Please take my poll on to-do lists

I will be on QVC between January 1 and January 8, 2009, selling my new Productivity Pro branded Day-Timer.  In preparation, I'm conducting a brief survey about the to-do list habits of the typical person.  When you think of something you need to do, what do you usually do?  Please visit the survey on my LinkedIn page and respond to one of five choices.  Thank you for your assistance! … [Read more...]

Results-Only Work Environment

I found an article at BNET.com very interesting.  Separating hours on the job from results has been a boost to productivity in many situations.  Outside of the service based or retail environments, should our productivity be based on hours spend on the job, or on what is accomplished?  Some companies, like Best Buy, have implemented the Results-Only Work Environment or “ROWE,” and finding success.  When I chat with audience members after giving a keynote speech, they tell me about coworkers who spend 10-12 hours a day in the office and get nothing done.  That's because being physically in the office has little to do with productivity.  Some people can be there ten hours a day and get virtually nothing done, while others can accomplish great amounts of work in just a few hours.   Part of the … [Read more...]

Paper Planners are Not Over!

I'm the Day-Timers community expert on productivity.  So I asked them to put a brief survey on the Day-Timers Web site, asking, “When you think of something that you need to do, what do you usually do?”  In this day and age of technology, the surprising answer was overwhelmingly “Write it down.”  To date, 55% of respondents chose this option over others.  This demonstrates that even with Blackberries, Outlook, cell phones and web based to-do lists, we still need and use paper and planners.    Picture this…you’ve dutifully put all of your information, appointments, phone numbers etc. into your Outlook and synced the information with your handy-dandy Blackberry.  All is well. You hop on a plane for a business trip, Blackberry in hand.  You’ve arrived at the Miami airport and whipped out … [Read more...]

Would you rather vacation with your spouse or your Blackberry?

People love their Blackberries, no doubt.  A recent study confirmed this, according to an article on WCBSTV.com.  They may be terrific productivity tools for some, but at what cost?  The article by Scott Rapoport states “The study of 6,500 traveling executives says 35 percent of them would choose their PDA over their spouse.”  Wait a minute – people would choose a communication device over a loved one?  If this is true, where have we gone wrong?    It is important to keep track of your business, be connected to your co-workers, clients and employers.  Blackberries certainly have made this easier, particularly for those who don’t spend most of their time in the office.  With this easy connectivity, are people losing the ability to know when to turn it off?  It would seem that technology i … [Read more...]

Married Parents Use of Time 2003-2006

A recent article in the June/July edition of Working Mother magazine pointed out that “Men contribute more to household work and child care than they did 45 years ago – by a large margin.”  While this may be true, a recent study, Married Parents’ Use of Time, 2003-06, posted by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that there is still a gap.  The study shows that married fathers spend an hour more at work than married mothers on average.  Married mothers had increased likelihood of providing care to the family’s children than married fathers by 21%.  On an average day, married mothers working full time are 25% more likely to spend time on household activities like cooking, yard care and cleaning than the married fathers working full time. There is also an … [Read more...]

Believe you’re among the top performers in your office?

An article in last week's BusinessWeek magazine made me laugh out loud.  In an online study conducted from June 28 to July 5, 2007, BusinessWeek asked 2,000 Americans in middle management and above, 25 years and older, "Are you one of the Top 10% of performers in your company?  The amazing result?  A whopping 90 percent of managers think they are in the top 10 percent of performers at their workplace.  97% of executives, 91% of males, and 89% of females said yes.  Hello?  Can you say "denial"? Obviously these ostriches have their heads in the sand.  While I laud confidence and a positive attitude, most of these people are statistically wrong.  So how would you KNOW if you were one of the top 10 percent of performers in your … [Read more...]

Workers’ Average Commute Round-Trip Is 46 Minutes in a Typical Day

The results from the Gallup Organization's annual Work and Education survey show the average American averages 46 minutes commuting to and from work in a typical day.  If you take out those who work at home, the average increases to 48.1 minutes per day.  However, if you have above-average income and work more than 40 hours a week, your commute is greater than the average, and so is your stress level.  Since the advice "move, earn less, and work fewer hours" doesn't work, let me instead give you some ideas to make your commute more productive, efficient, and stress-free: Use the phone. Now I’m one of those people who get aggravated while people are chatting away on their cell phones while driving…generally because they’re not, well, driving. Many people have no idea how slowly they’re go … [Read more...]

Teleworkers happier than office dwellers, study finds

A new study of 10,000 workers by Kenexa Corporation found that employees who telework from home at least on occasion were happy than those who had to put in "face time" every day at the office.  I hope managers who still insist on measuring employees by the hours in the office vs. results are reading this.  Just because they are in the office doesn't mean they are producing anything of value.  You can have one employee work an eight-hour day and another work a twelve-hour day, and the eight-hour worker can be FAR more productive than the twelve-hour worker.  It doesn't matter how long you're there; it only matters what value you created in that time.  If one "loyal" worker toiled the office all day for 12 hours but played solitaire, bought plane tickets for a vacation, checked their fant … [Read more...]

Management of Mobile Workers

According to Interactive Data Corporation (IDC), mobile workers will account for one quarter of the world’s working population by 2009.  As a manager and/or as a organization, you must be able to hire the right people for this type of position, as not every person is suited.  Back in 2004, I identified the personality traits required people who successfully telecommute: 1.      Self-Motivated—Do you tend to get things going on your own, or do you prefer to be directed by others?  Are you the type that when someone says, “Here’s this project, go figure out how to do it, the deadline’s this,” you get it done. 2.      Disciplined—Do you have to push yourself to work your hours?  Do you procrastinate?  Do you stay strapped t … [Read more...]

Addicted to Email

I have a friend who jokes there are always three people in her bed: herself, her husband, and her Blackberry.  I was in California last week on vacation with my family and witnessed people typing away on their Blackberries while at Disneyland, with their children tugging at their pants legs, asking to go see Cinderella.  I was presenting a seminar yesterday, and one participant kept looking up to say, "Would you repeat that"? not because I wasn't clear, but because she wasn't paying attention to me---you got it---checking her email during class.  Examples abound but the bottom line is Americans are addicted to email.  Slaves to the Send/Receive button, countless workers sit at their desks, waiting for the next Desktop Alert, beep, cursor change, envelope in … [Read more...]