It’s About Time

Its About Time Pareto is very busy in the sales world.  You know the 80-20 rule.  In this case, it means that only 20% of salespeople spend 80% of their time on selling activities.  Are you in this group?  See if you recognize yourself.  If not, here’s how you can join the group.       Put your fingers on it fast.  Laura Stack is a professional speaker and author of Leave the Office Earlier® and Find More Time.  She sees several time wasters that cost salespeople valuable selling time.  One of the biggest time wasters is lacking a system to track client history.  The system should include notes on conversations that took place, with whom, and when they took place.  Stack says, “To be truly organized you should be … [Read more...]

How to systematically organize and declutter any area

It always amuses me how many people get inspired to get organized come the New Year.  It's as if 1/1 somehow had a magical connotation.  What was wrong with 4/16 or 11/8?  For whatever reason—POOF all of a sudden you're ready.  But, hey, at least it's getting done, so bring it on. What you don't want to happen, however, is a massive shopping trip to buy bins, baskets, gadgets, etc., if you have no plan on how to use them and implement your system.  Your new organizational tools can now create more piles and even more clutter.  Clutter is not always a problem that can be solved by bins.  That can make it even worse. Here's how I would systematically declutter an area.  Get five sturdy boxes.  Label them: 1.     Put Away—items that are out of place and should be put away 2.     Give … [Read more...]

Pre-made shopping list

Ever want to buy healthy food at the supermarket, but you didn't have time to look in your recipe books and can't think of what to buy?  Get tired of writing the same basic items---eggs, bread, milk---on your list again and again?  Keep your kitchen well stocked by hanging a pre-printed shopping list on your fridge.  Print a stack of copies at the Self magazine site.  Stick one to your fridge each week and check off things as you run low on various items.  Then use the list to trigger your thoughts on buying healthy foods for lunches and dinners for the week. … [Read more...]

Get out of your meeting—make your cell phone ring

This is hysterical.  Have you ever been sitting in a boring meeting, wishing you had a reason to excuse yourself?  Or on a disasterous blind date, looking for an escape?  Before a potentially draining engagement, visit  Schedule a free call to your cell phone at a designated time and specify a conversation: boss, cousin in need, friend, etc.  The recording actually pauses for your end of the conversation.  You'll be out of there in no time. … [Read more...]

Jot-It: a Nice Alternative for Post-It Notes

I just received a sample product from Cocoa Living called Jot-It, a desktop writing board.  Pretty neat concept.  Takes the place of putting sticky notes all over the place.  If you're the type that writes on scraps of paper, a corner of your desk calendar, or the bottom of the whiteboard hanging on the wall, this could work for you.  It's essentially a whiteboard on an angled desktop frame where you write notes to yourself, things to do, a phone number to call, etc., and then erase them with the built-in Expo marker eraser when you're done.  The clear top lifts up and allows you to put one of several lined templates underneath to keep things neat.  While I wouldn't use it personally, since I capture notes in my DayTimer(R), it would be good for a … [Read more...]

Time management joke on tracking time via time sheets

With my thanks for the laugh to Golden Jokes for this great joke on tracking wasted time on a time sheet: Dear Staff, In an effort to maximize productivity in our department I will be implementing a tool used in many industries. You will be tracking your time working on certain activities and sending me a time sheet weekly showing me how your time has been spent. Attached below is a sheet specifying a job code list based on some observations of employee activities. Please begin using this job code list immediately and let me know about any difficulties you encounter. Thank you. Your boss. Code Number Explanation 5316 Useless Meeting 5317 Obstructing Communications at Meeting 5318 Trying to Sound Knowledgeable While in a Meeting 5319 Waiting for Break 5320 Waiting for … [Read more...]

Believe you’re among the top performers in your office?

An article in last week's BusinessWeek magazine made me laugh out loud.  In an online study conducted from June 28 to July 5, 2007, BusinessWeek asked 2,000 Americans in middle management and above, 25 years and older, "Are you one of the Top 10% of performers in your company?  The amazing result?  A whopping 90 percent of managers think they are in the top 10 percent of performers at their workplace.  97% of executives, 91% of males, and 89% of females said yes.  Hello?  Can you say "denial"? Obviously these ostriches have their heads in the sand.  While I laud confidence and a positive attitude, most of these people are statistically wrong.  So how would you KNOW if you were one of the top 10 percent of performers in your … [Read more...]

Workers’ Average Commute Round-Trip Is 46 Minutes in a Typical Day

The results from the Gallup Organization's annual Work and Education survey show the average American averages 46 minutes commuting to and from work in a typical day.  If you take out those who work at home, the average increases to 48.1 minutes per day.  However, if you have above-average income and work more than 40 hours a week, your commute is greater than the average, and so is your stress level.  Since the advice "move, earn less, and work fewer hours" doesn't work, let me instead give you some ideas to make your commute more productive, efficient, and stress-free: Use the phone. Now I’m one of those people who get aggravated while people are chatting away on their cell phones while driving…generally because they’re not, well, driving. Many people have no idea how slowly they’re … [Read more...]

Teleworkers happier than office dwellers, study finds

A new study of 10,000 workers by Kenexa Corporation found that employees who telework from home at least on occasion were happy than those who had to put in "face time" every day at the office.  I hope managers who still insist on measuring employees by the hours in the office vs. results are reading this.  Just because they are in the office doesn't mean they are producing anything of value.  You can have one employee work an eight-hour day and another work a twelve-hour day, and the eight-hour worker can be FAR more productive than the twelve-hour worker.  It doesn't matter how long you're there; it only matters what value you created in that time.  If one "loyal" worker toiled the office all day for 12 hours but played solitaire, bought plane tickets for a vacation, checked their … [Read more...]

Management of Mobile Workers

According to Interactive Data Corporation (IDC), mobile workers will account for one quarter of the world’s working population by 2009.  As a manager and/or as a organization, you must be able to hire the right people for this type of position, as not every person is suited.  Back in 2004, I identified the personality traits required people who successfully telecommute: 1.      Self-Motivated—Do you tend to get things going on your own, or do you prefer to be directed by others?  Are you the type that when someone says, “Here’s this project, go figure out how to do it, the deadline’s this,” you get it done. 2.      Disciplined—Do you have to push yourself to work your hours?  Do you procrastinate?  Do you stay strapped … [Read more...]