Thursday, April 22, 2010

Walkin' on Sunshine

Check out this adorable little yellow denim jacket! Perfect for a casual Friday at the office! Yes, it's denim, but it's also a jacket, and bonus - it's Yellow! Doesn't wearing yellow make you cheerful? I stinking love it! By Ralph Lauren, marked down for $159 to $89!

Lately I have been super cheerful... when you're walking up to sunshine and birds chirping... it's hard to be in a foul bad even if you wanted to be! If you're not walking on sunshine just yet... go get yourself some yellow - I swear it makes a difference! (And no, I'm not getting any chemical assistance for my mood...)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

He Did What?!

If you've ever watched The Office, you've been grateful that Dwight Shrute is not your cube mate. Not to worry though, there are plenty of other annoying coworkers to go around! I'm not just talking about voicemails-on-speakerphone guy, or little-miss-loud-talker next door. I'm talking about all of it... so let the gripes begin!

1. Little Miss I-Can-Do-It-All and No-One-Ever-Helps-Me. We all know her. Her heart is in the right place... but she volunteers for everything, and won't ask for help or invite help from others. She'll allow help if you push, but then she thanks you about a million times how much she really appreciates that you helped her... because of course, she has SO much on her plate. She typically bulldozes other people's projects and assignments, and commandeers them as her own. Then makes a big deal about how she has to do everything. Seriously? Is there ever a polite way to tell a coworker - "This isn't actually your assignment, so you can stop thanking all of us every time we contribute, because we all signed up to do it in the first place." Ugh....

2. Mr. I'm-An-Up-and-Commer. He wants to ride the corporate elevator instead of the ladder, and he's really good at the buzzwords and the sucking up portion of the job. In meetings he's full of fluff, and has these really complex, three-teired questions about the direction of a specific project, or impact on the company's mission in 10-years, etc. Enough already... we're not buying it!

3. The Honorable Queen of Drama. She's in tears half the time, the other half of the time she's mad at someone. If you've ever been "on her list" you know what I'm talking about. She announces to the general vicinity that she's "still mad at you" from a previous encounter... and you better believe just about everything is going to be personal.

4. Mr. Just-To-Piggy-Back-On-That. We know what you said, and we know what the guy before you said, we don't need you to rehash it six times for us. Meetings are long-enough as it is, without you reiterating everything for us ... FYI - it's called beating a dead horse. Quit listening to yourself talk and wrap it up!

5. Miss I'm-Asking-You-A-Question-But-Won't-Let-You-Get-A-Word-In-To-Answer. Wow... that was a long one. She asks you a question, but instead of asking, "What time do you want to meet tomorrow to discuss ABC Company?" The question is phrased as, "Oh my goodness we really need to work on ABC Company! Seriously we have GOT to find time this week to sit down and talk about ABC Company! I don't know how long it will take, but maybe we can find some time in the morning, or maybe in the afternoon, I wonder when we're going to have time, we seriously, really need to talk about ABC Company!" During this entire question rant, you've tried to interrupt six times to offer 10am in the conference room to discuss ABC Company. How annoying.

6. Little Miss In-A-Tizzy. You know her - she's gets all riled up into a tizzy over everything. You've started to say "Take a deep breath" as part of your normal 'good morning' routine. She gets worked up over nothing, and God Forbid you joke with her or tease her in the slightest - because she will take it personally and overreact exponentially.

7. Mr. I'm-Way-More-Important-Than-The-Rest-Of-You. He's never on time for meetings, including the ones he calls. You better believe his time is WAY more valuable than anyone else's! And don't you dare expect him to perform at the same level of everyone else - because he's so good at A, B, and C, that there's no way he'd ever find the time to even complete X, Y, and Z - let alone do it well. Which brings me too...

8. Mrs. I'm-SO-Busy-You-Have-No-Idea. These people usually like to use the phrase "Welcome to my world" anytime you care to share an anecdote about a crazy client, or a particularly chaotic day. You're crazy if you think these people have even one moment of spare time in their crazy days. They are so much busier than everyone else ... they don't even have the time to be courteous to their fellow coworkers!

I think that covers them all... at least the one's I've had the pleasure of working with at some point in my career! I'm sure there are some great annoying coworker stories out there - so, let's hear 'em!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Art of Organization

We all have our specialties in life... our little talents. Mine is organization. It's funny, because growing up I was the messiest kid around. (Note: I was never dirty... there's a difference between messy and dirty. I was just messy.) Seriously - my parents would periodically take everything off my floor and fill up a garbage bag or two. You better believe I had to really clean my room and earn back those garbage bags. (I remember one time, begging my Dad to let me me grab my only bra (my starter-bra) from one of said garbage bags! They used to preach to me, if it's important - you shouldn't be leaving it on the floor! (He did take pity on me and let me grab my one bra... too funny.) However, I have always loved school supplies... my sister and I used to sit down every night, probably the entire week before school started, and sort and organize our school supplies over and over!

Then I grew up and went to college. Do you remember your dorm room? You have got to be neat and organized, because if you're not, there is no way you're going to fit all of your belongings in that tiny little space! In college I somehow went from messy to neat-freak. Not really sure how it happened, I don't think I even realized that it happened! The friends on my floor thought I was hilarious with my neat-freak ways, and would periodically move things around on my desk, then laugh when I walked into the room, went straight to my desk and put things back in order. In my sorority house I became known for having the neatest room in the house... I found myself getting irritated when roommates would leave clothes out, or when one roommate would always manage to leave her polar pop on my desk... it wasn't going to fit on her cluttered desk!

Somehow, I became the local organization expert! I've helped friends organize their closets, given them tips on what little tools they could use to organize their kitchens, etc. If there was a job called "Professional Organizer", I would totally do it. And I would rock at it. Then I married a true, lifelong neat-freak. You can imagine what our house looks like! We struggle to be okay with it when people come over and don't take their shoes off, or if the put their purses and bags on the kitchen counter... or don't use coasters, or any other little thing that normal people do that drives us nuts. I like to adjust picture frames so that sit an exact 45 degree angle to the corner of the table... it drives me nuts when the blinds are crooked, and I truly cannot stand water around the sink, or when the dish towels are hung haphazardly.

Now as a Corporate Chickee, I've become the local neat-freak once again. Coworkers constantly comment on how neat and tidy my desk is... and how organized my work is. It's nice to be appreciated! So, I've decided to share some of my organization-tips, free of charge! Share your's too so we can all get even more organized!

1. Clear away clutter! I don't know about you - but mounds of paper everywhere make me start to feel like I'm drowning. In paper. If it needs action, file it in a to-do folder, or even in a nice neat stack in your in-box, if it doesn't need action it needs one of two things - to be filed for reference, or to be thrown away!
2. Color coding. Color coding is an excellent tool for visual people. Everything at my desk is color coded - one glance at my calendar and I have a good idea of how much time I'll need to prepare for client meetings, internal meetings, when I'm scheduled to work out, urgent tasks that need to be completed for clients, and even which nights I have personal functions after work.
3. Get on the Post-It Program! I love those little post-it tabs - they're stronger than regular post-it notes and smaller, and come in a variety of colors. You guessed it - I color code those as well. Red ones are assigned to new accounts, green ones mean I need to track shipments to a client, yellow, blue, and orange are all specific types of accounts that need extra steps, etc. One look at my binder of events I've planned for the next three months tells me what I need to do - now and later, for up to 3 months!
4. Lists. Every evening, about 30-minutes before the end of the workday, take some time to organize your desk, and make a list of everything you need to do the next day. That way you won't forget that project that you're halfway through, or to return a call to a client tomorrow morning that you didn't have time for today, and so on. I even take this one step farther. On Friday afternoon I make my list for the entire next week. I have a typed-up list saved on Word that I print out fresh for the next week. It already has on there the things I HAVE to do each week, regardless of whatever else I have going on. Then I write-in the details, make mini-lists on that one big list, etc. Then each evening, I update my list - cross off the things I've done, add new things, and so on. This helps me keep everything in one place. And it's okay if something gets transferred from last week's list to this week's list ... there are only so many hours in a day. And sometimes, if it's not urgent, it's not getting done. We all have those days!
5. Create a filing system. One that works for you - if you want to file alphabetically, or by date, or my favorites... doesn't matter. As long as it makes sense to you (and perhaps to an assistant who may need to understand it!), that's all that matters. You're more likely to really USE your filing system if it's organized in a manner that works for you.
6. Keep a voice mail log book. Record every voicemail you get, write down the number and the date they called. This way you won't forget to return someone's calls for days at a time! As an added bonus, you have their cell phone number written down from when they gave it to you three weeks ago!
7. Clear your desk! This was addressed already - but I can't say it enough! Put everything away at the end of the day. Your pens, your calculator, your files (even if you just stack them up in the corner of your office). Coming into a clean office each day puts you in a good mood and makes you feel productive! It's the same concept of why you make your bed each morning - to come home to a nice neat bedroom each evening!

So, those are a few of my organizational tidbits - share your tips!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Super Cute

I love this adorable, spring jacket from J.Crew. Can be dressed up for the office or dressed down for happy hour! I love that it's short sleeved, I adore short-sleeved jackets in the summer. Professional, but cute and cool in a hot car!

It's on sale now, looks like they have sever
al sizes still available! $99 marked down from $228!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Joys of PTO

As you may have noticed I haven't posted in a while! I was enjoying some much-needed R&R on vacation with my husband! We soaked up the sunshine (through our SPF 30, of course), and basked in the glory of sleeping late, having a beer with lunch, and I personally plowed through 3 beach-reads! It was a great trip. You know how management always says to "recharge your battery"? This vacation truly felt like that for me. Before I left I was wound so tight at work that I just couldn't relax, and the slightest rumble from a client sent me reeling into anxiety and frustration.

My first Monday back was great - I checked my emails, only 4 voicemails (!!), and touched base with coworkers covering my accounts in my absence. No disasters, no catastrophes, it's what you want to come back to! I actually felt excited to dive back in... but from a more relaxed angle this time. I'm trying to not let the little things get to me - which is tough when you want to do the best job you can - because things are going to go wrong.

Another thing that helped - we scheduled our vacation perfectly - we were gone for the whole week. We bookended our trip with a weekend on each side. That really cut down on all that last-minute-trip stress right before you leave. I was able to focus on wrapping up work before I left - and didn't even give a thought to packing or anything until I left work that Friday afternoon. Then, having a weekend on the other end was perfect timing. I don't know about you - but I always feel like I need a vacation to relax from the vacation! Having a weekend buffer before going back to the real world was ideal! We had two days to catch up on the big household tasks, grocery shop, unpack, do laundry and take a few naps, too!

In honor of being back to work - I think it's time for vacation Rants & Raves! I'll start with the raves... so I can end on a positive note :)


* We went budget on our hotel... and while it was a very nice place, it's not what we're used to.

* When hotels are U-shaped and all the balconies face the pool. People have no concept of volume control!

* The hotel had "complimentary" valet parking - which really meant "mandatory" to them! It was the weirdest thing. It was not a big parking lot - we're talking at most, 20 steps to the front door. So we never used the valet. They started roping off huge sections of the parking lot leaving only a handful self-park spots available. So we just drove around and parked in the valet section. The valet guy actually ran out to our car as we were getting out and told us we had to go back and he had to park it for us. Seriously? You're not a 5 star resort... the jig is up.

* Sunburned scalp. Next time I go on vacation, remind me to spray SFP along my part.... Ouch!

* Florida Tollway System. In the probably 10-12 mile drive to the airport - we passed at least three $1 tolls each way! Thats ridiculous. (And this from a Chicagoan!)


* Disney World really is the happiest place on Earth!

* I couldn't help but notice their level of customer service. Every single staff member I saw was smiling, cheerful, and looked absolutely thrilled to be doing whatever they happened to be doing. Even the people emptying trash, directing foot-traffic around the parade... you can't help but get goose bumps :)

* Space Mountain... enough said!

* Listening to little kids experience their first flight. The squeals and cheers at take off & landing were priceless!

* Funny Flight Attendants. When they can work little jokes into their safety speeches - it just makes everything more fun.

* Sitting at the pool with a good book.