Time Management for Squirrels

Time Management for Squirrels

We all have a little bit of squirrel in us, however when you are trying to get a project done it can be quite distracting.  First we might need to look at what time we actually have to manage.  This chart gives us an idea of a week’s worth of time and it shows blogging, reading and writing.   I would suggest you fill those slots with hobbies, exercise and fun.  If writing is your fun – go for it!



According to Wikipedia time management is described as the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.  If you are a squirrel this is really difficult.  I’ve already gotten sidetracked by developing a header for another blog and I just went and fixed my hair.  SQUIRREL!

Knowing your time management style might be of some help.  They are:

  1. Achievement Management – people who mark their success by how much they take on.
  2. Casual Management – procrastinators of the world
  3. Crisis Management – every event is a top priority
  4. Precision Management – perfectionists of the world
  5. Social Management – social butterflies – SQUIRRELS

Probably by now you are pretty set in your pattern but here a few tips to try and maybe you can herd those squirrels to success on your next project.

  • No distractions  –  I like background noise, so silence is a distraction – eliminate those things that are distracting for you – your spouse, children, neighbors, pets, co-workers, boss
  • Break projects up in small chunks for shorter time periods
  • Always identify your top priorities each day
  • Use planners, notepads, sticky notes.   I have a bound planner that contains my To Do List.  Each evening or first thing in morning I review and list my priorities for the next day.
  • Use the clock on your computer, phone, etc. to help you allocate your time.
  • Choose one thing at a time
  • Spend time with squirrels – we need love – check e mails, return phone calls, etc. in between blocks of time allocated to a project.
  • Delegate
  • Specifics for each day.  I remember my mother had a certain task for each day of the week.  As I remember it was Baking on Mondays, Laundry on Tuesdays, Ironing on Wednesdays, Saturday was cleaning day from top to bottom of the house.  Sunday was big dinner (at noon) and Sunday afternoon drive to visit.  I know she had something for Thursday and Friday – probably sewing, mending, and lawn & garden work, etc. but can’t remember now.
  • Reduce clutter
  • Learn to say no
  • Find your power hour – When you are at your best
  • Ignore the shiny objects

If you can eliminate even one squirrel from your day, this article will have worked for you.  Let me know what tactics you use to control your squirrels.


Cathy Shull is owner of Sage Strategies whose services include one time project management, strategic planning, visioning, tourism, team building, coaching and nonprofit administration.  She works to support her rural roots and building the economies in her own backyard.  She specializes in working with rural small business, nonprofits and local governments.  She can be reached through Email at cathy@sagestrategies.biz or through her website at www.sagestrategies.biz or connect with her on LinkedIn .


E-Strategies Week of August 21

The sound of descending chimes. Funky MIDI elevator music. Ughhhhhh-why is my phone ringing? Can’t they just text!?
Like many people, the phone is a tool of last resort. I’d rather text or Slack or email or carrier pigeon. But I’ve noticed that many of the most successful, productive people I’ve met are what you might call “phone-prone.” If you send them a text, they call you instead of texting back. Email them? Get a call back.
Maybe this wasn’t a coincidence. I decided it was time to test my beliefs. But first, I decided to email two “phone-prone” people-Krista Smith, the West Coast editor of Vanity Fair, and Eric Kuhn, a former L.A. talent agent and a cofounder of Layer3 TV-for some advice. Within minutes I got an email back, “Call me.”

Why I Encourage Every Employee to Brand Themselves on Social MediaEmployeeBrand

Maximum exposure is one of the foundations of a good marketing strategy. The more eyes you can put on your content, the better. As the CEO our founder of your company, you’ve already done everything you can to highlight your work and advance the interests of your organization across the web.
Your LinkedIn profile is decked out with as much relevant rich media as you can pack in, and you have links and relevant content all over your Facebook and Twitter. At the bare minimum, your first degree network knows very well what you do and how they can take advantage of the newest “limited time offer.”
But what about your employees? Depending on the size of your company, you could have a small army of individuals available to help you expand your reach to thousands of more people across the web. How can you encourage your employees to represent you well on their own social media profiles, and what are some steps they can take to advance your brand within their social networks?
Here is a list of pro-tips that can help you turn your employees into brand ambassadors on platforms such as FacebookTwitterInstagramQuora, and LinkedIn, without intruding on their own social media experience!


7 Essentials for an Elevator Pitch That Gets People to Listen

There is never any predicting what interaction, whether it’s in a grocery store or at a networking function, will present a new business opportunity. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared to seize the day.
The key that unlocks these opportunities is an elevator pitch that grabs people’s attention and makes them remember you and want to talk with you further.
To craft a pitch that is succinct and compelling keep these seven fundamental factors in mind.


Leadership Takes
Self-Control. Here’s What We Know About It

Philosophers and psychologists have been discussing the importance of self-control for ages. Plato, for example, argued that the human experience is a constant struggle between our desire and rationality, and that self-control is needed to achieve our ideal form. Likewise, Freud suggested that self-control is the essence of a civilized life.
The scientific study of self-control started about 25 years ago in the fields of criminology and psychology. Since then, hundreds of studies have shown the positive effects that come from possessing self-discipline. For instance, people with higher levels of self-control eat healthier, are less likely to engage in substance abuse, perform better at school, and build high-quality friendships. At work, leaders with higher levels of self-control display more effective leadership styles-they are more likely to inspire and intellectually challengetheir followers, instead of being abusive or micromanaging. But what happens when people lack self-control at work?

BoardManagementThe Art of Board Management

Working for a board of directors takes a special knack. An executive director must balance respect for the authority of the board member while being fully responsible for steering the organization in the right direction.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from working for boards over the last three decades.

E-Strategies Week of June 27

Interview for FIT

If your organization wants to improve the fit of your hires, reduce the cost of bad hires, and have more candidates say “yes” to your offers, then this article is for you. Did you know that one-third of new hires fail within the first six months? According to a survey by Leadership IQ – 82% of managers say that in hindsight, their interview process elicited subtle clues. Clues that they were heading for trouble. But during the job interview, managers were too focused on other issues or too pressed for time. They didn’t know what to look for, or they lacked confidence in their interviewing abilities to heed the warning signs.
Here is a 3-step process to implement an interviewing for fit methodology in your organization:

JobObsoleteYour Job May Soon Be Obsolete

Technology is changing the way everyone works, but it’s hitting some jobs harder than others.
A number of jobs will fall further and further behind the times by the year 2022, according to a new set of endangered job rankings compiled by job site CareerCast.com.
Drawing on U.S. Department of Labor data, the website has listed the top 10 careers most at risk of becoming obsolete.

Coffee Shop Owner Creates An Honest Sign To Teach Rude Customers A LessonCoffeeClever

Manners are free, and quite honestly, I think manners adds to a person’s character. But sadly, some people missed out on that memo.
There are so many people out there who aren’t familiar with basic manners like please and thank you.
It’s their lack of human decency that really annoys me. There is no need to forget your manners because forgetting them can have a big impact on someone’s day.


Why This Coffee Shop’s ‘Clever’ Sign Isn’t So Clever At All

A coffee shop in Roanoke, Va., put a “clever” sign outside that said:
“Small coffee” – $5
“Small coffee, please” – $3
“Hello, one small coffee please” – $1.75
The sign went viral. News stations reported on it. Redditors rejoiced. Bloggers and tweeters gushed.
“It might be a small gesture, but is it really that hard to remember your manners and the fact that there are actual people behind the counter?” one writer admonished her readers. “You’ll always be rewarded for good behavior, and now in some places, you might even save a little bit of cash.”
An employee wrote the sign because he felt he needed “to solve all the injustices of the world (and) to start charging more for people who didn’t take the time to say hello and connect and realize we’re all people behind the counter.”
Oh, brother.

CustomerServiceGraveyardAn inscribed clay tablet, kept in the British Museum, is widely believed to be the world’s first recorded customer service complaint. Inscribed are the frustrations of a disgruntled customer, demanding a refund for the delivery of the wrong grade of copper. While there is no record of how the complaint was resolved, we can almost be certain it was a long shot away from the customer service methods businesses use today.
From clay tablets to contact centers, there have been countless new developments in the customer service industry. Each new technology promises to outperform the rest and set the new standard in service. In this rapidly evolving landscape, some channels are struggling to remain relevant, while others (like the legendary clay tablet) have long since become obsolete.
The pace of change is unremitting. Even as recently as the dawn of the new millennium, for example, technologies such as video calling and SMS text messaging were hailed as the ‘next big thing’ in the customer service industry. While there have been many successful implementations of these technologies, they are not as widespread as technologists and futurists would have had us believe in the noughties.
Indeed, much of what we formerly believed about the future of customer service has since been proven incorrect. Artificial intelligence has yet to take over, and recent forays with bots have shown that fully automated service is not always the best solution for a quality customer experience.
So, what does the future hold for customer service? And which technologies have businesses laid to rest as customer needs have evolved? In this infographic, we explore the highs and lows of new contact centre innovations, and how customer service technology has advanced since the days of inscribing stern words on to soft clay tablets.

Read More

E-Strategies Week of May 23

LikeMeeting5 Tips for Running Meetings People Willingly Attend

“A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.” – Capt. James T. Kirk, Star Trek
When was the last time you left a meeting feeling inspired and thinking, “That was an awesome meeting!” Or better yet, when was the last time you watched other people in the room leave inspired about the awesome meeting?  Was it yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? Maybe it was never.
Sadly, it’s far more likely that you’ve walked out of most meetings thinking, “What a waste of my time.” But I have a secret to share with you — your meetings don’t have to suck.

SMCampaignWorkingIs Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Working?

As you put more time and money into your social media marketing campaign, it may be time for a reassessment. One of the biggest problems companies and their marketing departments are facing is whether their resources are directly generating more sales.
There are some companies that use social media marketing improperly and then complain about its lack of results. What these companies don’t understand is that social media marketing is about engagement and being an active participant with your followers.
Social media platforms are not for companies to blast their own updates and their own content. It is a platform to exchange ideas and nurture relationships. Many brands are still coming to terms with this, which is why 49% of digital marketers say social media marketing is one of their most difficult tasks.
However, even when used properly, reevaluating your social media marketing strategy is always a good idea. These are the steps needed and should be applied quarterly, or at least every six months, to ensure that you’re maximizing your return from social media.


3 Tips to Stop Feeling So Overworked and Overwhelmed

Are you so overextended that you can’t ever seem to catch up? You’re not alone.
Just the other day I was working with a highly competent, high-achieving executive, whose penchant for over scheduling and over committing was running him into the ground. He was the classic multitasking perfectionist, trying to jam 25 hours into a 24-hour day — scheduling meetings unrealistically close to one another, and obsessively packing so many meetings, activities, conversations, and training sessions into a single day that he was constantly running behind schedule.
In some ways, he was living the classic entrepreneurial lifestyle, but he was deeply concerned about his health, well-being, and ability to be a good parent for his children. We spoke for an hour, and I thought I’d share some of the tips we came up with for having a healthier lifestyle.

VoiceSayingFour Ways To Tell What Your Voice Is Saying About You

From stress levels to confidence, our voices communicate as much about us as the words we speak. Here’s how to take a quick vocal audit.

A big multinational company recently sent me a speaking client who “lacked leadership presence.” Looking at her resume, that seemed odd. She was accomplished. She was energetic. She was focused. What was she missing?
When we met, I quickly realized that her voice sounded rather nasally. So I asked her a question: “Do you have a hearing problem?”
“Yes!” she replied. “How did you know?” I suspected that might be the case because her voice had a particular quality to it that I’d heard before in clients with hearing difficulties. Her voice told me something about her that I wouldn’t otherwise have known.
You may not have a hearing problem, but your voice conveys all kinds of information about you to listeners-perhaps more than you realize. It’s true that our voices and speech patterns are fraught terrainespecially for women, who often face gender bias in and outside the workplace based on how others believe they sound. Still, there are a few characteristics of our voices that affect how we’re perceived regardless of gender. Here are four ways to tell what your voice might be revealing about you every time you speak.

4 Ways to Maximize Facebook for Your BusinessFacebookforBusiness

Facebook has changed the game for small businesses ever since its launch 12 years ago. More than 40 million companies now utilize the social network to create pages, invite communities to events, advertise and engage with customers. It is hard to believe that a mere 13 years ago, most entrepreneurs used only the Yellow Pages and print newspapers to spread the word about their businesses.
Are you a new entrepreneur wanting to make the most of your Facebook presence this year? If so, here are four ideas that can help increase your visibility in no time.

Reputation6 Keys to Develop Your Reputation as an Expert

The term “platform” is widely used in the publishing, speaking and business worlds to describe your ability to reach people who want to hear your message. Your platform reflects your brand, positioning, credibility, audience, and the intellectual property you create. Platform lives at the intersection of ideas, influence and income.
Why is platform so important? It comes down to a fundamental truth in the media world: we have an oversupply, and an under-demand, of content. Consider the person you are trying to reach with your message. This person’s attention is spread very thin as a result of life in general, just like you. Never mind that hundreds of thousands of books are published every year; your reader is also being courted by bloggers, television, magazines, YouTube, NetFlix, and on and on.
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has appeared on programs ranging from Ellen to NPR to CNN. He’s written a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and has over one million Twitter followers. He grew his family wine business from $3 million per year to over $45 million in eight short years. Vaynerchuk operates a slew of businesses and even boasts a gaggle of fans that refer to themselves as “Vayniacks.” In short, he’s a walking billboard of what a concentrated platform can do for you.
Where do you begin a task as daunting as becoming a veritable expert like Vaynerchuk?

AnnoyEmployer5 Ways You Annoy Your Employer

First of all know this: you’re valuable. We love you. You’re important to the business. It’s just that, well, sometimes as an employee you can do things that get under our skin. Want some examples? OK, here are five. Yes, some may seem petty. But they’re for real.

E-Strategies Week of May 1, 2017

CrossroadsThe 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself When at a Crossroads

Are you facing a big decision? Are you stuck in a difficult spot?

Answering these 5 questions will lead you to your best outcome.

SmarterQuit Trying To Make Yourself “Smarter” And Do These Three Things Instead

Can you actually improve your brain power through hacks and habits? Sort of, but that still might disappoint you.

5 Worst Offenders That Drive Visitors Away From Your WebsiteDriveVisitors

You jumped on the digital bandwagon and created a website for your business and created a profile on every social platform known to man, yet your business is not attracting more customers. Does this scenario sound familiar? There’s a big chance that it’s not your brand that’s the problem, but the way you present it online. Your website could need a facelift.
“Visitors judge a website within a few seconds, and react based on elements such as the time it takes to load, the visual aspect and the ease of navigation,” says Nay Ayache, my company’s in-house WordPress expert. “An InspireMag article last year set that time limit to ten seconds, so everything has to be perfect.”

SmallBusinessesSmall businesses are the backbone of rural communities

Small scale entrepreneurship is a proven strategy to revitalize rural communities. Owning one’s own business can create genuine opportunity across rural America with the support of a modest public investment.

The importance of entrepreneurship is particularly profound in the most rural areas. Our analysis of economic conditions in the farm and ranch counties of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas found that nearly 60 percent of job growth in the 1990s came from people creating their own job by starting a small non farm business.

PaperPlannerWhat Happened When I Ditched My Smartphone For A Paper Planner

Would two weeks of writing everything down improve my life? Kind of.
Japan and China may have a reputation for being technologically advanced, but recording appointments and to-dos with pen and paper is long-held tradition in Asia. There is also evidence that it’s gaining popularity with millennials there as sales of paper planners have increased in the last few years. 
Increasingly, the trend is catching on in the West among younger people. As a matter of fact, some adherents to the pen-and-paper planner culture are so fervent in their use that they post videos giving the world a tour of how they organize in their diaries.

Exceptionally LikeableAre You Exceptionally Likable? 9 Reasons People Decide They Like You

More good news: possessing each of these qualities will also make you happier.
No one has enough friends. And if that’s not reason enough to be likable, we tend to do business and build professional and relationships with people we like. We’re instinctively drawn to people who are modest, agreeable, polite, kind… in short, to people who are genuinely likable.
How do people decide whether they like you, especially once they’ve gotten to
know you a little better?
The answer often lies in what likable people don’t do.

ARO Metal Stamping President Erica Wiegel knows that getting involved in professional BestInvestmentgroups could benefit your personal career but your business as well.
ARO Metal Stamping, Inc. in Roselle, Ill., is a turn-key source for metal stampings and assemblies, from prototype through production. President Erica Wiegel knows that getting involved in professional groups could benefit your personal career but your business as well. Wiegel is not in business for personal gain, but to create a new family with her employees. How does Wiegel think that women bring a little extra to the table, especially in her field?