You will enjoy and benefit from this guest column by my friend Bill Kalmar, whose bio appears after the article:
Most of us, I suspect are familiar with the phrase, “Dog Days of Summer,” meaning the hottest, most sultry days of summer, typically early July through early September. Sometimes the time frame is defined as a dull lack of progress.
To the best of my knowledge, there is not a similar event in winter but maybe there should be. In that regard, let’s call it the “Woeful Weeks of Winter.” In my mind it is the time after the holidays when we struggle to recover from all the party and dinner activities as we await the arrival of our bills. At the workplace we attempt to acclimate ourselves to the daily grind after days or perhaps weeks of downtime. The weather is blustery and many of us opt for just staying indoors watching TV or occupying ourselves on the Internet. A certain amount of “indoor grazing” also takes place with the resultant weight gain. It has become a time to hibernate or vegetate. But unless your name is Yogi Bear, hibernation should not be a part of your lifestyle—there are many activities you can do either at work or at home. Here are just a couple:
• How about sorting out a sock drawer? I looked in mine the other day and discovered a lot of missorts, single socks, and some that were just attempting to escape from the drawer. Sometime this week I plan to make a concerted effort to rearrange and pair all my socks.
• How about preparing for the annual IRS exercise wherein we determine how much of our income was captured by Uncle Sam? As I await the last of my income forms, thanks to Turbo Tax, I have begun to categorize my expenses. This is not a plug for Turbo Tax, but I can’t imagine an easier quicker way to file taxes. And e-filing is wonderful—my refunds are credited to our account within a week of filing. And yes, refunds are one of the perks enjoyed by us retired senior citizens.
• How about reviewing the workplace goals for 2010? Many will discover that the goals of the organization and their own personal goals do not mesh. Case in point would be the restrictions on raises and promotions. Your staff might be doing a yeoman job but the company is restricting pay increases to no more than 3 percent. Your goal to maintain a high level of productivity in the face of cutbacks and paltry salary increases makes your role as a manager even more difficult. Maintaining an energized staff will be your toughest activity as some of your employees may just want to slow down their pace and hibernate in their cubicle.
• How about a day trip to the local zoo? I understand that the animals are a bit friskier this time of the year. And frankly it’s no wonder—they, just like us, are cold and are scampering around just to stay warm. The polar bears must love it.
• How about taking a serious look at our health and perhaps shedding some extra pounds? Here is my plan: After a holiday season filled with snacks, treats, lots of cookies with a feedbag strapped to my face, I have gained a few pounds. Actually my weight is now 185—the most I have ever weighed in my life. And that’s after running five miles everyday. March 30 marks my 67th birthday. If I take the “7” in my upcoming age and March—the third month of the year—and combine them, it adds up to 10. That is my goal—to lose ten pounds by my birthday. I already have inscribed that goal on my calendar. It will mean giving up some of my favorites such as pop, chips, and popcorn with lots of butter, but I think I can do it. Now that I have made it public, I will have you, the readers of Quality Digest Daily to encourage me or castigate me if I fail. Maybe watching “The Biggest Loser” each week will inspire me. Let the games begin.
• How about sending out some party invitations for the upcoming Super Bowl, which takes place February 7 in Southern Florida? Feel free to invite me, but as mentioned earlier I will be on a low cal diet. I will on this one day, though, abandon my diet and agree to consume some jumbo shrimp.
• How about throwing a couple of logs on the fire and renting a movie or two? My choice would be “Scent Of A Woman,” “A Few Good Men,” “Caddyshack,” “Animal House,” or “Casablanca.” And if you disagree, I’m putting you on double secret probation.
William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director. He has been a member of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Board of Overseers and a Baldrige examiner. He’s also been named quality professional of the year by the ASQ’s Detroit chapter. Now semiretired, he’s a freelance writer for the Detroit News and several other national publications including the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He writes a monthly column for the Mature Advisor and Senior Advocate newspapers, is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, is a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer. Kalmar also does radio voice-overs and competes in duathlons.
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