Stemming the Email Tide

Stemming the Email Tide by Laura Stack

Email may be the ultimate double-edged sword of the Information Age. It's never been easier or cheaper to communicate, which seems wonderful at first glance. Productivity should come easier than ever, right? In many ways, it does. But ironically, cheap and easy communication also means the signal-to-noise ratio is worse than ever. With email, we have to filter out the productive datapoints from the static of spam, lengthy threads, endless CC strings, single replies of “thank you,” and noisy “Me To” people. On the one hand, we don't need email adding more to the information blast we face daily. On the other, we do need email to receive new tasks, deliver our work, stay informed on developments in our field, maintain contact with coworkers, network with colleagues, serve our customers, … [Read more...]

The Virtual Office as a Versatile Business Tool

The Virtual Office as a Versatile Business Tool by Laura Stack #productivity

With nearly the entire world now accessible by instant, reliable communications, we can access the ideal specialists to fill out our workplace teams almost anywhere on the planet. The virtual office is no longer limited to the realm of science fiction. It has truly come into its own and can offer enormous time management benefits when built and managed properly. Hiring With Purpose  Your first challenge will be finding the right people to staff your virtual office; however, that's an issue with any team, virtual or not. You usually won’t meet candidates face-to-face, which may make it difficult to get a feel for their personality, integrity, and skill-set before you hire them. Body language tells us a great deal—more than most people realize. But again, technology can come to your … [Read more...]

Maximizing Organization: Ordering the Inputs and Outputs of Life

Maximizing Organization: Ordering the Inputs and Outputs of Life by Laura Stack #productivity

One of the keys of workplace competence lies in your ability to organize the inputs and outputs in your work life, so you can more easily locate data and resources anywhere: in paper files, on your computer, on the company Intranet, or distributed in your team members' heads. Since information constantly bombards modern workers, the ability to access it efficiently can enhance personal and team productivity to a surprising degree. By now, you probably have the basics down pat: a handy, usable, and garbage-free (HUG) time management system that includes your personal schedule, task lists, and contact info; a clean and uncluttered workspace; a dedicated filing system; and a simple file-naming protocol that helps you locate information quickly. You had to master these survival skills … [Read more...]

Email in Black and White

Sometimes technology seems more trouble than it's worth (e.g., the spam clogging our email inboxes). You already know how to blacklist spammers, marking them as junk or creating a rule to send them straight to Deleted Items. But do you whitelist? Set up a new email address dedicated to inbound messages from your work team and protect it with a whitelist. 1. While in the secret account, open your e-mail client's Whitelist feature. You'll usually find the Safe Senders option under Filters or Junk Mail settings. 2. Create your whitelist. Add ONLY the addresses of project teammates, your manager, key partners, and major clients who will use the “secret” email address. 3. Change the FROM field when responding. One click sets the From field back to your regular email address, so … [Read more...]

Recovering Your Common Sense: How to Rein in Information Overload

Recovering Your Common Sense: How to Rein in Information Overload by Laura Stack #productivity

"There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher "The abundance of books is a distraction." -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca, ancient Roman philosopher and statesman. Social researcher S.A. Wurman once calculated that every issue of the New York Times contains more information than the average person in Elizabethan England learned in their lifetime. Wurman released this startling tidbit back in 1987—before the info-splosion we call the Internet really got started. Imagine how much worse we have it today, with our daily deluge of print and broadcast news, webpages, social media, email, and more. Some researchers claim we now create more information every two days than we did from ancient times up to the year 2003. Add in easy … [Read more...]

Agile Project Management: Refining the Tactics of Productivity

Agile Project Management: Refining the Tactics of Productivity by Laura Stack #productivity

"Agility means that you are faster than your competition. Agile time frames are measured in weeks and months, not years." -- Michael Hugos, American business writer. "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." -- Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. … [Read more...]

The Smartphone: Pocket sized productivity, or contract time-killer?

Today's post is from Nick Moores of Office Time One of the perks of working in our modern environment is the abundance of technology available to make the way we work simpler, slicker, and more effective. But do Smartphones truly enhance our productivity, or do they hold us back from the task at hand? In theory, digitization should enhance the way we conduct business, but occasionally the misuse of gadgets results in complicating or duplicating workload. One of the key points to remember when using a Smartphone to help streamline your professional life is to know the product through and through, and to learn how to set up your gadget so that it works for your needs. The ability to sync modern Smartphones with other devices and platforms is an essential tool in the quest to save time and … [Read more...]

The 3T Approach: Aligning Strategy with Daily Operations

"The most empowering condition of all is when the entire organization is aligned with its mission, and people’s passions and purpose are in synch with each other." -- Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic, and leadership expert Peter Sims "Alignment begins with a constituency of one." -- American inspirational writer Kristin S. Kaufman. One of the business world's standing challenges is aligning long-term organizational strategy with day-to-day operations—the short-term tactics and logistics that combine to ensure the organization stays afloat. Indeed, bringing the two together may represent the most difficult part of a leader’s job. It's tough at any level, especially on the front lines where workers have a hard enough time taking care of their basic duties, plus the new initiatives … [Read more...]

Is Your Inbox Out of Control?

If you use Microsoft Outlook, we have the solution for you!  Join us on Friday, April 12 for the EMAIL STACK ATTACK live webinar. Laura STACK is going to show you how to ATTACK your email STACK.  Find out more about this hands-on class will help you take control of your inbox. What will you learn? If you've ever asked yourself, "What do I do when I." * Already have an appointment on my calendar and someone sends another email related to it. How do I keep from copying/pasting all the time? * Have a Task already created, and then I get an email with additional instructions about it. How do I merge the two? * Am right in the middle of typing an email and promise someone I will do something. How can I make a reminder about that while I'm creating the email so I don't forget? * Have thousands … [Read more...]

Organizing Your Space

Tackle a single one-hour organizing project each weekend, such as a drawer, shelf, cabinet, closet, or box. Don’t attempt a huge task, such as an entire bedroom. Break it down into manageable bite-sized chunks. When it’s time to begin, don’t just dump everything out on the floor. You’ll run out of time and steam and shove everything back in, only to be more disorganized than before. Instead, get five sturdy boxes. The Put Away box contains items that are out of place and go somewhere else. The Give Away box is for items that are in good repair that you no longer want or use to give to charity or sell. Use the Store Away box for items that are going to be used again in a reasonable amount of time but not regularly. The Toss box contains items that are broken, old, worn, or in bad … [Read more...]