Get Out of Town! 5 Tips for Lightening Your Workload So You Can Take a Vacation

You work hard. You covet every day of vacation you’re entitled to. So why aren’t you using them? According to’s annual “Vacation Depravation” survey, nearly one-third of Americans do not always take their vacation days. In fact, Americans are likely to give back more than 421 million unused vacation days in 2005.  Before blaming your job for forcing you to surrender your precious time off, take a look at your own habits at work and home. The best way ensure that you don’t forego a single well-deserved day on the beach, on the slopes or just relaxing at home, is to increase your personal productivity. By tweaking the way you work and structure your day, you can get more done in less time and feel good about it. Best of all, you will never have to say no to a vacation again. … [Read more...]

How to Leave Work Early and Enjoy Your Valentine’s Day

A few tips from expert Laura Stack to help you enjoy more time with your loved ones on Valentine's Day. Hectic work schedules have probably ruined more Valentine Day celebrations than we care to think about. It is easy to schedule business dinners for February 14th without a second thought…until the day before…when it finally hits us. More so than expensive jewelry or chocolates, many people are satisfied with having the undivided attention of a loved one for the evening. Laura Stack, Productivity Expert and author of Leave the Office Earlier, has these tips to help you create an unforgettable Valentine’s Day: Plan before you leave work. Double-check your planner and organize activities for the next day before you leave the office on Valentine’s Day. Getting tomorrow’s tasks out of … [Read more...]

Lessons from the 2010 American Time Use Survey

"The business of the United States is business." -- Calvin Coolidge and several other American presidents "Last year continued to show the effects of the weak economy. The amount of time spent watching T.V. and other nonproductive activities remains extraordinarily high." -- Alan Krueger, American economist, in response to the 2010 American Time Use Study. "On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework -- such as cleaning or doing laundry -- compared with 49 percent of women." -- Citation from the 2010 American Time Use Study. On June 22, 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of its annual American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for 2010. A yearly tradition since 2003, ATUS offers a fascinating glimpse into the ways that Americans spend an average day. This time … [Read more...]

Productivity Minute Video: No Nosing In on Family Time

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro(R) discusses the importance of getting things done at work so your family time is not compromised. (C) 2011 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved … [Read more...]

Work Life Balance: Is All That Unpaid Overtime Really Worth It?

"Stress is your body's way of saying you haven't worked enough unpaid overtime." -- Scott Adams, American cartoonist (Dilbert) "More men are killed by overwork than the importance of this world justifies." -- Rudyard Kipling, British author "By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day." -- Robert Frost, American poet. As I write this, we're mired in the Great Recession of the early 2000s. The job market is tighter than it's been in decades, which means that most of us are willing to do what it takes to keep the jobs we have. This often means putting in overtime, increasingly of the unpaid variety. The reasons that individual workers are willing to do so vary, but two factors are repeatedly cited: the need to prove themselves … [Read more...]

Work Life Balance: Productivity Minute Video: Can Money Buy Time

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro(R) shares tips on creating extra time by hiring out certain tasks. (C) 2011 Laura Stack. All Rights Reserved … [Read more...]

Business Productivity: Slipping the Electronic Leash

"We...can strategically train our attention. When it comes to email and the Internet, it's critical that we do so to give ourselves more time to think more reflectively, creatively, and deeply in an increasingly complex world." -- Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project "If left unchecked, 'info-mania' will damage a worker's performance by reducing their mental sharpness. This is a very real and widespread phenomenon." -- Glenn Wilson, British psychologist "When you log on, you feel like you're in touch with everything that's going on in the world. But what you really are is out of touch -- literally. There is no touching anymore." -- Judith Regan, Regan Books Would it surprise you to learn that paying too much attention to your email can lower your IQ by as much as 10 … [Read more...]

Performance Improvement: Using Stress Productively

" No one reaches peak performance without being stressed, whether an athlete, an office worker, or a manager." -- Robert Ostermann, American psychologist "We need to reframe how we look at anxiety. It’s not something to run away from, but something that can be used as productive energy. Fear is the body’s way of preparing for action." -- Robert Rosen, Ph.D., author of Just Enough Anxiety: The Hidden Driver of Business Success You may think you know what stress is...but do you really? In the medical sense, stress is your body's response to any kind of demand or constraint, good or bad. Put that way, it's obvious that some stressors can be positive and adaptive; that is, they may help you stay healthy, provide a sense of good feeling, or both. Some researchers call such stressors … [Read more...]

Productivity Minute Video: Work Life Balance: Limit Your Childrens Activites to Manageable Levels

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro(R) shares suggestions on managing time by limiting activities. (C) 2011 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved … [Read more...]

Work Life Balance: Planning for Chaotic Transition Periods: Productivity Minute Video

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro(R), discusses how planning ahead can make transition time easier. (C) 2011 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved … [Read more...]