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Sleep is an Essential Business Tool

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 2-9 2017

Today is the start of National Sleep Awareness Week. Believe it or not a public awareness campaign needed to be created to educate people about the importance of sleep because too many of us don’t get enough sleep. Yes, we all “know” we should be getting a good night’s sleep but how many of us actually do? For some of us the reason we don’t is because we drank too much coffee during the day, for others it’s because we lay in bed worrying about things, for others it’s because a child was sick and needed taking care of and for others it’s because they were binge-watching our favorite shows.

But, the amount of sleep we get a night really does have an effect on how we’ll behave the following day. As adults, the average number of hours we should be sleeping on a daily basis is 7-9 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

So what happens if you don’t get as much sleep as you should? According to WebMD, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can reduce your attention and concentration, affect your decision-making abilities and your reaction times, potentially causing you to be in an accident. Further, not getting enough sleep can cause you to be at risk for serious medical conditions. And, not getting enough sleep can affect your memory. Obviously none of these are going to make you very productive at work and in the end, you could even be hurting yourself and your team.

This year National Sleep Awareness Week is March 2-9. And in two weekends we’re resetting our clocks. The National Sleep Foundation says that it’s also a great time to reset our sleep habits as well. Their website provides some good tips to follow to maintain a good sleep regimen, including:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
  • Only use your bedroom for sleep. This will help you strengthen the association between your bed and sleep.
  • Select a relaxing bedtime ritual, like a warm bath or listening to calming music.
  • Create a sleep environment that is quiet, dark and cool with a comfortable mattress and comfortable pillows.
  • Exercise regularly but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime.
  • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

By getting enough sleep we can each become more valuable, dependable and well-rested team members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Have a Backup Plan

This past Sunday we watched two fierce teams compete for the most important game of the year. Weeks and months of planning and preparing led up to the big game and yet who could possibly have predicted that it would all come down to the last minutes of the game and then lead into overtime?

We’ve discussed it before but it’s always good to have a backup plan. Expect the unexpected. Both in competitive sports and in business. If you don’t have one that’s ok. This is the perfect time to put one together. Before you need it.

The first step is to think about what types of contingencies you are going to prepare for. To come up with some worst-case scenarios that could affect your business, gather some staff members together and start brainstorming. Begin each statement with “What would we do if?” and then start throwing out possible situations. The problems you discuss don’t have to be massive like a transit strike or a crippling blizzard to be disruptive. Mindtools.com offers up scenarios such as: “What if your main supplier suddenly goes bankrupt? Or, your entire sales force gets food poisoning at the annual sales conference? Or, your payroll clerk calls in sick on payroll day?

“These things can all cause confusion and disorder if you haven’t prepared for them properly. Contingency planning is a key part of this preparation. As you can see, contingency planning is not just about major disasters. On a smaller scale, it’s about preparing for events such as the loss of data, people, customers, and suppliers, and other disruptive unknowns. That’s why it’s important to make contingency planning a normal part of the way your business works.”

To quote Lady Gaga, this year’s memorable Halftime performer, “You tell me hold your head up, Hold your head up and be strong, ‘Cause when you fall, you gotta get up, You gotta get up and move on.”

While the sun is shining and everyone is calm, go ahead and think the worst. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Three Business Lessons We Can Learn from the Super Bowl

It’s Super Bowl Week and the big game is just a few days away. Regardless of whether your team is playing in Houston or not this weekend, we can all learn some important business lessons from how the teams prepare for the big day.

First of all, it’s all about preparation. The players won’t walk on to the field without extensive and thorough planning and preparation. Learn from them. If you’ve got a big presentation coming up, you too need to plan and prepare. Know what you’re going to say and do but also be prepared for the unexpected.

Which brings us to lesson number two. Always have a contingency plan in place. The Falcons don’t know what tricks the Patriots may have up their sleeves, but you’d better believe they’ve run through scenario after scenario and have prepared different game plans depending on what comes at them. So too, you should not just have your prepared answers in place. From your slide presentation not being loaded onto the laptop to the exhibit not making it to the tradeshow hall, have a backup plan in place.

Finally, to quote Ron Jaworski, NFL analyst and former American football quarterback, “Positive thinking is the key to success in business, education, pro football, anything that you can mention. I go out there thinking that I’m going to complete every pass.” Believe in yourself, your teammates and your abilities and you’ll succeed.

Fun and Work Do Go in the Same Sentence

 It’s nearly the end of the first month of the New Year and you feel like you need a break? You’re in luck. Saturday is National Fun at Work Day. No, we’re not making that up; it’s a real thing, observed each year on the 28th of January. But since it falls on a Saturday this year many companies are observing it on Friday. If they observe it at all.

No, this is not a joke, but feel free to make some on Friday. Really, can you think of a better day to make jokes than a day with fun in its name? Why do we need a day like this? According to Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher, authors of The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up, “If people are having fun, they’re going to work harder, stay longer, maintain their composure in a crisis and take better care of the organization.”

But wait, there’s more. According to Dave Hemseth and Leslie Yerkes, co-authors of 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work, “Organizations that integrate fun into work have lower levels of absenteeism, greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and less downtime.”

Think about that and then see if maybe you want to make a few changes at work. Obviously you still need to accomplish your business goals but maybe you can make it a little more fun for everyone while doing so.

If you’re finding out a little too late to formally do anything tomorrow to celebrate, you’re in luck. Sunday is International Fun at Work Day.

 

 

 

Three Ways to Acknowledge Your Employees

As hard as it may be to believe, today is the first day of September and Monday is Labor Day. To many it means the end of summer. To others it means one last BBQ. And to others it means Labor Day sales. Do you know what Labor Day actually commemorates? According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

So really, Monday is a day to celebrate you and the people with whom you work. Here are three ways you can recognize and acknowledge your employees. They’re easy to put into practice and you’ll be amazed at the ROI you’ll get on these particular investments.

  1. Write a handwritten note for a job well done. In this day and age of emails and texts, a handwritten note will stand out and make an impression. Be specific in your note about what you are commending the employee for and see what a long way that goes.
  2. Ask HR for a list of work anniversaries. Your employees are choosing to stay with your company and work towards the success of the company. Let them know you appreciate their efforts.
  3. When an employee comes to you to ask what to do, ask for their input rather than immediately answer the question for them. Let them see that there’s a dialogue and that they can have a say in the outcome.

Do you have something that you do to acknowledge your employees? We’d love to hear what you do.

Lessons Learned from the Rio Olympics

The Rio Summer Olympics came to a close this week. Regardless of which athlete or team you rooted for or if you only watched to see athletes fall, we can still learn a lot from these incredible men and women and apply these lessons to our own lives, both personal and professional.

Obviously one of the most basic lessons is that hard work really can pay off. Set a goal for yourself and work towards achieving that goal. Many of the athletes competing in Rio devoted years to perfecting their craft. They are extremely goal driven and that’s what keeps them motivated. The lessons? Dream big. Never believe that you can’t achieve what you set your mind to achieve. And dedicate yourself to achieving your goal.

The flipside of course is that sometimes, even when you give it your all, it’s still not enough and your competition will beat you.  Instead of making excuses why you didn’t succeed or blaming others, take responsibility, watch the instant replay and use the experience as a growth opportunity to help you be better the next time.  As they say, when you fall (off a horse, off a bike, on the field, etc.), get back up and keep on going. Everyone faces obstacles. It’s how we react to them that shows the true test of a man/woman.

Finally, remember no person acts alone. It’s important to have a support system behind you and to let them support you. Whether it’s waiting for your score, soaking up the love of your family or relying on your team at work, remember we’re only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.

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