Why Are You Here, Anyway?

"Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission." -- Former U.S. Secretary of State and four-star General. Why am I here? In addition to being one of the great mysteries of human existence, this question is one of the most important ones you can ask yourself, especially when you contemplate your job. It’s an exercise that should be undertaken regularly. Why do you occupy this particular box in your workplace's org chart? What do your superiors expect you to accomplish? What is your personal return on investment? What value do you bring to the company? If you have no real reason for working other than your need to occupy yourself or provide for your family, then you've lost sight of your workplace m … [Read more...]

The “Work Less, More Success” Guide to Time Management – Step Four

Continuing with our series on the Productivity Workflow Formula™ (PWF) Step 4: Process New Information: REDUCE PROCESSING TIME Streamline your information flow, and you'll inevitably cut back on your time expenditures. Make setting up an efficient filing system one of your first tasks. Develop a simple, noun-based labeling scheme, and apply it rigorously to your electronic and paper files. No document should ever take you more than a minute or so to find. You'll also need a reliable personal time management system—some variety of organizer, whether paper, electronic, or hybrid, where you can keep track of all your schedules and contacts. Just make sure it meets the HUG criteria: it must be Handy, Usable, and Garbage-free. Involuntary data inflow, especially email and phone calls, will … [Read more...]

The Laura Stack App is here!

    We invite you to download the new "Laura Stack" mobile app for iPhone and Android to get the latest updates and free stuff! Go to your phone's market and search for my name. If you're a consultant, trainer, speaker, or coach, I highly recommend you contact David Matthies at freshthinkapps.com to chat about building a mobile app for YOU!                  … [Read more...]

Effective Teleconferencing Tips for Virtual Teams

Effective Teleconferencing Tips for Virtual Teams: Following the 3P’s for Success Your marketing team is based in Chicago; you work from your office in Denver; and the team works from field sites all over the globe. You need to connect voice-to-voice to discuss next quarter’s sales efforts and don’t have the budget to travel to a central location. Teleconference, to the rescue! Conference calls can be a great way to connect virtual teams from around the world. They are less expensive than face-to-face meetings, can often take less time, and allow teams to communicate more informally, ask questions, and solve problems better than email. Holding one should be a no-brainer. What can be so hard about a group of people talking on the phone? All you have to do is connect everyone on the … [Read more...]

Spring Cleaning: Time to Get Organized!

It’s springtime! For most, that means throwing open the windows and doing some serious spring cleaning. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up on much-needed spring organizing…attacking the organizational backlog that may have piled up over the last few months. Here are some tips on doing away with the two most pervasive and frustrating forms of clutter: paper clutter and electronic clutter. Tackling paper clutter A BusinessWeek article called “The Office of the Future” gives a promising glimpse into the future of office productivity, including the paperless office. The article was originally published in 1975. Anyone out there working in a paperless office yet? Quite the contrary. Most of us are saddled with more paper than ever. So much for the paperless office! How often have you … [Read more...]

Email and Productivity at Work, Part II

"My first reading of an e-mail is actually a screening process to determine what needs attention...I'll decide on the spot what to delete and what needs that second reading prior to taking action." -- Junior Morales, poll respondent, Puerto Rico "Depends on the message. If it's spam or FYI, then once is enough. If it's asking specific questions that need thought and/or research to answer, then as often as needed until it's clear how to proceed. " -- Davyd Breeskin, poll respondent, Washington, D.C. Several months ago, I posted a poll on LinkedIn asking how many times a day my followers checked their email. The results were rather eye-opening, and as you may recall, I blogged about them in early October 2011. Because I found those answers so intriguing, I posted a follow-up poll in … [Read more...]

Increasing Productivity: Great Personal Productivity Podcasts

" Remember self-help tapes? You used to throw them into your car [stereo] or Walkman when you were going on a lengthy trip so you could 'grow on the go' and hope to return home all the better for it... Well, podcasts that discuss various aspects of productivity very well could be the evolution of those self-help tapes." -- Mike Vardy, Stepcase Lifehack. "Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort." -- Paul J. Meyer, American motivational speaker. "None of the world's problems will have a solution until the world's individuals become thoroughly self-educated." -- R. Buckminster Fuller, American author, designer, and inventor. From a productivity standpoint, the relentless march of technology allows … [Read more...]

Organizational Skills: Email and Productivity

How often do you read an email before handling it? In other words, how many times do you click on an email before it before it’s gone from your inbox? Please vote in my poll. Thanks! … [Read more...]

A Fun Little Tool for Increasing Productivity

It's frustrating to want to print from a website when the formatting doesn't work. It's inefficient to try to copy and paste into another document to print. I found a useful little tool on the web that makes it easy to print from websites, so I wanted to share it with all of you! Check out PrintFriendly when you need to print from a website. It allows you to see a preview of how your printed page would look, and also allows you to print as a PDF. Just enter in the url you want to print from:               Click "Print Preview" to see what your page will look like, then select Print or PDF and you're all set!                   Increases efficiency, saves ink, and saves time. Very … [Read more...]

Email and Productivity at Work

"I don't check my e-mail, it checks me to see if I'm still there." -- Ian Pattison, poll respondent, Canada "I never switch it off, and I also have a self-imposed policy of responding immediately if I'm sitting at my desk, however busy I am. " -- Wayne Andrews, poll respondent, United Arab Emirates "I like getting email. It is a diversion from a tough job or from a boring task. Stopping every now and then to answer email is like taking a break. If one appears to be a time waster, it gets postponed for later. " -- Lester Stephenson, poll respondent, USA As a productivity consultant, one of my chief concerns is what most of us mistakenly call "time management." Obviously, time comes in preset amounts for everyone and we use it up whether we like it or not, so we can't truly manage or … [Read more...]