Don’t Panic, Just Unplug a Bit

Times are uncertain. The news programs and websites are all gloom and doom, full of distractions with the financial "crisis" and the upcoming elections. How do we stay productive when Chicken Little is screaming "the sky is falling"? Turn it all off, at least for a while.  Stay off the news websites during the work day. Schedule yourself for some time to read up on the candidates, ballot issues and news that is important to you, but outside of that, turn it off. Keeping the TV on and constantly being on news websites is information overload that creates undue stress. What's going to happen is going to happen and you watching it unfold on CNN is not going to change anything. What we CAN do to help is to stay productive so that our businesses and households are as healthy as they can be. … [Read more...]

Technology: a Productivity Blessing or Curse?

Technology: a Productivity Blessing or Curse?

Anyone who works in the business world knows that technology can be both a blessing and a curse. At its best, it allows us to do more in less time. At its worst, it’s a frustrating, productivity draining distraction. As we rely more and more on our various gizmos and gadgets, productivity can become a tricky thing. It’s like the prescription drugs they advertise on TV—sure the stuff works as advertised—but just listen to all those side effects! Read on for a few technological side effects that might be creeping into your work or home life: May cause drowsiness. The best and worst thing about technology is improved access to information and the ability to work from virtually anywhere. For you this might mean traveling with your laptop, never being without your Blackberry, or … [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 … [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 … [Read more...]

It’s OK to say “No”

Have you ever found yourself trying to make plans with a friend, just play with the kids, or do something fun for yourself, only to find your planner so full that “maybe next month” is the best you can do?  If so, you probably have that old Ado Annie syndrome…you’re “just a girl who cain’t say no.”  We all want to feel like great parents, accomplished at work, and like we’re giving back to the community.  It is human nature to want success and to please others. It’s good to feel that way – to be ambitious, to be busy, and to get things done.  But how much is too much?  “Yes” is a good thing – in moderation. Productivity doesn’t mean filling every moment of every day with tasks that further some agenda.  Prepare yourself for upcoming burnout if your schedule is so full that there isn’t time … [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 … [Read more...]

Stop Trying to Be on Time!

Stop Trying to Be on Time! Victor Borge, the Danish humorist and musician, was well into a performance when a woman came in late, fighting her way through the rows to her seat near the front. Borge stopped playing and as she proceeded—trampling over people, rustling, and disturbing her way to her seat—he said (much to her chagrin, as all eyes focused on her ill-timed arrival), “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.” After she sat down, he walked over near where she was sitting and said, “Where are you from, Ma'am?” “Fifty-Seventh Street,” she said. “Well, Lady, I'm from Denmark, and I was here on time.” While Borge might have been trying to get a laugh from his audience, his obvious annoyance speaks to the principle of Preparation in Mark Sanborn’s newest book, The Encore Effect: How to … [Read more...]

Are People Who Have Their Dream Jobs More Productive?

Do productive people always have their dream jobs?  No.  Are you more productive when you enjoy what you’re doing and are happy in your work?  Yes.  So do you find your work fulfilling?  Or are you just going through the motions to pay the bills?  What if you’re in a job that is a springboard to the next one?  That’s fine.  There’s a difference between everyday annoyances and unsettling, deep malcontent.  Life’s too short to keep a job that makes your stomach hurt.  As they say, do what you love, and the money will follow.  How do you know if you’re in your dream job? • Make a list of your dreams.  You may have only one; you may have several.  Some may be really big.  Some may be small.  “I want to make jewelry and sell it online.”  “I want to be a meteorologist.”  “I want to start my … [Read more...]

Staying Productive During Back to School Time

It’s back to school time!  With three kids in elementary and middle school, this is a New Year of sorts for parents.  Here are some tips to help you stay sane and productive: Back-to-the-Future. The first step in moving forward with back-to-school resolutions is to take a look back. What were the situations from the previous school year that could use improvement? Did your child often miss the bus? Did they have a hard time making the honor roll or even passing grades? Was everyone too busy to sit down for dinner together? Once you figure out what areas need improvement, it will help set goals for the upcoming year. Talk to your children. Whether your school-age children are in elementary school or high school, talk to them about areas they would like to see change, both personally and … [Read more...]

6 Ways to Balance Evening Commitments With Family Life

Today we have a treat: a guest post by my colleague and fellow productivity blogger Mike St. Pierre.  He writes an excellent blog called The Daily Saint.  I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe to his feed. All teachers can relate to THE FINAL WEEK.  It's that week when your seniors graduate and then some.  There is usually a parents reception, Baccalaureate celebration and often a sports banquet- all of which occur at night.  So how do you balance this with seeing the little ones at home or that spouse that misses you? Practice the two night rule.  I discovered years ago that when I am away from my family for two straight evening commitments, I wouldn't see my kids for nearly three days.  This is difficult because it puts a lot of pressure on my wife and of course the … [Read more...]