April 04, 2008

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Productivity and the Grave – The Conversation (Part 1 – Legal People) Productive people have systems for things and elements of their life set up. This series of articles is for everyone who will die someday. It's about leaving people with heartache and no headache. We started with Collecting a Record of Your Things. Now it's time to have The Conversation. The conversation that I'm referring to is with a lawyer. [Part 2 will be the conversation with your parents (benefactors) and/or kids (or other beneficiaries)]. By way of definition: Benefactors leave money & assets to someone or something such as a charity. Beneficiaries receive the benefit of assets left to them. Assets are things with value from a business to a ring. Let's assume that you have this terrific (complete) list of your assets. Kudos, you've already saved yourself a lot of money in professional fees. Now you need to find a good lawyer. Then, you have to have the conversation about some major things namely your Power of Attorney for Health Care Power of Attorney for financial matters Living Will Will Trust Let's start with finding a good lawyer. Go back to your pad of paper or spreadsheet, start a new sheet and write the characteristics and experience you want the lawyer to have. As a starting point, things I care about: Has done lots of wills and trusts Has been around long enough to see the impact of previous wills and trusts Is a good conversationalist – listens, asks insightful questions, and gives information and stays on the topic! Is available. If I have to wait 24 hours for a call back every time I call, that's not fast enough. The occasional wait is ok, but not every time. Knows the tax and money impacts of your decisions Knows the human and personal impacts of your decisions (we want them to keep peace with your beneficiaries but the exact opposite sometimes happens) Fee must be reasonable. I don't believe the more you pay the more you get – my real-life experience shows that value comes in many varying priced packages! Complete this list with things you care about. Talk to people you know about their lawyers and seek a referral to two or three lawyers who meet your criteria. Make appointments with the lawyers. Prepare a list of questions to qualify her. These questions should ferret out whether she meets your criteria for a 'good lawyer'. Yes, this seems...
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Reinvent to Use Your Resources Optimally There is a 4th R in the big movements of today – Reinvent! Key words apply to your mindset for using resources well – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Today we'll add Reinvent giving us: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Reinvent We often think of those with regard to natural resources. Those words apply to your mindset for being effective with career resources like time and ideas as well. Let's run through Sarah's week for examples of how being mindful of the 4Rs can apply to you. Sarah was feeling overburdened by the number of commitments she had made in and out of work. In a purposeful examination of her schedule she decided to reduce the number of commitments by leaving half of them. She started with her calendar and viewing the next 3 months of obligations. Then, she literally struck the ones that did not significantly impact her family and professional success. After the session she called those involved with those meetings and events and tactfully explained that she's modifying her schedule to improve her quality of life and would no longer be able to be at the engagement. Sarah suggested someone who would take her place (having arranged that with the individual beforehand) or who the contact might recruit to serve in her place. Sarah reduced the drain of over commitment and felt a huge weight lift off her mind. Sarah has a report that is due to her boss at the end of every week. It requires the same categories of information such as: Milestones Met This Week, Status of Schedule, Information required, Problems Encountered This Week, Manager Action Requested, and Objectives for Next Week. Rather than type the questions, her name, the date of the report Sarah set up a blank template that she opens and completes quickly. The date she opens the report is automatically put in the report so she only needs to insert the information for the week. She reuses a template to automate things needed regularly. Sarah recycled ideas from a brain storming session to propose a new system for inventory management. During the brain storming session there were more ideas than could be implemented at the time. So, once the first levels of ideas were underway she took the list out and recycled the next layer of good ideas. This recycling yielded viable alternatives and reduced the time she and other spent reworking...

Susan Sabo

I am a tool-loving productivity specialist who gets things done so I can travel the world, bicycle our country, spoil my friends & colleagues, and show you how to do the same.

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