What an Intern taught me about…Staying Focused

Jumpstart:HR and Harlem Children's Zone Recap Day 1

Yesterday marked the start of my Virtual Internship Program at the Harlem Children’s Zone. President-elect Barack Obama once described the Harlem Children’s Zone as “An all-encompassing, all-hands-on-deck, anti-poverty effort that is literally saving a generation of children.”  Not only is this the first ever virtual internship program at HCZ but it’s a great opportunity to share with the world what’s going on with our partnership and how we’re making a difference.

Every day through January 13,  I will share a key HR or leadership lesson that my interns are teaching me and today it’s about staying focused.

Intern Project Coordinator (Freshman Female in College) to me:

“Task: We researched information on management skills. We created a survey and went about asking current employees about their management opinions.

Improvements? We could work on staying focused on the task. We need to get a lot more information on what it takes to be a good manager.
We have good hopes in our efforts for improvement. Tomorrow we will finish up the FAQs and have a full detailed outline for out next steps.
Thanks again for this opportunity
-Business Management Team”
My response to the team:
“Good Morning Business Management Team!

Great work yesterday on getting started, understanding the tasks and even being creative in creating your survey. I really like your initiative!

In your status update you mentioned that you had a problem with “staying focused.” Here are some steps to follow that will help:

1. Get together and plan your day, hour by hour. *What do you want to accomplish by 11? 12? 1? 2? 3? Set specific goals and do your best to work towards them. Your day should always begin with a plan.

2. *Understand the difference between “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” and “Important” and “Not Important.”In business and in life it is easy to get sidetracked from your plan by trying to address “Not Urgent” and “Not Important” things just because they pop up in your day. Have you ever tried to do homework and then you start getting on Facebook? That is but “Not Important” and “Not Urgent.” Ever have someone come up to you with a task and say “Can you work on this?” Tell them what you are working on and when you need to have it accomplished by and ask when they need their task done. Sometimes people will ask you to do a task and we automatically think it’s urgent so we shift our whole day around trying to accomplish this one non-important, non-urgent thing. I know, I’ve been guilty many times. The best thing to do is to understand what things really matter in your day and tackle those first. Don’t be afraid to say “I am busy, can someone else help or can I get to this after I finish my task?”

3. Never try to multi-task. Recent research has shown that multi-tasking is actually more taxing on the brain than just doing one thing at a time and completing as much as possible. When you multi-task, you are telling your mind and body to not only focus on the tasks but also to spend a lot of energy trying to switch gears and regain focus and regain train of thought. When you multi-task, a project that could take 3 minutes ends up taking 30. There will be times where it will be easier to just complete a 5 minute assignment that pops up and just be done with it but if you can schedule it in later and the task master is okay with that then go that route. Side note: When you commit to a deadline for a task master, be sure you are letting them know if you run into problems and if the project you were given is going to be completed after the deadline.

4. Focus on completion, not process. Your goal every day should be productivity. You should be able to measure what got done and how much of it. Set goals that emphasis “completion” and you will work your best at getting things done. Also, when you set a goal that is based on completion, you are better able to report what challenges you are coming across and someone can help you get your work done.

Hope this helps! Once you guys read this, respond individually and talk it over as a team.”

Two Free Gifts for an HR Boost

Our gift to you: Two free presentations that will help your company decrease legal non-compliance, increase productivity and increase employee satisfaction in the new year!

Jumpstart:HR presents two free gifts:

We’re still in the giving spirit here at Jumpstart:HR and I wanted to share some special gifts with you.

Here are two free downloadable presentations that can help you give your HR department a boost in the new year.
Free Download: Legal Implications of Social Media Recruitment ow.ly/8aoa6
Free Download: How HR Inactivity and Non-Compliance Can Affect Your Bottom Line ow.ly/8ao4h

I hope these gifts add value to your organization!

Want more in-depth consultation on the topics covered? Send me an email at jprice@jumpstart-hr.com.

Also visit our corporate blog, follow us on Twitter, and learn more about our organization on the web and on

And of course, if you believe the information that you found here can help someone else, forward this along and help spread the news!

Warm Regards,

Joey V. Price,
Founder, Jumpstart-HR
Connect with us right away:

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On Twitter (@JumpstartHR): http://www.twitter.com/jumpstarthr

If Santa Had HR Pt. 2

Santa Claus, SPHR... Senior Professional in Humans & Reindeer"

If Santa Had HR:

  • The elves would have a union but there’d never be a lockout! (You hear that, NBA?)
  • Employees may not ask for telecommuting but they WILL ask for fresh coffee, tea and hot cocoa from the Keurig.
  • Employee of the Quarter would really be Employee of the Year since the real work happens in November and December.
  • Santa would need to survey his social media recruiting efforts to make sure he’s not discriminating against elves of any ethnic or gender background.
  • Santa and his HR team will make sure that his employee files are complete and compliant. No elf’s paperwork will be left behind!
  • “Holiday Cheer” will be a section on the elves Performance Review and Santa will make sure that the elves take steps to improve in the new year!
  • “Wanted: ambidextrous multi-taskers to work in toy factory/candy shop/reindeer stable. Must be experienced with puppet making, chocolate show pieces, and animal husbandry. Ability to work graveyard shifts and withstand subzero temperatures required. Benefits include full medical and dental, a five-week paid trip to Bali, and unlimited access to hot chocolate during shifts.” – @noelrozny


Got any more thoughts on what HR in the North Pole would look like? It’s always time to be in the Christmas spirit!

If Santa Had HR (Pt. 1)

"Ho, Ho, Hold on a minute... Your Elf stockings have violated dress code."

I wanted to know my readers thoughts on this and include them in an upcoming post…


“If Santa had HR, what would that look like?”

  • How would he recruit?
  • What sorts of benefits would he offer? (I’m sure there’s a SWEET vacation package)
  • Would the elves have a Union? Would they ever go on strike?
  • Would Mrs. Claus be head of Employee Relations or would that be considered nepotism?
  • What would Santa’s HR Department’s Twitter Handle be? (Yes, let’s go THERE!)

Just a few thoughts to get the conversation started… I’d be very curious and will follow up with a post called “If Santa Had HR (Pt. 2)”!

If you’re on Twitter and want to be included in the post, be sure to @ me at @jumpstarthr!


Merry Christmas!

A DC Charity whose cause is near and dear to my heart

Give the gift of reading with Jumpstart HR and First Book-DC!


Jumpstart:HR proudly supports First Book-DC!Jumpstart:HR proudly supports First Book-DC!

Studies show that the single strongest indicator of a child’s future reading success is simple: the number of books in the home. Yet access to books is virtually nonexistent for children in need. In low-income neighborhoods, there is access to, on average, just one age-appropriate book for every 300 children, compared with 13 books for every child in middle-income families. More than 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving children from low-income families do not have a steady supply of books for the children they serve.

First Book-Washington, DC provides new books to children through eligible community organizations like preschools, day care, after-school, and tutoring/mentoring programs. We accept book grant applications from local literacy programs that serve 80% or more children from low-income households. The children take home and keep the books that they receive. First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.

Website: www.firstbook.org/dc

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