9 Mistakes People Make Daily Before They Get to Work

Everybody makes mistakes every day. Some mistakes people make are minor; some can affect the rest of your life.

A wonderful quote from the recently deceased Muhammad Ali says it quite succinctly:

I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.” 

mistakes people make

In essence, just because you make a mistake, that doesn’t mean you are not capable of having a positive influence on someone, or even yourself. If you learn from a mistake you made, it’s not in vain. You can use it for good and make the future better.

Why We Make Mistakes

People make mistakes all the time. I make mistakes several times a day. How often do you make a mistake? If you say not very often, you’re probably not being honest with yourself (that’s a mistake).

Most mistakes people make are not really mistakes. You didn’t accidentally rear-end that car on the highway. You tell yourself it was a mistake but, in reality, you make the decision to be scrolling through your Facebook feed rather than paying attention to the traffic around you.

Science backs this up. A study from Princeton University discovered the brain is able to process information correctly but struggles when that information contains errors, or “noise.” 

Your desire to flip through Facebook is the noise that made it so your brain could not react quick enough when the driver in front of you hit his brakes.

We make mistakes, in most cases, because we choose to take a particular course of action. 

Focusing on the proper action will enable you to keep from making those “mistakes.” 

Mistakes People Make at the Beginning of Each Day

Now that we briefly touched on the “noise that causes us to make mistakes, let’s look at some mistakes people make on a daily basis. Most importantly, we are going to look at mistakes made in the morning, before people even leave for work.

There is some credence to be given to starting the day off right. 

We say often, when someone is in a bad mood, that he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The side of the bed may not particularly matter but other things that person did in the morning certainly had an effect on his mood the rest of the day. Let’s look at nine mistakes people make each day:

1. Hit the Snooze Button

Raise your hand if you’ve ever hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off in the morning. Yep, we all have at some point. This is a mistake we make that causes a ripple the rest of the day.

 

If you set your alarm, get up when it goes off. I know sometimes that is easier said than done. Sometimes you just feel like you need a little more sleep. I’ve been there too…far too often.

I’ve realized, however, that my days go much better when I wake up with my alarm. Have you noticed that too?

There are several things you can do each night that will help you improve your sleep so you feel rested when your alarm goes off in the morning. 

The morning will come

2. Leave the Bed Unmade

Productivity experts will tell you to make your bed first thing every morning and it will increase your productivity for the day. It is partially based on having good habits that lead to success. It is also partially because it’s a simple productive task you can accomplish before anything else. 

Leave your bed unmade and you won’t have that first “small win” in the morning. Make it and start the day off right.

Here is an article with 24 reasons why you should make your bed everyday.

3. Wait until Morning to Iron and Choose Your Clothes

I’ve always been particular about ironing my dress shirts. I don’t even take my clothes to the dry cleaners to get washed and pressed because I got tired of having to always touch them up when I got them back. 
 
So, I iron the dress shirts on Sunday evening that I will wear that entire week. Also, many years ago, I started setting my clothes out the night before. Saving the time for that decision making process in the morning means I can sleep in longer and decrease the potential for mistakes. 
 
For me, picking a suit, dress shirt and tie don’t really take a lot of time. For you ladies though, you know how many outfits you go through each day before you make the final decision. Select your outfit the night before and reduce that frustration in the morning.
 
Iron at least the night before and pick out your clothes as well. You’ll give yourself one less opportunity to make the mistake of running out of time in the morning.

4. Don’t Rehydrate

Your body dehydrates over night. The best thing you can do for your body is to drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning. 
 
Rehydrating does several things for your body. I’m not going to list them here because the best resource possible is a master class podcast by Shawn Stevenson (the Sleep Smarter author from above). You NEED to listen to this episode. 

5. Deprive Your Body of Proper Nutrition

Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It certainly can be if that’s what you believe. Regardless, depriving your body of the nutrition it will need to conquer the day is a huge mistake people make frequently.

You don’t have to have a huge breakfast to provide your body the nutrition it deserves. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time either. 

A quick and easy way I get my nutrition is by making a smoothie. A little almond milk, avocado, kale, frozen berries, hemp protein and almond butter and I’m good to go.

 

Many days though I don’t even have a smoothie in the morning. More often than not, I choose to start my day with a concentration of healthy fats instead. It’s become pretty popular now but I follow Dave Asprey’s basic recipe for Bulletproof coffee. You can find his recipe here.

If you don’t want to take the time to blend the butter into the coffee, you can just use straight grass fed butter. It won’t be as good and you’ll have to stir your coffee continually, but it will still work.

Healthy is merely the slowest rate at which one can die

6. Leave the House with No Time to Spare

You’ve planned everything perfectly and you should make it to work right at starting time. Perfect…until an accident backs up traffic so bad that you’ll be 30 minutes late.

Leaving the house with just the right amount of time to make it to work is a rookie mistake. Leave early. Give yourself some extra time. 

When traffic backs up and you still have plenty of time to make it into work, you’ll keep from getting stressed and ruining the most productive hours of the work day. 

The solution is simple: Leave for work earlier than you need to.

7. Not Expressing Gratitude

Brian Tracy, the great sales trainer, speaker and author says, “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

Don’t just be grateful for the big wins and successes in life. Be grateful for the apparent small things in life such as waking up in the morning, having a reliable vehicle to drive and the love of your family. 

When you get to the point that you always have an attitude of gratitude, your days will be filled with so much more joy. You will encounter less stress and be less stressful to others.

8. Get Upset with Traffic

People that have a high level of inner peace, do not worry about the things they can’t control. In fact, they don’t even worry much about the things they can control.

Instead, they let the things they can’t control just happen. It doesn’t get them too worked up. 

Imagine being stuck in a traffic jam on the way to work in the morning. You hear on the radio that there is a multi-car accident a few miles up ahead of you on the highway. What are your thoughts? 

Are you worried about being late and how inconvenient it is for you?

Or, are you grateful it’s not you in the accident and you say a prayer for those involved?

Use the extra time you have by yourself to your advantage. Spend the time praying, meditating or simply sitting in peace. You can’t control the traffic but you can control how you react to it.

9, Arrive at Work Right on Time

The final mistake people make before they get to work each day is getting to work exactly on time. The mistake is not understanding what it means to be on work in time.

If your shift begins at 8 a.m., you should be in position ready to work at 8 a.m., not strolling in the front door of the building at 8 a.m. Arrive early enough that you can have your cup of coffee in-hand and computer booted up before it’s time to start. 

Your employer pays you for your full effort the entire day. Give the company what it pays you for. Besides, arriving early will reduce the possibility of stress due to traffic or other inconveniences in the morning.

Repeating Mistakes

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” 

Mistakes are like this too. It’s typically okay to make a mistake one time (even though as we learned at the beginning it really wasn’t a mistake, it was a choice). Don’t repeat your mistakes though. 

As Will Smith’s character Hitch says in the self-titled movie, “Begin every day as if it were on purpose.” 

Have a plan for each morning and be intentional about everything you do. Don’t be so rigid that you add stress but do things on purpose. When you are intentional about living your life for yourself, you will make fewer mistakes, be happier and more successful.

Employee Theft Is On The Rise: Are You Guilty Too?

Employee theft

If your house is anything like mine, you have to pick up “stuff” frequently. With five people in the house, including two small children, hectic schedules and not enough space, there is always stuff laying around that is not in its proper place.

In our house, the best representative of this is our kitchen. We enter the house through the garage and everything we carry in gets put on the counter, a chair or the kitchen table. It accumulates quickly into piles of school papers, grocery bags and other “stuff.” The desk we have in our kitchen is usually also over-flowing with mail and other papers.
 
When it gets to a certain state, we have to pick it all up and try to put it in some kind of order. Several items go into desk drawers, the filing cabinet or in the girls’ rooms. When I do this, I’m amazed by the number of red and white Arnold Church of Christ pens we have. 
 
How did we accumulate so many pens from our church? Did the kids put them in their bags? Did my wife put them in her purse or did I put them in my portfolio?
 
I don’t know how all these pens get to our house but I know one thing. We’re guilty of stealing them from church!
 
Ouch…stealing from church. Even worse, we’re stealing from God.
 

Continue reading Employee Theft Is On The Rise: Are You Guilty Too?

A True Story of How to Learn from Your Mistakes

learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes. Some people make mistakes more frequently than others. Some mistakes are bigger than others.

Making mistakes is part of life. It’s how we learn from mistakes that is really important. As long as we learn, we shouldn’t consider a mistake a failure.
 
We fail when we don’t learn from a mistake. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” 

Continue reading A True Story of How to Learn from Your Mistakes

A hostile work environment: 6 actions to help end it

hostile work environment
photo credit: pboyd04 via photopin cc

A hostile work environment is a cancer to the workplace. Just about the only people who expect a hostile work environment are members of the military serving on the front lines of conflict. Even then, they take precautions to minimize the hostile nature of their jobs.

Unfortunately, more than just soldiers face a hostile work environment every day. The hostility they experience thankfully is not physical in nature. However, workplace harassment is prevalent through society.

Three examples of a hostile work environment are as follows:

Yelling

It is NEVER acceptable to yell at a co-worker, boss or subordinate. Besides a physically hostile work environment, yelling is the worst example of workplace harassment.

Nothing can be more demeaning to an employee than receiving a tongue lashing from a boss. It should NEVER occur. It does though and there are actions to take if it does.

Ridicule

Another prevalent example of workplace harassment that causes a hostile work environment is verbal ridicule. The ridicule is not in the form of yelling but instead in inconsiderate, degrading comments.

Healthy and constructive criticism is necessary. It’s even desired by most employees. On the other hand, being torn down emotionally and intellectually is considered harassment. People who take this approach should not be allowed to stay in the workplace.

Forgotten

A popular form of workplace harassment is to make an employee feel unwanted or unneeded by not talking to or not giving work to that employee. In essence, that employee is left to feeling forgotten and unwanted.

We do this because we feel like it’s the easiest, non-confrontational way to deal with an employee. Isn’t that sad? What happened to talking with a person constructively?

Have you experienced workplace harassment to the point you feel like you’re working in a hostile work environment? Have you witnessed it? If you have experienced or witnessed workplace harassment, follow these tips:

1. Confront the harasser – Confrontation is never easy or enjoyable. However, it is necessary. In some cases, the guilty party may not realize how their actions have been perceived. Confronting a harasser (gently and with kindness) may be the first indication to this person of how detrimental his/her actions have been.

In other cases, confronting the harassing co-worker or boss will help portray you more as an equal, rather than as a subordinate. The harassment may just cease altogether after just one instance of you standing up for yourself.

2. Confront again – If you are truly being harassed by someone who is intentionally creating a hostile work environment, the initial confrontation will not stop him. If the harassment continues, you need to confront the accused again.

Just as the first time, be as kind as you can. But, use more forceful words to demonstrate your sincerity.

3. Document – As with anything related to a potential legal issue, documentation is the key. If the workplace harassment continues after the second confrontation, start documenting every instance of experiencing a hostile work environment.

Documentation should be as detailed as possible. Write dates, times, witnesses, etc. Witnesses will be the most influential and important cog in this harassment wheel.

Hopefully, you never will have to use this documentation but you need it none the less.

4. Go above – If you continue to suffer from the hostile work environment because the harassment doesn’t stop, you’ve got to go up the ranks. You will need to either tell your boss or your harasser’s boss about the issue.

Workplace bullying can simply (but not all the time) be a power play. Those who have power sometimes like to abuse that power. If you go above that person in the chain of command, the power play is reversed.

5. Human resources – Depending on how large your company is, the Human Resources department may need to be your next stop. HR departments in large companies wield a lot of power and can emphasize issues when warranted.

If you go to HR, be aware that you will likely be asked to file a formal complaint and a formal investigation should occur.

Don’t be afraid about the investigation if you are not at fault. You have the right to work in a non-hostile work environment so an investigation will just help solve the issue.

6. Seek legal action – Hopefully legal action is your last resort. If you get to this stage, someone else in your workplace has neglected his/her duty to provide a safe and non-threatening place of work.

You will need to provide all of your documentation, including each step you took to help resolve the workplace harassment issue.

A hostile work environment should not be feared. We have rights to not be harassed, to be free of fear of physical, emotional or spiritual harm.

You can keep a hostile work environment from having a life-long impact on you. You deserve to enjoy your job and be the shining light others need so they can enjoy theirs.

While these steps should not be considered legal advice, the six steps above are a good place to start. If we all work together, workplace harassment and bullying can be stopped.

6 office etiquette tips you must follow today

office etiquette tips
photo credit: joelogon via photopin cc

How annoyed do you get when you try to merge onto the highway and the person in the slow lane doesn’t let you on? How about when you’re in a middle lane on the highway and you’re being tail-gated?

There are certain unwritten rules to follow while driving. It’s called driving etiquette.

Similarly, there is certain office etiquette to follow. These unwritten rules should be followed by every person in every office. Better yet, they should be followed regardless of your type of work place.

Each of the six office etiquette tips below should be common sense. Everyone should know them and follow them. But, they don’t.

Office etiquette – Kitchen

1. Brew more coffee – If you empty the coffee pot or carafe, it is office etiquette to make another pot.

“But, “I didn’t take it all. I left just a little bit so someone else would have to make it.”

Yes, you’ve done it before. You know you have. That’s even worse to do. Take responsibility for your actions and make some more coffee.

2. Wash your dishes – Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink for someone else to clean them. Most offices these days have a dishwasher. At least put your dishes in there.

My office kitchen used to have a sign that read, “Your mother doesn’t work here so clean your own mess.” Even if your mother does work there, be respectful and clean your own dishes.

Office etiquette – Restrooms

3. Wash your hands – It is pathetic that every restaurant restroom has the sign that reads, “Employees must wash hands.” Weren’t you raised to wash your hands if using the restroom?

I witness men all the time who just walk right out of restrooms without washing their hands. Hard to believe but it’s commonplace.

Then, there are the fake washers. They turn on the water for no more than three seconds, rip off four paper towels and pretend they wash their hands. Really?

This isn’t even office etiquette. It’s life etiquette.

4. No cell phones – At least once I week I hear someone talking on the phone when using the restroom. Come on people!

What would the person on the other line say if he/she knew what you were doing? Aren’t you embarrassed when the toilet flushes next to you?

Enough said about this little office etiquette tip…

Office etiquette – Meetings

5. Be on time – We’ve all been guilty of being late to a meeting. Sometimes you can’t help it (which should be rare), sometimes you forget (happened to me earlier today) but most of the time it’s a demonstration of a person’s disrespect for the other attendees.

When it’s a leader of the meeting or the most senior person attending the meeting, it is really bad. Especially when it’s habitual. Being late, regardless to what type of event, appointment or meeting, should not be commonplace. Office etiquette forbids it.

6. No “one-minute” meetings – How many “one-minute” meetings have you actually had? None, I bet.

Since “one-minute” meetings don’t happen, don’t ask for them. When someone asks if you have a minute, be honest. If you do not have time, say no. If you technically have time but would rather talk later, say so.

My favorite is when I’m asked if I have a “quick second.” Unless I failed the “telling time” lessons in first grade, every second is the same length of time, just as every minute is only 60 seconds.

How many of these office etiquette tips do you need improve today? What about your co-workers? The only way to help people perform according to proper office etiquette is to tell them when they do not conform.

Of course, this should not be done with harshness or brashness. It needs to be done gently and kindly. Find a way though or you will keep witnessing the same office etiquette blunders.

What other office etiquette tips do you have? Please leave them in the comments below.