It All Comes Tumbling Down: How Much Is Too Much?

It All Comes Tumbling Down by Laura Stack #Productivity

"A man's gotta know his limitations." -- Clint Eastwood as "Dirty Harry" Callahan, Magnum Force. Have you ever watched someone juggle chainsaws? I have—my speaker friends The Passing Zone do it several times a week. Scary right? I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, would you? But in fact, you already have been, at least in a sense, if you're in a position of any authority at work. The difference is that this crazy duo juggles dangerous objects for fun, as you may have seen on America’s Got Talent. You might have a job with one big responsibility (a single chainsaw), such as a bodyguard (protect someone), lifeguard (keep people from drowning), grocery store bagger (pack up groceries), or personal assistant (make someone’s life easier), but they're uncommon—especially in the business … [Read more...]

Give Me a Break! Get Your Rest and Protect Yourself From Burnout

Give Me a Break! Get Your Rest and Protect Yourself From Burnout by Laura Stack #productivity #rest #balance

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." -- John Lubbock, British scientist and politician. By nature, most of us in the business world feel driven to prove ourselves—by working hard, generating massive productivity, and moving up through the ranks. Before long, it becomes second nature to work long hours with a tight focus on work, often to the exclusion of other things in life. Some of us willingly sacrifice exercise, a decent diet, vacation, weekends, and even family time to get ahead. But what are we getting ahead for? If you really care about your work, you'll want to do what's best and most productive for the … [Read more...]

Million Dollar Productivity

Million Dollar Productivity by Laura Stack #productivity

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No More Mediocrity: Making Meetings More Effective and Enjoyable

No More Mediocrity: Making Meetings More Effective and Enjoyable by Laura Stack #productivity

"Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything." -- John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-American economist. As we can all attest, business meetings often waste valuable productive time and tend to last far longer than they should. But until we learn to communicate telepathically, they will remain a necessary evil—not just as a means of exchanging ideas and information—but also as a way to build relationships with others. That doesn't mean we have to like them. In fact, as economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell once quipped, "People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything." Whether he meant it facetiously or not, there's a grain of truth in Sowell's statement, since someone who enjoys meetings might actually prolong them and anything else they laid … [Read more...]

Breaking Parkinson’s Law: Six Ways to Deliberately Constrain Your Workflow

"I might as well put some action in my life/Breaking the law, breaking the law..." -- Judas Priest, British heavy metal band. "[Parkinson's Law] is the magic of the imminent deadline… The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to greater focus." -- Timothy Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week In an essay published in the The Economist in 1955, British historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson formulated his most famous axiom: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Though originally applied humorously, Parkinson's Law hits uncomfortably close to the mark. You can apply it to everything from committees to finance to corporate structure—and people have. I believe it's especially applicable to personal productivity. … [Read more...]

Warts and All: Taking Ownership of Unlikable Tasks

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." -- Mark Twain, American writer and lecturer. "Many people today don't want honest answers, insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing. They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety." -- Louis Kronenberger, American critic and author. Have you found that perfect job yet? Of course not, because the perfect job doesn't exist. Every job in the world includes unpleasant tasks that may bore you to death, strain your capacities, or require such brainless repetition you'd rather go hide in the nearest swamp. Whatever your job's deficiencies, though, you've got take ownership of those tasks—or how can you say you've done your job? Here are a few suggestions that'll help you stay … [Read more...]

New iPhone App for The Productivity Minute Podcast

We've got a new iPhone app for our Productivity Minute audio podcast! Boost your personal productivity any time with a quick productivity tip from Laura Stack! Instructions: 1. On your iPhone, visit 2. Click the arrow button to add the Quick Launch icon to your home screen. 3. Visit the app and listen to The Productivity Minute at your convenience! You can also sign up for FREE to watch the Productivity Minute videos. When you sign up, you'll receive a weekly email with a link and password for that week's video.  Enjoy a year's worth of productivity tips! … [Read more...]

In the Decision Comes the Dilemma

It’s the little moments that count. Specifically, one moment: The space in between choosing what to do or what to work on next. It’s that second when you think to yourself, “Okay, what should I do next?” In that space of time, you choose to be productive…or not. We face these moments in the normal course of our days. They represent a fork in the road, where we choose our behavior. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, in that split second, you choose whether to flip him off and or apply the brake. It’s not that you’re still not angry¬—you are—but you’re making a purposeful choice in how you’re going to let your self-talk manifest itself. If your partner is in a foul mood and says something snippy to you, in that following second, as you inhale, you choose whether to escalate … [Read more...]

Ruthless Productivity

Looking for the SPEED formula? Click here. "This is a ruthless world, and one must be ruthless to cope with it." -- Charlie Chaplin, American actor. "Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive." -- Margaret Mead, American anthropologist The word "ruthless" often gets a bad rap in the business world—and well it should, when companies mistreat clients, vendors, or employees. But in two business cases, ruthlessness is acceptable (even essential) within reasonable limits: when striving for a greater market share, and when trying to maximize your personal productivity. Both flavors of ruthlessness will make you unpopular among some groups—your competitors on the one hand, and certain co-workers on the other. But you don't work for your … [Read more...]

Snoozing Your Way to Personal Productivity: How Much Sleep is Right for You?

"Sleep that knits up the ravel'd sleeve of care, The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast..." -- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act II, Scene II  Do you get enough sleep at night? At first glance, you may wonder what this question has to do with personal productivity. But think back to the last time you missed a significant amount of sleep. How did you feel the next day? Were you able to get your work done efficiently and professionally? Probably not. I'll bet you felt tense, irritable, red-eyed, edgy, and drowsy—in other words, TIRED. Insufficient sleep can also leave you moody, lethargic, and unmotivated, damage your creativity and problem-solving skills, and make it difficult for you to make … [Read more...]