Laura in the Media

Forbes: 3 Productivity Secrets From Small Business Leaders The Times of India: Work so you can leave the office earlier every day SelfThrive: 9 Productivity Experts to Follow on Facebook The Business Journals: How to maximize efficiency and productivity … [Read more...]

Five Ways to Maintain Your Most Important Asset: YOU!

Five Ways to Maintain Your Most Important Asset: YOU!

"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival."— Audre Lorde, American writer and civil rights advocate. In your rush to adopt the latest tools to maximize your productivity, you may have forgotten to take care of your greatest asset—the one you got free at the beginning of your career. It's unusually durable and self-repairing; with even minimal care, it can last for decades. With moderate care, it'll last even longer. While it comes more or less for free, you do have to maintain it, making sure you give it the fuel and preventative maintenance it needs to work at maximum efficiency. No, I'm not talking about the company car. I'm talking about you. As long as you get it the few things it needs in the right … [Read more...]

Spotting Job Productivity Killers

Spotting Job Productivity Killers

TRANSCRIPT Whenever you feel really frustrated by something that you're spending your time on, it is just dragging down your productivity and it is a very inefficient type of process, you've got to say to yourself "Ain't nobody got time for that." I was working for example with Sherwin Williams. They have given me permission to share this story. In Atlanta, the VP had hired me to come in. He was the district manager and had area managers. They manufacture, and distribute and sell paint as many of you probably know. And, he was explaining about their leadership asking for a weekly report that he had to send each week, what they called their WAR weekly activity report. Kind of catchy, right? And, he had to get the input from his five area managers in order to create the report with the … [Read more...]

Taming Workflow Processes: Xerox’s Productive Innovations

Taming 15 Workflow Processes

Ultimately, boosting productivity boils down to building and honing efficient workflow processes that automate and routinize tasks, projects, and services. Luckily for us, our rapidly converging computing, communications, and time-management technologies can't help but yield rational work processes that repeatedly raise the bar on productivity. It's enough to make you wonder how we ever did without our electronics. The truth is, those of us who remember the pre-computer era recall it as a period of slow if steady productivity, when there was often no point in hurrying. The system constrained us to the point where 9-5 workdays and five-year plans still made sense. This might sound like a Golden Age of office work… but don't let the nostalgia fool you. The slowness of it all frustrated … [Read more...]

Seven Cures for Sagging Productivity Blues: The Summer Slump

Seven Cures for the Sagging Productivity Blues - the Dreaded Summer Slump

"In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer." -- Albert Camus, French writer. As the mercury begins to rise in earnest at the end of Q1, the American worker's thoughts turn fondly to fun in the sun… and you know what that means. Soon, you'll face one of the great banes of business performance: the dreaded summer slump (click to tweet). With upcoming vacations to serve as slow-downs, the season isn't likely to serve as a shining beacon of productivity for your team. Instead of agonizing about the inevitable decline ahead, think long-term. Sometimes you just need a break before you break. Often, by the time May rolls around, we've had it up to here with the bustle of post-holiday catch-up, juggling the new work that pours in during the … [Read more...]

Moving to the Head of the Team: Are You Ready to Take Over?

Moving to the head of the team

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." – Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-American management theory pioneer. Few of us join an organization with the intention of remaining a low-level worker forever. With the proper credentials, a few years of team play under your belt, and the right attitude, you're almost certain to receive a promotion to a position of greater authority in time. Are you ready to take over the reins when the time comes? Lead by Example Many workers dream of becoming a manager someday, but how many actually plan how they'll do the job when they get it? (Click to Tweet!) If you think or know you're on the management track, or just really want to be, you'd best start planning ahead before the grooming even starts. Mental preparation and … [Read more...]

Have You Reached the Breaking Point at Work?

Stress: The confusion caused when one's mind overrides the body’s natural desire to choke someone who desperately needs it. – A slightly sanitized pop-culture definition of "Stress" At one time or another, we've all reached the breaking point at work: the place where you have to get away from the pressure, the distraction, the politics, and the complaints before you just lose it all and dissolve into a babbling mess on the floor. If you live in Dallas (the setting, ironically, of Mike Judge's Office Space, the exemplar of office breakdown movies), then you can actually go to a business called The Anger Room and start beating things up. For sessions starting at five minutes and lasting for as long as half an hour, you can whale on old computers, printers, fax machines, TVs, and … [Read more...]

Team vs. Work Group: How Do You and Your Coworkers Stack Up?

Team vs. Work Group: How Do You and Your Coworkers Stack Up?

"Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." – Vince Lombardi, American college football coach. Most of us who work with multiple coworkers consider ourselves part of a team, and in fact, our leaders may refer to us as such. But are you really part of a team? Strictly defined, a team consists of a cohesive group of individuals, all of whom work within the same workflow process, contributing to the completion of one or more cooperative projects. Some researchers further define teams as consisting of 3-25 people, leaving out duos or "dyads" because their interactions are too simple, and larger groups because of their complexity. In general, teams tend to be tight-knit, with common goals and joint … [Read more...]

Eliminating the Major Time-Wasters in Your Day

Eliminating the Major Time-Wasters in Your Day

What's sucking up your time and not getting you anywhere, and what can you do about it? (C) 2015 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

Peer Accountability: Policing Yourselves So the Boss Doesn’t Have To

Peer Accountability: Policing Yourselves So the Boss Doesn't Have To by Laura Stack #productivity

"If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes." – Henry Cloud, American self-help author. Here is the weekly roundup of activity from Laura Stack’s blog, columns, podcast, and other featured articles. Scroll down to read the complete roundup of productivity resources to help you create Maximum Results in Minimum Time. This week on the Blog Peer Accountability: Policing Yourselves So the Boss Doesn't Have To Have you ever attended a meeting as a guest but couldn't tell who the leader was, because multiple people asked their teammates tough questions? I've been to a few where if I hadn't already known the leader, I wouldn't have been able to guess. Those … [Read more...]