Triaging Time: Four Timewasters that May Not Occur to You

Triaging Time: Four Timewasters that May Not Occur to You by Laura Stack #productivity

I'm a big believer in recovering lost time by killing timewasting behaviors, jettisoning useless tasks, and tightening work processes. But no matter how well you've triaged your schedule, you can probably do even more. That's because most of us engage in small, thoughtless actions or omissions that cost us time. Let's look at the worse time-nibblers you may still engage in. 1. Randomly checking email. Even if you've made a commitment to spend less time on your email, it's too easy to log on to see what's come in just before you knock off for lunch or take that much-needed break. Before you know it, you've lost 15 minutes. Clamp down on this temptation, unless you're expecting an important email that requires a prompt response. Spend time planning out a project instead. 2. Failing to … [Read more...]

What Really Matters: Check Your To-Do List for 2015!

What Really Matters: Check Your To-Do List for 2015! by Laura Stack #productivity

"It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?"—American philosopher Henry David Thoreau. As we enter 2015, I’d like to pose a question to anyone reading this who feels a bit overwhelmed: how will you regain control of your time? I've spent most of my career providing answers to that question, in terms of time management, self-discipline, setting personal boundaries, intelligent use of new technology, flexibility, speed, and more. The answers are many and multifaceted, because there's no single solution... and there really can't be as long as society and technology continue to evolve. I'm not sure we'll ever completely test all the options. Strategies like task management, setting priorities, and boosting ROI are basic to this process, and … [Read more...]

Filling in the Gaps: Making the Best of Unexpected Downtime

Filling in the Gaps: Making the Best of Unexpected Downtime by Laura Stack #productivity

"There's no such thing as downtime for your brain." -- Jeffrey Kluger, American writer. As a survivor of the dot-com bubble and the Great Recession, you've probably developed a kind of "go-go-go" attitude about business and work. Agility, flexibility, and speed are the name of the game for those of us who want to maximize our productivity and success. But I admit I do sometimes get frustrated when other people or circumstances affect my productivity, and there’s seemingly nothing I can do about it. Going to my doctor’s office is a prime example. Because I know the value of time and respect her time, I arrive before my scheduled appointment and sign in. And then I wait. And wait. Then the nurse will eventually take me to a little room in the back, where she’ll leave me after taking … [Read more...]

A Better Measure of Success: Value Yourself, Value Your Time

A Better Measure of Success: Value Yourself, Value Your Time by Laura Stack

"How did it get so late so soon?" -- Dr. Seuss, American children's author. What is your time worth? How much do you personally value it? We all think about these questions at some point. However, you may never have seriously considered their implications...possibly because you don't really want to know. But to lead effectively, you have no choice but to learn the answers to these questions. Unlike many things associated with business, you can't replace or supplement time. You get what you get and not a second more. That being the case, the value of your time ties directly into your sense of self-worth. As psychiatrist and writer M. Scott Peck once put it, "Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." Peck was … [Read more...]

Maximizing Organization: Ordering the Inputs and Outputs of Life

Maximizing Organization: Ordering the Inputs and Outputs of Life by Laura Stack #productivity

One of the keys of workplace competence lies in your ability to organize the inputs and outputs in your work life, so you can more easily locate data and resources anywhere: in paper files, on your computer, on the company Intranet, or distributed in your team members' heads. Since information constantly bombards modern workers, the ability to access it efficiently can enhance personal and team productivity to a surprising degree. By now, you probably have the basics down pat: a handy, usable, and garbage-free (HUG) time management system that includes your personal schedule, task lists, and contact info; a clean and uncluttered workspace; a dedicated filing system; and a simple file-naming protocol that helps you locate information quickly. You had to master these survival skills … [Read more...]

Your CORE Time Management System

Your CORE Time Management System by Laura Stack #productivity

To manage your time effectively, you’ll need to track all the information required to keep your life and schedule moving along smoothly. To a large extent, this will depend on the personal time management system you adopt—paper-based, electronic, or some hybrid (combination) method of both. Information arrives and gets stored in myriad ways today, due to all the new technologies constantly being introduced. Most people track contacts, communication, meetings, notes, and to-do lists within their personal systems, which could include: Information delivery software such as Outlook or Google, intranets, and instant messages. Texting and apps using your favorite Smartphone, tablet, or handheld, such as Droid, iPad, Kindle, or Blackberry. Information capturing methods, including … [Read more...]

The “Work Less, More Success” Guide to Time Management!

The "Work Less, More Success" Guide to Time Management!

Since 1992, I've dedicated my career to teaching people how to do less while achieving more. American workers need this relief now more than ever. In the past decade, we've worked harder and done more with less than at any time since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, the pay hasn't kept pace with our efforts, and we often excel at the expense of our health, relationships, and free time. People are tired of "do more with less" and want to "do less and achieve more"! Overwork may be slowly killing you, emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually. But it doesn't have to. Often, overwork stems from taking the wrong approach to structuring one's schedule. I have a solution to offer—one that will significantly reduce your task load and help you rebalance your work/life ratio in your … [Read more...]

Top Ten Time Management Traps for 2012

Top Ten Time Management Traps for 2012

These days, despite technology intended to make life easier, we tend to work harder and have less discretionary time than ever before. Why? After 20 years speaking at conferences and implementing productivity-improvement programs at Fortune 1000 companies, I've come to recognize certain nemeses most of us face repeatedly. While clients do occasionally surprise me with the nature of their time management headaches, about 95% of the time, the traps they find themselves mired in fall into the same familiar handful of categories. So to kick off a productive 2012, let's take a look at the ten biggest time traps faced by the modern worker. I'll discuss the common variations of each, and offer some advice on how to overcome them. Trap #1: Prioritization Setting workplace priorities is by … [Read more...]

Time Management Skills and the Extreme Work Week

Time Management Skills and the Extreme Work Week

Let's face it: despite the management cliché claiming otherwise, you can't just "work smarter" if you expect to compete in the modern workplace. You'll also have to work harder, and probably longer. In today's high-pressure office environment, the real go-getters generally put in half again more hours than their 9-5 co-workers; and in many cases, management expects and requires them to do so. Indeed, some professions now view a 40-hour work week as part-time, at best—which means that if you limit your hours to the traditional number, you also limit your opportunities for advancement. As a result, many white collar professionals end up working a minimum of sixty hours a week in order to meet their job requirements. And that doesn't include drive time, work-related calls and email, … [Read more...]

The Productive Entrepreneur: Run Your 1-Person Business Like a 3-Person Business

The Productive Entrepreneur: Run Your 1-Person Business Like a 3-Person Business by Laura Stack #productivity

While it's wonderful not to have to worry about the drama or indignities of the typical corporate job, as a "solopreneur," you face certain difficulties that larger businesses don't—not least the fact that you have to wear all the hats at once. Obviously, that's not an impossible task; at last count, there were about 20 million single-person businesses in the USA, accounting for a whopping three-quarters of all businesses. This does not, however, mean that it's easy. If you expect to succeed as an entrepreneur, hard work is a given. Now, we've all heard the business cliché "Work smarter, not harder"—and while that statement does hold a grain of truth, you actually have to do both. True productivity means working hard by working smart, using every business technique you can implement as … [Read more...]