“When people go to work they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” ~ Betty Bender

Do you feel like you have to check your heart at the door before you walk into your office everyday? Are you disillusioned with your current job situation and would like to make a change? Maybe you’ve had it with “Corporate America” and want to jump ship?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out of work right now. Does this mean that you should give up all hope of changing jobs? No! This may be the perfect time to start planning your exit strategy, or to actually make it. The need for work that sustains you and satisfies you has not changed simply because the economy has changed. It may make your search more challenging, or you may have to delay your decision to look for greener pastures until employment prospects increase in your employment sector, but you should not abandon your hopes and dreams of finding more meaningful work. What you must do, however, is some serious preparation so that you are ready to take action when the time is right.

The following is some guidance to help you plan your eventual exit.

quit_jobTiming is Everything – How do you know when you are ready to jump ship? The answer depends on many factors. Unless you are absolutely miserable and need to get out of your current job situation immediately in order to preserve your health and well-being, I recommend you slowly plan your exit strategy while still working full time. There are many benefits to this approach, including financial (save money, pay off debt, etc.), and emotional/psychological (prepare yourself and your family for a major change). Consider going part time first if your employer is open to it. This may allow for a smooth transition on both sides.

Determine Your Motives – If you don’t know why you want to leave your present job, this is where you need to start. Why do you want to leave your current employer/ profession? Are you running away from your present position, or running towards something new? For example, before I became an entrepreneur, I practiced law for 9 years. Although I had a profound respect for the law, I did not appreciate the way it was practiced in our society.  It became too negative in the hands of those that wanted to use it to fight.  I started to become restless and knew that there were other ways I could share my talents and expertise with people and organizations to improve the world.  I did a lot of soul searching and arrived at the conclusion that I needed to leave the traditional practice of law and become an entrepreneur in order to truly make a difference. So my motives were a combination of wanting to leave my past profession and wanting to embark on a new one.

Examine Your Choices – Do you want to leave your present job to “go it alone?” In other words, would you like to become self-employed, start your own business, or work as a consultant or freelancer? If so, you will need to start researching entrepreneurship to make sure it is a good fit for you. What about moving to a different size employer? For example, if you currently work for a large corporation, consider a mid-sized business or small office where you may be able to take on more responsibility, and enjoy better life-work balance. Love the idea of helping others? Maybe the non-profit world would be a good fit for you. Start brainstorming job and career ideas, and then conduct empirical research to see if those ideas are realistic for you.

Don’t Burn Your Bridges – If you have an open relationship with your current employer and don’t think you’d risk losing your job, you could share your news and offer to help your employer find and train your replacement. Your current employer may become a great ally in your job search and career transition. If you strike out on your own, who knows? Your current employer could become your best new client!

Use Your Transferable Skills – If you are unsure what your next move is, start looking at your transferable skills. Many people get caught up in the title or position of their job. This is the time to think outside the box! Think of the types of work that you have thought about or admired in the past. Imagine the work environments you think you’d thrive in. Focus on tasks and activities you like to do and excel at.

re-trainingBuild New Skills – Try to gain the skills necessary to make the career transition while you are still working in your present job. Are there professional development workshops you can attend? Maybe you can take an online course? Can you conduct informational interviews with experts in the field you want to enter? Identify what skills you are lacking, and try to get experience and education in those areas before you start your job search in earnest.

Make Connections – Network with professionals in the field you want to enter. Call upon your sphere of influence to assist you in making crucial connections that will help you get a job in a new setting or industry that you have had your eye on. This is the time to build a professional network of people that are eager and willing to help you make this transition.

Get Support – Connect with others who have faced their own turning points and have survived and flourished. Talk to your friends and family so that they understand your desire and need for this change. Hire a professional coach or career counselor to become your guide on this journey.

Want to become a dynamic public speaker or hone your existing speaking skills? Have to give a presentation and need help writing and organizing it, or coaching on how to present it? Want to learn how to use speaking as a powerful marketing vehicle or actual income stream?

woman_speakingMany of my clients come to me because they want to add revenue to their business and find ways to increase their visibility. Speaking – and getting paid to do it – is one of the top strategies I recommend when working with my business/entrepreneur clients.

Even my clients that work for a corporation or organization often come to me for speaking training and coaching, as they too need to hone those ever-important speaking skills.

Lisa_and_Monica-2016-NAPOThat’s why I’m introducing Speak Up: Crafting and Delivering Killer Presentations to Boost Your Business. And I’m excited that my colleague, Monica Ricci, will once again co-facilitate with me. Monica and I have shared the stage together a few times now with amazing results!

This 8-week teleclass-based group program kicks off on Thursday, September 8th and we conclude on October 27th.

specialofferTake a minute right now and make a decision as the early bird rate of only $697 ends August 11th. And . . . the first five people to register get BONUS gifts!

If this sounds like a good fit for where you want to take your business or career, register now.

Questions? Send me an email at Lisa@LisaMontanaro.com and we can set up a time to chat.

And if you are a NAPO member or an LMGU alumni, contact me for a special coupon code for special rate!

Do you want to become a great public speaker or hone your existing speaking skills?

Have you been asked to give a presentation and are scared to death and aren’t sure how to pull it off?

Do you want to really wow your audience/client and get spin off speaking gigs?

Look no further!

Monica and LisaSpeak Up is back! This is a coaching and training program for aspiring speakers, as well as speakers with experience that want to “up their game” and knock it out of the park! Drawing upon my background as a performer, lawyer, professional speaker, and speaker coach, I will pull the speaker out of you so that you can ace your speaking engagements with confidence.

I have successfully presented this speaking program live in many locations across the U.S., including New York, Seattle and New Orleans. For the second year, I am offering it as a virtual program so that you can take advantage of it no matter where you live from the comfort of your own home or office. No travel expenses involved! It is ultra-convenient. All you need is a phone and/or computer.

And it gets even better! Once again a wonderful colleague will co-facilitate it along with me. And she’s not just anyone. My partner in crime is Monica Ricci, who is an accomplished speaker extraordinaire. In fact, Monica and I have shared the stage together a few ti mes now with amazing results. We have been called The Dynamic Duo! (Click here to check out my blog post about how Monica and I came together to present this program live a few years ago in New Orleans!)

Please join us for this amazing 8 week teleclass-based group program that will help you:

checkbox Conduct engaging, informative and interactive presentations for audiences large and small.
checkbox Learn how to prepare and deliver presentations of different types, lengths, and targeted to different audiences.
checkbox Improve your oral and nonverbal communication styles.
checkbox Inspire and motivate participants, exude confidence and enthusiasm, and establish credibility.
checkbox Overcome your fear of public speaking and use that fear to your advantage.
checkbox Increase speaking confidence.
checkbox Discover how to connect with the audience, use humor, and let your unique personality and style shine.
checkbox Learn how to effectively handle speaking snafus, such as interruptions, hecklers, and technical difficulties.
checkbox Get coaching and feedback from two professional speakers who make a significant portion of their income through speaking.
checkbox Learn how to use speaking as an income stream and a marketing funnel to build your business.

Whether conducting trainings, workshops, keynotes, or any other type of presentation, this program will help you become a more dynamic speaker!

Back-to-School Time is the Perfect Opportunity to Participate in a Program Like This.

public_speakerWe’ll start Thursday, September 8th and go for 8 weeks and end on October 27th. This program can be done from the comfort of your own home or office. You can be lounging by your pool, swinging in the hammock, or sitting on your deck with a glass of lemonade. That is the beauty of a virtual program. All you need is your telephone, and perhaps a computer/tablet/smart phone if you want to take it a step further.

See all of the Speak Up Program schedule and description of services here: https://www.lisamontanaro.com/speakup

Special Bonus for the First 5 People to Register:

  • bonusAn audio interview of Lisa Montanaro titled “Breakthrough to Big: Speaking as a Breakthrough Moment for an Entrepreneur” from a telesummit she participated in as a guest expert hosted by Cathy Goodwin.
  • An ebook by Monica Ricci titled “Your Life Organized: It’s Not About The Stuff.”

testimonial-Deborah_CabralPsst… I’m even offering an early bird registration rate so you don’t have to dip into your summer fun stash! Check it out.

“Speak” to you soon!

bookaholicI know it is June, so it may seem strange to bring up New Year’s resolutions. But in some ways, it is perfect. What’s the point of setting a New Year’s Resolution if you don’t commit to it? So I thought I’d share mine with you in case you want to try it yourself at any point in the year, or perhaps as inspiration to get back to your own New Year’s Resolution.

I woke up in 2015 and realized that all I did was read business content all the time. And while that may be great for a business owner, I was getting bored with it. Thus, I made a resolution to go back to reading for pleasure, which has always been one of my favorite hobbies since I first learned to read as a child.

I absolutely love to read. It is one of my great joys in life. But I had reached a point where I felt my reading always had to somehow improve my business or provide skills or information that I could pass onto my clients. It started to feel like a chore, and a nagging to-do list. My stack of “to read” business books lined my shelves, but when I looked at them, I wasn’t jazzed to dig in.

So I decided to do an about face and go back to my first love, which was reading for pleasure. I joined the Goodreads challenge and set a goal for 12 books in 2015, all personal, non-business. I wound up reading 15 books last year and loved every minute of it! I wasn’t as serious about it in the first half of the year, but once I took a month off and went to Italy last summer, I couldn’t stop reading for pleasure!!!

me_before_youSo that brought me to January 2016 and setting this year’s New Year’s Resolution. I decided to up the ante and set 24 books to read for the year. I have already passed that and am up to 27 books to date. So I just raised my 2016 reading goal to 45.

I took all the business books away from my nightstand and replaced them with personal books. I’ve joined some awesome online virtual book clubs, and now I’m devouring a book a week! I always have a book I’m reading. And I do still read the old fashioned book versions. I bring them with me everywhere I go so if I have any “found time,” I read. I also make time for reading in my day — every day now. Furthermore, I downloaded an app called Overdrive, which allows me to borrow audio books and ebooks for free from my local library. So now while I read one traditional bound book, I also listen to an audiobook (not at the exact same time of course!). I love listening to books while I exercise, walk my dogs, cook, drive in my car, etc.

the_year_we_turned40I have never been a fan of reading a book on a device. But with all of the business travel I do, I decided to give it a try. I downloaded the Kindle app onto my iPad and voila, a whole new world of e-reading is at my fingertips. I admit that it is still not my favorite way to read, but when traveling for 10 days to 2 weeks, it sure beats lugging around hard cover or even paperback books.

And here’s an added benefit. Reading has sparked renewed interest in a major hobby that I had put aside… writing! I have always loved writing. I have been keeping a journal since I am 8 years old (yes, by hand!). I wrote and published an organizing and life coaching book years ago, which was a fabulous experience. But again, that was business focused. My first love of writing was always personal … journaling, poetry, short stories, essays, etc. I started writing a memoir in 2005 and have now turned back to that and am excited to give it my writing attention in the future.

drink_wine-read_booksAnd have I mentioned I’m loving every minute of it and don’t miss the business books at all? In the end, what makes me a great entrepreneur is my mind and spirit. And I am feeding it with lots of great fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, poetry, and short stories. And I think not only am I better for it, but so is my business and my clients. Because reading is good for the soul. Yes, even the soul of a business owner. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Most of us want to be more productive and focused. We want to get more done in less time, and work smarter, as opposed to harder. But we also live in the real world, where we have responsibilities, to-do’s piling up, people relying on us, and a laundry list of tasks that we want to get to.

overwhelmed_with_workProductivity isn’t one size fits all, and it is not a bull’s eye that we can always reach. Productivity lives alongside us every day and we are constantly tweaking it and changing it and paying attention to it and reassessing it. I know that sounds exhausting but it’s really not. Look at it as a constant companion that’s helping you get more done, but that also recognizes you are human and that you need a break.

So how do you stay productive and focused, while also giving yourself a break now and then? Enter the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo (yes, an Italian, hence the name, which means tomato in Italian) in the late 1980s. The premise behind the Pomodoro Technique is that taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates burn out and distractions, and improves focus.

So how does it work?

pomodoro_techniqueEach Pomodoro lasts for 25 minutes, and is a highly focused work session, followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 Pomodoro intervals, you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.

You may be thinking… “25 minutes? That’s it. How easy!” Not so fast. The Pomodoro is a highly focused work session, which means no interruptions or distractions are allowed. By other people for sure. But also, not even by ourselves. We tend to task-switch every 3 minutes according to David Meyer, a researcher at the University of Michigan who studies multi-tasking and task switching. That means that we interrupt ourselves constantly throughout the day. We may be in the middle of a task, and think of something else and move to another task (“Oh wait, I forgot to send that email earlier today. Let me just do that now.”) With Pomodoro, you focus on the task at hand only. When you complete your 25 minute Pomodoro interval, then you allow interruptions, self imposed or otherwise.

The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is its simplicity. You use a timer to break down work into manageable intervals, separated by short breaks. You know there is a light at the end of the tunnel in 25 minutes, so you dive in with full mental acuity and give your work intervals your all. You tend to be more focused and productive, and during your breaks, you give yourself a real break.

What do you do during your breaks? Grab snacks, drink some water, stretch your legs and body, pet your dog, say hello to someone, use the restroom, check social media or email, etc.

The Pomodoro Technique can work well for anyone… students, professionals in an office environment, self employed folks who work from home in an unstructured environment, etc. Indeed, the structure of the Pomodoro Technique is often what makes it work so well.

If you have ADD, the Pomodoro Technique can be very powerful. It helps you focus on the task at hand, knowing that you get a built in break after 25 minutes. You may need to shorten your Pomodoros at first to work up to 25 minutes. Likewise, if you can last longer than 25 minutes and still be highly focused, then stretch your Pomodoros a bit. But not too long, as studies show that too long, and you start to lose focus.

For more information about the Pomodoro Technique, visit http://pomodorotechnique.com, where you will find videos, books, a timer, etc. You can also download the app to help guide you through your work intervals and breaks. Ready to take a bite out of that tomato? Try the Pomodoro Technique and see if it helps you be more productive.

unhappy_at-workAre you unhappy with your current job? Do you feel that the grass may be greener at another organization or in a different position? Well, that may be the case. But until you actually trek over to greener pastures, you need to find ways to be happy in the position you are currently in. If you are unhappy with your job, it will spread like wildfire and negatively affect all aspects of your life. Learn to love the job you’re in as much as you can by trying these simple, but effective tips. They will help you be more satisfied with your work by removing some of the unhappiness from your current job.

Take Pride in Your Work

Regardless of what you do for a living, chances are you can find something about it to take pride in. It could be the organization or company’s overall mission. It could be the productivity of your particular department or division. Perhaps it is the actual work that you produce. Maybe it is as simple as knowing that you are giving it your all. Take a look at your skills, talents and interests and the way they are used at work and find something you love about the job everyday, no matter how small. Taking pride in your work can lead to greater job satisfaction and overall happiness in the workplace.

Visit the Water Cooler and Be Socialwater_cooler

One of the ways to be happier at work is by developing connections with co-workers. Even if you don’t love your actual job, developing relationships with those you work with will help you enjoy the time you spend at work. I am not advocating that you spend hours on end at the water cooler, but visiting it once in awhile for a quick break and a chat with a co-worker can boost productivity and make you both enjoy your job more. So go ahead — get out there and be social!

Seek Out Assignments and Projects That Are Meaningful To You

Another way to be happier at work is to seek out assignments and projects that are meaningful to you. This could be in the core areas of your job, or in peripheral areas that your company or organization work in. If you want more responsibility, let that be known. If you want to incorporate certain talents and skills into your work, figure out ways to do so. Looking for more meaning in your work, but unable to find it directly? Think broadly. For example, maybe you are a corporate lawyer and feel that you want to use your legal talents in a way that “gives back.” You could seek out pro bono assignments and projects once in awhile that will serve to fulfill this need, thus making you enjoy your overall work and job more.

Participate in a Task Force or Committee to Make a Difference

Many companies and organizations have committees, but not all committees and task forces truly make a difference. You can change that. Find a committee or task force that is doing meaningful work and jump on board. Or better yet, create a task force or committee that studies and solves a problem. Employees that are involved in creating solutions are generally the ones that are happiest at work, as they are taking an active part in effectuating change. So don’t be a hermit – get out there and participate.

Change Your Attitude

great-attitudeA large part of job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace is affected by attitude. The good news about that is you can change your attitude! When your attitude changes, often times your behavior changes too. Yes, maybe your job is boring, or your boss is annoying, or the company is not creative in its approach, but your attitude towards your job is controlled by you. Dwell on the aspects of your job that are positive. Try your best to maintain some enthusiasm for your job. You are in control of your thoughts and attitude, so try to make it your mission to stay as positive as possible.

Coaching Challenge: Try to find ways to be happier at work by picking one of the above categories weekly and focusing on it. Let me know how you do, and how much it raises your happiness quotient!

sign-languageWhen I was a little girl, my parents took me to visit our cousins. I noticed immediately that something was different in the way they communicated. They used hand gestures and had an interesting accent when they spoke orally. Their children were also using these hand gestures from the crib and play pen. I learned that my cousins were Deaf and that their two children were hearing, but were communicating with them in American Sign Language (ASL). I was completely and utterly enthralled to say the least. I loved watching them communicate and vowed to learn their beautiful expressive language. As I got older, I became interested in Helen Keller after watching The Miracle Worker, and decided that I wanted to teach Deaf children at some point in my life.

I realized that dream the year after I graduated from college. I chose to take a year off between college and law school, and obtained a position as an instructor and sometimes interpreter at the NY School for the Deaf. I wound up staying 3 years as I loved it so much! I attended law school in the evening instead of the day in order to continue teaching. Those three years were very important to me. They helped me develop my love of ASL and become an advocate for persons with disabilities. I wrote and published many pieces on disability law, taught disability law classes for a law school as an adjunct professor, and served as the co-chair of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee for the American Bar Association.

Eventually, I left my law career and that ended my official disability law pursuits. However, it did not end my love affair with sign language, or my support of Deaf rights. I carried many lessons with me that I learned from my years working within the Deaf community.

Did you ever notice that when someone is speaking to a deaf or hard of hearing person, they do the one thing that makes absolutely no sense? They start speaking a lot louder! Sometimes they even start yelling. This makes absolutely no sense because the one thing the deaf person can’t do is hear.

In fact, the Deaf community has a popular phrase: “I can do anything but hear!” It is an empowering phrase that reminds them that although deafness may be perceived by the hearing world as a disability, that is their only limitation.

What is your perceived “disability”? How would you answer the phrase “I can do anything but _______.” I am hoping that there is nothing after the word but. However, some of you may have something that came to mind. It may be a limiting belief, an outdated assumption, a block, an objection, a stereotype, a negative message that you were programmed to believe. Those things may be your version of a disability.

Here are 5 success principles I learned from teaching the Deaf that will help you develop a Can-Do Attitude and start breaking through your own limitations.

1. Don’t Make Assumptions
We all make assumptions based on our background and experience. We often have a running commentary in our head that is like a broken record playing over and over. Be careful of that recording! I learned about not making assumptions from my experience working with the Deaf. For example, sign language isn’t Universal. Not all deaf people can read lips. Not everything is as it appears in life. What “assumptions” are you holding onto that may be wrong, outdated or are not serving you in business and in life? Work on identifying them, turning them on their head and challenging them.

2. Make Eye Contact
You must look at a deaf person to communicate. In the hearing world, it is amazing how many people don’t make eye contact when speaking to each other. Making eye contact is a great habit to cultivate in general, but it is even more vital for an entrepreneur, coach, consultant and certainly for a speaker. Pay attention to people when they are speaking to you. Make eye contact and show them that you care!

3. Don’t Just Hear… Listen and Understand
Deaf people can’t hear, but they do listen. A common phrase that the Deaf often use when having a conversation is “I understand”. They are showing that they are paying attention to what you are communicating, and that they are truly listening to you. Many people are good speakers, but not good listeners. If you are not truly listening, try it. It can make a huge difference in your communication and relationships.

4. Keep Your Sense of Humor
Many deaf people have a wickedly good sense of humor, and can laugh at themselves. This is a great lesson for all us in life and business. It helps you to keep a positive attitude and draws people to you. Find the humor in everything and keep things as light as you can. I often think humor is a wonderful way of diffusing many difficult or challenging situations. Learning to laugh at life, and ourselves, is a great skill to cultivate.

sign_language-superpower5. Plan Ahead for Life’s Bumps in the Road
If you know there may be a roadblock ahead, don’t bury your head in the sand… plan for it. I had a student named Matthew that had Usher’s Syndrome. He was deaf and was slowly losing his eyesight also. Usher’s Syndrome causes loss of vision slowly over a period of time, first affecting your peripheral vision and then slowly affecting your entire eyesight like a tunnel closing up. Matthew planned ahead for this eventual vision loss by learning braille and sign language in hand so he could continue to communicate. Talk about dedication and planning ahead for a bump in the road! Tak e a page out of Matthew’s book. When you plan ahead, prepare and face life head on. It helps you to not only obtain a better result, but possibly enjoy the journey and the process.

I hope you are inspired by these brave deaf individuals and their can-do attitude. Now ask yourself, can you develop a Can-Do Attitude? What success principles do you have in your bag of tricks to help you start overcoming your perceived limitations? Start tapping into those success principles and tools.

Here’s to a Can-Do Attitude!

If you ask most people what they want out of their career, they will say satisfaction. And yes, career satisfaction is a good thing. But let’s take it a step further. The people that seem to be the happiest in their careers are the ones that not only get satisfaction out of their work, but are able to bring their passions into their work also. Passion in your career? Yes!

I firmly believe that the road to success is actually paved with passion. There is magic in passion. If you believe in your work (for whatever reason, it’s important to you), you will take more risks, bounce back more easily from set backs and rejections, and work longer and harder on your projects.

So how do you tap into the passion in your career? Here are some tips.

  • Remind yourself of why you went into this line of work in the first place. Perhaps you turned a beloved hobby into a career, but now have become mired down in the day-to-day details and have lost sight of the meaning behind your work. Try to take a step back from the daily grind and tap into the passion that drove you to choose this line of work. Assuming your work was a choice (and that you were initially happy with that choice), spend some time thinking about WHY you chose the work and the excitement you experienced in knowing that you get to do this work for a living.
  • love_your_workSee your work from the eyes of a very happy, satisfied, evangelical client or customer. Think about your favorite client or customer. The one that pays on time, treats you and the work you do with respect, and makes working with him or her fun. Now see the work that you do from his or her perspective. Looks a lot more interesting from that angle, doesn’t it?
  • See your work from the eyes of a grateful client or customer whose life was somehow changed in dramatic ways based on the work that you do. Again, this is all about finding the passion in your work. What better way to do that than to view your work from the eyes of someone whose life was affected in measurable and important ways by the services you performed or products that you or your company provides.
  • Focus on projects that excite you and allow you to use your unique talents and skills. All too often, we get caught up in the humdrum work that is not particularly interesting, and that doesn’t excite us. Try to seek out projects that allow you to use your talents and skills, and that downright excite you. I realize that not all work projects fall into this category, but to the extent you can, make sure you always have at least one really juicy project to focus on that can help to eclipse all of the other, less desirable ones.
  • Stretch yourself and try something new. Tired of doing the same old type of work over and over again? Then seek new pastures at work. Let it be known that you’d like to try some new ways of doing things, or new types of projects. Try to do a similar task or project a different way, or choose different colleagues to work with you from time to time. Mix it up to keep things from getting stale.
  • Go for the gold and seek a promotion, a new client or account. If you realize that you are actually holding yourself back, start to think about how you can “go for it” in your work. Can you apply for that amazing opening in another division that you have been eyeing? How about a promotion in your own department? When was the last time you tried to obtain a great new client or head up an initiative or project? Be your own best advocate and the passion will flow a lot more than usual!

Imagine you are on a roll, engrossed in a project, in the “flow.” All of a sudden, the phone rings, an e-mail alarm goes off, a colleague is standing in your doorway, a text message is coming through on your smart phone, etc. Ah, interruptions. If you didn’t define all of those as an interruption, think again.

Experts estimate that the average American is interrupted every 3-4 minutes. Some people find this number to be too frequent, others find it extremely low. It depends on what your definition of an interruption is. My definition is anything that you didn’t want to, or expect to, happen at that time. I equate an interruption to a weed in my garden –- if it doesn’t belong there, or if I don’t want it there, it is a weed. Same with an interruption.

So how do you avoid getting sidetracked? It is not always easy, and it depends on what your job is, and who is interrupting you, but try some of the following tactics.

Think of an interruption as an offer. Start to think of an interruption as an offer, and your decision as to whether you will take the interruption as a counter-offer. It is okay to say “Thanks for your call/visit. I do want to speak with you, but now is not a good time. Can we talk/meet at 2:00 p.m. instead?” There. You just counter-offered. See if it works. It is certainly worth a try.

do_not_disturbCreate do-not-disturb time. Screen calls, or set up times of the day when you answer and return calls and let that be known to friends, family, and work colleagues. Utilize a “do not disturb” sign at the office when working on a tight deadline, close your office door, set “office hours” for visitors and colleagues, or go work in a conference room, library or coffee shop where you can hide. When I was practicing law, I often escaped to another location when writing an important court brief, or closed my door and left a sign-up sheet for people that stopped by that explained that I was on deadline and when I would surface for air.

All interruptions are not equal. Let’s face it –- some interruptions are more important than others. You probably need to take interruptions from certain people, like your boss, a sick child, etc. But not everyone. So be selective and if an interruption comes in that does not make the grade, don’t take it!

X marks the spot. Before you take an interruption, write down the very next action you were planning to take, how long you thought it would take, and whether you can delegate it to someone else. Often, the interruption itself is not as bad as playing catch-up after it. Taking the time to write down where you are and what you need to get back to can help you save precious time.

interruptionsPlan for interruptions in advance. If you work in an interruption-rich culture, you can only plan out 50% of your time to allow for 50% interruptions. For example, if your job is to put out “fires” all day, you can’t avoid interruptions as they are exactly what you should be handling. An example of this would be a sales manager in a car dealership whose job is to support the sales team on the floor, and to control and manage issues as they arise. This individual will be less able to avoid interruptions and should plan for them in his or her schedule, by blocking out time before or after “floor” time to get his or her project-related work done.

Preempt the interrupter. It is worth noting that supposedly 80% of our interruptions come from 20% of the people we come into contact with. Try to identify the frequent interrupters and start coming up with ways to cut them off before they occur. If you know someone always calls you to confirm a meeting, send a quick text/e-mail to let him or her know you are still on as scheduled. Or better yet, explain that it is your policy not to miss meetings and you do not need a reminder (you have your smart phone for that!), and that you will call in the rare event you need to cancel. Start taking control of the interruptions before they occur and stopping them at their source. Then, you won’t need to deal with as many interruptions in the first place.

Now, go forth and effectively deal with those interruptions so you can get some work done and stay in the “flow”!

If you’d really like to ramp up your business and kick it into high gear — join me in Denver, Colorado for my Kick Butt Business Bootcamp!

Are you ready to:businessbootcamp

  • …create the business model you’ve been striving for?
  • …stop working so hard and, instead, work smarter?
  • …charge what you’re worth, and reach the levels of income you’ve dreamed of?

In order to have a thriving and successful business, you need to be strategic. You don’t have to do everything. You have to do the right things for your business!

Learn more at my Kick Butt Business Bootcamps! Here are the details:

The event is hosted by the NAPO-CO Chapter
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
9:00 am – 4 pm
Inn at Cherry Creek
233 Clayton Street, Denver, CO

Early Bird Rate = $149 (until March 1, 2016)
Regular Event Price = $169 (until March 22, 2016)
“It’s Not Too Late” Rate = $189 (after March 22, 2016)

Space is limited, so register early.

Go to www.KickButtBusinessBootcamp.com for more details and to register.

During the Kick Butt Business Bootcamp, you will learn how to:grow_business

  • Go through an in-depth business building assessment to get really clear on what’s going on in your business and where YOU need to be putting your attention.
  • Make some powerful mindset shifts that will have you think and act like a 6-figure business owner.
  • Leave knowing exactly what to do, with a clear plan to take YOUR business to the next level. Topics include: Define Success/Your Role in Your Business, Passion/Unique Areas of Brilliance, Marketing/Unique Selling Proposition, Ideal Client/Target Market, Multiple Streams of Income/Leverage, Outsourcing/Delegating, Accountability Checks/Tools, Business Systems/Operations Manual.
  • Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, join us for some invaluable expertise for your business!

If you are not a business owner or entrepreneur, but know someone that may be interested in improving his or her business, please share this!

Can’t make it to the bootcamp? Contact me to discuss doing some private coaching together for your business!