NOTHING COSTS YOU MORE TIME AND ENERGY THAN TECHNOLOGY!

Technology – a help or a hindrance – Technology was suppose to save us time!  And that is true for many processes we encounter every day – crunching numbers, finding directory information, researching, word processing, taking pictures and sharing them, etc., technology has made life much easier.

But . . . . go outside the main stream services and products just a little and . . . . BANG!  . . . . your time disappears into a black hole of technological marvels all telling you what each widget can do.  Great! 

Programmers – Lots of great programmers coming up with lots of new tools.  What they don’t tell you, are the glitches with applying each one.  You have to go here and you have to go there and you have to ask this person and that other support person and then you have to ask more questions (because they know their stuff but you don’t know what they know) – the time consumption is horrendous!  And, of course, you find out in articles that if you happen to pick the wrong basic thing and combine it with another wrong basic thing, you’ll have to start all over again!!! 

Segmentation & Specialization – The industry is so segmented and each component is so specialized, there’s no one out there thinking through the business aspects and linking everything.  – oh – correction – there could be – but another chunk of hours trying to find them because you’re likely not using the right terminology! . . . .I could be asking for an orange but I was suppose to ask for a navel orange . . . !!!!

Yes, it’s okay to have specializations – it’s necessary – the same as a mall – you have a clothing store, a shoe store, a drug store, a grocery store but they are all linked into one common thread – shopping and there’s a path from store to store.  Stores display their wares – warts and all – and store people help you figure out if something is right or wrong for you.

For instance, someone told me to start a blog on WordPress so I did and I have found it to be a very interesting process.  Because I’m learning, I have been doing a lot of research and am now starting to understand how I turn blogging into an on-line business. 

So, I think up an idea, I want to try it only to find out that I cannot do that on .com but I need to go now to .org of the same name company – huh????  For non-techie’s, this simply doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  Why not just simply include it in upgrades and make it seamless for the consumer.

Now I have to figure out the difference between the two, find a web host, download .org software, and I’m on my own for all kinds of things like controlling spam.   Makes no sense at all to me.

If I were the company, I’d make it possible to add on some widgets on the sidebar the same as Blogger does – I don’t have to go to Blogger.org to do it – and I still get all the same coverage as just the regular old Blogger – simple – easy! 

Some can explain and their services are easier to integrate – I have spent hours now talking to AWebber who are so terrific in explaning technology easily and making their services so user friendly, it’s incredible!  If all online services studied AWebber about how to explain their to services to clients and how to make their product easy to use as well as how to use their product with other products, then all of this process would be simple.  AWebber know their stuff and are willing to help – they know they are the technology experts and the people using their services are often not nor do clients have the time to “figure it all out”.

Chewing Time to the Nth degree – So, the moral of the story – technology can chew up time like there is no tomorrow.  If you are entering into a new part of the technology world, expect to spend a huge amount of time sorting what’s what and practically becoming a techie yourself. 

It’s like this – getting into new technology is like buying a car in parts – you have to research and pick your own body, engine, drive shaft, transmission, ignition, etc  and understand what each part does, figure out if they are compatible and then you have to put it together yourself, do the mechanical repairs yourself and monitor your car with all kinds of gadgets to make sure it’s all working properly!  Oh, yes, and you’d have to know little tricks too like adding the transmission fluid – if you didn’t know these tiny little facts that likely no parts person would tell you, your transmission won’t work!  If anyone had to buy a car this way, there would be few people buying cars – in fact, the car industry would likely never sold a one!

Those who can help – yet another story – They say, well, there are techies who can help you.  Ah . . . . but . . . . that’s a whole other story altogether – which one?  for what purpose?  Unlike a car, there is no car mechanic who knows all the systems, how they are all work together and how to fix problems.  No, in technology, even for a small thing like a small website, you need a designer, a graphic designer, a SEO expert,  and the list goes on for just a simple website.

 Yes, you say, well get one already made.  Really?  Then, you have to figure out if the the company which is offering these “ready mades” will stay in business, are they reputable, do they offer large enough bandwidth, the amount of downtime they experience or not and the list goes on and on and on and on.  And, when you do arrive at the be all and end all of prefab websites, then you have to figure out all the plugins, shopping cards, merchant accounts, entering new products, creating new descriptions, uploading pictures (& hosting picture), and, there again, the list goes on and on and on.  See a Yahoo store – so popular today and some of the best prefabs you can get  – but it takes 1Choice 4 You – a whole company – to help you put it together properly so it all works as well as possible!  Great looking stores – prefab – but, again, it chews up time like mad!  Yes, it’s true – you can go to forums and blogs and get help – guess what???  More time is chewed up finding the good forums/blogs/etc. . . . .

And that time doesn’t include all the other things you need to do in order to give it yourbest shot at creating a viable business – business plans, product sourcing, capitalization, newsletters, customer service, etc. etc. etc. 

The difference – You say, well, if you had a brick and mortar store, you’d have to do leasehold improvements too – maybe – and once done, it was done – not so with websites – you continually have to work on them and keep them fresh.  Then you have to be connected to Twitter, Facebook, LindedIn – then you have webcasts, podcasts, webinars, etc.  And you have to intergrate all the old fashioned stuff too into your business plan – and both kinds – traditional paper and untraditional online advertising and promotion!

We are so connected to the internet now and the industry is still so “unconnected”, the challenges for the average person are overwhelming not to mention trying to understand lingo and instructions that don’t work because they missed a few steps that “you, the customer, should have known”. 

The industry needs work – Lots of great people in the industry – great online help in some cases – but if they only could sit where I sit and so many other people are sitting, they would be amazed at the maze created by the internet and technology.  It’s no wonder that many people just sparingly use the internet for find a phone number or get an answer to a question but to actually use the internet in any other way for most people is very, very difficult and time consuming.

For instance, if my blogging software company just made a “mall” type service as its business, it could be making a lot of money.  A person shouldn’t have to know from the beginning that there are 2 different categories of  – .com and .org and that each allow the user to do different things.  Make it one company – one thing – then offer people options as people who choose to grow with the software can take advantage of. 

Support only goes so far – Yes, the Support  has been terrific in answering questions but after 3 days I still have no idea what the transfer will take in order to do what I want to do.  It should be seamless – what I want to do is so simple, it should be seamless and should really take no more than a few clicks to accomplish – it’s just a matter of adding an opt in box onto my blog – simple.  Over 3 days of trying to get that done and I’m still nowhere!  All I wanted was to put an opt in box on my blog from AWebber!  That’s all – and all of this for just that!  The amount of material one has to read to do the simplest task is extraordinary!

So . . . small business people . . . be prepared for a long haul or throw money at it – and, then, again, you’ll have to make sure the money goes to the right people to do right things for what you want – in addition to just regular ‘getting into business’ processes.  Prepare for one heck of a journey!

MEETINGS! MEETINGS! MEETINGS! – THE BIGGEST TIME WASTER OF ALL!

There has never been such an incredible amount of wasted time as there are in meetings!!!  Bar none!!! 

It’s astonishing how meetings have become the working norm – all day long people think it’s perfectly acceptable business to fill their days with meetings!  I just can’t understand it!  How can anyone get real, constructive work done if day after day after day people spend almost their entire working day in meetings. 

The answer – you can’t!  You can’t be productive and be in meetings all day – it’s impossible! 

Now if your job description said one thing and only one thing – “attend meetings” then yes, that would be the expectation of the job.  I’ve never seen a job description that had just that one line in it – have you?

Then why is it that people find it okay to be in meetings most of the working hours and that their bosses think it’s okay too!  Of course, their bosses are likely in meetings all day too so meetings beget meetings, I guess. 

When does the real work get done?  When does the job description get fulfilled?

I’ll tell you a little story which will give you an idea about good time and meeting management.   I worked in health for a while.  This is an industry that is notorious for “meetings all day long”.  And so it was.  I was shocked to find how many meetings I was expected to attend, how long each one was and how so little got accomplished.  Here’s the clincher – everyone complained how many meetings there were and how little time they all had to get things done yet no one did anything about it!  They were also exhausted at the end of each day!  I couldn’t see the logic in this kind of “meeting mania”.

One day, we got a new Director for community health.  This woman was impeccable – her hair was perfect, her dress was ideal, her manners were well honed and she smiled.  Her desk was always well organized and yet her office expressed an artistic bent – quite a combination! 

When she came on board, she sat with each one of her Managers individually.  When it came to my turn, she asked me what I would change.  Meetings.  That’s what I would change.  She attended all the meetings at first and made no comment.

Very soon, new agendas came out – with a start time, an end time and . . . more importantly, an allotment of time for each topic on the agenda.  Managers were expected to send out to all attendees a short paragraph of the issue for discussion, proposed outcomes or suggested approaches.  All managers were expected to come prepared which meant having all their supporting documentation with them in order to waste the least amount of time discussing the issue and complete in the allotted time.  If it wasn’t finished, it went to the next meeting.  However, there were only two chances to come to a conclusion on any isuse – it wouldn’t drag on for weeks, months and years as some issues had in the past.

She expected Managers to spend most of their time managing – what a novel idea!!!  In the health industry, it was a novel idea!  (I’ve worked in big business too and this is not just an “illness” of the health industry – some big businesses also “swamp” themselves in meetings)  And she watched the time that was spent in meetings by each of her Managers –  all Managers had to report on all their meetings they attended, the purpose of the meeting, the outcomes and the time taken for each meeting – in very short report!  She set time deadlines for all meetings.

It was amazing how much work got done!  Managers actually had the time to manage, supervise, improve processes and procedures and gain much more job satisfaction. 

She was truly amazing!  Not only did the business get done, issues resolved and time saved but she was making a difference to the clients who were being served.  Her focus was utilizing time effectively as she did with her own time.  She had everything in her life planned and executed to maximize every moment.   When she retired, she put up a consulting shingle – and found success there too!   She was truly a model executive – we have so few!

I’ll always remember her.  In an industry frought with inefficiency and ill use of time, she brought a fresh approach to a stale environment.  The benefits were enormous for all concerned.

SHE IS MY INSPIRATION! WHEN I FEEL LIKE GIVING UP, I PLAY THIS

They jeered – they sneered – they rolled their eyes . . . they laughed when she spoke of her dream . . . and . . . then she opened her mouth  . . . .

They’re not laughing any more!!!!

Her first CD has now be recorded – she’s traveling worldwide appearing on stages that, looking at her in the first 30 seconds when she was first presented to the world, no one could have imagined!  She did – for years and years and years – her mother believed in her – and then a miracle happened –

It’s a phenomenon – so if the weight of your world is heavy on your shoulders, and you think you can’t go on for another minute, another day, be inspired!  Find someone like this to inspire you – get your life back on track – feel the MIRACLE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

TIME! TIME! TIME! HAS IT JUST BECOME A WAY TO COMPLAIN!

Everyone’s talking about time!  All the time! 

“I’m late”  

“I’m early” 

“I don’t have enough time”

“I’m bored – I don’t have enough to do”

“I’m swamped”

And so on . . . the interesting thing is that people talk about it a lot but very few people ever think much about it. 

Time has become more of a “culture phenomenon” – a complaint rather than something to think about and an issue to resolve.

Next time you complain about time, ask yourself, “So, what am I going to do about it?”

YIPPEE! THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

I love the holiday season – all of it!!!  The decorations, the spirit of it all, the parties, choosing gifts, and the sheer madness of it all!  I love it!

The big BUT here is that I learned a long time ago to pace myself during this time because I’m just like a little kid – I want to stay up late, see Santa and play!!!  Well, that’s good except that around this time of the year, you need to take care of yourself really, really well otherwise you’ll be pulled into so many directions, you’ll be “wasted” by the time Christmas day comes! 

Have a big calendar on your wall for November and December with big boxes and put in there all the events and things you need to do before Christmas day.  It’s the only way.  Why?  Because if you use your regular calendar only, you might just miss something and this is especially true if have a partner or spouse and/or children.  You all need to know what’s going on so you don’t double book yourself and you take the time to enjoy the great activities that come with the holidays – home decorating – baking cookies – inviting friends and family for get togethers – tobaganing – skiing – shopping – charitable events –

And at this time of the year especially, say no – you can’t do it all!  And you will need to say no to some of the things to do – if some of the things can be done after the Christmas day like seeing the lights of the town, then pencil those in for later. 

Most importantly – exercise, get your sleep, eat properly most of the time! and take care to monitor your stress levels – cut back when you find yourself rushing and out of breath!

Enjoy the holidays – love them – and be thankful for all that there is!

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