It’s November: Time to Revisit Your Priorities?

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Hello November! Today marks 61 days to the end of the year!

If you saw my time management posts from last week, you know that productivity or even prioritization is not the ultimate goal. The goal is to spend your time like the precious commodity that it is. 

If you count up the days in November and December, you have 61 days of opportunity before the New Year. That’s 1,464 hours.

1,464 hours to make count on what is meaningful to you. 

Clients often ask me how to make better use of their time. Here’s what I suggest:

Figure out what you want to do most. For example, maybe you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa holidays without interruptions. Then back into what you can do now to get yourself there. What do you know will be lingering over your head, ready to jump out at you, if you don’t address it early?

If you can get ahead of the game, without rushing, not only will your work product be better but also your quality of life.

Again, Happy November! Hope your hours are meaningful, however you choose (or need) to spend them.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She recently brushed up on her time management skills to finish her first book, Master the Interview. Her short post about what it is like to write a book is here.

Image above from Adobe Images.

4 Quick Tips for Controlling the Time Demon on Halloween Weekend

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If you live in the U.S., it’s almost Halloween. That means time for fun, if you can get the work done.

Four Quick Tips to Getting It Done

Here are four quick tips to making your day more productive, so you can get on with the festivities.

  1. Prioritize. Only do what really matters, and the parts that matter, based on what results can be achieved before November 1. (Coming back to the rest when you have more time, and prioritizing again.)
  2. Delegate ruthlessly. If there is a better person to complete a task than you, and you can be confident it will be done right, take the time to pass it on. 
  3. Take breaks. Even if you are racing at breakneck speed to get stuff done, you will be more productive if you break up the tasks with a walk or change of scene every hour or so. 
  4. Be organized. Just as chefs set out all of their ingredients and utensils before starting to cook (called “mise en place”), you will achieve a greater result in less time if you can mitigate distractions and sustain concentration while completing a task.

Copyright 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.

Image above from Adobe Images.

 

Five Scary Legal Blowups You Can Avoid in Your Business

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It’s Halloween. Kids get scared by monsters and spooky Jack O’Lanterns. Adults may relive pent-up fears from the rest of the year or (hopefully) get a playful reprieve.

Here are five scary legal blowups you can avoid in your business by careful, timely planning. Start tomorrow, after resting up from the Tricks and Treats.

[Note: This post was written while I was a practicing attorney running a solo law practice. Since April 2015, I have been working with attorney, executive and entrepreneur clients as a career coach and writer, and I am not currently available for legal engagements.]

1) You have an unstable or otherwise difficult business partner and do not have proper agreements. This seems like an obvious point, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Document your rights and obligations with your business partners before disputes arise. If you visit Avvo.com or one of the other sites at which “real people” can post questions anonymously to attorneys, a topic you will see over and over again is how to dissolve a business relationship in which there are no legal agreements governing the relationship of the parties. A little investment upfront to work out what happens in a dispute will not only save you stress if there’s a meltdown or bombshell, or your business partner suddenly disappears or dies (which does happen), but it also will contribute to amicable relations in the good times.

2) You don’t know what your lease says. I am continuously surprised at how many friends and clients come to me with questions like – can I get out of my lease early without penalty? how do I do it? Your lease may be one of your biggest expenditures as a business. You should know what it says before you sign it, and you should write it down in a memo (or at least handwritten notes) that you file with the lease, so you remember later what it says. This goes for all big ticket contracts, in fact. Know not only how much they cost to stay in, but how much it would cost you to get out of them if needed.

5) Your address is wrong with the Secretary of State or contract counterparties  and you do not receive notice of fines or litigation. If you do not update your address, you will not be notified, and this is to your detriment. Fines and penalties can pile up, and if you do not receive notice of a litigation a default judgment can be entered against you without your knowledge or ability to defend yourself. Have an individual in your organization (and a backup) who is charged with reviewing key matters if your contact information changes temporarily or permanently.

4) You do not have a federal registration for your trademark or service mark, and someone applies for it first. If you have already invested considerable time in creating and advertising your business name and are operating in multiple states, or you have a serious intent to do so, it is worth the small investment to hire an attorney and, if he or she advises, file a federal trademark application. In the long run, it is more economical – and causes less headaches and heartaches – to either (1) have your registration completed first, without the need to try to cancel a competitor’s application on grounds that you are the prior, senior user, or (2) know before expending even further time and funds in a mark that registration may not be available. (See my prior post about choosing a mark and make sure that, if your attorney advises, you complete a trademark search as well.)

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5) You have “independent contractors” on the books who are really employees. Businesses often hire individuals as independent contractors or consultants without considering the serious downside if they are reclassified as employees. Take a look at the Department of Labor’s press releases about employee misclassification for some of the enforcement activity in this area. There is no single standard to distinguish between employee or independent contractor (e.g., click here re: the FLSA or here for the NY DOL). What is clear is that simply calling someone a consultant does not mean he or she is not an employee. And the penalties can haunt you longer than any ghost on Halloween.

Law Office of Anne Marie Segal is located in Stamford, Connecticut, provides legal counsel to businesses and individuals in Connecticut and New York and advises select national and international clients. Please visit www.amscounsel.com for more information.

None of the information posted on this site constitutes legal advice or forms an attorney-client relationship, and there may be facts not discussed here that are relevant to your situation. This is a public forum. Please do not post confidential or fact-specific information regarding your legal questions on this site.