On the Move
According to the 2009 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study, Americans are moving away from states reporting high unemployment, although overall relocation rates are lower than in previous years. It seems that the Southwest, Northeast and Southeast are seeing the highest amount of inbound moves, while the Midwest continues to lose residents. For the first time in 10 years, Illinois joins Indiana, Michigan and Ohio as “outbound” states.
Where We Go to Get Away
Las Vegas has long been the top domestic travel destination, but this year, Sin City was topped by Orlando, according to Travel Leaders’ 2010 Travel Trends Survey. The survey also showed that Caribbean cruises remain the top international travel destination for Americans. But do Central Illinoisans follow these trends?
It turns out that, locally, our top domestic destination is Alaskan cruises, followed by a four-way tie for second place among Hawaiian cruises, Las Vegas, Orlando and Tampa/St. Petersburg. When travelling internationally, the results show that our top destination is Cancun, followed by London and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Deadlines Dragging You Down?
If you find that deadlines are always weighing you down, perhaps it’s time to change your ways. Etiquette guru Ann Marie Sabath says that the secret to never being late to a meeting or missing a deadline is to “commit to take action at an appropriate point before the deadline.” For appointments, focus on the time you have to leave—instead of when it starts—and leave in time to arrive five or 10 minutes before it’s scheduled to begin. Sabath also says to always underpromise and overdeliver; there’s nothing worse than making professional promises you can’t keep.
Source: Business Etiquette by Ann Marie Sabath
My Favorite Movies
Dr. Gail Amundson is the president and CEO of Quality Quest for Health of Illinois, a non-profit collaborative that brings together those who use, provide and pay for healthcare in order to work on delivery system changes and improving community health.
- My all-time favorite movie is Rabbit-Proof Fence, a 2002 Australian film based on an incredible true story.
- I am a Coen Brothers fan. Gruesomely hilarious, Fargo is my favorite.
- North Country, an uplifting, true story set in a small, northern Minnesota taconite-mining community.
- Brokeback Mountain it’s so sad, but so wonderful.
- Any Charlie Chaplin movie—they are funny and classic. We watched them as a family when our children were small.
The Downside of Facebook at Work
As social networks like Facebook become ever more popular, more companies are disabling access to the site in an effort to maintain productivity levels. According to an independent study by Nucleus Research, companies who allow their employees to access Facebook during the workday lose an average of 1.5 percent in total employee productivity. The following statistics were uncovered after interviewing 237 randomly selected office workers about their Facebook use:
- 77 percent of workers have a Facebook account.
- Of workers with a Facebook account, nearly two-thirds access the site during work hours.
- Of those who access Facebook during work hours, they do so for as little as a minute to 120 minutes at most each day, for an average of 15 minutes each day.
- 87 percent of those who access Facebook at work couldn’t define a clear business reason for using it.
Facebook may also pose a security concern for some companies, as corporate communications policies may be violated by messages sent on the site, which cannot be monitored by corporate IT departments like regular email.
While most workers are responsible with their Internet use at work, managers should keep these figures in mind when examining their communications policies.
Working On Work
According to Sam Carpenter, author of Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, one of the biggest factors contributing to work piling up is wasting time. It isn’t bad to take periodic breaks from time to time (you’ll burn out otherwise), but the truth is you’re at work to work. Simple actions like turning the radio off at your desk and cutting down on personal conversations can help you to be more productive.
While it may be nice to think we can be productive every waking minute, the truth is that we only function at maximum effectiveness for about six hours each day. To make sure that you use those six hours to your advantage, try to determine when they occur and focus on your most important tasks during that time.
Learning to delegate will ensure that the tasks further down on your to-do list are also completed on time. Successful business owners and managers create systems, implement written procedures and learn to delegate, Carpenter says. Micromanaging every task for every aspect of your business will leave you running in circles and drowning in endless levels of stress. Instead, take on only those tasks that impact the growth and stability of your business and delegate everything else.
Small businesses are more likely to flounder within the first five years than larger companies. One reason is that larger companies typically have documented procedures. If your company doesn’t already, consider developing a strategic objective, general operating principles and working procedures. These will outline your company’s purpose, guidelines for decision making and individual job procedures, which will formally define your company and give it a solid foundation. iBi