What Not to Say to a Stressed-Out Colleague

stressed-out-collegueNo clichés, and no platitudes. We want to help when we see someone stressed out. When someone is wound up, they don’t want to hear about how you felt or triumphed in a tough situation because they are in the middle of it now.

Be helpful by saying “You can handle this,” and offer an example of when a time when they did bounce back. Ask them, “What would help?” If they say “nothing” or “I don’t know”, sit quietly for 15 seconds (the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head.) The goal isn’t to cure someone’s stress, but to decrease it in the moment.

Adapted from the Harvard Business Review “Management Tip of the Day“ newsletter
Source: “What Not to Say to a Stressed-Out Colleague”, by Holly Weeks

8 Ways To Put Anyone At Ease | Fast Company

8-ways-to-put-anyone-at-ease

Eight strategies for being more approachable and fine-tuning your communication skills. The 8 ways are:

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Adapt Your Style
  3. Be Empathetic
  4. Use Their Names
  5. Be Careful Using A Common Phrase
  6. Dig Deeper, But Not Too Deep
  7. Disclose Something About Yourself
  8. Avoid Going Overboard

Read the article for the details and see if any of these are a blind spot for you.

Source: 8 Ways To Put Anyone At Ease | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

[Photo: Flickr user WOCinTech Chat]

Avoid 4 Freelancing Mistakes

Making the leap from being a WordPress developer in your spare time or for a boss to going freelance is daunting but exciting. If you’re like me, when you go freelance your focus will be on the work and not on the business side of things. But thinking like that could be a big mistake.

The big mistages are:

  1. Mistake #1: Undercharging
    1. Solution – Work out your rate following this simple process
  2. Mistake #2: No Contract
    1. Don’t work without it because you need to know and agree on what will be done, payment schedule (I suggest weekly invoicing and payment), and what happens if something go wrong
  3. Mistake #3: No Project Brief
    1. Summary of project timelines, details of exactly what will be done, each parties responsibilties, criteria for success, and who does what after project completed
  4. Mistake #4: No Deposit
    1. Some client may push back but stand firm as this is how you work, it is an industry practice, and is part of the contract they signed

Great stuff and you can read all of it at the link below.

Source: 4 Freelancing Mistakes That Are Costing You Cash (and How to Avoid Them) – WPMU DEV by Rachel McCollin

Explain Your Work Capacity To Your Boss

future-proofing-your-design-team-Calculate-your-capacity-by-David-Lesue_791x437We are all expected to do more. Do you struggle to explain to your boss what you are doing and how much capacity you have for those last minute, must do tasks?

Here is a simple model to explain your capacity to your those assigning you work. It is from a video presentation called “Future-Proofing Your Design Team: Three Lessons from an Overnight Rebrand (S5285)” by David Lesue at the Adobe Max conference in October 2015.

How Much Work Can You Do?

Do the math to calculate your capacity.  The formula is,

  1. number of team members
    x
  2. the number of hours planned worked per work per team member
    x
  3. focus percentage

The first part is easy and is the size of your team.  In our example, we assume 3 people.

The second part represents the number of hour per week you can realistically work on planned stuff.  Over time you get better at estimating how much extra work you have to do each week that is unplanned.  You want this as low as possible but be realistic for your situation. In our example, we assume 30 hours of planned work and 10 hours of work that is dropped on us that we must get done this week.

The third part represent the focus or quality percentage.  This means what else is going on that week – is there a holiday or event, or something else (Blue Jays’ playoff run) that could impact the team?  In our example, we assume a 90% focus.

The capacity of the team is 3 people x 30 hours planned x 90% focus = 81 hours planned work.

Overtime we get better a estimating the time it takes to do our work. Now you can use your estimates to layout what you are working on, across all assignments.  As your estimates of planned work improves, you can have more confidence showing how the next big, must do, unexpected task requires something else to slip.  Something has to give.

You will likely experience push back on your estimates and approach but persevere – it will be well worth it.

The entire video can be see on the Adobe Max site in the Sessions on Demand section.