Tackling Work-Life Imbalance

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you may have the freedom to control your work schedule, but that doesn’t make it easier to achieve work-life balance. In fact, a study conducted by Melissa Milkie and her colleagues at the University of Toronto found that people who set their own working hours and work over 50 hours a week tend to have more, not fewer, work-life conflicts.

If it seems the work will never end, making changes in how you work can reduce your workload, free up time for your nonwork life, and prevent burnout. Here are three ways to better manage your work hours.

  • Delegate

If you’re just starting out, you may not be in a position yet to delegate a lot of what you’re doing to get your business off the ground. But experts say that three years in, you shouldn’t still be putting in 70 hours a week. Hiring right, and training well, will keep you from doing the job of two people.

  • Be Productive

There are so many distractions to draw us away from the task at hand, and I don’t mean the obvious ones like social media. You can get sidetracked from pursuing your most important goals by day-to-day emails and calls. If you’re not achieving what you set out to do each week, take a close look at how you are spending your time at work and consider trying a different time management system.

  • Segment Smarter

Achieving work-life balance doesn’t mean sticking to traditional working hours of Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and not working the rest of the week. You might find mixing work and nonwork segments throughout your week is more effective for your schedule and workflow. For example, managing email in the evening when there are fewer distractions might help you get through your inbox faster, and work more efficiently the following day, opening up time for a nonwork activity. 

For some people, stress and stress-related health issues are signs that their work-life balance is off. Focusing on how you spend your nonworking hours can help you get the most benefit from the time away work. In a previous blogpost, I recommended three ways to make changes in your personal life that help can help improve your health and mindset.

The Power of Checklists

Get things done right the first time, every time

One of the simplest, least expensive, and most effective tools you and your team can use to get things done right is a checklist. There’s no upfront investment, no training courses, and no updates — yet the tool works without fail every time. 

Checklists ensure consistency and quality. Industries like aviation, construction, and the medical profession rely heavily on checklists to avoid human error in complex projects and procedures. 

Checklists differ from “to-do” lists. Once you’ve crossed items of your to-do list, you’re done with that list forever. But checklists are reusable: you repeat the same steps in the process every time you do it.

Checklists aren’t “how-to” manuals, either. “Checklists do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss,” writes Atul Gawande in his book, The Checklist Manifesto.

Here are some tips to boost the power of checklists to get things done right.

Break down big steps into small steps

Once you’ve identified a routine process in your business, jot down the steps from beginning to end. Note each interaction that takes place, what questions that should be asked, and which tasks must be preformed in a certain order. Be sure to include any advance preparations and followup activities. 

Dig deep

Analyze each step carefully to leave no stone unturned. The more you examine the process and describe the right way to perform the steps, the more effective the checklist will be.

Group similar items together

Clustering your steps into categories that correspond to phases of the work makes it easier to work through a long checklist and gives the user a sense of where he or she is in the overall process. 

Take a test drive

Run through the process using your checklist and see if it accurately captures every step. After you’ve tested it, have a couple team members test the checklist and provide feedback.

Make sure every team member has the checklist

Choose a way to distribute the checklist that will work for your team. You can create a document and shared it as a printed piece or attached a PDF to an email; create a laminated card that fits into a wallet; or put together a binder if you have multiple checklists. 

Make using the checklist a part of your business culture

Emphasize the importance of using the relevant checklist with every customer, every time. You can create a catchy name and look for your checklist to make it more memorable.

Keep the checklist up-to-date and modify it when your process changes

Make sure your checklist always reflects the current situation. If one item becomes out of date, the entire checklist loses its usefulness.

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.

Relaxing Techniques for Hectic Workdays

Consistent stress can take a toll on your emotional and physical health.  There is often daily stress in the workplace.  That’s why it’s important to have some techniques in place to help you activate your body’s natural relaxation response. Here are a few techniques to fit into your daily work schedule, to help reduce stress, increase energy levels, boost your mood, and possibly improve your overall health:
  1. Practice Deep Breathing – This exercise can be done in your office, in your car, or in the staff lounge.  All you need is a quiet, uninterrupted location to take some deep breaths.  It will help clear your mind for more focused energy.
  2. Listen to Music – If you have an office you can play music in, then do it.  Put on some of your favorite music while you work.  You’d be amazed at how relaxing it can make you, and productive too.  Maybe even wear earbuds if you have nearby co-workers.  Do whatever it takes to get you some well-deserved music time.
  3. Use Essential Oils – Plug in a diffuser, add your favorite scent(s), and work away.  You’ll find it very calming, and your office will smell amazing.  Just make sure others don’t come into your space to relax, too.
  4. Go for a Walk – Take some time (during a break or your lunch hour) and walk around the building, outside, or to a nearby park.  Maybe listen to music while you walk.  Don’t talk on the phone.  Don’t go with a co-worker and talk about work.  Just be with yourself and take in the surroundings.  It will calm you and your nerves!
  5. Use a Stress Ball – Yes, they actually do work.  Squeezing a stress ball works out the tension in your muscles, relaxing you enough to continue on with your long day. And it’s something small you can use multiple times a day (sitting, walking, in meetings, etc).
  6. Get Organized – Find time every day to free your desk from overwhelming, overcrowding clutter.  Organizing your surroundings can improve your mood, allowing you to be relaxed and more productive.
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If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Improve Sales Performance

Sales professionals have to fight for their leads.  They need to gain the trust of complete strangers.  Sales performance is a major part of a business’ profit and overall success. Here are a few steps that can help improve your sales performance.
  1. Customers’ Needs.  Can you convince your customers they need your product or service?  Does your product or service solve their problems?  Are you re-positioning your business to meet your customers’ needs?
  2. Maintain Good Service.  Do you have strong sales skills?  Do you have a productive follow-through process in place?  Do you get referrals?  Do you go above and beyond for your customers?
  3. Be Productive.  Do you create a consistent schedule?  Do you focus on your goals?  Are your daily activities categorized in order of importance?
  4. Great Leadership.  Do your sales managers set a good example for your team? Do they inspire you to grow?  Do they motivate you?  Do they encourage you?
  5. Problem Solve.  Do you give out solutions, not pitches?  Do you make others’ lives easier? Do you learn about your buyers’ problems/needs?
Consider these questions to make sure your sales performance is the best it can be.  Always set yourself up for success. rsz_2018-headshotActionCoach-logo
If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Creating Value for Customers

Customers want value.  That doesn’t always mean great products and excellent service.  It also means the end result.  What exact value does your product or service bring to your customers? There are things you can do, as a business owner, to bring value to your customers.  Here are some techniques that can make the difference between a satisfied customer and an unpleasant experience.
  1.  Go the extra mile.  Customers will pay more if they get more.  This is often in the way of your team doing more for them.  An example would be free delivery.
  2. Look at your products/services through their eyes.  Be on the other side of the counter.  Actually use the products and see how they work, or may need to be improved.
  3. Provide ongoing support.  Find a way to answer their questions after they make the purchase.  Don’t end the relationship once they leave your store.
  4. Ask for their advice.  Improve on your existing products/services by asking your customers how.  Their input can make a huge difference.  And they’ll appreciate that you asked.
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If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Signs of Disengaged Employees

If you have disengaged employees, your business will suffer.  Productivity slows, communication does not flow, and projects come to a halt.  Employees may become disengaged for many reasons, some personal, some professional. That’s why it’s necessary to know the signs of a disengaged employee.
  1. Communication Issues.  If you have employees who don’t participate in meetings, or have decreased productivity due to poor communication with team members, they could be disengaged.
  2. Missing or Silent.  If you have employees who never answer their phone calls or emails, who miss meetings, or are absent from work a lot, they could be disengaged.
  3. Bad work quality.  If you have employees who have a decline in work quality, show up late to team meetings, or are missing deadlines, they may be disengaged.
  4. Burnout.  If you have employees who are tired and inefficient, they may be suffering from work overload (or burnout), causing them to be disengaged.
  5. Impolite and rude.  If you have employees who don’t go that extra mile, who lash out at coworkers or customers, or speak rude to others, they may be disengaged.
It’s important to have consistent communication with your employees, touching base often to make sure they are happy.  Making sure they’re expectations and needs are being met is extremely important for their health, and the health of your business. rsz_2018-headshotActionCoach-logo
If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Marketing Mistakes

If you’re a professional who relies on marketing for business growth, then you’ll want to continue reading.  Below is a list of some marketing mistakes that occur often within businesses.  It’s important to learn from these errors and stop them from happening. Don’t be guilty of the following: – Forgetting about cell phones.  Don’t forget about mobile users.  If you have a website, it should be optimized for mobile devices.  If it’s not, you’re essentially turning away customers. Everybody has a cell phone these days.  Make sure you take advantage of that! – Not marketing using videos.  Engaging customers and capturing their attention is what video content marketing is perfect for.  Advertise your business through videos.  Your competition is probably doing it.  Don’t get left out. Create a business YouTube channel and start recording! – Spamming.  Are you sending out emails to those who haven’t given you permission?  Are your emails helpful, educational, and/ore relevant?  Consider segmenting your lists so each subscriber gets exactly what they want in their Inbox. – Not having a call to action.  Do you have a goal for your readers?  Do you expect your customers to do something specific when they land on your website, or get an email from you? If you don’t have a clear call-to-action, potential buyers will get distracted or feel misled.  And you’ll miss the sale.  Always clarify what you want them to do! rsz_2018-headshotActionCoach-logo
If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Onboarding Checklist

When onboarding a new hire, there are numerous tasks that need to be done.  To make sure nothing is forgotten, it’s smart to prepare a basic checklist.  Below is a list of things that should be done in preparation for a new employee: Before the new hire’s first day:
  • Set-up the new hire’s office/desk
  • Gather necessary software/hardware for the new hire
  • Set-up an email address for the new hire (and add it to the company database)
  • Set-up a phone/voicemail for the new hire
  • Set-up a time-sheet for the new hire
  • Prepare parking permit paperwork (if applicable) for the new hire
  • Schedule employee photo (for badge) for the new hire
  • Gather benefits & payroll paperwork for the new hire
  • Have the hiring manager and/or team leader email the new hire to welcome him/her
  • Identify an appropriate employee to be the new hire’s coach/mentor
During the new hire’s orientation:
  • Make sure the new hire understand his/her benefits
  • Make sure the new hire understands what is expected of him/her
  • Answer any of the new hire’s questions regarding the position
  • Make sure the new hire knows how to use the basic tools to do his/her job successfully
  • Give the new hire a tour of his/her office and building (introducing to team members and other staff)
  • Make sure the new hire has signed all the required paperwork to begin working
  • Arrange for the hiring manager and/or team leader to meet with the new hire after orientation
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If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Time-Management Skills in the Office

Are you easily distracted?  If you need to learn how to spend your time wisely, then continue reading to learn about the importance of time-management skills in the office. If you don’t manage your time wisely,  you might miss important deadlines, have poor work quality, accumulate unwanted stress, get a poor reputation, and have imbalance in your work (and your life). Proper time management can help you deliver work on time, produce better quality work, become more productive, have less stress, and grow in your career.
  • Put time aside for specific tasks.  This helps your brain structure your day, allowing you to accomplish more and manage your time better.
  • Prioritize your work, to help you focus on important tasks.  Give full attention to high priority projects.  This will improve your work quality.
  • Giving yourself a schedule and prioritizing your tasks will make you more productive.  A more productive professional leads to career growth.
  • Stress is not good for your productivity or your health.  Time management tasks can reduce stress, which will decrease your sick days at the office.
  • Time management skills at the office will give you more time outside of the office, improving your personal life as well.
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If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Ways to Create a High Performing Team

What management often forgets, is that both sides of a company need to give and take.  The leader and the employee need to work together to achieve great results.  Because engaged employees lead to high team performance, a positive company culture is necessary. Ways to create a high performing team:Build a diverse team.  Employees from different backgrounds and from diverse cultures provide different points of view, which can greatly benefit a company. – The team comes first.  Instead of putting customers first, make the team the priority.  The company team needs to be well put together in order to please customers. – Provide clear communication.  Team members may miss important tasks or become frustrated if communication is unclear.  Make sure they know what is expected of them. – Create an enjoyable environment.  Work doesn’t have to include boring meetings. Encourage employees to be themselves and to have some fun. Don’t create a culture of scared team members, worried about breaking rules and never being allowed to think for themselves.  Companies need creativity, innovation, trust, and motivation.  A happy, healthy company culture is what all leaders should be striving for. rsz_2018-headshotActionCoach-logo
If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.actioncoach.com/pjweiland. Let’s work together to help your business grow.