Capt. Kirk Says Mental Labor Needs a Rest, Too!

The crew of the original Enterprise, except Hi...
Image via Wikipedia

One of my favorite quotes comes from Star Trek (the original series):

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.
Kirk in “Shore Leave”

Well said! I think it is timely for the Labor Day Holiday to realize that we need to let our brains rest, too. Labor Day is not just for blue collar workers. We need to recognize that sometimes our greatest inspirations come during our playtime.

How often do you walk away from your desktop for just a few minutes and get that eureka moment?! Or in the shower, or just upon waking, … you get the idea.

Modern technology all too often robs us of allowing our minds to wander free. As much as we understand the value of allowing our bodies to rest each night, we must recognize the value of allowing our thought processes to shut down, to meditate if you will. If you are only constantly absorbing new material, you aren’t allowing time to process.

We have a rule on family driving trips. Our 13 year old son has to take 1/2 hour breaks from the DSI on road trips to just look out the window and let his mind wander. It’s amazing what thoughts are conjured up in that process… Give yourself that same luxury and you’ll find you are much more productive in the long run.

Happy Labor Day!

Troubleshooting your business – get back to the basics!

I’ve had a change in direction at my job… I’m troubleshooting the worst department in the company. As far back as I can remember, almost every employer I have had has placed me in problem departments or stores for the sole purpose of turning them around and I loved every minute of it! So satisfying to go from worst to first!

What should you look for when you are troubleshooting your own business? It doesn’t matter how short or long you have been in business, we all seem to get stuck in the same ruts that can put us in a downward spiral if we are not careful.

First look to see HOW you and your staff are performing. If there are tools that are not being used, or if you and/or your staff don’t have the tools needed to perform each job effectively, that’s where you start.

Yes, you often can get by without less than the most modern tools, but do an honest assessment of the cost of better software, phone systems, etc. against the resulting ROI. This is often overlooked because of the initial expense involved. Penny wise and pound foolish! When a new system can potentially cut work time in half and help you work smarter – not harder – then it’s a necessary investment. How will you ever grow if you can’t handle what you have now?

Second – get out the elbow grease and get to work cleaning up! As you pick up every piece of paper in your stacks, either throw it away or file it – now! Don’t put it aside to decide later – do it now! Make a new rule to touch it only once. Scan as much as possible – attach documents to their respective clients folders or accounts. When you have all of your documents in one place on your desktop, you have all of your information in one location, you save steps to the file cabinet, and you have the ability to email those documents immediately if necessary.

Next steps to troubleshooting in my next post – in the meantime, assess your tools and clean up!

What’s your biggest stumbling block to getting organizing?

Birthdays – opportunities to refocus.

As many often do on their birthday, I am reflecting, but more so, I am realizing that by today’s age expectations, I still have a good 30+ years to go – another lifetime of explorations, experiences, and learning. How Great!

I have a vivid memory of being in 3rd grade (mid- 1960’s) and reading a short story in class by Isaac Asimov. I wish I could remember the name… There was a black and white drawing of a sister and brother sitting at the kitchen table with Mom in the kitchen. On that table was a desktop computer much like what we have today. The kids were taking their school lessons on it.

Now remember, in that era, computers filled up a whole room and were only used by large companies. IBM was it. We hadn’t yet reached the moon either!

I remember sitting at that school desk, staring at that picture and wishing I would live long enough to see that exact picture. I’m only 53 and what I saw in that picture is now commonplace – desktops computers are as common as televisions. Add DSI’s, cellphones, laptops, Wii’s, etc…How wonderful is that?

I think back on my parents at this age. They were getting old. Period. It would take pages for me to describe the differences in our attitudes, lifestyles, experiences, activities, and more. What a remarkable difference in just one generation. And here I am – so blessed and so happy to be living – here – now – with so much more to come.

Regrets? One major regret – schools of my era did not encourage girls to explore science, math, and business. I was guided toward humanities. Looking back, I would have like to been in research.

On a positive note, I recognize that apparently I didn’t ignore that urge of observation, experimentation, and results. In my business life, I have enjoyed being a troubleshooter and turnaround specialist because of my lean toward observation and a desire to make things better. Especially in terms of trying to figure out why people do the things they do.

One major observation I have made throughout my years is that people often don’t want to know “how to do it better.” A shame. Settling for sameness. Fear or rebuttal? Both, maybe. The difference between success and failure.

I choose success. Happy birthday to me!

How about you? What drives you toward success?