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...]

Time is Money: the Sales Professional, the Clock, and the Pocketbook

Time is money.  Guess which group of people utters this phrase most frequently?  Commissioned salespeople.  Hands down.  It’s almost a rite of passage that you can’t be a salesperson unless you rinse and repeat daily.  Salespeople know how to turn time into money: spend a majority of time on selling activity, namely generating leads, business development, and follow-up.  Simple.  What makes it so hard?  All the non-selling activities that need to be done.  I believe many salespeople have lost sight of the value of their time.  They run for coffee, socialize with friends, check the latest blog postings, schedule personal appointments, surf the web…all which tends to increase when a sale is made…as if now they can relax a bit.  As a salesperson, if you really want to get clear about if the … [Read more...]

Be a Productivity Role Model

Be a Productivity Role Model

Have you ever taken an honest look at how you are perceived around the office?  Your behavior, attitude, and reputation play a huge role in how you interact with coworkers and subordinates.  Others may listen to you because of your job title, but if that's the only reason, you have a serious problem on your hands. I’m not talking about superficial issues like dressing well or keeping a tidy office.  It goes deeper than that—to your attitude towards work and your attitude towards personal productivity. Do you have a reputation of exceptional organization, follow-up, and time management?  Or do people dread sending you an e-mail, because they know there’s a slim chance that they’ll ever hear back? Is your desk a black hole, where papers and requests go in, but never come … [Read more...]

Co-workers, meetings, and inefficiency: the big energy bandits in the workplace

The workplace is full of energy drains, even for people who work at home. You get caught up in the routine, and lo and behold, hours have passed -- and you've expended precious energy without much return. If this sounds like your work life, maybe you ought to try a few of these prescriptions. 1. Speak up when you have too much on your plate.  If you're overworked, you'll eventually hit a point where your personal energy falls to nil and nothing gets done. Do what you can to streamline your work processes, negotiate deadline extensions, simplify your tasks, and delegate in order to get things done. 2. Be unavailable. That's right. When someone says, "Do you have a minute?" it's okay to say, "Not right now." You don't have to be rude or impolite, but you do have to be honest. Get over … [Read more...]

Me, You, and the Handheld

These days, most of us use handheld technology in all aspects of our daily lives, blurring the boundaries between work and home. Has this made you feel more overworked and less energized? If so, you need to learn how to break free from technology, turn it off regularly, stop letting it control you, and unplug in ways that boost your energy. Let's chat about your electronic habits, and about how to regain control. 1. Plan your screen time and stick to it. It's unnatural to focus on a computer or TV screen for hours on end instead of interacting with people. Yet this is precisely what most people do -- and the subsequent feelings of social isolation and depression can be quite damaging to your energy level. 2. Put your life first. Don't let technology eat up your free time; technology … [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...]

Keep Up with Daily Responsibilities: Get Back to Your Post, Soldier!

In the military, your job or position is known as your Post. Even if you're not in the military, a well-defined Post is an important pillar of personal productivity. When you do your job well, other things in your life fall into place more smoothly. When this pillar is weak, your personal responsibilities seem to get in the way of life. Try these tips for defining and handling your life responsibilities. 1. Hire out tasks requiring a level of expertise you don't have. You don't have to do everything yourself, especially when there are people available who can do it better for a price. You can outsource just about anything these days. 2. Hire out simple chores to helpers. Most people don't have the time to work full-time and do all the housework too -- so don't hesitate to hire it out if … [Read more...]

The Paperless Office? What a Joke!

No matter how technologically savvy we become, we can't seem to eliminate paper. In fact, studies estimate that we generate up to ten times more paper than we did before the advent of the computer! How much of that paper is sitting in stacks on multiple surfaces all over your home and office?  To tame those mountains of paper, try throwing these ideas at them. 1. Consistently purge your files without fear. Before you embark on an overhaul of your filing systems, purge all the old junk first. Why spend time dealing with paper you're just going to toss anyway? 2. Create and maintain a filing system that allows you to find papers easily. If you can't find a particular piece of paperwork when you need it, it might as well not exist. Pick a logical filing scheme and follow it … [Read more...]

Time management is dead: The new reality of productivity

We’ve all been there. There’s mail piled up on the corner of your desk. You have 37 unread e-mails. The phone is ringing (not that phone – the other phone). And you’ll be lucky if you can get through three of the fifteen items on your to-do list.Oh – and you have four hours of meetings ahead of you.It didn’t used to be this way. The world has changed in the last decade or so. Has your approach to time management changed with it?If you find yourself stressed out and frustrated every time you try to hunker down and take control of your time, there’s a good chance that’s because you need a new way to think about time management. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to force yourself to work within a system that just isn’t compatible with the pace of your day or the nature of your work. Just … [Read more...]

Beat the Bandits that Rob Your Time

Pests are the time-wasters and robbers that keep you from being able to accomplish your goals, the "termites" that eat away at your personal foundations. Getting rid of them may seem difficult at first, but it's amazing how good we are at eliminating time-wasters when forced to. Try these pointers and see what you can accomplish. 1. Confront problems head-on and make decisions quickly. Indecisiveness is a big time-waster and a major pest in your quest to be productive. The ability to make quick decisions is the hallmark of a good leader and efficient person. 2. Complete the tasks you start. Don't let projects stall; make a running list keeping track of them so you know what's due next, and break them down into smaller pieces to get them done easier. 3. Keep interruptions from … [Read more...]