5 Areas for Spring Cleaning

A Young Men Sit On The In The Park Using A LaptopSpring has officially started. The frigid mornings, gloomy skies and treacherously icy roads are a thing of the past (hopefully). Along with the end of winter and the commencement of spring, comes spring cleaning, a time to thoroughly clean the house. Spring cleaning requires a little time and work, but the results are refreshing.
Busy working professionals spend a lot of time away from home, time in the car commuting, time spent at the office, and time delving through the digital world. With that in mind, some consideration should be given to other areas where a deep cleaning is order.

5 Areas for Spring Cleaning:

  1. Apps – Whether on your smartphone or tablet (or both) you’ve inevitably downloaded a fair amount of apps over the past year; many of which sit collecting virtual dust. Don’t hesitate to delete unused apps freeing up precious memory on your device. Less frequently used apps can be combined into a single folder allowing easy accessibility without the ongoing distraction.
  2. Social Media – It’s an excellent time to spruce up your Twitter or LinkedIn profiles. Social Media profiles are often seen far more than your business card. A new headshot, background image and header might be in order especially if you haven’t updated these in over a year. Here’s a great article by Shannon Maguire on cleaning up LinkedIn.
  3. Desk or Office – Countless hours are clocked at work. That means a lot of time sitting at your desk. File away (or shred) the tower of papers, trash the horde randomly scribbled on sticky notes, and dust around your monitor. It might even be time to get a plant or poster (work appropriate) to add some color and life to your office. Maybe get crazy and update your family pictures (since your kid’s 15 now, not 5). A clean workspace with increase your work image while aiding both productivity and creativity.
  4. Desktop – Similar to the apps on your phone your computer monitor may have fallen into disarray with icons, folders, and documents cluttering the screen. Currently I count 41 such icons on my desktop. More than half of these need to be deleted, archived or filed away.
  5. Car – When not at work and not at home you probably spend a lot of time in your car – commuting, going out to lunch, and driving to appointments. Give your car a good detailing. Cleaning the carpets and upholstery, and applying a fresh coat of Armor All to the dash will make your commute more enjoyable and reduce a tendency for road rage.

Spending just 15-20 minutes cleaning each of these areas will not only keep you organized but help maintain a professional demeanor. Plus when the late season snow storm hits (as it often does at least here in Utah) at least the rest of your life will feel clean and springy.

Think of other areas of life that need a good Spring Cleaning? Comment below.

 

Image courtesy of Photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Keys to a Better Year

 Keys III

  1. Control Technology – Use technology like cell phones, computers, tablets, apps, and websites to your benefit. Stop letting technology control you.
  2. Talk to People – Yes, actual face-to-face conversation is preferred. Speaking over the phone is a distant second. Notice I didn’t say text more, tweet more or email more. Talk – your family, friends, and co-workers will feel more appreciated.
  3. Put Down the Device – Lift your head, take your eyes off the tiny digital screen and see the world around you. This breathtaking world will be enjoyed more fully by seeing, hearing and feeling it, than anything you’re staring at on that 7” phone screen.
  4. Let it go – We all make mistakes. Embrace it. Stop holding a grudge and you’ll feel relieved and much happier. My six year old constantly singing the Disney song with the same title is a great reminded that I need to do better at this one.
  5. Experience Something New – routines are good, finding something new is better. Try new foods, make new friends, learn new skills, read a new book, find a new favorite song. Variety really is the spice of life – so spice it up!

Photo via

The Power of You

Motivating other people is no small task. There are a myriad of steps and techniques to consider when working to motivate an individual or an entire team.

Before any of that can take place however, you must first understand yourself.

  • What motivates you?
  • Why are you motivated that why?
  • What factor do you find personally de-motivating?

The more you understand your unique drivers, the better you’ll be able to help others identify it in themselves. After all, you can’t motivate anyone to do anything they do want to (or at least you shouldn’t). You can help them develop a deeper personal understanding and awake their passion within.

2014 Bucket List

It’s been said that “40 is the new 30”. Well in the year I turn 40 I’ve decided on 30 things to accomplish on my 2014 Bucket List. This is my third consecutive year creating an annual Bucket List and by far my most aggressive. The biggest goal is to attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and watch a USA match; a lofty goal considering I don’t yet have game tickets or flights yet.

It’s Go! Time. Let’s make 2014 the best year possible:

1.       Be more positive, more optimistic

2.       Try something new (a new food, a new sport, a new activity)

3.       Cut out all soda for 4 months

4.       Get down to 200 lbs

5.       Play in a sports league

6.       Run the Dirty Dash

7.       Get off automatic mode and go manual with my Nikon

8.       Capture a “Wow!” picture

9.       Finish the family room in the basement

10.   Fly kites with the kids

11.   Go camping with the family

12.   2 Getaways with my wife

13.   Go to the beach

14.   Go Ice Fishing

15.   Take my kids fishing (x3)

16.   Go horseback riding

17.   Visit someplace new  

18.   Go to Brazil

19.   Attend 2014 World Cup US Men’s National game

20.   Attend USA Sevens Rugby Tournament in Las Vegas

21.   Take a Hike – above 10,000 feet  

22.   25 Blog Posts, including 4 video posts

23.   Register a domain name

24.   Reach 100 blog followers

25.   Reach 500 Twitter followers

26.   Attend a marketing or sales conference

27.   Actually read 4 books

28.   Listen to 12 audio books

29.   Attend 1 Networking Event per quarter

30.   Schedule a 1-on-1 lunch once per quarter with a past colleague

Stop Stalling, Start Going!

Push GoThe 1972 children’s book by Dr Seuss called Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! starts with “The time has come, the time is now, just go go go, I don’t care how.”

Go! - That’s the word I’ve selected for 2014.

Like most people last year was filled with positive memories and memorable challenges. An aura of stagnation seemed to blanket the year though. Too often 2013 had a sentiment of waiting, like treading water. Don’t get me wrong, last year was a good year, but it could have been a great year. It should have been a great year.

So Why Go!?

Here’s what sparked the decision:

The Stop Light

A few weeks ago I was sitting at a stop light on a Saturday morning; the Saturday before Christmas in fact. I had errands to run and a list of things to accomplish. I knew exactly what I needed to do as time was running out before Christmas.  

After waiting a few minutes the light turned green. I shifted into first gear and slowly nudged my car forward expecting the single car ahead of me to start moving. It did not. My car rolled closer and closer, but the other car didn’t move. I began feeling slightly irritated as I noticed the distracted driver was talking on a cell phone and obviously not paying attention. Even though he had a green light and the road ahead of him was free and clear, he didn’t move. My patience was quickly running out. I inched forward a bit more; still no movement. Finally I shouted “Go!” After what seemed like minutes, but was probably only seconds, he looked up apparently realizing the light was green and finally started moving.

The 2013 Bucket List  

This will be my third year creating an annual Bucket List. As I reviewed last year’s list I was disappointed by several items I didn’t achieve; small things that should have been easy to do.  

For example, I can’t remember the last time I flew a kite with my kids; something so simple. I recall several days were the weather was warm and the winds sufficient to fly a kite, but we didn’t take advantage of the ideal climate because I never bought a kite. A small kite only costs a few bucks, but I missed out on sharing this experience with my children because I didn’t go buy one.  

Example 2, my wife grew up riding horses. She loves it. For a couple years now she’s been dying to go horseback riding. Coincidentally I have a cousin who lives only an hour away and owns horses. Several times throughout the year I thought about calling him. I never did. I thought about it, but I didn’t go do it. 

·         I should have bought a kite.

·         I should have called my cousin.

Yes, my summary word for last year is probably should.

What does Go! mean?

1.      Go! represents advancement. I wanted the car at the stop light to go – to move forward so I could continue moving toward my goals that day. I want this year to be a year of progression, of going places and accomplishing things.  

2.      Go! represents action. It takes intentions and creates a conscious action that propels or perpetuates the desired advancement. Last year’s thinking was “I should call my cousin”. This year I want to actually go call him. Whenever I think should, I will replace it with Go! – Go and Do!

Everyone wants to feel like they’re going places. Go! evokes excitement. Stop talking about what you could be doing and go do it. Go to the gym. Go write a blog post. Go build success. Take action, make things happen and have a blast doing it.

Now, I’m not talking about monumental life altering changes. There are no plans to uproot my family and move to a foreign country. This isn’t about creating shocking alterations like painting my office green with flashing strobes lights.

Go! is a conscious decision, a subtitle resolution and a deep rooted determination.

Go! starts now

This requires immediate, practical application. One unfulfilled item from my 2013 Bucket List was to register a domain name to for personal branding development. I had over 500,000 minutes last year and never did it. I took 10 minutes this week and did it – DougJentzsch.com is now registered; it will be used as the URL for my WordPress blog shortly.  

Oh, and I also called my cousin and left a voicemail about going horseback riding this spring. I thought it best to get the wheels in motion there too.

 

May 2014 be a year where we all can go enjoy success, go spend more time with loved ones and go live life to the fullest!

What’s your word(s) or theme for 2014?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Daily Bucket List

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe past couple of years I’ve created an annual Bucket list, writing down things I’d like to do and accomplish throughout the year. In the next few days I’ll post my 2014 list. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles this was inspirited by Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications. The idea of an annual Bucket List is to accomplish goals each and every year, not leaving everything until the end of your life. In general, a Bucket List is about achieving things before you die so you don’t have any regrets.

Speaking of dying, earlier this week I was driving down the freeway in a typical mid-winter, white-knuckled Utah snowstorm. The hazy fog and icy roads made for treacherous driving conditions. Suddenly without any apparent cause my contact lens slid from the center to the corner of my eye. This created excruciating pain causing my eyes to water, greatly hindering my vision. I could barely see as I attempted to squint through stinging tears and desperately worked to avoid an accident that could result in serious injury to me and others. Finally, and with no small amount of effort (and prayers), I was able to get off the freeway and pull over to a safe spot. My heart was pounding as I took huge sighs of relief. Not to be melodramatic, but I could have died.  

Later that night I hugged my two little boys just a little bit tighter; I found a few extra minutes to talk with each of my teenagers and I made sure to kiss my wife goodnight and let her know I loved her. I didn’t want to go to bed having any regrets about that day.

If we think about each day in terms of a Bucket List, hopefully we do the little things to bring happiness and peace to others. That might come in many forms: spending more time with family, reaching out to a friend in need, calling parents on the phone to see how they’re doing, smiling at co-workers as we walk around the office and maybe that even means being kinder to complete strangers. Yup, even that guy who cut you off on the freeway… because you never know what he’s going through at that exact moment

 

Image via.

5 Things I’ve Learned

Step lightlyI’m currently in my 10th year with Access Development. Over the past decade I’ve worked with many great people and formed lifelong friendships. I’m grateful for people who have taken time to teach me through their example and actions.

So for my first post of 2014 I’ve decided to pass along a few of the lessons I’ve learned from others:

Step Lightly – Early in my carrier my strategy, metaphorically speaking, revolved around carrying a large stick and clearing anyone out of my path or going into every meeting with ‘guns a blazing’. It worked wonders and things got done. Or so I believed. The latent affect was I got a poor reputation for being overly emotional and even selfish. Even worst, others became defensive in my presence and sometimes people’s feelings were hurt due to my brash style. One day my manager, a friend and a leader, came into my office and placed a small yellow sticky note next to my computer monitor. It read “step lightly”. I’ve worked on stepping lightly ever since… and it actually works.  

Over-Communicate – It’s better than under-communicating.  Over communicating clears up confusion and doubts, and minimizes misunderstandings. Where possible, face-to-face communication works best. Over-communicating creates transparency, unity and collaboration.

Show Purpose (and Grab a Piece of Paper) – Ever notice how some people walk around the office with no apparent purpose, even appearing lost. One colleague of mine mentioned how she never wants people to think that of her. When she walks down the hall, she walks with purpose. Even if she’s just going to the water cooler she walks with purpose. And if she walks to a meeting (or to the bathroom) she always has something in her hands… anything. It shows she has purpose. If nothing else, she grabs a sheet of scrap paper off the printer because it’s better than walking around empty handed.

Try it! Look like you have a purpose and act important, and people will treat you that way.

Play the Game – It’s something several leaders have taught me and I’ve been slow to embrace. Often this term is viewed with a negative connotation. Playing the Game isn’t about sucking up or being false in an attempt to fit in. Every business has a unique culture. Every division, team or project has a unique style and personality. Play the Game means learning to personally adapt to the company’s culture and personality. By doing so you’ll be a great shipmate. You can even rock the boat now and again, but you’ll never be accused on sinking the ship.  

Be a great shipmate. You can even rock the boat now and again, but you’ll never be accused on sinking the ship.

Be Positive – Things sometime go wrong in business. Things often go wrong. People let you down. Technology causes more issues than solutions. Allowing external forces to cause continuous internal frustrations is non-productive and honestly unhealthy. Being positive isn’t about what’s going on around you; it’s about deciding the state of well being inside you. Being positive can be infectious. Many challenging times were made better (and sometimes bearable) thanks for continually positive people.   

What have you learned from others at your company?

A big thanks goes out to Shaggy, Trav, Jaymee, Bona and KP for the things I’ve learned from them; as well as countless others.

Got Change!

coins IIEach December my kids’ elementary school has an end of year fundraiser called the Winter Store. The Winter Store features items personally made by the 6th grade class students as they learn about commerce, cost of goods, and profit margins. Items are placed on display in the library for sale before and after school. It’s a great learning opportunity for the older students and provides a fun store with inexpensive gifts for the rest of the students to buy.

This year I had the pleasure of accompanying my two youngest sons (6 and 8 years old) to the store. Each boy was given a crisp 5 dollar bill to spend on whatever item or items he wished to purchase. With a variety of gift options and crafts there was a plethora of options to choose from ranging in price from $1 to $5.

We arrived 15 minutes before school started, but the library quickly filled up with enthusiastic youngster each holding their precious coins and dollar bills, eager to make a purchase.

My two boys approached the buying opportunity differently. My eight year old son quickly scoped out a couple of items he dearly wanted. He snatched them up asking me to hold on to them while he socialized with his friends. My six year old on the other hand roamed around and around the display tables, the sheer number of options virtually overwhelming. As the time for school to start quickly approached I began prodding him to make his final decision.

Only minutes before the bell rang he finally selected two items and we got in line to pay. I noticed my older son had selected gifts that added up exactly to $5, his total spend amount. My younger son on the other hand had $3.75 worth of items. I brought this to his attention letting him know he had another $1.25 to spend.

“Quick, go find something else for $1.25 while I wait in line to pay” I said.

“No Dad, I want change” he replied with excitement.       

The concept of buying something paled in comparison to the excitement of getting change!

Each boy arrived at the cashier’s table to pay for their goods. The cashier helping my younger son took his five dollar bill and then placed a dollar and a quarter in his small hand. “Here’s your change” she said.

His eyes opened wide, his grin spread from ear to ear. He lifted his open palm towards me showcasing his money and said “See, I got change.” Then he joyfully scampered off to class.    

—–

The 1989 comedy movie, UHF, portrays actor and songwriter ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic playing the role of George Newman. George is an obsessive daydreamer who can’t keep a job, but ends up managing his uncle’s TV station. Throughout the movie a man in dirty, tattered clothing is seen begging people for change. “Change, change mister…” he calls out.

After having ignored the man several times George finally stops, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of coins. He holds out the change to give the man. Instead of merely taking the money the man begins counting the coins, when he reaches 100 cents he takes the money and places a one dollar bill in George’s hand. “Gee, thanks mister” he says.

—–

2013 will soon come to an end and the New Year will roll in. Inevitably change will occur in many ways for many of us. Change is a part of life, often seen as something to accept or endure. Change can create worry, fear of the unknown or concern about things getting worst or having less than we previously had.

Maybe it’s time to have that childlike excitement toward that idea of change. Maybe it’s time to view change as getting just as much as we’re giving. Maybe it’s time to alter our paradigm of change.  

Accepting change is good. Embracing change is better. Looking forward to change and creating change is best.

Here’s to a New Year full of change!

photo credit: xJason.Rogersx via photopin cc

If You Cannot Measure It …Five beliefs that erode workplace motivation (Part 5)

Doug Jentzsch:

A great article on placing importance on things that can’t be measured. People, relationships, emotions, attitude – what motivates and inspires, these are things we maybe should focus on more at work. Then numbers and results will naturally follow.

Originally posted on Blanchard LeaderChat:

bigstock-Measurement-With-Caliper-44942719As we have discovered with all five of the eroding beliefs in this series of posts, completing this statement falls off the tongue:  If you cannot measure it, it doesn’t matter.

I was a longtime aficionado of SMART goal setting when the “M” stood for “Measurable.” However, over time, I found that a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal simply was not SMART enough. I changed the “M” to “Motivating” and moved measurable into the “S” (Specific). Adding another dimension to make my goals more emotionally compelling worked for me. It seemed to work for others, too. Now the science of motivation explains why.

The nature of things that cannot be measured.

Setting measurable goals and outcomes is important. Having a defined finish line in front of you can be positively compelling. In my previous post, I encouraged leaders and individuals to ensure a higher level of results…

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3 Tips to Kick Start Your Marketing

Remember when marketing was as simple as a trip to the copy store to make fliers or as complex as a full-blown campaign starting with a call to an ad agency?

Today the tools and resources for marketing cover a much wider spectrum and are vastly available to experienced marketers and novices alike.  The sheer volume of marketing acronyms, terms and mediums are enough to make your head spin.

Marketing terms

Yes, marketing can feel overwhelming, especially social media marketing; it’s the new 800 lb gorilla. Whether you’re a business owner or industry leader you know marketing is important. Now you’re saying, “So where do I start?”

Here are 3 tips to you get started: 

Ask: Why?

Why is marketing a priority at this time? Think about what has transpired prompting you to do more marketing (or some marketing for that matter). Once you understand what’s motivating the decision you can determine the desired results.

No one says “I want to use power tools” and starts driving random holes and sawing wood. You start with an objective or end result in mind, for example “I want a bench.” Then determine what tools will work best to accomplish it.

Don’t start with the kind of marketing, start with the results you’d like to achieve. Knowing the results will help you better evaluate what tools to use.

Warning: If you said “I want more customers” or “I want more money” – try again!  Be more specific.

Start Small

Taking on the entire gamut of marketing tools and practices would be overwhelming, leading to inevitable failure. It’s better to do a couple things exceptionally well than a slew of things poorly. For example, if you settle on social media as a launching point don’t create a Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr account all at once. Always be asking “Which of this will most effectively help me reach my goals?”

Narrow down your list of potential marketing activities to 3 or 4. Then do some research; a ton of information is online including industry articles, blogs, customer reviews and more. Next, find some live people to discuss your marketing choices with. Yes, actual conversations. Inquire about success stories, tip and tricks, failures and things to avoid. Talk to co-workers, talk to similar businesses, and even talk to sales reps. Watch for my future blog article on dealing with sales reps.

Finally, get started by selecting one or two marketing mediums to begin using. Notice I said 1 or 2 – not 3, 4, or 5!

Dedicate Time

Marketing needs to be a habit. Set aside time each week to work on it. It can be 15 minutes a day, an hour every other day or two hours a week. Consistency is key. Choose specific days and times, for example, Tuesday and Thursday from 8-9:30am. Put it on your calendar; make it a weekly task. Dedicate this time 100% to your new marketing efforts. That requires selecting days and times with minimal interruptions.

During this time evaluate what’s working – and improve on it. Determine what’s not working – and find ways to change it. Again, your barometer for successful marketing will be based on its effectiveness in getting you closer to your goals.

Marketing shouldn’t be a guessing game. Although it’s not an exact science it is a science, one that needs to be researched, tested, and retested to achieve optimal results. That takes time!

800 lbs marketing gorillaII

Bonus Tips:

  • Be Patient – Marketing takes time. Time to learn, to take effect, and to perfect.
  • Have Fun – It’s marketing not biochemical engineering.

 

Enough of the pep talk – Go, get started today!

Marketing shouldn’t be a guessing game. Although it’s not an exact science it is a science.

I’d love to hear from you: What has been one of your most successful marketing campaigns?

Doug Jentzsch

Marketing and Motivation

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