Spring Cleaning: It’s Not Just for Home Anymore

Spring Cleaning: It's Not Just for Home Anymore

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"—attributed to Albert Einstein, German-American physicist. Ah, spring, when a young person's fancy turns to thoughts of… well, spring cleaning. Once tax season has passed and your general anxiety level has settled down, you've got to find something else to keep you on your toes. In the old days, the fresh air and fine, bright weather of spring was the ideal time to spend a few days airing out the stuffiness of winter, cleaning out the closets, and scouring the home from top to bottom. Some of us still perform this annual ritual at home. For many of us, it's become a fixture in our workplaces as well. It makes sense to occasionally stop long enough to clean up your workspace and performance. You … [Read more...]

On the Ragged Edge of Exhaustion: How to Keep Going When You Can’t Take Time Off

On the Ragged Edge of Exhaustion: How to Keep Going When You Can't Take Time Off by Laura Stack #productivity

"When you are overworked and exhausted, there is a kind of delirium … you are totally focused on the project." -- Dame Zaha Hadid, Iraqi-British architect. I don't think I've ever met a single person, no matter how much they loved their job, who didn't look forward to vacation time. It's an ideal way to rejuvenate yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally, and to recharge your creative energies so you're tanned, rested, and ready to tackle the world when you return. Two-week vacations work best, but even a week can cure you of your workaday blues. But we Americans seem to have something against vacations. In fact, the USA ranks at the bottom of the list when it comes to vacation days in the developed nations; workers in every country in the European Union get at least four weeks a … [Read more...]

Five Productive Ideas I Learned From Jason Womack

Five Productive Ideas I Learned From Jason Womack by Laura Stack #prductivity

I had the pleasure of attending a seminar today from a fellow faculty member of the Institute for Management Studies (my husband John Stack is the Chair of the Denver chapter), JASON WOMACK. Here are five awesome ideas I gained on how to boost your productivity: 1. If a meeting suddenly gets canceled, what’s the first thing you usually think? “Ooooh I can catch up”! Instead, Jason suggests you can never get caught up. Even if you “do email” all day on a Sunday, you’ll never get caught up. Instead, you should get ahead with any unexpected “found” blocks of time. Work on a long-term project and make progress—not just maintain. 2. Technology is massively key to personal productivity! Here are some great resources Jason offered: www.usemyiphonebetter.com and Speedkeys. Also use … [Read more...]

Tightening the Slack: 4 Tips for Motivating Your Productivity Vampires

htening the Slack: 4 Tips for Motivating Your Productivity Vampires by Laura Stack #productivity

Sometimes setting a motivational fire within the team can be useful if it jolts people out of complacency—or sheer lazi­ness—and gets them back to work. Since teamwork rules in the business environment, having team members who don't shoulder their share of the load can jam the work process gears, bringing productivity to a halt. Not only do slackers slow team efficiency, their attitude may infect others. Don't automatically assume your slackers realize what's happening. Their poor performance may not be deliberate. They may be so worried about something at home they can't do a good job at work. Possibly, they lack the right training to do as well as they should. Perhaps they're over­whelmed, not a good fit for their jobs, or bored. Maybe they don't recognize their own incompetence. So … [Read more...]

Bridging the Workflow #SkillsGap

Bridging the Workflow #SkillsGap by Laura Stack #productivity

"The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination." —Elbert Hubbard, American writer and philosopher. The #SkillsGap I see most often in my practice as a productivity expert is managing workflow. Too many people lack a decent time management and organizational system, and it seems we all have too many inboxes. Both represent huge timewasters that shoot holes in our productivity, forcing us to work longer days just to catch up. Once upon a time, the average worker had only a few inboxes (using the term loosely) demanding his or her attention: the paper one on their desk at work, a paper to-do list at work and home, and a mailbox at home. Nowadays, the two-edged sword of technology has created … [Read more...]

April 18, 2016 Approaches: Tax Time Tips to Consider

April 18, 2016 Approaches: Tax Time Tips to Consider by Laura Stack #productivity

"In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."—Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father In the United States, we've been conditioned—individually and collective—to dread the approach of April 15 each year. In 2016, however, we have the gift of three extra days before our taxes come due on Monday, April 18, because Federal employees celebrate Emancipation Day (observed on Friday, April 15 this year), so they get the day off. Hooray! While I’m no tax professional, I do have my own experience as a small businessperson to guide me and pass on to others. First, make sure you shred no-longer needed paper files, especially if they've already been digitized. To make the job easier, use an automatic shredder like my favorite Fellowes 200C. My second tidbit is … [Read more...]

Use Emergency Boosters to Change a Bad Mood

What's your strategy for shifting a bad mood? Here's mine! (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. www.TheProductivityPro.com … [Read more...]

My Daughter, the Millennial

My Daughter, the Millennial

Productivity Perspectives from a Gen X on a New Generation at Work I recently attended a meeting of the Colorado New Talent Management Network (www.contmn.com), which I co-founded several years ago. Our host and facilitator of this meeting, Steve Franklin, Director of Learning and Development at CoBank, led attendees through a discussion of millennials at work. The audience tossed out some of their perceptions about millennials: they are job hoppers, want to move up quickly, have an entitlement mentality, and want flexible schedules. Let me tell you about my daughter, who is 20 and a junior at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. She’s already had several jobs. It’s been fascinating for me—a Gen Xer (1969)—to observe the work habits of a Millennial (1995). I was always interested … [Read more...]

Are You Seeing Your Offerings Through Your Customer’s Eyes?

Are You Seeing Your Offerings Through Your Customer’s Eyes? by Laura Stack #productivity

Three weeks ago, I was working with 25 sales leaders of a large financial services corporation. We were discussing workflow and how to create an effective task management system. Seeing that they were all furiously taking notes, I told them they could instead download a free eBook I’d put together with screenshots and step-by-step instructions on how to use Microsoft Outlook Tasks correctly (text the word PRODUCTIVITY to 41411). They excitedly pulled out their phones and followed the instructions. So far so good. About two minutes later, a man furrows his brows in confusion, looks over at his neighbor’s cell phone, and starts whispering to her. At the break, I wander over to see what the problem is. He shows me his cell phone. He successfully opted in and confirmed the autoresponder. … [Read more...]

Impromptu Meetings: Cutting Down on Drop-Ins and Got-a-Minutes

Impromptu Meetings: Cutting Down on Drop-Ins and Got-a-Minutes by Laura Stack #productivity

"I wonder if you've got a minute." "I have many minutes, all of them used toward a common purpose." – Jodi Picoult, American novelist; quoted in Plain Truth. Here is the roundup of activity from Laura Stack’s blog, columns, podcast, and other featured articles. Scroll down to read the complete roundup of productivity resources to help you create Maximum Results in Minimum Time. This week on the Blog Impromptu Meetings: Cutting Down on Drop-Ins and Got-a-Minutes There's a statistic going around the business world that claims that something interrupts or distracts the average office worker every three minutes. Many people find their time nibbled away by otherwise well-meaning co-workers, who drop in unannounced at our cubicles or stop us in the hall to ask, "Got a … [Read more...]