“I don’t have time to take vacation”

It was usual for a manager or professional (non-manager) to walk into the office for advice.  That was the job, giving “advice and direction” on a wide variety of subjects”.  And on some occasion the topic of vacation would surface.  And sometimes it was a positive conversation regaling how great the recent retreat was, and, on other occasions it was, “I don’t have time to take vacation”, or, “I’ll never get all my vacation in this year”, or, “I never take all my vacation”.

First off I would reference you to a recent posting on managing one’s time.  One of your “boxes” should be “vacation”  Looking for clarity…

On VacationThe boss or company will never come to you and suggest that you take vacation unless you are found sleeping at your workstation and in that event you might be given the vacation you do not want.  :<)

I started to list all the reasons why you should always see to it that you take time off and knowing that I would never come up with the all-inclusive list, and to make it easier, I went to the web  of course.

Here is a great reference as to “Why take vacation?


So, if you find yourself at the end of the business year with most of your vacation unused, it is not the company’s fault, which is a polite way of saying it is yours.

Make sure to take your vacation as seriously as you do your job!  It is important!

***** S&E *****

Looking for clarity…

Need a little organization?

… want to eliminate some confusion?  … at work, home, school?

… maybe achieve more?

Confusion in your life?  Mess on the desk?  Feel overwhelmed?

Just  seems like you can’t get anything done?

Take some quiet time; manage your space, do some planning:

  • If you have an office, close the door
  • A cube? Find a conference room
  • If neither? Use a library or coffee shop.

Put your stuff in boxes, mentally or actually draw them, label them. Use a notebook and “Post-its”, or, laptop and e-tools to display, organize, prioritize, and manage your Post its in notebookboxes.

Set some priorities, most important box to least important, some boxes may have to be addressed simultaneously, Some tasks on multiple days, so identify task, day(s), time and time allotted well.

Examples: Your “work” box may have 8 or 10 sub-boxes / projects; your home box maybe 5 or more, make a personal time box, maybe a “me box”. However, they are related by time — they share your time, just so many hours in a day/week/month.

There are planning tools out there on the web that can help you manage your stuff. Eisnhower-Matrix Setting PrioritiesConsider this popular matrix… it comes in many forms and is highly adaptable.


In a previous post,  I noted that organization chart structures are handy organization tools… that tool might be used here and is especially handy for prioritizing things.

Blank org charthttps://successnexcess.com/2019/03/16/new-job-promotion-need-a-road-map,

One of the greatest culprits of disorganization or inefficiency is a perceived lack of time. Actually, there is always time! In many cases it can be a lack of time management skills.  The writer believes you don’t necessarily have to take a course / attend a seminar on the subject, although if it helps its worth the time (no pun intended). This blogger believes all you have to do is organize your stuff and follow Nike’s advice — “Just Do It”.  Commit to the time to make a plan, manage your time, allot time for each box,  and implement your plan, taking related actions to close out the tasks or work.  Lack of or poor implementation has been known as a cause of failed plans.

Clock Above all, one has to commit the time to make the plan!

Do not let anything short of an emergency or critical event get in your way, or disorganize your day and time. Interruptions and priorities can change your day of course, but if it happens too often, life/work/time may be managing you rather than the other way around.

For the record, a messy desk is not necessarily a sign of a disorganized owner; in some cases it might be the sign of a big-time “multi-tasker”, or, a disorganized owner.

***** S&E *****

“Secret Empires”

“Secret Empires” a book by Peter Schwiezer

I avoid political comments in this blog… but this one got the best of me!

The book can speak for itself.

Here’s an April 9, 2019 Washington Times analysis / opinion on the book “Secret Secret Empires CoverEmpires”.


I’m not buying the book; it will not change anything. And why aggravate yourself over stuff you can’t change. You say to me, “that is why we have elections, to change what we are unsatisfied with”. My response, “even if you elect 50 new congressional people, assuming they are all of the highest integrity and honesty, that is only a 10% change. The 10% is not going to change the 90%.

The only thing for certain is that “THEY”, for sure, will not change it.

Why would “THEY”?

I will continue to vote … hope springs eternal!

***** S&E *****

A Moment of Notoriety

Sitting in a New Bern, NC restaurant with friends, just finished eating.

Fleetwood MacWe are yet seated at the table and this 20 something strolls up to the table, politely excuses the intrusion, saying they swore I was Mick Fleetwood from the famous band, Fleetwood Mac.  And, she asked if I was.  I said no, I could tell by my bank account.

She stayed for a few minutes, fancifully and with great animation, going through her table’s conversation about, “is that really him” and we all talked about Fleetwood Mac.

Then she apologies again, and kindly, shyly asked me to stand so she could do a selfie with me. I did.

I relayed this tidbit to a friend of mine and he noted that I could not have been mistaken for Mick Fleetwood.  Mick is 6’3″ and your, 5’8″.  Notwithstanding my friend’s sarcastic comment…

…. I’m leaving for my world tour tomorrow!

***** S&E *****

New Job, Promotion? Need a Road Map?

Your new job is likely not the same as the old one.  You might be working for a different company, or, promoted to a higher level in your current business.  Either way, here is basic road map to help you be successful.

New Job Sign“Know what you don’t know”.  You will have new internal customers, a different scope of responsibility, possibly a new boss, interfaces with new departments, and maybe need some new tools (skills) in your tool kit.  So, before you launch into action, take some time to understand your new position universe.  It will be important to your success and lessen the odds of early disasters.

Engage the boss to develop your objectives.  Some bosses are not attentive to that.  If that is the case develop a document that addresses what you plan to accomplish in the first three months and six months and year.  Create quarterly reports for the boss that document your progress and highlight key milestones, and continuing challenges if applicable.  This document is also a handy tool for the boss to chart your part of department progress to his/her superiors. It is a good way to highlight needed train and development areas and actions.  Importantly, you will find at year-end you have all the work and accomplishments documented for you annual performance review.  It beats trying to reconstruct the entire performance year at year-end… a risky and distasteful task. If the boss doesn’t like or do performance reviews, and there are some out there, you will have yours done to hand to your supervisor.

Look at how your work impacts other departments and customers.  Your new New Job Chartdeliverables need to add value for your internal customers. Your work will represent who you are and set future expectations of your value to the organization.

Learn which resources and opportunities for teamwork in your department and others are critical to leverage the organization to obtain assistance and to accomplish your work.

Take the time to learn !

Consider using an organization chart format to map out the high level elements that are important in your new job.  It can serve as a great visual and tool to engage the boss on your approach to your new job!

Never, ever, ever underestimate the value of accurate, timely, and ongoing communications as part of planning and implementation across the entire content of your new position. As in the case of behavior, communications impacts your daily work and is a huge factor in how you are perceived as a professional and effective team player. A behavioral psychologist and renowned expert in the communications field once noted: “When something goes wrong at work, 90% of the time it can be linked to communications”.

Earlier postings on this blog’s “Success” page have explained that more opportunities are lost and more career paths sidelined due to a lack of understanding of the importance of Behavior as it applies to all aspects of work.  Ref:  Influence: Impact of Behavioral Competencies on Careers


***** S&E *****



Be Taken Seriously At Work !

In a new job?   Climbing the career ladder?  If you feel like no one is taking you seriously, you should check that you’re getting these three things right.


I have three kids who are all in their twenties. I remember fondly when they were in their teens, though, and each of them at different points would say, “Why don’t you treat me like an adult?” My response to them was that no adult ever needs to be asked to be treated like an adult. They command that respect by virtue of who they are.

The same thing holds true for being taken seriously at work.

Early in your career, early in your tenure with a new organization, or early in your interactions with a new customer or client, you may feel like you have difficulty being taken seriously. Start by looking a bit at your own behavior to figure out whether you are doing anything that prevents people from engaging with your contributions the way you want.


No matter how good your ideas are, nobody will pay attention to them if you cannot Listening is Learningpresent them in a way that is on-point to the people you talk to. That means you need to provide a bridge between the knowledge and concerns of others and the idea you are presenting.

The only way to determine what other people know and what they care about is to listen to them. Ask a lot of questions. Listen to the language they use to discuss key issues. Listen for the pauses in what they say to get a sense of whether there are things people are uncomfortable discussing.

Then, mirror the language other people are using as you introduce your ideas. Go out of your way to help people see how the proposals you want to make connect with what they care about. And if you can’t find any bridge between what other people care about and your ideas, then you may need to wait for another time to lay out your plans.


Another problem that can arise early on is that you may treat the problems people are grappling with too abstractly. When you first enter an organization or an engagement with a client, it is often easy to see things that are going wrong. It may seem obvious initially what the problems are and how to fix them.

ComplexityOften, though, the systems that an organization has put in place reflect the need to make trade-offs among competing goals. These compromises may not allow the organization to do something optimally, but they may reflect a very good balance that resolves a number of conflicts.

Before throwing out suggestions for how to improve something, it is important to understand why things are done the way they are. If you make suggestions that don’t take the complexity of an issue into consideration, other people will assume you don’t really understand the problem (which is true). As a result, they will start to discount other things you say as well.

When you feel you have a good grasp on a situation, you can present your suggestions in a way that acknowledges the trade-offs that have to be made. Present your ideas in a way that helps people to see how they resolve conflicts in a different way that you believe to be better.


The best way to be taken seriously in any organization is to develop a reputation as someone who gets things done. That means that when you talk with people about plans for the future, you should take the lead on ensuring that the ideas move forward. Follow up with people to make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities. If you promised to do something by a particular time, then do it.

Follow ThroughYou don’t really need to broadcast your accomplishments. If you do what you say you are going to do, it will get noticed. Then, when you say something, people listen. They know that your words are followed by actions.

That also gains you allies around your organization. Much of what gets you taken seriously involves conversations that other people have outside of your presence in which you get mentioned. That reputation creates an orientation in other people where they already intend to take you seriously from the moment you engage with them.

It takes time to develop that reputation. You have to keep doing your work and doing it well. When you do that, though, you will find that it has been a while since you were concerned that people weren’t taking you seriously.


Art Markman, PhD is a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and Founding Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations. Art is the author of Smart Thinking and Habits of Leadership, Smart Change, and most recently, Brain Briefs, co-authored with his “Two Guys on Your Head” co-host Bob Duke, which focuses on how you can use the science of motivation to change your behavior at work and at home.

***** S&E *****

“Remember The Motto”

When we all look back over the kid-rearing days, so much comes to mind.  I was looking for a quick blog entry because if you have a blog, you have to write and publish.  At 6:45 am, this short entry came to mind.

When the kids were young, somewhere under 10 years old, I began searching for Family motto“the motto”, which would be the “be all, end all” of all mottos.  One that applied to almost anything.  One that I could use through the years as the kid-rearing chapter presented all those challengers that come with it.  The motto had to be short so if I was really lucky they would remember it.  One that I could “apply” when they were successful even at small things.  One that I could apply when they screwed up, if the screw up was worth applying the motto.  One that I could say “remember the motto” so I did not have to actually repeat the motto, but they’d instantly know it.

I tried to be careful to make sure the “punishment, the motto that is, fit the crime”.  I knew if I overused it, it would quickly become ineffective.

Im a limited editionHere is an application: At one point, at the dinner table, when the younger one had just committed a family felony, I rolled out, “remember the motto”. His response, “Dad, why don’t you just tape it, you won’t have to repeat it, and I can listen to it when I want to.”  He knew it (the motto)!  We all laughed.

I used it for all those years.  Today they are 36 and 39.  So the motto has endured the years, in the neighborhood of 30 years.

I have told the motto story many times over, to friends and relatives, at various occasions, sometimes in the presence of the two perps, and about the dynasty of “the motto”.  In our family it has lineage.

It just about applies to any appropriate situation, to anyone, at any age.Motto

How do I know it really stuck?  Well, if you asked one of the two today, if you asked them, “what is the motto”, and I do on occasions, they will laugh, maybe say something about me being old, but they know it.  If pressed, they’ll say it;


“Keep things in balance and do it right the first time” !

***** S&E *****