Wi-fi on airplanes: a much-needed productivity boost!

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/2006-06-05-inflight-broadband_x.htm Following a winning $31.3 million-dollar bid, AirCell, a Colorado-based company that provides wireless services for corporate jets, is now poised to provide wireless service on public airliners as early as 2007.  This would be absolutely amazing for personal productivity, allowing you to do the same work you do in the office, on your Blackberry, in the hotel, at Starbucks and in the airport lounge.  Bravo!  Many people complain about travel, citing a huge productivity drain.  Now they won't have anything to blame, and the excuse will vanish.  The real reason for not getting work done will emerge: a good book, a stiff drink, the prospect of a nap.  NOW we'll see where the rubber hits the … [Read more...]

Don’t Be Left Behind: the Right Computer Skills Can Make All the Difference

Don’t Be Left Behind: the Right Computer Skills Can Make All the Difference Kelly Dodson knows firsthand why companies value the ability to use computers and software. An administrative assistant in Kansas, Dodson used to keep her CEO’s calendar by hand until one day an important meeting slipped through the cracks. That painful experience compelled her to seek training in the effective use of the company’s scheduling software.  And today, she feels she couldn’t do her job as well without it. As early as 1999, the Progressive Policy Institute estimated that 75 percent of employees use computers in their work, and that figure continues to increase as computers make their way into more and more aspects of individuals’ lives.  Since just about every job today is connected to … [Read more...]

National Leave the Office Earlier Day

Today is National Leave the Office Earlier Day!  To get you out on time today, some last-minute reminders: 1. When you leave tonight, make sure you've identified the top 2-3 things you absolutely must accomplish before you leave the office Friday.  Do those first! 2. Turn off your email alerts and only handle email 2-3 times tomorrow.  Go to Tools, Options, Preferences tab, Email options, advanced email options, and uncheck the four boxes under when new items arrive in my in-box. 3. Be disciplined about the length of your socializing.  Tell your colleagues about the day and that you are committed to only working 8 hours today instead of your usual 9-12. 4. Stay off non-work related Internet sites, just for the day.  You can do it!  The average worker spends 3.6 hours a week … [Read more...]

Win Laura Stack’s new book

Win Laura Stack’s new book; Learn how to “Find More Time” If you’re like most people, you probably never seem to find enough time – in the office or at home – to accomplish everything you hope to in a day. The problem, says internationally recognized productivity expert Laura Stack, isn’t a shortage of time; it’s how we choose to use the time we do have. “Productivity is my passion and obsession,” says Stack, whose Denver-based business uses the moniker The Productivity Pro. “I see how productivity tips such as those I share through my consulting practice, public speaking and writing can make a difference in people’s lives. And that spurs me to learn more about the topic and to share examples of what others are doing to fulfill their life’s dreams. It’s what makes me a voracious … [Read more...]

When are IT pros going to stop sabotaging worker productivity?

For years, I've heard employees in my productivity seminars complaining about their IT departments.  Some of these complaints I believe have valid justifications, and I stick up for IT: COMPLAINT: IT won't let them load personal software. JUSTIFIED! Doing so would create a staffing nightmare as workers seek help on non-supported applications.  Could also create security concerns and open the door to system viruses. COMPLAINT: IT restricts access to certain Internet sites JUSTIFIED! I can't think of a good reason why employees would need to watch X-rated videos at work. COMPLAINT: IT doesn't upgrade their operating systems and software to the newest version for years after the release. JUSTIFIED! You don't need new technology for the sake of new technology.  There must … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Find More Time for Your Life

You have a sink full of dishes, three loads of laundry, 17 bills to pay, you’re not sure how many e-mails to answer, a big stack of novels you’d love to read, and zero — count them — ZERO minutes of free time.  “Where does the time go?” you lament. Here are some ideas to get you started on your quest to have a life: 1.      Reduce waiting time. If your doctor or meetings always run late, plan ahead.  Make good use of this time and carry note cards, bills and magazines in your tote. 2.      Limit your television watching.  Sensible limits may relieve guilt from overindulging, while freeing up time for more worthwhile pursuits. TIVO or tape your favorite shows and skip the commercials. 3.      Say no to … [Read more...]

Gauging the productivity of your staff

A reporter asked me, "What's the best way to gauge employee productivity in a small business?" A: 1) Focus on results. Give people specific goals and projects, and evaluate whether they achieve the objective on time and within budget. 2) As you grow, don't oversee everyone yourself. Put other management levels in between you and workers. 3) Have employees submit a weekly activity report, so you can assess whether they have completed a reasonable amount of work that week. 4) Monitor their work. I had an employee who was supposedly working a 40-hour week, when I checked the phone company logs, it turned out he was working for another company on the side and only working 20 hours a week. Don't be blind and assume even your "star" employee is giving you his/her best. … [Read more...]

Research confirms IM is bad for productivity

http://interruptions.net/literature/Speier-ICIS97-p21-speier.pdf This is an academic paper, so you probably won't want to read the entire thing, but the results of the research have interesting implications for "organizational electronic mail systems that have been implemented to enhance productivity."  I've always said that workers should disable the global alerts in Outlook that notify them every time a new message is received.  Now this study confirms how bad desktop alerts are on concentration and productivity!  The findings from this research suggest that instant notification features be disabled in order to avoid exacerbating the number of interruptions knowledge workers receive. Go to Tools, Options, Preferences tab, Email options, advanced email options, … [Read more...]

Why Should You Care About Productivity?

I've had several people email me in the last few days about the U.S. productivity figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics a few weeks ago.  Great news.  3.2% increase in the first quarter.  But not quite where we were in 2002-2003 with levels over 4%.  One quarter in 2003 had over 8%!  That's when we were all working like dogs, when everyone was afraid of losing their jobs, before employees screamed "enough"! But still it's absolutely amazing that we can sustain this level of productivity.  Fundamentally, why should you care?  Well, why does your organization care about  productivity? In order to be successful, your organization must both make money and save money. To make money, it must find and keep customers. To save money, … [Read more...]

Can Daydreaming be Productive?

You’re staring out your office window…lost in thought about your upcoming dinner party…when you jerk back to reality: “Oops, where was I?” you think, as you look down once again at the report on your desk.  You’ve been daydreaming. Daydreaming can be a real productivity bandit, especially when you’re supposed to be focusing on a higher-priority project.  Excessive daydreaming can waste precious time that could be better spent on other things. But daydreaming isn’t always bad.  There’s a difference between true daydreaming as the brain’s response to overload or boredom and thinking time that may lead to promising ideas. How do you ensure daydreaming time is productive time? Don’t use daydreaming to procrastinate.  Daydreaming can be a good tool for transitioning to a … [Read more...]