An Important Management Lesson From Moses Himself (Yes, That Moses)

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The recent Christian Bale movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, may have disappointed at the box office, but Moses fans can take heart that Cecille B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments will soon be gracing our television screens as we approach the Easter season.

Though those movies provide entertainment value, there is no denying (well, I’m sure plenty of non-believers may deny) that there is much to learn from Moses as a religious figure and a leader.

But what can entrepreneurs and business leaders learn from the man who spoke with God and took down a powerful Egyptian Pharoah?

Simple: The art of delegation.

In reality, we have Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, to thank for this lesson.

You see, Moses was a bit overwhelmed. He had just led the Israelites across the Red Sea and into the desert, was given the Ten Commandments and was literally the only one hearing everyone’s complaints and requests. He was also the judge and jury for all “cases” and disputes among the people.

Enter Jethro, who noticed that Moses was getting bogged down, stressed, and burned-out from the micromanagement of his team. Jethro instructed his son-in-law to “look among all the people for able and God–fearing men, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them over the people as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

He continued:

“Let these render decisions for the people in all routine cases. Every important case they should refer to you, but every lesser case they can settle themselves. Lighten your burden by letting them bear it with you!

If you do this, and God so commands you, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people, too, will go home content.”

And so, Moses, being a good son-in-law and a smart leader, took the advice to heart:

“He picked out able men from all Israel and put them in charge of the people as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. They rendered decisions for the people in all routine cases. The more difficult cases they referred to Moses, but all the lesser cases they settled themselves. Then Moses said farewell to his father–in–law, who went off to his own country.”

This, perhaps, is one of the earliest recorded business lessons.

Every leader who manages teams has similar challenges. Teams are meant to spread the work, but they can often create an overwhelming amount of work for managers who don’t delegate.

If Moses can use delegation to relieve himself of the stress of managing an entire nation — you can certainly follow his example to manage your team, no matter the size.

5 Simple Ways to Master the Art of Email Etiquette

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The anatomy of a good email can be complex. With a little practice, however, it’s easy to learn how to write one. But that’s just the first step. Can you send too many emails? Is there a right time to send emails? Should I just pick up the phone? These are the types of questions we don’t necessarily think about but should. Since many of us use email as a our primary form of communication, it’s important that we’re leveraging it in the right way. You can build or break relationships through email. While you might think sending that email isn’t going to do any harm, think about your email etiquette first. Before you hit send, consider these five rules of email everyone should follow:

Don’t send too many.

No one likes to get their inbox bombarded with emails. So don’t be the one that sends too many. You might be tempted to fire off your thoughts in the form of an email the moment it comes to your head but stop yourself. No one appreciates tons of incoherent emails without purpose. Instead, wait until you can get your thoughts together to formulate one cohesive email. Make sure your emails always have a purpose. Otherwise, they’ll just be discarded.

Refrain from emailing outside of business hours.

Even if you are working over the weekend, try to keep your emailing at a minimum. Otherwise, those who are receiving your emails might feel some sense of urgency to work on your request right away. And no one likes like to get an email during non-business hours. You can still write your emails. Just keep it as a draft until Monday morning.

Respond in a timely manner.

Have you ever sent an email and waited days get a response? Or maybe you never even got a response and you have to follow up? When it comes to email, it’s common courtesy to respond in a timely manner. Generally, most emails should be responded to in 24 hours. If you have limited access to your email at any period, set up an automated response.

Keep it professional.

Even though emails can feel casual, you should still keep all your communications via email professional. After all, emails are written records and can never be deleted. You never know when something you say over email can come back to haunt you. If there is something personal that needs to be said, speak to that person face-to-face in private or over the phone.

Read your email before sending.

You can avoid a lot of common email mistakes just by rereading your email. Before you hit send, read it over twice to make sure you have a clear point. Also check for any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Following these 5 rules of etiquette will help you avoid awkward and sometime embarrassing email scenarios in the future.

5 Things You Should Do Every Monday Morning

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Monday mornings can be the most dreaded time of any week. They signify the start of a long work week. However, Monday mornings can also be the most important part of your weekly routine. What you do during this time can really frame your next seven days. It’s important to get started on the right foot, especially when Monday’s roll around. Here are 5 things you should do every Monday morning:

Create your weekly goals list.

To-do lists are a must but they work best for your your daily tasks. To get your week started, create a weekly goals list. This essentially is a list of all that you want to get accomplished this week. Keep them realistic and achievable, since you only have a week to do it. To keep yourself from overreaching, set 3 goals every week. At the end of the week, grade yourself on how well you did on each of them and then use it as a foundation for your next week’s goals.

Clean up & get organized.

Before you start tackling your work, take a few moments to prep. Declutter your work station and get organized. A little cleaning can actually increase your productivity significantly. The less mess you have, the less stressed you’ll be. Make sure your environment is conducive to getting work done.

Connect with your team.

If you work with a team or have employees, you should check in with them at least once a week, ideally on Mondays. It’s a great way to see how everyone is doing and get any feedback they may have. You should also discuss with your team the week ahead and what their priorities are. You want to make sure everyone is starting off their week the right way and as a team leader, that’s your responsibility.

Schedule your meetings.

Monday mornings are hectic, which means you might forget to set up a meeting or two. Once you remember, it’s almost the end of the week and you have to postpone it to next week. It can become a vicious cycle. Schedule your meetings for the week on Monday morning so that you don’t accidently let it slip through the crack. People’s calendars are also more open at the beginning of the week so you have a higher chance of actually getting to meet with them when you want.

Start your biggest project first.

If you’re looking at your to-do list, start your biggest project first. Don’t wait until the end of the week. Otherwise, you’ll be slammed with work all at once. Chip away at it little by little during the workweek so that you’ll practically be done by the time Friday comes around.

How To Be More Intentional With Your Time

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Time is of the essence. No matter what, you only have so much of it. As far as productivity goes, we try to maximize how efficient we are with our time. But the key to productivity is not just how much you accomplish in a certain amount of time. It’s also about how much you get out of your time. Time is valuable and in order to use your time as wisely as possible, it’s important to look at time with intent. Here’s how:

Prioritize Your Day.

On any given day, you might just go with the flow and see where the day takes you. You might not have a real plan or schedule. While there’s always room for spontaneity, it’s also important to have a plan. On a daily basis, make it a habit to prioritize your day and figure out what it is that you need to do first. This will allow you to get the most important tasks done first and get more out of your day. Understand what your priorities are and tackle them first.

Get A Head Start.

We only have 24 hours every day, which can never seem enough. To make yourself feel like you have more time, get a head start on your day Wake up even just 30 minutes earlier. With that extra time, you can exercise, catch up on the news, eat a healthy breakfast, or just get an earlier start on your work day. You can even just take your time to get ready so that you day doesn’t feel like it’s starting in a rush. No matter what you do, that’s 30 minutes of uninterrupted time all to yourself and it can feel like a lot more time than it actually is.

Let Go Of The Things That Don’t Matter.

There’s always a tendency to cram as much as you can in your day. But when you do that, you can be overwhelmed easily and you’ll shut down mentally and physically. Instead of trying to do as much as you can, let go of the things that don’t matter. Your time is precious so don’t waste it on things that aren’t important to you.

Do More Of What You Love.

Life can get really busy sometimes. But when you’re thinking about your time and how to maximize it, always make time for yourself. Do more of what you love and less of what you don’t. It’s as simple as that. While you can’t really measure it, happiness is a huge factor in how productive you can be. Instead of filling your days with things that don’t necessarily mean anything to you, spend your time the way you want to, however that may be.

Why You Should Think Quality, Not Quantity, for Max Productivity

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We always think that the more we get done, the better. But that’s not always true. When we measure our productivity, we often judge ourselves by how much we’ve accomplished. But is that really the best way to measure ourselves? As the saying goes, think quality, not quantity. While we may be getting a lot done, we might not necessarily be productive. Here’s why:

You Can’t Do Everything Well

While multi-tasking works on smaller, daily tasks, it’s not the ideal situation for larger projects. You’re only one person and no matter how good you are at what you do, it’s difficult to work or many different things at one time. While you might be able to complete them all, you probably won’t be doing everything to the best of your ability. Your work quality may suffer as a result. Doing one thing at a time will let you put your all into your project and produce quality work that you can be proud of.

You’re Getting The Wrong Things Done First

When you try to get as much done was possible, you often gravitate towards the easier tasks first because you get instant gratification. But when you do that, the bigger and maybe more important projects get pushed aside. You might not even realize it but you’re getting all the wrong things done first. Before you start trying to tackle whatever you can and as much as you can, make sure you set your priorities straight. Focus on what really matters first. Otherwise, even though you might have finished a bunch of tasks, you’re not really getting anywhere.

You Lose Focus

It’s hard to divide your attention, no matter how hard you try. Inevitably, you’re going to lose focus. Trying to do multiple things at once can be an effective productivity strategy in some cases but in many cases, it just a recipe for failure. You start to feel very overwhelmed and burnt out, which causes you to shut down and not want to do anything at all. At the end of the day, you haven’t made much progress.

Think Quality, Not Quantity

So does that mean you should focus on doing less? Yes and no. You always strive to be as efficient and productive as possible. At times, that may mean plowing through your to-do list and checking off as much as you can. However, in other cases, it’s more beneficial to just take your time with what you doing so that you can produce the best results. Think quality, not quantity.