I'm working late are you?

Occasionally I receive an email sent either very early in the morning or late at night (nothing to do with different timezones).

What does this say about the person's working patterns or workload?

In many organisations, there's an expectation that if other people are working late, then perhaps I should be too.  These people are quite likely to expect a response or will make a call outside 'normal working hours'.

It's great to have the flexibility of working at a time that suits you.  However, if you're spending a lot of time working late or having to get up early to either get ahead, catch-up or clear a backlog, this will impact your productivity and stress levels.

The pressure of today's economy means more and more people are working later and later in to the evening and over the weekend.  If you work late or you see your boss working late, an expectation is set with your team.  You extend the working day way beyond normal office hours and can end up exchanging emails and even phone calls with colleagues at silly o'clock.

If you want to work flexibly - that's one thing but respect other people's time and don't expect them to be keeping the same hours as you.  Even if you're the boss - lead by example.

Keep your work and communication with others to 'office hours'.

What can you do to redress the boundaries and avoid burning the candle at both ends?

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make your voicemail messages more meaningful

Русский: Цифровой автоответчик (фрагмент)
How to make your messages more meaningful and improve communication.

When you make a call and get voicemail - don't just leave a garbled message as you rapidly try to think of something to say.

Be prepared.

Speak slowly and clearly.  If you leave a number repeat it.  It's often difficult to write down a number in one go, especially if the caller rapidly rattles off their number.  Repeating it gives them a better chance of getting it right first time.

State the nature of your call - if appropriate.  What are you calling about, what information do you need?

Say when you're available or when it's a good time to call back.  People will often leave a message just as they're going out - usually as a last minute, 'oops must do this before I leave'.  When the call is returned the person isn't there and you end up playing phone-tag.

If you're going to be away from the phone or are busy - say so in your message and say when you'll be back, so they don't waste their time or yours.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7 Ways to Create Resolutions and Habits for the Year

So how are your New Year Resolutions going?  We’re three weeks in to the year and no doubt, like many other people you’ve started the year with good intentions.

Perhaps you’re going for a dry January and giving up alcohol or you want to kick start your health by joining the gym, giving up smoking or eating more healthily or even starting a diet.  Are you always resolving to do the same thing but somehow never make it stick?

You’re certainly not alone.  Here are a few quick tips to get you back on track and make your new habits (resolutions) stick.

Take your time: New habits don’t happen overnight so be patient.  Give yourself at least 30-60 days for a new way of working or being to become a habit.

Be positive: Resolutions are really nothing more than replacing bad habits with good habits.  However, resolutions are often seen as ‘giving up’ something.  Change your perspective and turn it around to think about what you’re gaining.

Be specific: The clearer and more specific you are about what you want the more likely you are to achieve it.

Write it down: Any resolution or goal becomes more real when you write it down.  You’ve got it out of your head where it’s just a thought or idea and put it on paper.

Create a plan: Once you’ve decided what it is you want to achieve, create a plan to make it happen.  How much time is involved?  What support do you need?  How can you make your new habit part of your daily routine?

Get accountable: Tell family, friends, a colleague what you want and what you need from them.  They can help you to stay focused and on track when your resolve starts to waver.

One step at a time: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Start small and build on your success.

Need help with your resolutions and habits for 2015 - take a look at the 90-Day Habit Mastery or check out my latest newsletter for additional tips to creating and achieving your 'resolutions'.