to manage stress by working with a life coach. A life coach helps you to lead a more balanced life that is better aligned with your personal goals and values.

Manage Your Stress Better This Year

Don’t let the stress cycle run your life this year. Managing your stress will have both emotional and physical health benefits and make you more successful at work and at home.

About the Author:
Robert Cordray is a former entrepreneur/businessman with over 20 years of success. He has seen his fair share of ways that people deal with stress, and wants to continue to help those that can’t seem to manage it. For more specific help, go to to find the right help for you. Currently Robert resides in the Los Angeles area with his beautiful wife and three children.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on January 10th, 2013 in General, Health, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , ,

10 jan

The Benefits of Music for a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle

JennaSmithThroughout the ages, people have listened and played music in an effort to live happier and healthier lives. Good music can put your in a better mood and help your overall emotional and physical well-being. Whether you’re feeling angry, down, lonely or happy, music has a way of making the day better and life worth living. Take a moment and think about a life without music. A world without music is a sad world indeed. Learn the benefits of music for a happy and healthy life.

Listen to Music and Be Happier

Music has been proven to lift our spirits in times of hard or lonely times. Invest in some music that makes you happy. This may be different for each individual. Someone may have grown up on the bayou and love listening to blues with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. This music, while seeming sad, may make someone happy because it reminds them of their childhood. Find the type of music that speaks to your soul and makes you happy. Build up a large amount of this music that you can play on a rainy day to lift your spirits.

Learn to Play an Instrument

You’re never too old to learn an instrument. In fact, if you’ve never learned out to play an instrument, doing so in your elderly years is a great way to keep active and lead a healthier life in your later years. Whatever your age, you can learn how to play an instrument. Find your teacher through a local music store and get to learning! You can have lessons at the music store, or even have the teacher come and teach you in your home.

Bond with Loved Ones Through Music

Throughout the generations, music has connected people of different creeds and nations in a way that nothing else can. It is a powerful bond that can form simply through a shared enjoyment of music. Playing music is a great way to connect with other members of your family too. For example, if you know how to play the violin and your grandson is learning, you can bond with him through this shared instrument. He will love the fact that you both have something in common, and he will be encouraged to learn it even more because you know it as well.

Whether you’re just wanting to have a better day, are picking up a instrument for the first time, or want to bond with loved ones, music is a tool that can help you. It will increase your self worth and help you to not be sad or lonely anymore.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on January 10th, 2013 in General, Health | No comments