Don’t Think Yourself into a Corner!

Don't Think Yourself into a Corner! by Laura Stack #productivity

The human imagination is a wonderful thing. When you throw open the floodgates of creativity and embark on a brainstorming session, you can formulate any number of ways to deal with an unsettling problem. Afterward, you can test your ideas to see which one will work best for your specific situation. This is where some of us run into the brick wall of overthinking. Ironically, creativity can be a drawback if allowed to range too freely, especially if you have trouble evaluating the ideas you've dreamed up. I recently read an article in which the authors criticized "idea monkeys," creative people with so many bright, shiny ideas they can't bear to settle on just one and explore it fully. Until they learn to prioritize and focus on their best ideas, they won’t accomplish much. The other … [Read more...]

Output, Not Busywork: The True Key to Productivity

Output, Not Busywork: The True Key to Productivity by Laura Stack #productivity

"Don't confuse activity with achievement." -- John Wooden, American college basketball coach. "Beware the barrenness of a busy life." -- Socrates, ancient Greek philosopher. All my career, I've personal fought my tendency to “stay busy,” as if by doing so, I’ll inevitably be more if constantly getting things done, one after another, were somehow enough to ensure success. Intellectually, it takes very little effort to refute this tendency, though the proof never seems to get through to the people who need it most—from the $100-an-hour executive micromanaging his $10-an-hour assistant, to the teams who spend fifteen hours a week in meetings and spin off report after report, trying to figure out why they aren't more profitable. Hard work is necessary to succeed in any … [Read more...]

Worn Out On the Way to Great Thoughts: Dealing with Overwork, Overwhelm, and MDD

Worn Out On the Way to Great Thoughts: Dealing with Overwork, Overwhelm, and MDD by Laura Stack #productivity

"Man was made at the end of the week, when God was tired." Victorian novelist George Eliot once wryly noted, "It is very difficult to be learned; it seems as if people were worn out on the way to great thoughts, and can never enjoy them because they are too tired." No doubt she was poking fun at the celebrities and politicians of the day, for she had a keen eye for politics and social intrigue, and an astute knowledge of the tendencies of her fellow Britons. I say "she" and "her" because despite her penname, Eliot was actually Mary Anne Evans, a woman who dared write serious novels in a period where most women limited themselves to bucolic romances. Lacking a formal education, she read widely and was heavily influenced by the Greek classics and philosopher Baruch Spinoza. She … [Read more...]

Laura In Action

Laura presents over 100 practical, high-energy keynotes and seminars each year on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today's workplaces and homes. … [Read more...]

Meet Laura

Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, has consulted with Fortune 500 corporations for over 20 years in the field of employee productivity. … [Read more...]

Delegation: An Extension of Your Hands

"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." -- Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States "The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it." -- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. Smart leaders soon learn the value of delegating responsibilities and authority to team members. You can try to do it all, but if you do, you'll keel over within a few weeks from sheer exhaustion. Obviously, you need metaphorical hands to extend your reach. You have a staff for a reason. Ideally, each possesses talents, knowledge, and abilities that combine to form the extra hands Mother Nature didn't see fit to give you. That being the case, … [Read more...]

Bridging the Gap Between Good Enough and Great

"As for the genius of innovation, clearly the one percent spark of inspiration is nurtured by a positive culture. But the 99 percent perspiration ingredient comes from employees who love what they do, as well as where they do it, and who invest in that Holy Grail of productivity called 'discretionary effort'." -- Organizational consultants Stephanie Quappe, David Samso Aparici, and Jon Warshawsky. In one of my Organizational Management courses I took while working on my MBA, we watched a series of TV commercials by Amalie Motor Oil, bragging about how its products exceeded all minimum government standards, ending with this tagline: "Better than it has to be—Amalie." I remember being confused: Why were they proud of being just good enough to squeak by? As I gained more experience in the … [Read more...]