Time Log Activity

If you ever come to the end of the work day, throw up your hands, and exclaim "What happened?!!" you might need to get a grip on your time.  But it's hard to make adjustments in your time management behaviors if you don't know where the time even went.  If your days go by in a blur, and you don't feel you've accomplished anything significant, you might want to track your time.  I've placed a time log template, instructions, and analysis directions on my site at https://theproductivitypro.com/FreeStuff/Time_Log.doc.  Perhaps with a little data, you can tweak your routines and see some improvement. … [Read more...]

Setting up a reference filing system for your home

I'm often asked about my personal organization at home, usually around where I keep paperwork, how to organize it, what to call the files, how long to keep it, etc.  So I've typed up an outline of my personal filing cabinet at my house, so you can get a sense of how it's laid out.  I file by groups of files, not by A-Z.  So each title in CAPITAL letters on the left is the name of the category, and the indented names are filed behind that.  It's https://theproductivitypro.com/pdfs/reference_file_system.pdf.  Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Paper versus electronic time management systems

If you want to test out whether you are more of a "paper" person or an "electronic" person, I have a test at https://theproductivitypro.com/FreeStuff/TEST_paperORelectronic.xlt that will run a macro and give you a score and a recommendation. … [Read more...]

Productivity Boost Using Three Screens Per Worker

I'm mulling about my monitor.  I was reading an article at online.wsj.com/articles/talking_tech about a research study done by Microsoft's Center for Information Work, which looks at the way office workers use computers.  They found that with three monitors per worker, productivity jumped NINE PERCENT.  That's unreal.  Nine percent might not seem like a lot to you, but it's getting to the point where it's really hard to squeeze a few extra productivity points out of workers, so that's a very large amount.  When you look at the stock market trading floor, you see multiple monitors everywhere---that group has already realized it's required to see all that information. Perhaps I wouldn't have three monitors, but I'm seriously considering adding a second.  It … [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...]

Is Socializing a Waste of Time?

I read with a mixture of interest and amusement an article referencing a study done by OfficeTeam/ Robert Half International about whether socializing at work around the water cooler is a waste of time.  http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=2278 Predictably, workers said no.  Predictably, managers said yes.  The answer, of course, is YES...and NO.  This is a silly study.  As with any study, it's easy to skew the numbers.  The answers vary, depending upon the context in which it's discussed and your point of reference.  Certainly, socializing can be a waste of time.  Thirty minutes spent chatting about your aunt Sally's surgery could qualify as a non-value producing activity.  However, not all socializing is a waste of … [Read more...]

A First Look at the 2007 Microsoft Office System

I recently participated in the “Microsoft Office System Webcast: A First Look at the 2007 Microsoft Office System” that previewed some of the new features of Microsoft Office 2007. I’m excited about the changes I saw.  While the move from Office 2000 to Office 2003 brought us mostly cosmetic changes, there is a lot of new, improved functionality in Office 2007.  Here are some of my favorites: ·        The menu system is replaced by a “ribbon,” which is essentially a customized tool bar with buttons for each command. ·        The ribbon opens a series of “command tabs” that are contextual, meaning they only appear when you need them.  So you don’t always have your menu bar cluttered up by a bunch of icons that are meaningless at the time.  Each application has its own set of command … [Read more...]