Recovering Your Common Sense: How to Rein in Information Overload

Recovering Your Common Sense: How to Rein in Information Overload by Laura Stack #productivity

"There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher "The abundance of books is a distraction." -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca, ancient Roman philosopher and statesman. Social researcher S.A. Wurman once calculated that every issue of the New York Times contains more information than the average person in Elizabethan England learned in their lifetime. Wurman released this startling tidbit back in 1987—before the info-splosion we call the Internet really got started. Imagine how much worse we have it today, with our daily deluge of print and broadcast news, webpages, social media, email, and more. Some researchers claim we now create more information every two days than we did from ancient times up to the year 2003. Add in easy … [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...]

What Does Office Clutter Cost You?

According to a recent CareerBuilder study, clutter could be costing you quite a bit! More than a quarter of employers said they are less likely to promote someone who has a messy work space. A large percentage of employers also feel that having paper piles on desks gives them a more negative impression of those workers. Surpisingly, a third of workers admit to having hoarding tendencies with 13% saying they have files which are more than five years old. If you're facing challenges with office clutter, we've got help for you! Spend an hour with me on my pre-recorded webinar "Organize Your Office and Your Life: Survive Information Overload and Clear the Clutter." You'll learn expert tips on keeping the clutter at bay so that you have more time to tackle that to-do list! … [Read more...]

Go on a Low-Information Diet and Improve Your Efficiency!

Pretty much anybody you ask will tell you they’re pressed for time. There just aren’t enough hours to get it all done, yadda yadda yadda.  So we prioritize, streamline, and simplify.  You can improve your efficiency until you’re blue in the face, not to mention very tightly wound, but you still aren’t addressing one of the biggest time and energy wasters in your day: incoming information.  As my 13-year-old daughter, Meagan, would text on her phone: “TMI” (translation: Too Much Information). If the 21st century has brought us anything, it is WAY too much information. You can watch several channels full of cable news 24 hours a day. You can surf the internet on any topic until you can’t see straight. Most people could heat their home with the amount of junk mail they receive on a continuous … [Read more...]

Social Media: What, why, and how to be productive – Podcast

Like it or not, social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are here to stay – and it isn’t just kid stuff anymore.  In fact, businesses and individuals worldwide keep finding interesting ways to use social networks and other interactive online media to do some pretty amazing things – from building their brands to getting to know their customers. How do you keep it from sabotaging your productivity? Powered by Podbean.com … [Read more...]

Social Media: What, why, and how to be productive

Like it or not, social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are here to stay – and it isn’t just kid stuff anymore.  In fact, businesses and individuals worldwide keep finding interesting ways to use social networks and other interactive online media to do some pretty amazing things – from building their brands to getting to know their customers. Where do you stand in this new phase of the internet revolution, which many techies are calling “Web 2.0”?  Perhaps you avoided it altogether…or you’re an addict…or you’re somewhere in between. Like most technology, social networks and other social media tools are great resources but lousy masters.  You could spend all day hopping around to different sites, updating your information, and connecting with people all over the world.  But … [Read more...]

Are Your Social Networking Profiles Helping or Hurting You?

Social networking is all the rage today.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace - the list goes on.  It seems like everyone has one or more of these services, but how many people are thinking about how it can affect them professionally?  And how does it affect your productivity? In terms of your professional image, there have been many news stories and articles about people getting fired or not getting hired for jobs because of the things they post on their profiles.  In one of my time management seminars, a participant told me she didn’t hire an applicant because she researched his social sites and saw that he “wanted to do as little as possible for as much money as possible.”  If you want to keep your social networking just "between friends," pay close a … [Read more...]

Don’t Panic, Just Unplug a Bit

Times are uncertain. The news programs and websites are all gloom and doom, full of distractions with the financial "crisis" and the upcoming elections. How do we stay productive when Chicken Little is screaming "the sky is falling"? Turn it all off, at least for a while.  Stay off the news websites during the work day. Schedule yourself for some time to read up on the candidates, ballot issues and news that is important to you, but outside of that, turn it off. Keeping the TV on and constantly being on news websites is information overload that creates undue stress. What's going to happen is going to happen and you watching it unfold on CNN is not going to change anything. What we CAN do to help is to stay productive so that our businesses and households are as healthy as they can be. "B … [Read more...]

The Why of Productivity – Who Cares, Anyway?

Why is productivity important?  More importantly, why is productivity important to you?  There is not just one pat answer to this question.  My “why” is likely different than your “why.”  One of the keys to productivity is finding YOUR “why.”  For most people, an external reason like “My boss expects more of me” is not always the most motivating factor.  For me, getting to the heart of why I do what I do is most motivating.  Is the need to be more productive exciting and motivating to you, or does it drain and exhaust you just thinking about it?  If the latter is true for you, perhaps you haven’t gotten clear on why being productive is important. It all comes down to your personal goals and what you want the picture of your life to look like.  Sure, you may need to be more productive at wo … [Read more...]

Leave Your Name and Number at the Beep

It happens all the time.  You just want to get some brief information to someone but when you call you get sucked into a long conversation.  Sometimes you don't WANT the person to answer their phone – you just want to leave a voicemail.  It’s nice to catch up, but what if you just need to pass on some information and get to the next task?   Well friends, someone has come up with a solution for this problem!  Check out www.slydial.com. It lets you just leave a message – simple as that.  It is a free service, and they do offer some premium services for a fee.  It is well worth checking out.  While on the subject of voice mail - here’s a quick tip.  Before making a call, jot down the bullet points you want to cover.  This way you have an outline for the call, or if you do get voice mail you … [Read more...]