Does Groupthink Hurt Your Productivity at Work?

"Groupthink: a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action." -- Irving Janis, American research psychologist. "The tribe often thinks the visionary has turned his back on them. When, in fact, the visionary has simply turned his face to the future." -- Ray Davis, American motivational speaker and writer. Can working in an open office, engaging in brainstorming sessions, and contributing to a business team actually hurt your personal productivity? Excellent question, because all of the above—and many other group-oriented activities—are integral business practices in today’s companies. We've all experienced team-building … [Read more...]

True Productivity at Work Requires Pacing Yourself

"He who sows hurry reaps indigestion." -- Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author. "Have fun in your command. Don't always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you've earned it, spend time with your families." -- Colin Powell, former American Secretary of State and retired four-star general. "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher. Like most modern office workers, you probably find yourself constantly juggling multiple projects, driven by deadlines bearing down like freight trains. As a result, you may feel you have no choice but to keep pushing yourself in order to maximize your personal productivity. Oh, … [Read more...]

Reduce the Unimportant to Maximize Your Productivity at Work

"Getting your house in order and reducing the confusion gives you more control over your life. Personal organization...frees you to operate more effectively." -- Larry King, American journalist. "Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite." -- Oliver Wendell Holms, American writer and physician. "Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things." -- Peter F. Drucker, Austrian management guru. In their secret hearts, most workers believe that in order to maximize their productive potential—and especially to shine in the eyes of their superiors—they have to work like dogs. This seems like common sense; but as Will Rogers taught us years ago, "Common sense ain't so common." And in any case, this little nugget of wisdom happens to be Wrong, … [Read more...]

Email and Productivity at Work, Part II

"My first reading of an e-mail is actually a screening process to determine what needs attention...I'll decide on the spot what to delete and what needs that second reading prior to taking action." -- Junior Morales, poll respondent, Puerto Rico "Depends on the message. If it's spam or FYI, then once is enough. If it's asking specific questions that need thought and/or research to answer, then as often as needed until it's clear how to proceed. " -- Davyd Breeskin, poll respondent, Washington, D.C. Several months ago, I posted a poll on LinkedIn asking how many times a day my followers checked their email. The results were rather eye-opening, and as you may recall, I blogged about them in early October 2011. Because I found those answers so intriguing, I posted a follow-up poll in … [Read more...]

Email and Productivity at Work

"I don't check my e-mail, it checks me to see if I'm still there." -- Ian Pattison, poll respondent, Canada "I never switch it off, and I also have a self-imposed policy of responding immediately if I'm sitting at my desk, however busy I am. " -- Wayne Andrews, poll respondent, United Arab Emirates "I like getting email. It is a diversion from a tough job or from a boring task. Stopping every now and then to answer email is like taking a break. If one appears to be a time waster, it gets postponed for later. " -- Lester Stephenson, poll respondent, USA As a productivity consultant, one of my chief concerns is what most of us mistakenly call "time management." Obviously, time comes in preset amounts for everyone and we use it up whether we like it or not, so we can't truly manage or … [Read more...]