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Archive for November, 2015


Tax Time Is Almost Here!

Do you usually wait until the last minute to get your tax information together? Whether personal or business, taxes can be taxing! Get a jump on the job now before the hustle and bustle of the holidays hit full force, and your time is jammed with activities. Here are some quick tips to get started.

  • Separate business and personal expenses. This should be done all year, but sometimes organization gets a bit sloppy. If you have piles of receipts, sort them into two separate piles—one for business and one for personal expenses. Then sort them by date. You can easily do this at night in front of the television or when you are listening to music.
  • Review the requirements for any documents that must be filed by year end and gather all the information you need to complete them. If anything is missing, work on getting it. See my blog posts Tax Documents and Get Your Tax Documents Organized for more information.
  •  Find out what changes are planned for the tax year and take advantage of any tax saving options that end on 12-31. You may want to make some additional business purchases before year-end.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to act. Start now to take charge of your tax situation.


Thank You All!

Thanksgiving Day is this week, and I want to thank all of you who read my blog. I hope my posts have helped you be more positively productive, lead more effectively, and build strong teams.Thanksgiving

Please take time before the holiday to visit each of your team members individually and thank them for their contributions. Thank the entire team by throwing a party—a pizza lunch, a dessert party, or an after-work get-together—to thank them for their hard work

I wish you and your family a happy, safe Thanksgiving.


Relieve Holiday Stress

The holiday season is coming fast and with it comes added stress. You will be juggling work and family responsibilities, fighting a tendency to overindulge in rich food and drink, and experiencing a mix of emotions including loneliness, frustration, and even anger. This is a potent mix for maximum stress, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help you blow off holiday stress before you blow

  • Be Prepared. You know that the holidays will be hectic, so take time now to plan your time later. Open your calendar and block off time to do what is necessary to meet your obligations at work and at home. Identify what you must do versus what you would like to do and prioritize accordingly. No one wins if you stress out trying to be a super hero, so be realistic with what you think you can handle.
  • Aim for Moderation. You will be surrounded by good company, heavenly desserts, lavish meals, and heady beverages. The temptation to overindulge will be strong. Be selective about accepting invitations that come your way and limit indulging in your favorite foods. Take small, tasting portions of everything else and make natural, healthy choice when possible.
  • Keep Moving. It will be more important than ever to stay active. Running around shopping won’t do it! You need to maintain your exercise routine to keep stress-and added pounds—at bay!
  • Stay Positive. Emotions run strong during the holidays. Everything seems sharper and more intense, so we need to be generous with others and ourselves. The season is about love and sharing, so when these emotions pop up, take a few deep breaths and gently let them go.

See my blog post How Often Do You Unplug? for more information you can use. Leave the stress at the door and have a happy, healthful holiday season this year.



Strengthen Your Team with These Exercises

The holiday season is a time for office parties and get-togethers. This year why not do something different from the standard potluck or luncheon. Choose one or two team building exercises and turn the party into an opportunity to strengthen your team. Here are some ideas:shutterstock_230996554

  • True or False. Have each person write down two true statements and one false statement about themselves before the event. Ask them to choose things that people at work do not know about them. Create a grid with four columns and a row for each person. Write in the person’s name and put each of the three statements next to the name.

During the party, have people talk to each other to try and determine which statement is false. At no time should someone reveal their false statement. After everyone has had a chance to mingle, go around the room and have the group vote on which statement they think is false for each person.

This exercise is a good way to help your team members get to know each other better as individuals with diverse interests and backgrounds.

  • Show and Tell Hobbies. Ask team members to bring to the party something related to their hobby. A golfer could bring a golf ball; a knitter, a ball of yarn; a cook, a whisk; a classic car enthusiast, a model car; and so on.

Create a display table with the items and make a game by asking team members to guess which hobby belongs to which person. The team member who makes the most correct guesses receives a prize.

  • Team Flag. Bring in flip charts, markers, colored paper, glue sticks, scissors and so on. Break the group into smaller teams and have each team create a flag for the entire team. After the flags are completed, have each person vote for their favorite flag. The winning team members receive prizes. Post the flag in your office where everyone can see it.

Holiday parties are fun events, and you can ramp up your team party this year by adding a team building activity to improve communication, collaboration, and morale.


How to Thank Your Employees

How often do you thank your employees for a good job? Surprisingly, more than 50 percent of workers complain that they are never thanked. Don’t be the type of manager that takes their team for granted! With Thanksgiving Day just a few weeks away, here are five simple ways to say thank you to your team.Great job

  1. Write a personalized thank you to each team member on real stationery, not via e-mail. Mention one accomplishment the employee achieved and how it made a difference.
  2. Bring in lunch or dessert and give employees an extra hour of time to party. Make sure you give a short speech that highlights major successes the team realized in the past year.
  3. Host an all-team, off-site event like a movie afternoon or a picnic.
  4. Create personalized certificates of appreciation for each employee.
  5. Allow employees to have extra time off during the holiday season as a thank you for their hard work.

Get in the habit of regularly and frequently saying thank you and showing your appreciation for your team. Recognition is good for morale, improves retention, creates a sense of ownership among employees, and helps them become more positively productive.