I recall my fifth grade teacher would have us journal every morning and we had to keep writing without a stopping. She told us to streamline our thoughts and that it didn’t matter if we made spelling mistakes or if our sentences didn’t make sense - so long as we kept writing.
I recently had a chance to re-read one of these journals. I wrote stuff like “My brother annoys me and cows don’t jump over the moon.” It doesn’t get more random then that. Anyway, that’s what I’m doing right now. Already I’ve hit the backspace button ten times but I keep plowing forward the best I can.
Too many times we don’t push forward on a task and we’re afraid to throw it on paper. I’m amazed at how unproductive I can be and how much time I waste staring at the wall. I think about work-related stuff but I don’t write it down.
I’ll be honest, I cheated with this blog entry. I decided in advance what I wanted to write about which makes this though-streaming-process much easier. I’ll have to try this again and truly start from scratch. I suggest you do the same. On your next big project or task, try putting your thoughts on paper, regardless of what they are. Whether it’s an email, newsletter, blog or memo – don’t go back or make any edits until you’re done.
I’m convinced that this will make you more productive and will also help you stay focused. I already feel better having done this. It also takes a lot of concentration. I’ve had to keep typing even as my outlook emails pop up in the corner of my screen. But I press on!
I’m happy to report that this blog took about five minutes to write (which is a record for me).
Let’s see how long it takes to edit it!
[Updated: It took about twice as long to edit… I’ll have to work on shaving that down next time]
Have you considered how traffic affects your personal productivity and our nation's economy?
Here is a segment from Wikipedias page on traffic congestion:
"The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that in 2000 the 75 largest metropolitan areas experienced 3.6 billion vehicle-hours of delay, resulting in 5.7 billion US gallons (21.6 billion liters) in wasted fuel and $67.5 billion in lost productivity, or about 0.7% of the nation's GDP."
Around 44 BC, Roman senators began to fear Caesar's growing power in the senate following his appointment as Dictator for Life.
A group of "Liberators" met in secret to find a way to over-throw him. They all agreed to hide daggers beneath their togas during the upcoming senate meeting.
The following day, Caesar was asked to attend a meeting where the Senators would read a petition asking him to hand power back over to the Senate. The petition, of course, was a fake and never existed.
While on-route to the senate flour, Caesar was redirected to another room where he was killed -- the unforeseen result was the eventual fall of the Roman Republic.
For Caesars' sake (and for Rome alike), it should have been a conference call.
We've updated your online call scheduler.
- When you schedule a start time for your conference calls, the moderators can call-in 15 minutes beforehand. Participants can call-in 5 minutes beforehand. This will protect you from being overcharged accidentally.
- If you are a moderator and you’re waiting for others to arrive, you hold 15 minutes before the system bumps you off if no one else joins. Again, this will protect you from being overcharged accidentally.
- If you schedule a reoccurring conference (i.e. 3:00PM every Wednesday) then the codes will only work for that specified time. The codes will not be active until the following week on the same time and day.
- If you setup dial-in playback, the codes will still work regardless of the time stamp unless you make the conference inactive.
Call us if you have any questions. And if you're unsure about anything, we will happily walk you through the process.
I was reading an article on redtape.msnbc.com about how CEO's have an inflated sense of their customer support. A recent survey showed that 75% thought that their customer service was “above average.” Apparently they’ve never had to call it themselves!
A recent study by Accenture and support.com said:
- 6 in 10 were upset with their most recent customer service experience
- The average consumer wastes 12 hours every month on computer problems
- 74% of people rely on family or friend for help, instead of calling customer service tech support
- 1 in 2 friends and family surveyed said they’d rather help a friend move than offer computer help
- 81% of consumers who feel they’ve been treated badly say they'll purchase from a competitor next time
- 27% of people who received “average” treatment say they’ll buy again from the same company
The problem is that companies try to cut costs by shaving their customer service budget down. For example, they will have customers navigate touch-tone voice systems to eliminate the time they spend on person-to-person customer service.
With the cost of acquiring new customers, why not pay a little more to keep them? Great customer service creates loyal customers. It's just common sense.
I'm sure you already know this, and that you're already doing a great job staying relevant and accessible to your customers; but I wanted to share with you how I do it with Accu800.
The alarm rings every morning at 5:45am. I lean over, rub the sleep out of my eyes and switch on my Blackberry. I don't check my messages until after breakfast, but my phone stays on in case of emergencies. As I dash out the door, I check my voicemail, emails and toll free faxes.
The painstakingly slow commute starts at 6:20am so I use that time to listen to recorded conference calls. My employees each have an Accu800 toll-free number so that they can record, download and send me applicable client calls, business meetings and job interviews. I can fast-forward through to the important stuff and pause it when I need to throw quarters in the toll-booth.
A friendly face greets me at 7:15 am with a warm cup of coffee. I change the toll-free forwarding location to my office for the time being. The toll free number makes it easy and affordable for my east-coast clients to reach me. A stampede of calls usually ensues about this time.
Most days I'm away from my desk putting out fires, overseeing projects and attending meetings – but my 800 number follows me wherever I go. Whether I'm at home, at the office, or on-the-road, my toll-free number can ring at any location. Gone are the days of lonely voicemails that sit on my machine for hours.
I retreat from the office at 1:00pm to workout at the gym. I forwarded my calls to an assistant who happens to be a rigorous note taker. I love having a number that can be forwarded to anyone at any location at anytime. And if I wanted, I can travel overseas and still be reached toll-free.
In the afternoon I activate and record my own conference calls on-route to visit distributors. I know that I could probably spend more time in the office but the one thing I love most about my job is the face-to-face interactions and the handshake negotiations. If I talk about something important while on a conference call in my car, I email the recording or have it transcribed.
When business is booming I won't even sit at my desk. Accu800 follows me wherever I go and utilizes the latest technology so that I can stay accessible at all times.
* this is a fictitious account of how a CEO would use Accu800.
As mentioned here in a previous blog, AccuConference provides Entry tones. This is a notification feature that announces when a new person has arrived on the call. This notification is a two-toned "bleep," which sounds a lot like a retro video game.
Did you know that you can personalize your entry tones? Every time a participant calls in, they are prompted to record their name. This name recording is then played into the conference call instead of the "bleep" sound.
So why not have some fun with this feature!? Next time the system prompts you to record, try playing a sound-bite from your computer. Perhaps you could play a trumpet processional for added pomp and circumstance; or record yourself saying " Leeeets get rrrready to rrrrumble" and play the Eye of the Tiger Rocky Theme song.
A little office humor never hurt anyone… so go-ahead and make'em laugh.
It's official. Our favorite technologies have now become best friends. It didn't happen overnight… in fact they've been working at this for a long time; but now they are attached at the hip and changing the world - one office at a time.
You may have experienced this collaborative trio already by watching podcasts and blogs; but have you tried it yet?
Find out what it's like to have friends you can count on.
>> Experience face-to-face at its finest
What I'm about to say probably won't surprise you… are you ready?
People arrive late for meetings.
The other night we were monitoring our call volume and it peaked at 7:05pm. With the hundreds of meetings that occurred last night, the majority had late arrivals. Specifically, we found that 12.1% arrived early and 87.9% arrived within five minutes of the start time. This isn't bad considering they could have arrived a lot later.
Judging by these statistics we've all arrived late one time or another.
So what can we learn from this? The next time you start your meeting, begin on time but don't give out the "meat" of your presentation until five minutes later. And your participants continue to be tardy, have them read Penelope Trunk's blog titled 5 ways to stop being late.
Here are some events that have occurred in our office that may spawn some fun ideas.
The Annoy-atron – Do a quick google search for annoy-atron and you'll discover a device that's not much bigger than a quarter. This device is sure to be a crowed pleaser… except for the unsuspecting target(s) of course. It is designed to emit high-pitch beeps at random intervals ranging from 2 to 8 minutes, making it hard “time” and locate the device. And best of all, it is magnetic so it can be attached in a very inconspicuous location! We planted the device in an office down the hall and it wasn't discovered until the next day. Judging by the groans and desk pounding, we think it was effective.
Shock Tanks – The other day someone brought in a pair of remote controlled army tanks. Mounted on the top of each tank was an infrared sensor. If the opposing tank successfully shot the infrared zone, it would send a volt of electricity to the controller. (Quick Tip – be sure and wear the wrist strap!)
Fish Tanks – We have a reef tank enthusiast who maintains two beautiful 150 gallon tanks. It’s fun when we buy new fish and add them to our collection. But watching the fish is the most enjoyable part, and it’s a great way to relax during a busy workday. For those of you who are interested, we will be posting streaming video of the fish. We’ll keep you posted.
TV Spoofing – We have a favorite TV show on NBC called The Office. After the weekly episode we usually re-enact a gag from the show. Most recently we printed “Schrudt Bucks” and handed them out as rewards for a job-well-done.
Next on the list: Turn our board room into an Xbox 360 media center.