Seven Productivity Boosting Foods and Drinks: Improving Brain Power Though Biology

even Productivity Boosting Foods and Drinks: Improving Brain Power Though Biology by Laura Stack #productivity

"You are what you eat."—Traditional English-language axiom. You probably know by now that staying hydrated and eating well are excellent ways to ensure high levels of productivity, because the better you feel, the easier it is to be productive. But did you know that specific foods and beverages can actually make you more productive than normal when eaten regularly and in moderation? ( … [Read more...]

Six Simple Workload Tips Managing Maximum Performance Without Making Work Your Life

Ever since the Millennial generation entered the workforce, we're seen a resurgence in the idea that "work" and "life" represent two distinct things: i.e., that we can excel at our jobs and still have an enjoyable life outside the office. Although I personally belong to "Generation X," I've been in the vanguard of this movement: I've dedicated my career to teaching people how to achieve maximum results in the minimum amount of time, so they can get out of the office on time (or at least earlier) and spend more time with their friends and families and hobbies. I try to practice what I preach, too. You can be super-efficient without chaining yourself to your desk, no matter how you may sometimes feel ( … [Read more...]

Focus On The Things That Drive Your Company

TRANSCRIPT We had the leadership team, we only had about twelve people in there and the CFO got to talking about their expense report process. And he was explaining how they've got this all automated, and they can scan the receipts and they file their own expense reports and he was talking about how he was very proud of the fact that he did his expense reports and how efficiently he had his travel and I'm thinking. You're the CFO, they're paying you how much? This guy was making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and he's filing his expense reports and booking his own travel. So he realized after that "you know that's probably a fifteen or twenty dollar type of activity isn't it?" and there's been a kind of a throw back. I have seen a resurgence, a resurrection of the … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Yakkety-Yak: Top Ways Coworkers Waste Your Time

Yakkety-Yak: Top Ways Coworkers Waste Your Time by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE

"Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about."—Sakya Pandita, 13th century Tibetan spiritual leader. The gift of language is something like being your own boss, in that the good news and bad news are basically the same. In this case, the good news is, we humans have the capacity to communicate more effectively than any other species on Earth, and we can use it for great good. The bad news? We have the capacity to communicate more effectively than any other species on Earth, and we waste it on stupid things. During a recent survey, I asked my readers about the things their coworkers do to waste their time. My goal was to raise awareness about unproductive … [Read more...]

Getting the Job Done: Five Secrets of High-Performance Teams

Getting the Job Done: Five Secrets of High-Performance Teams by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE

“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”—Joe Paterno, American college football coach. In business, we both expect and encourage teamwork. Teams understand the importance of working together on goals that align with organizational goals that move the whole organization forward. Most people make serious efforts to accomplish this, but somehow, a few teams always seem to outshine the rest. Why is this the case? Manfred Kets De Vries, writing in the European Business Review, calls teams and organizations where people consistently perform at their best “authentizotic.” The term derives from two Greek words, authenteekos and zoteekos, that translate to English as “authentic” and “vital to life,” respectively. Applied to … [Read more...]

Ask or Act? The Different Levels of Initiative

Ask or Act? The Different Levels of Initiative by Laura Stack #productivity

“When you believe in what you're doing and use your imagination and initiative, you can make a difference.”—Samuel Dash, American law professor and chief council of the Senate Watergate Hearings in 1974. For decades—in article after article, book after book—business and motivational writers have urged you to take more initiative in your work. They tell you it’s the only real way to become 100% committed to your organization and “own” your job. High engagement ensures high productivity, as long as you make sure you maintain a healthy work/life balance. I think most business leaders genuinely believe this. But we must be doing something wrong, because time and time again, pollsters point out that fewer than 35% of white collar employees are fully engaged, with another 50% not engaged … [Read more...]