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How to Handle In-box Craziness

How to Handle In-box Craziness

Dear Crucial Skills, I’ve heard of people who get their inbox to zero. That seems crazy to me. I can’t imagine that ever being a reality for me. I have a huge backlog of over 500 emails and each day I get at least 50-100 new ones. How can having zero emails be realistic in this age of...


How to Tame Your Temper

How to Tame Your Temper

Dear Crucial Skills, Help! I have a temper. I lose it in public and community meetings. I say bitter things and make accusations that I come to regret. It’s not that I have my facts wrong. It’s that I get that burning, buzzing rage that causes me to state my facts in fury. My wife says I...


The Anatomy of an Apology

The Anatomy of an Apology

Dear Crucial Skills, I recently did something hurtful to a family member. Shortly afterward, I said I was sorry but the person didn’t seem to accept my apology. I’ve tried to reach out but they are giving me a bit of a “cold shoulder.” They still seem bugged about what I did. I feel like I’ve...


Good Golly Miss Molly

Good Golly Miss Molly

Throughout my teenage years, I worked for my mom and dad painting an eighty-year-old boarding house they had purchased. It was a sprawling, artless, clapboard building that hadn’t been given much attention for decades, so it took me several summers to finish the job. It was like painting a...


Transforming a Negative Environment

Transforming a Negative Environment

Dear Crucial Skills, I am a mid-level manager in human services, and support a twenty-one person staff. Nineteen of these team members have a professional approach to their work, manage their emotions appropriately, and are respectful to others. However, two team members are constantly...


Confronting Bad Table Manners

Confronting Bad Table Manners

Dear Crucial Skills, I am having problems at family mealtimes. My husband’s table manners are not good—he eats like a hungry animal and spoils the dining experience. I have done my best to ignore his behavior over the years, but my teenage daughter is upset by it and I think his manners...


Why GTD is Horizon Independent

Why GTD is Horizon Independent

Dear Crucial Skills, Why does Getting Things Done® focus on the “weeds” rather than the higher-level stuff? Why don’t we start with goals and vision and then make our way to day-to-day work? Sincerely,Aspirational ______________________ Dear Aspirational, I appreciate your question....


How to Mentor a Bully

How to Mentor a Bully

Dear Crucial Skills, I am mentoring an individual who is in a supervisory position. She is very forthright with her direction and criticism of those under her. She has a good relationship with most of the people she works with, but those with soft-spoken personalities often accuse her of...


Additional Tips for Addressing Self-Centered Behavior

Additional Tips for Addressing Self-Centered Behavior

Dear Crucial Skills, I think you missed part of the question that Fed Up posted a while back. As I understood it, Fed Up also asked how to deal with self-centered coworkers (bosses as well as cohorts, team members, and subordinates) whose conversations and discussions are based on I, me,...


To Be Productive, Learn to Say No

To Be Productive, Learn to Say No

Dear Crucial Skills, I recently read your post about the person who is overcommitted. You suggested ways for him to manage his to-do list. I think they’re really helpful ideas. But what about those of us on the other end of that relationship? I work with a group of great, creative, and...


Rock Stars Still Sleep in Buses—and Other Graduation Thoughts

Rock Stars Still Sleep in Buses—and Other Graduation Thoughts

This week my wife and I attended a graduation exercise. I’d rate it just below running naked through an apiary. Don’t get me wrong, the music was lovely. The student speakers were refreshing and on point. But the adult speakers . . . whew. It’s hard enough to listen to hundreds of names of...


How to Work With a Self-Centered Person

How to Work With a Self-Centered Person

Dear Crucial Skills, What do you do about someone who is so self-centered that everything is all about him? This happens to be my 14-year-old son, but I’ve also seen this pattern with co-workers and managers where I work. Sometimes, I wonder whether the world is filling up...