Today’s software and mobile devices enable new breed of ‘Road Warriors’

Work Essentials: Today’s software and mobile devices enable new breed of ‘Road Warriors’ By Nina Bondarook Gini Courter only worked out of her company’s office in Grand Traverse County, Michigan twice during the first half of the year. The balance of her time was spent traveling to provide software training and business solutions to clients of Triad Consulting, the firm she co-founded there 10 years ago. “I spend 99.9 percent of my work time at client sites, in hotels or at remote locations,” says Courter, Triad’s managing partner. “I’m still adapting. Every time I see a laptop case with a couple of new features, I start to drool.” She’s among a growing breed of Road Warriors who use today’s technologies to work from ‘any location at any time.’ In fact, Massachusetts-based IDC, a … [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...]

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...]

What Saps Your Energy?

I’m doing some primary research on productive energy.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that fatigue and lack of energy affect more than 14 million people between the ages of 17-69.  Nothing sounds more attractive to you than putting your heads down for a quick nap, and you sleepwalk through the day, fuzzyheaded and lethargic.  People who lack energy can’t work on big projects at work or home without the drive or desire—the oomph—to be productive.  Just think of all the wonderful business and personal goals people could accomplish if they just had the energy to get up and go! If this sounds like you, I’d like to hear from you!  What saps YOUR energy?  Fill in the blank..."I could be more productive if __________."  … [Read more...]

Finish What You Start—Even a Bottle of Wine

I received this from a friend who knows how much I preach about finishing what you start: "During these crazy days when we're going one hundred miles per hour and stress levels are soaring, I had to stop and tell myself that I need some inner peace.  I discovered that the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all of the things I have started.  I looked around my house to see things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Baileys, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a package of Oreos, the remainder of both my Prozac and Valium prescriptions, the rest of the cheesecake, some saltine crackers and a half box of chocolates. You have no idea how good I feel.  I am passing … [Read more...]

What’s a WIKI?

Do you wiki? What is a wiki? A wiki is web software designed for collaboration. Unlike a traditional website where pages can only be read, in a wiki everyone can edit, update and append pages with new information, all without knowing HTML. Multiple people in same or different locations can all edit the same documents and create a shared archive. I like Jot.com. You don’t have to install a thing, and if you can use Microsoft Word, you can use JotSpot. JotSpot's wiki can be used in numerous ways: Create a corporate intranet Manage projects Collaborate on documents Keep a backup copy of your email by cc’ing your wiki Maintain the department birthday calendar … [Read more...]

Using Technology to Stay Connected While Traveling or at Home

As a general tip, use your down time productively while traveling, especially on planes.  Most travelers waste hours of productive time on the airplane sleeping, watching movies, or listening to music. You, however, are going to work. Unless you’re exhausted and need to take a nap, take advantage of the uninterrupted time and get some work done.  The more you get done while you’re traveling, the more time you’ll have available to be with your family you return. Before you leave, do some planning and determine what you can complete while you’re away from home. Read business journals and trade magazines, answer emails, write thank-you letters, complete routine paperwork, review large reports and board materials, or do project and advance planning. If you feel good about what you’ve … [Read more...]