Over the years, I’ve posted some thoughts on behaviours and practices that can get in the way of our productivity. To help bring some of these forwarded, this post will link to past articles, as well as adding some new material on common time-wasters.
I’ve broken these time-wasters into two groups. Internal are those things which we generate. External are those things that come at us from outside sources: both types can be controlled.
- Inability to say no
- Uninvited visitors
- Incoming communication
- Unproductive meetings
Mentoring can be one of the most effective means of teaching: inviting someone to learn from the example of another with more experience. Whether through apprenticeships, internships or less-formal relationships, walking alongside an experienced practitioner can impart essential skills, attitudes and knowledge.
Being a mentor doesn’t mean having all the answers to every question. A good mentor know which questions to ask to stimulate development in their protégeé.
Some of the questions mentors ask:
- What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
- How can I help you?
- Where are your skills being tested?
- Where is your character being tested?
- How is your relationship/communication style effecting what you are trying to accomplish?
- What are some new things you could try?
- What are some things that would help you to have more integrity?
- What challenges have you faced and what were some of the effects of those challenges?
- How has that shaped who you are?
- How can you use your past to prepare you for the future?
- Even though things haven’t worked out as you’d hoped, what are you learning from that?
- As you assess your growth, where do you see yourself right now?
Did you know that Google offers a suite of tools to qualified non-profits? These are premium, licensed Google products , but at no cost. These products can help your organization reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your non-profit’s story. They are cloud-based tools, managed by Google, which may help reduce your IT costs.
Google for Nonprofits includes Google Apps for Nonprofits, Google Ad Grants, YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Earth Pro. Canadian registered charities, Federal nonprofits and Provincial nonprofits may be eligible to apply for the program. Please note, some types of organizations are not eligible and will not be verified:
- Governmental entities or organizations
- Hospitals and healthcare organizations
- Schools, academic institutions, or universities
A quick summary of the products offered*:
G Suite for Nonprofits
Enable your teams to collaborate, iterate, and innovate together, from anywhere, in real time, with our cloud-based productivity suite.
Google Ad Grants
Receive in-kind advertising for your nonprofit through Google Search and increase awareness worldwide.
YouTube Nonprofit Program
Share your nonprofit videos through YouTube to better connect with supporters, volunteers, and donors.
Google Earth and Maps
Bring your nonprofit’s story to life with custom maps and global location data.
Build nonprofit fundraising campaigns that tie supporters’ donations to their impact, making it easy for them to give at any level.
Steps to Access Google for Nonprofits
How does a nonprofit apply for the program? Head over to Google for Nonprofits.
- Confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements
- Request a Google for Nonprofits account
- Once your nonprofit is verified, you’ll be notified by email
- Then you can activate and use the individual products
In Canada, TechSoup manages the eligibility process, and validate your organization’s legal status and activities. If you’re looking for more detail in the process, click through to their Google for Nonprofits FAQ page.
Many small charities and non-profits don’t have the staff or budget for building the technology structure needed to create a strong digital strategy. Google for Nonprofits allows organizations of all sizes to benefit from great tools that aid with targeted advertising, donor acquisition, organizational productivity, and much more.
Check it out.
*not all products are available in all countries
A while ago, I got a new desk for my office. I figured that making room for new furniture was a good opportunity, to not only clean out my desk, but to go through everything in my office.
It seems I am more of a pack rat than I realized. I found documents going back 8+ years. The office was passed overdue for a cleaning.
Are you a pack rat; either at work or at home? Here’s some tips to help break the hoarding habit.
1) Take Inventory
Take a tour of the space you are organizing and take inventory all of your stuff. Look in cabinets, closets, bookshelves, storage containers, the garage, etc. Do you have things you haven’t used in a year or more? Ask yourself, will I use that item again? If the answer is maybe, get rid of it. Call The Salvation Army, recycle it or pass it on to someone who can use it.
2) Share your information
I save books and magazines long after I’ve read them. I find one article I’d like to reference in the future and I hang onto the whole magazine.
If you’re like that, tear out the article, recipe, instructions, etc. and file it in an organized system. I’m going one step further by scanning any such material and storing it electronically, which eliminates the paper altogether.
Recycle those that you don’t plan on reading or using again. Donate them to a local charity, a school, hospital or retirement home, where others can enjoy and learn from your books.
3) Don’t become the Pickle-Jar Guy
Do you know someone who has a garage filled with empty jars because they are going to use them someday? Empty containers make great storage, but how many do you need? If you have more than five or six empty containers stuck in a cabinet or closet collecting dust, add it to the recycling.
4) Ask the key question
‘Is my life going to change if I get rid of this thing?’ Almost always, the answer is, ‘No’. Marie Kondo has created this idea, if an object no longer “sparks joy” for us, it should be discarded. While I have a problem with the idea that our possessions should spark joy, the basic principle is a good one. Why do we hang on to things? Is it nostalgia, fear of offending family or friends, or some other reason. If you’re not using it, and it’s taking up space, get rid of it.
5) Look for the best was to rearrange the space
After all your clutter and junk is out the door and you have a better idea of what will be left in your space, look around and rethink your layout. Maybe there’s a better way to configure the room, especially if you make good use of wall space. One good rule of thumb is, the more you use something, the closer it should be to you. Lastly, consider how you want to come off to others in the room. For example, a more open layout can give the impression of having earned more space and, therefore, power; or positioning a desk so it’s not between you and clients can seem more inviting.
6) Review weekly
You’ve got your space cleared and reorganized, it needs to be maintained. When you declutter every week, you ensure your space does not fall back to its previous state. Not only is this good for the space but it is great for your mind as well. Having a weekly declutter process will develop a sense of achievement as you maintain a clean and efficient workspace.
A number of co-workers in our office are transferring to new opportunities in new regions. We had a luncheon today to say goodbye and make some presentations. I was asked to say goodbye to one of the employees who was leaving.
Combining the fear of public speaking with the emotions of saying goodbye, can create stressful situation for people. To simplify the preparation, I have a simple template that I use to write a farewell speech.
- Start with the obvious – use an introduction that says thank you for the privilege of representing the other members of the organization in making the presentation, and perhaps why you were chosen to make the presentation.
- Talk about beginnings – what circumstances brought this person into the company, or what was your first contact with them?
- Tell about the person – what are the personal characteristic that made a contribution to the organization: were they energetic, optimistic, perky, dependable, quiet, friendly, etc? Talk about the things people are going to miss when they’re gone.
- Cover the history – what were the accomplishments or achievements during the person’s time with the company? Use stories, quips, memories to highlight what they contributed.
- Why are they leaving? – if appropriate, touch on the circumstances that are taking them away. Look at the opportunities and challenges and wish them all the best for future success.
- Present the gift – finish by presenting the gift that will serve as a token of thanks and remembrance.
Note: Not every one of these thoughts are going to be appropriate every time. If the employee is leaving because of corporate reorganization, you’ll probably omit the “why are they leaving” question. If the employee leaving is one of those who create more than their share of office conflict, try and frame your remarks from a personal perspective, rather than giving a false-positive picture of a warm and fuzzy workplace relationship.
Whether you’re saying a short goodbye to a volunteer coach in a youth league or making a major presentation at the retirement of a long-term employee, a farewell speech should bring conclusion and tribute for those leaving and those staying behind. A template like this will help you cover the points you need to consider when saying goodbye.