Category Archives: 7 Tips

7 Ways to Make Waiting Time More Productive

As much as you would like to avoid it, there’s no getting away from having to wait. You wait on hold on the telephone, wait for meetings and appointments, wait for hockey practice to end, a spouse to finish work, and wait and wait and wait. Waiting can eat up a fair portion of your time. Good time management puts waiting time to use.

Whether at the office, out and about, or at home, here are seven ways to make use of waiting time:

  • Work your lists: Check your to-do lists, your shopping lists or other reminders; add, subtract or rearrange, as necessary.
  • Work your calendar: If you’re not on the phone, set-up, confirm or reschedule items on your calendar.
  • Sort mail: E-mail, paper mail —whether at work or at home— can be organized while on the phone or watching T.V.
  • Personal/professional development: Read an industry journal or a school assignment. Carry a media player and listen to speakers, trainers or podcasts.
  • Use the phone: If you’re not waiting on the phone, use the time to make or return calls.
  • Work on hobbies: Carry needlework with you. If you draw, carry a sketch book. Carry a digital camera and snap off a few pictures.
  • Structured relaxing: It doesn’t have to be all about efficiency; read a book, solve a crossword puzzle, or play a game on your smartphone.

Make it a practice to carry your “tools” with you and you’ll find you never have to sit twiddling your thumbs while you wait.

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7 steps to managing conflict

Several years ago, when new to a position, I had a conflict with another employee. By strict interpretation of our policies, I was right in my actions, but I managed it very poorly. Shortly after that, the other employee resigned. It was a lack of experience on my part. I was more interested in being right than resolving conflict.

One of the lessons you learn early in life, conflict happens. Not everyone will agree with you all the time, or even some of the time. To be successful in life, you need to know how to manage conflict.

I’m not so glib as to expect there is some magic “7–step” solution that will automatically eliminate all your conflict. There are areas of disagreement –say personal beliefs– that may never be resolved. Some past actions, that have deeply affected your life, could require a therapeutic approach to resolve.

However, much of the day-to-day conflict you face can be managed with deliberate and clear communication. If you find conflict is getting in the way of your accomplishing what needs doing, try these steps:

Explain the situation as you see it

Invariably, conflict is about perception and understanding. Start by telling the other party your understanding of the situation.

Describe how it is affecting performance

Tell them how this conflict affects what need to be accomplished.

Ask them to explain their point of view

This can be difficult, but let the other party explain their point of view.

You may find that these first three steps provide enough clarity to resolve the conflict. If not, move on the the next four steps.

Agree on the problem

Reach agreement on the problem. You need a common understanding to develop a workable solution.

Explore and discuss possible solutions

Work together to develop a solution to the conflict. Both parties will stick with a solution they have had a role in developing.

Agree on what each person will do to solve the problem

Make sure you walk away from the session with a clear understanding of which party is responsible for what action.

Set a date for follow-up

Don’t leave it hanging. Get together to make sure things are on track. If the conflict is of a complex nature, you may need several follow-up milestones.

In the case of individuals in conflict, this process can work one-on-one. In more complex conflicts, or where groups of people are involved, a third-party facilitator might be needed.