Business Productivity: Stop Procrastination in Its Tracks!

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried. -- Anonymous This week, I'd like to discuss a form of self sabotage that I see all too often: procrastination, the fine art of putting things off. And off, and off, and off…. We've all let things slide when we shouldn't have. It's not always about forgetfulness, or overwork, or even laziness. In fact, some of the worst procrastinators are busy professionals who are otherwise successful in the workplace. Ultimately, all procrastination does is generate anxiety and negativity. So why do we hobble ourselves this way? The reasons are rarely clear-cut, but often they consist of some mix of the following: • Lack of self confidence • Uncertainty • Excess perfectionism • Distractions • Fear (of the unknown or a negative … [Read more...]

Time Management: The Productivity Minute #24 – Procrastination

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro(R) talks about the productivity killer - procrastination! (C) 2010 Laura Stack. All rights reserved. … [Read more...]

Increasing Productivity: I spend waaaaay too much time on…

I Spend Waaaaay Too Much Time on

I asked readers to fill in the blank on our last monthly survey and received some great responses.  There were tons of interesting answers, but it didn’t take long to start seeing some patterns.  Read on for the seven most common responses (and what you can do about them). 1. E-mail.  Let’s face it.  E-mail can be a phenomenal productivity tool, but it will eat your day alive if you let it.  Lots of people complain that their overflowing inbox is beyond their control, but here are three steps you CAN take to start getting a handle on it right away: Do you keep one eye on your inbox all day long?  What does that do to your productivity?  If you drop everything and attend to every e-mail that comes in throughout the day, you are derailing your productivity, over and over again.  Not … [Read more...]

Time Management: Ten Reasons Tasks Never Move off Your To-Do List (and how to fix it)

Ten Reasons Tasks Never Move off Your To-Do List

I recently surveyed my readers on the eternal question of productivity: Why is it that some things on your to-do list never get done?  Some great responses rolled in, ranging from the classic (too many interruptions) to the matter-of-fact (I don’t feel like doing it).  But as diverse as the responses were, it didn’t take long to see certain themes emerge.  Below are the top ten issues at the heart of the problem and some guidance on how to deal with them. 1. You haven’t made the necessary decisions.  Your to-do list should be full of clear, actionable ideas—in other words, things you can actually do.  If you have a vague goal, like “Have a sale,” you’ve still got a lot of thinking to do before you can hit the ground running and make real progress.  Take a minute to figure out exactly … [Read more...]

Here's a great site to calculate how much time you waste on Twitter! … [Read more...]

Stop Trying to Be on Time!

Stop Trying to Be on Time! Victor Borge, the Danish humorist and musician, was well into a performance when a woman came in late, fighting her way through the rows to her seat near the front. Borge stopped playing and as she proceeded—trampling over people, rustling, and disturbing her way to her seat—he said (much to her chagrin, as all eyes focused on her ill-timed arrival), “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.” After she sat down, he walked over near where she was sitting and said, “Where are you from, Ma'am?” “Fifty-Seventh Street,” she said. “Well, Lady, I'm from Denmark, and I was here on time.” While Borge might have been trying to get a laugh from his audience, his obvious annoyance speaks to the principle of Preparation in Mark Sanborn’s newest book, The Encore Effect: How to … [Read more...]

Closing The Loops

Today we feature guest columnist Monica Ricci.  If you enjoy this article, I recommend you subscribe to her blog's feed: Monica Ricci's Your Life: Organized.  Closing The Loops Several months ago, a thought whizzed through my head and it was "Life is a series of getting things out and putting them away."  This is what I call "closing the loops". If you think of a loop, maybe you picture a circle or an oval. All smooooth and sexy, the curves... of a loop will never hurt you and the curvy shape is easy on your eyes. No, there's nothing about a closed loop that hurts! Now, contrast a nice smooth, wonderful closed loop with an open loop. Open loops are all those little things unfinished that you left for yourself to deal with "later". The remnants of breakfast from this morning that you never … [Read more...]

Three indecisiveness phrases, and when (not) to use them – Matthew Cornell

Today I'm pleased to feature a guest blogger and fellow productivity consultant, Matthew Cornell.  He has interviewed me in the past and featured me on his blog.  I've been following his good work and musings on productivity and wholeheartedly recommend you subscribe to his feed. by Matthew Cornell: Three Indecisiveness Phrases: I'd like to tell you about three phrases you and I use that actually mean the opposite, and, when used improperly, hurt productivity and weaken your mind (Gasp!) Fear not, I'll also share the only times they are OK to use. And I'll start with a biggie. "Let me think about it" This is a classic in being indecisive. Situation: Have you ever been asked for something or had an offer made to you and you answered "Let me think about it"? Typically what this … [Read more...]

Your purpose and values guide your productivity

Are you following your mission in life, or do you feel disconnected from what you want to do, believe in, and value? Are other people defining who you are? The more your time is organized around your values, the more energy you gain from your activities. Here are a few ideas that can help you stay "on flow." 1. Figure out who you want to be and what you want to do.  Many of us ignore our dreams in the interest of providing for our families, or because we think we don't deserve them -- but all that does is leave us unhappy and listless. If this describes you, spend some time deciding what you want to do and be. 2. Take a good, long look at your career choices. Are you happy? Do you find your work fulfilling? Or are you just going through the motions to pay the bills? If the answer to the … [Read more...]

Abandonment, outsourcing, discipline and other difficult productivity questions

Time is your most valuable possession. What tasks do you devote the most energy to every day? You may be working hard to climb the big ladder of success, but you'll waste a lot of energy (and time) if you discover it's leaning on the wrong wall. An intense, personal commitment to achieving your goals gives you the vigor you need to move forward every day. Try these time management tips on for size. 1. Practice purposeful abandonment. If you have too much on your plate, get rid of anything that doesn't meet your objectives or have long-term consequences for your work. Your only other option is overwork and flagging energy. 2. Get some help. Don't try to do everything yourself, especially if you're running a business. Hire someone to deal with all the repetitive or minor tasks anyone can … [Read more...]