What is productivity?

In the August edition of my monthly newsletter, I posed the question to my readers: What does productivity mean to you? In other words, how do you know when you’re being productive? I thought you would be interested in some of the responses I received, which I’ll post here. If you have another one to add, leave your comment here, and I’ll send you a free eBook to thank you for your time (make sure to leave your email address). ________________________________________ Dear Laura, Productivity means that I am able to work, to network, and to accomplish the goals set by my boss and not feel any undue stress in the process. I feel very goal oriented and goal focused on productivity days. My sense of accomplishment is an elated feeling that carries me into the next day of work. Sincerely, … [Read more...]

Get back to your hotel earlier

So I check into the Crowne Plaza today. Executive level. Nice suite. A neat package on my bed, based on advice from a sleep expert, Michael Breus of SoundSleep Solutions, containing ear plugs, eye mask, lavender spray, and a sleep CD. Amazing. I go over to the concierge lounge to get a snack and a glass of wine. Settle in. Two businessmen enter, bartender greets them as they are obviously regulars like NORM, "Hey! Got out a bit sooner tonight!" "Yeah," one replies, "we were able to leave earlier than usual." I about fall over. Wouldn't it be cool to partner with a hotel in a similar fashion, to help their guests be more productive at the client site, so they could leave the office earlier, get back to the hotel sooner, and enjoy the amenities the hotel has to … [Read more...]

Keys to manage a busy life

Read an article called Keys to manage a busy life by Amanda Cuda (who also happened to interview me for this article and featured my new book). I like the lessons learned from the woman in her case study, "With so much going on, Winter has learned to organize and prioritize just so she can stay on top of her life. For instance, she's let go of housework, hiring someone to clean the house every other week. Working at home allows her to be available if her daughter needs her." I recently realized the value of having a housekeeper.  No, I'm not lazy.  Yes, it can be expensive.   It costs me now $100 every other week.  But think about how much you drop going out to eat or buying clothes or on entertainment.  You just have to decide where your priorities are.  Because after work, whereas … [Read more...]

Obsessive Compulsive Productivity on Vacation

I was reading an article called "Blackberries don't fit in bikinis" by Joe Robinson, the author of the (very good) book Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life.  I laughed out loud with his use of the term OCP: Obsessive Compulsive Productivity.  That's really good.  The article talks about how working on vacation actually lowers productivity, a notion I've always supported. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-robinson13aug13,0,7024004.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail Seems it's time for a reminder on how to go on vacation: Once you’re convinced that you’d better do yourself, your coworkers, and your family a favor by going on vacation, the next question is how to do it. That might seem like a silly question, but seriously, some people tell me they … [Read more...]

Motivating Your Burned-Out Employees

I'm reading an article by David Javitch at MSNBC who suggests that dealing with bored employees is a management problem and should be handled through accurate job descriptions and job enlargement.  Although I believe he presents some valid points, he doesn't look at the subject from a personal productivity standpoint.  This should be a two-pronged attack, as there is a LOT an individual can do to take the initiative and work productively despite boredom. For example, I don’t like entering credit card receipts into QuickBooks. It would be really easy for it to stack up for a month. When it comes time to pay bills and balance the books, I can suddenly discover five or six other urgent things requiring my attention. Unfortunately, not all of our jobs thrill us. Even tedious, boring tasks … [Read more...]

What is the best time management system?

What Is The Best Time Management System?

Everyone has a different time management system, a way of tracking appointments and to-dos. Some use paper systems; some use electronic; and some use a combination of the two (what I call “hybrid” methods).I’m frequently asked what time management system is best. The simple answer is there is no “correct” time management system. You must always ask yourself how your system is working for you.  I can say, however, that whatever time management system you end up using, you need to make sure it meets the HUG criteria: H—Handy: I call people who don’t keep their time management systems handy “scrappers.” They are easily identifiable by all the little scraps of paper everywhere: envelopes, sticky notes, even matchbook covers. That’s because they don’t carry their system with them to … [Read more...]

Create a list of important papers

In helping my grandparents get their papers in order recently, we had to search for some important items, and they couldn't put their hands on some things right away.  In the event of a death or a disaster in your life, would your loved ones be able to help you or make the proper arrangements?  I recommend you sit down and spend some time typing out a list of all your important information, numbers, contact information, locations, passwords, etc., and keep it in a lockbox or fireproof safe, or give a copy to a trusted family member...just in case.  I got you started with a template at https://theproductivitypro.com/PDFs/Important_papers.pdf.  Don't put it off! … [Read more...]

Planning and scheduling your day

Here it is!  You've been asking me for a way of scheduling your day realistically and making sure you can get your high-priority tasks done with the amount of controllable time available.  Your time is probably very fragmented, and much of it is uncontrollable. The best starting place to improve your use of time is to determine the extent to which you control the time available to you. No one has total control over a daily schedule. Someone or something will always make demands on you. But nearly everyone has more control over their time than they realize. Even during structured “working hours,” there are opportunities to select which tasks or activities to handle. Most people have about 2.5 hours discretionary time. The goal is to control 25-50% of your day. Hopefully, the ideas … [Read more...]

Test drive Microsoft Office 2007

http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/testdrive.mspx?showIntro=n Just for my readers...a FREE test drive of the new Microsoft Office 2007!  This is BETA, but you are live in the applications.  Test the new versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, and many more! The tutorials provide lots of new ways to work in Office 2007.  You can explore the new versions of Office in this fully functional Test Drive environment.  Try this before downloading the new beta versions to your computer.  Most other support applications like ACT or Quickbooks aren't ready for 2007, and you don't want to hose your mission-critical business systems.  So try it---no risk---in your browser instead. … [Read more...]

The American Time Use Survey released 2005 data today

Great news!  The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2005 results were just announced today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  Check out the BLS website at http://www.bls.gov/tus/home.htm.  The public use data files and data dictionaries are also available for downloading from the same website. For those of you who are paying attention, I haven't posted in a while...thanks for your notes...yes, I've been on vacation!  But I've been doing a lot of reading, so watch for a slew of postings in the next few days.  … [Read more...]