Five Tips to Work Productively from Home: Whether You Telecommute Occasionally or Always

"On the fourth day of telecommuting, I realized that clothes are totally unnecessary."—Scott Adams, American cartoonist. Whether you call it distance working, telecommuting, or freelancing, technology has made working from home more effective and productive than ever before ( … [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

"Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking."—William Buell Sprague, 19th Century American clergyman. One theme I've emphasized repeatedly in my writings is that "busy" doesn't necessarily mean "productive." Just because you're staying busy doesn't mean you're accomplishing anything important. Checking 30 tiny tasks off your to-do list may not prove nearly as significant (or as profitable) as completing one high-priority project. To boost your productivity, work hard and constantly on the high-priority tasks that matter the most. ( Multilevel marketers are fond of the term "massive action." I find this a handy synonym for good, productive work, though some observers disparage the term, assuming it refers only to staying busy, rather than staying busy with i … [Read more...]

Four Benefits of Overcoming Obstacles: Why Beating the Odds is Good for You

Four Benefits of Overcoming Obstacles: Why Beating the Odds is Good for You by Laura Stack #productivity

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome." Booker T. Washington, African-American educator and head of the Tuskegee Institute. As much as we're told—and tell ourselves—to reframe challenges as opportunities and to stretch ourselves to reach new goals, on a day-to-day basis, it's hard to keep the faith. We know what we should do, but in the hustle and flow of our jobs, we often forget—especially when we have too much on our plates for more than a few days. But ironically, conquering obstacles can be the experiences that teach us the most, ( … [Read more...]

Five Interruptions NOT to Avoid: Why Some Distractions Are Important

Five Interruptions NOT to Avoid: Why Some Distractions Are Important

"One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us."—Daniel Goleman, American author and psychologist Imagine a completely distraction-free office, where you can focus totally and productively, where no one ever calls you, chats outside your office in the hallway, plays their music too loudly, or pops in for a quick question. Imagine a place where you could spend hours upon hours single-tasking to your heart's content, churning out work by the barrel-load. Wouldn't that be heaven? I’m thinking NO. Oh maybe for a time, but it gets old. Unless you're a solitary worker with no communications with others (a rare occurrence in this era), social interaction remains a must. Although I'm a big believer in warding off most dis … [Read more...]

Five Ways to Use Procrastination to Your Benefit: A Counterintuitive Productivity Method

Five Ways to Use Procrastination to Your Benefit: A Counterintuitive Productivity Method by Laura Stack

"Procrastination is a way of giving yourself permission not to do a perfect job, because usually a perfect job isn't required."—John Perry, American philosopher and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. In the late Robert Parker's Spenser mysteries, the main character's girlfriend, psychologist Susan Silverman, had an unusual way of ensuring her productivity: she deliberately made herself late for everything. Whether she had to meet a student in need of guidance or prepare for a class, she ignored the time she'd set to begin preparing, literally waiting until the last minute—and beyond—to get to work. Then she accelerated into a whirlwind of efficiency to ensure she arrived in time and turned in her maximum effort. Some people find this actually works for them in real life; indee … [Read more...]

Email Time Saving Tip

[TRANSCRIPT] So, part of the mindset that you have to get out of is that email have to be living in your inbox in order for you to do something with them. And by the way, you are all looking at me like deer in the headlights. Yes, your email program does this! Most people’s email training was, “Here’s your inbox—go.” If you spend some time understanding how to use the tools that are right in front of you, you’ll save a tremendous amount of time. Okay, back to the demo. After we do this task and mark it complete—oooh that feels good—it comes off your task list. If you ever want to see any of your completed tasks, you can view those. This is something we could easily dig into for a half day. The critical point to remember is you must pull the action out of the email and turn it into a task. H … [Read more...]

Announcing a Rare Public Seminar LIVE with Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro® on 11/2!

At The Productivity Pro, Inc., we average 100 emails a year asking, “When is Laura going to be presenting a seminar in my city?” On November 2, 2016, Laura Stack is presenting a half-day intensive open-enrollment workshop in Parker, CO, so here’s your chance to hear her latest thinking—even if you have to fly to Denver for the event! It will be another couple years before this opportunity is available again. DATE: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 TIME: Registration at 8:30 AM and Seminar from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM LOCATION: The PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, CO 80138 INVESTMENT: $199 (includes detailed workbook). Coffee will be served. SEMINAR: Workflow Mastery: Organize Your Time, Tasks, and Inbox with Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW! h … [Read more...]

Toward Greater Decentralization: Results from the 2015 American Time Use Survey

Toward Greater Decentralization: Results from the 2015 American Time Use Survey

"38 percent of workers in management, business, and financial operations occupations, and 35 percent of those employed in professional and related occupations, did some or all of their work from home on days they worked."—2015 American Time Use Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Recently, I've written quite a bit about the trend toward workplace decentralization, which I expect to accelerate in the future. Interestingly, that's also the trend most publicized by the authors of the 2015 American Time Use Survey in their June 2016 press release. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics interviewed 10,900 Americans from all walks of life for the American Time Use Survey. ( … [Read more...]

The Power Of A Daily 1 Percent Improvement

TRANSCRIPT But, imagine the power if every single person woke up every day and said "what could I do to be one percent better today?" You would roughly double your ability every 70 days. Think about that. Think about the power of how that would compound. It can be something little. It can be saying you know what? Today, I’m going to pick up the phone instead of send an email. Today, that typical one hour meeting, we are going to reduce that to forty five minutes. Today, I’m going to learn a new function in my software that I don’t already know. Today, I’m going to sit down and talk to a coworker about a process that is making me crazy. Today, I’m going to think if I were the queen of the word and king of the world if I could make up some rules about how we can use email around here more … [Read more...]

Five Ways to Serenity: How to Dial Down Work Stress and Boost Your Performance

Five Ways to Serenity: How to Dial Down Work Stress and Boost Your Performance

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."–Sydney J. Harris, American journalist. Despite the many arguments to the contrary, stress isn't necessarily bad for you. A little stress forces you to get off your duff and try to improve your life. Every good thing that humans have accomplished—from starting fires, to figuring out how to break rocks to make stone tools, to traveling to the moon—has been triggered by a form of stress, whether environmental, physical, or mental. Psychologist call positive stress eustress. What really hurts us is strain: too much stress forced on us too quickly for too long, without let-up. That's what causes people to break. This does not mean, however, you should invite stress when you can avoid it, or take on more stress just for your own good. … [Read more...]