Keys to manage a busy life

Read an article called Keys to manage a busy life by Amanda Cuda (who also happened to interview me for this article and featured my new book). I like the lessons learned from the woman in her case study, "With so much going on, Winter has learned to organize and prioritize just so she can stay on top of her life. For instance, she's let go of housework, hiring someone to clean the house every other week. Working at home allows her to be available if her daughter needs her." I recently realized the value of having a housekeeper.  No, I'm not lazy.  Yes, it can be expensive.   It costs me now $100 every other week.  But think about how much you drop going out to eat or buying clothes or on entertainment.  You just have to decide where your priorities are.  Because after work, whereas … [Read more...]

Obsessive Compulsive Productivity on Vacation

I was reading an article called "Blackberries don't fit in bikinis" by Joe Robinson, the author of the (very good) book Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life.  I laughed out loud with his use of the term OCP: Obsessive Compulsive Productivity.  That's really good.  The article talks about how working on vacation actually lowers productivity, a notion I've always supported. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-robinson13aug13,0,7024004.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail Seems it's time for a reminder on how to go on vacation: Once you’re convinced that you’d better do yourself, your coworkers, and your family a favor by going on vacation, the next question is how to do it. That might seem like a silly question, but seriously, some people tell me they … [Read more...]

Motivating Your Burned-Out Employees

I'm reading an article by David Javitch at MSNBC who suggests that dealing with bored employees is a management problem and should be handled through accurate job descriptions and job enlargement.  Although I believe he presents some valid points, he doesn't look at the subject from a personal productivity standpoint.  This should be a two-pronged attack, as there is a LOT an individual can do to take the initiative and work productively despite boredom. For example, I don’t like entering credit card receipts into QuickBooks. It would be really easy for it to stack up for a month. When it comes time to pay bills and balance the books, I can suddenly discover five or six other urgent things requiring my attention. Unfortunately, not all of our jobs thrill us. Even tedious, boring tasks … [Read more...]

Create a list of important papers

In helping my grandparents get their papers in order recently, we had to search for some important items, and they couldn't put their hands on some things right away.  In the event of a death or a disaster in your life, would your loved ones be able to help you or make the proper arrangements?  I recommend you sit down and spend some time typing out a list of all your important information, numbers, contact information, locations, passwords, etc., and keep it in a lockbox or fireproof safe, or give a copy to a trusted family member...just in case.  I got you started with a template at https://theproductivitypro.com/PDFs/Important_papers.pdf.  Don't put it off! … [Read more...]

Planning and scheduling your day

Here it is!  You've been asking me for a way of scheduling your day realistically and making sure you can get your high-priority tasks done with the amount of controllable time available.  Your time is probably very fragmented, and much of it is uncontrollable. The best starting place to improve your use of time is to determine the extent to which you control the time available to you. No one has total control over a daily schedule. Someone or something will always make demands on you. But nearly everyone has more control over their time than they realize. Even during structured “working hours,” there are opportunities to select which tasks or activities to handle. Most people have about 2.5 hours discretionary time. The goal is to control 25-50% of your day. Hopefully, the ideas … [Read more...]

The Ten Commandments of cell phone etiquette

I just had a conversation with my assistant about this very issue today.  She only works part-time a few hours on Mon, Wed, Fri.  When she comes to work, she shares my office, which isn't the best arrangement, but I work from home.  My husband John has the second office, so, well, there you have it.  Like anyone, she gets personal phone calls at work on her cell phone.  I frankly don't really care when people call her.  She's very diligent and works hard, so it doesn't bother me that she answers her cell phone.  What *does* bother me is having her carry on her personal phone conversations a few feet away from me.  She's been working for me for a year and a half now, and I can't believe I haven't said anything so far, but today I had to speak up.  She talked with her lawn guy for five … [Read more...]

What are you tolerating today?

I just got fed up.  My Treo 600 wasn't connecting to my email server unless it had a really full battery charge.  Which wasn't a problem IF I remembered to plug it in every night.  Until a few days ago, when I forgot, and I was out and about on appointments and couldn't get my messages.  I'd been putting up with this for several weeks, because the battery is internal and can't easily be replaced.  So I just bought the new Treo 700p and am so jazzed!  I can watch tv, view Web sites easily, use my new bluetooth ear piece, and take really great pictures and videos.  Why didn't I do this sooner?  Then I started looking around and wondering what else I've been tolerating that's irritating or otherwise slowing me down.  My printer!  Ugh!  … [Read more...]

Creating a productive environment

What do you surround yourself with to make you feel productive?  I have an "I love me" wall with degrees, certificates, awards, etc., to remind myself that I am living up to a lot of expectations.  I keep a wall calendar to remind me that my job is to keep it full with speaking engagements.  I have photos of my family, husband, and children, to remind me that a lot of people are depending upon me.  I keep my dog and cat running around in my office to remind me to play.  And my newest environmental addition...two Siamese fighting fish (a.k.a. betta fish)...no fancy filtration systems needed. Just watching them swim around on my desk relaxes me and knowing I get to feed them gives me another good reason to look forward to coming to work.  The glass … [Read more...]

How to be productive on the 3rd of July

I was reading about a survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. of 100 human resource executives, which found 56 percent said they would have normal office hours on Monday, citing the global nature of their businesses. Many people took the day off, turning it into a 4-day weekend.  Those that are left in the office wish they weren't.  So how to you get some last-minute pre-holiday productivity?  Roll in giant recycling and trash bins and stage a paper-tossing contest between departments.  Have employees clean out their filing cabinets, and whoever gets rid of the most paper in weight (adjusted to % based on the # of people in the department) gets a pizza party at lunch and leaves early.  Of course, buy everyone pizza and let everyone go early, but you'll at … [Read more...]

Television needs a time management lesson

People always tell me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be on television.  "Wow, it must be nice to be such a celebrity!" they say.  Right.  So I'm supposed to appear on the CBS Early Show on June 26, live, to be interviewed about my newest book, Find More Time.  I give up a weekend day with my family and make the long trek from Denver to NYC on Sunday.  I arrive, fight NYC traffic for 90 minutes, check into my hotel, get something to eat alone (by the way, Sarabeth's Kitchen www.sarabeth.com has the best tomato soup I've ever had; their preserves are fabulous too), and sit down to think about the interview.  Phone rings.  It's the PR rep for my publisher.  "Your segment's been bumped," she says.  "Huh?" I … [Read more...]