What’s Next? Four Productivity Predictions for 2023

by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE  "The best way to predict the future is to create it."—Peter Drucker. Making predictions about the future of productivity can be dangerous business. Remember all those people who predicted that the Internet would be a flash in the pan? Yeah, me neither. What I do remember is how wrong they were. That said, I'm going to make a few predictions about what might happen in 2023 in the productivity field, based on what we’re all hearing lately. Inflation will continue to eat at your productivity. Inflation has many causes, so we're not looking to blame it on anyone here. But as prices for everyday costs like food, housing, and energy rise, some substantially, your dollars buy less — especially, as has been the case for decades, when pay doesn't rise … [Read more...]

The Economy’s Short-Lived Recovery: The Results of the 2021 American Time Use Survey

by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE  "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."—Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist, in War and Peace. Late in June 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of the previous year’s American Time Use Study (ATUS), as it has annually since 2003. I've reported on it each year for more than a decade. The ATUS data for 2020, released in 2021, reflected significant effects from the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the nation since March 2020. Fortunately, during 2021, the crisis loosened its stranglehold on the economy, allowing it to bounce back to pre-plague levels. However, the economy has since fallen behind again due to the rise of the worst inflation since the 1980s (sure to be a significant factor in next year's report). A … [Read more...]

Upskilling: Four Simple Steps Toward Upgrading Your Work

by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE In a rapidly changing environment, it's no surprise that new "buzzwords" occasionally pop up on your bingo card. One of recent example is upskilling. At first glance, the definition seems obvious, but it means more than you might think—especially after our shared ordeal with the COVID-19 pandemic. These days, we all need to take the time to upskill and refresh our work habits, which the World Economic Forum predicts will raise the global GDP by up to $6.5 trillion by 2030. Upskilling involves taking your work to the next level, to better fit your job's current and future needs. It's not good enough to just tread water. You must consistently work to advance your career, if only to keep pace with change. The white-collar professional never really stops … [Read more...]

The Third Year In: How Remote Work Has Changed Our Time Use

by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE I’ve been a remote work-at-home professional for 30 years. I’ve never had a traditional brick and mortar office, and I’m the most productive person I know. (That sentence is a bit tongue in cheek.) I was one of the original pioneers of GoToWebinar and was able to use webinars to keep my business going during the 2008-2010 depression. I started using livestreaming in 2017, ahead of it’s time, before people even understood what it was and the difference from a webinar. I’ve hired contractors from all over the world with no geographic constraints to a physical location. I always thought most professionals whose jobs didn’t require a fully human presence would be happier and more productive if they could also work from home virtually. When COVID hit us full … [Read more...]

Staying Productive During the Never-Ending Pandemic: Four Things to Try When You’re Sick of COVID

by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE "Productivity isn't about being a workhorse, keeping busy, or burning the midnight oil… it's more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time."—Gary Keller, American entrepreneur and bestselling author. As British author John Heywood noted in 1546, It's an ill wind that blows no good. As devastating as COVID-19 has been, some positive things have followed in its wake. For example, the business world has learned to leverage remote work more effectively than any time in modern history, using new technology and approaches to keep teams together. Telecommuting and videoconferencing have reached heights never before seen, and I don’t believe it will ever go back to the way it was. Countless workers have figured out how to work productively … [Read more...]

Post-COVID Productivity: Five Ways It’s Going to Improve Our Performance

 by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE  “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors."—African Proverb While we may be premature in assuming that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed with the Delta variant alive and well, it’s better than it was a year ago. However, things will never be the same in its wake, even for those of us untouched by the disease itself. Our new attitudes about social distancing, personal protection, and hygiene will remain for a long time, as will practices adopted in all aspects of our lives. Among other things, we're still weathering the worst recession since the Great Depression, when so many of us were laid off, furloughed, or otherwise out of work due to lockdowns. Now that we're piecing together the shuttered and shattered portions of our economy, … [Read more...]

Three Steps to Greatness: Using Your Habits to Influence Your Goals

by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE “First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice.”— Octavia Butler, America author and MacArthur Fellow. As complex as people are, when it comes down to it, you might consider us intelligent meat machines fueled by chemical reactions and guided, in large part, by programs we call habits. These boil down to repeated, automated actions—something like those of a robot on an auto assembly line, though not as stringent, and not always occurring in the same order. One of my colleagues almost always makes a large cup of coffee first thing each morning, eats a bagel, and gets to work. After years of doing it daily, he doesn't have to think about the process of … [Read more...]

My Top 8 Features of the Galaxy S8!

This post Sponsored by Samsung. "One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivityare also the tools of our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we're idling in front of our computer screens."—Joshua Foer, American Journalist I was thrilled to be in attendance as a Samsung Ambassador at the #Unpacked event at the Lincoln Center in NYC on March 29, when Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S8! And lucky me, I was given a shiny new silver S8+ to test. As background, you should understand I have ALWAYS been a Samsung Galaxy owner since the very beginning (remember the slide-out keyboards?). I have never owned any other smartphone by any other manufacturer. And if you’ve never owned a Galaxy, even if you are a … [Read more...]

Just Doing the Work Isn’t Enough: Four Ways Creativity Matters to Productivity

Whenever you have no blueprint to tell you in detail what to do, you must work artfully. – Rob Austin and Lee Devin, authors of Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artist Work Though most workers let it slip their minds—if they ever think about it at all—Creativity and Productivity have more in common than the six letters both words end with. While the bottom line in the workplace is almost always profit, and you ­can ­achieve productivity without creativity in some cases, your final products are worth far more when you blend creativity with productivity as you work. It goes without saying that in some fields of endeavor, creativity and productivity inextricably intertwine. But even in the most business-oriented venture, creativity should form part of the recipe (← … [Read more...]

Leap Before You Look! Four Times When It’s Best to Get Started Without Overthinking

Don't let perfection become an excuse for never getting started. – Marilu Henner, American actress Have you ever felt paralyzed when facing a work project or task, to the point where you just can't seem to make a decision or get started? This can happen for a variety of reasons. You may suffer from perfectionism, from classic over-analysis, or from what I call the tyranny of choice: Sometimes you just have so many options you can't easily choose. And then there's the fable about the donkey between two mangers, who starved to death because the hay in both mangers looked so delicious he couldn't decide which to eat. Animals are too practical to let that happen in real life, but I see similar situations with people all the time. Sometimes I think too much talent and intelligence are a … [Read more...]