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...]

Maximizing Your Results

maximizing your results laura stack

[TRANSCRIPT]  Why should you care about being productive? Why do you want to be efficient, organized, use your email correctly, manage your time, set boundaries, say no, and focus on value? It all comes down to achieving maximum results in the minimum amount of time. If you can be more efficient at work and save 60 minutes a day by using the strategies we discussed today, you can get out of the office on time or at least a little earlier and go home to the people that you love. That is what it is all about. It’s not about saving time so you can cram more in. Productivity is about love—loving your job and family with equal passion and not sacrificing one for the other. … [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...]

Change Should Be the Middle Name of Every Business

Top productivity speaker Laura Stack on Change

[TRANSCRIPT] Change should actually be the middle name of every business. In his latest book, Playing To Win, A.G.’s Lafley talks about the five things that every leader should do to execute strategy and get the company to win. And, ultimately, all five come down to change. The companies that don’t change will go the way of the dinosaurs. No one really agrees on what happened to the dinosaurs; however everyone agrees they are dead. And it has something to do with their inability to change. Think about companies like Motorola, Kodak, Palm, Saab, Atari, Myspace, and Borders. What do they have in common? They are either in steep decline or demise because of their inability to stay relevant, to be flexible, and to change. At some level, even though it’s not always fun, we should be glad and rel … [Read more...]

Five Ways to Acceptance: Dealing with Factors Beyond Your Control

Five Ways to Acceptance: Dealing with Factors Beyond Your Control

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."—Reinhold Neibuhr, American theologian. Like it or not, many of life's circumstances—even within the average corporate office—are beyond our control. The weather, for instance, remains outside humanity's bailiwick; we can try to predict it two or three days out, but in Denver we still can't halt the snowstorms that close the airport right before Christmas or the hailstorms that ruin our roofs. At work, unless you’re the CEO or on the board of directors, we have little control over the decisions of those higher in the organizational hierarchy. We have even less control over the actions of the world at large. But being human, we worry about these … [Read more...]

Success and Life Balance

[TRANSCRIPT] If you really want to be successful, you have to touch home. You have to pay attention to the people who are right there in front of you. You have to love your work AND love your family equally. How do you have great satisfaction in both, without sacrificing one for the other? I love my career and try to work at my productive best. I’m always asking myself how can I execute, how can I leverage my time, and how can I focus on tasks that are central to my work and get rid of the extraneous things. How can I be disciplined, not procrastinate, focus on things in order of importance, or set boundaries with other people? By being productive in this way, I achieve the greatest results possible in the least amount of time. THEN I can get out of the office on time and go home to the p … [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...]

Four Reasons Why Work/Life Balance is Still Valid

Four Reasons Why Work/Life Balance is Still Valid

"Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."—Dolly Parton, American singer, actress, and businesswoman. Recently I've seen a lot of "RIP Work/Life Balance" claims, arguing that the concept is dying, if not already dead. Some people state outright that you can no longer expect much of a personal life if you ever want to reach the C-Suite. Most, however, just claim there's simply no longer a reasonable difference between work and personal life. Smartphones, Wi-Fi, and related technology have made it possible for work to intrude upon your private life anywhere, anytime… so, they say, you may as well give up on the idea of having any sort of work/life balance. I'll concede that technology has blurred the line between work and personal life, so that work can in … [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...]

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...]