Workstation design: creative or unprofessional?

I'm quoted in the Alabama Press-Register in an article by Kaija Wilkinson called "Express Yourself," discussing productivity in office cublicles or "workstations" as they are called today.  She discusses how neat they should be, configuration, use of personal items, and design.  Pretty good article.  I come across as a bit of a neat freak, so I wanted to provide some additional commentary on why I think it's a good idea to maintain a neat workstation. Order is your ability to sort, filter, and process information effectively. It’s also your ability to FIND what you want, when you want it. It’s how tidy your work areas look, inside and out. I believe a messy office is a career detriment. I can’t tell you how many negative comments I hear, such as, … [Read more...]

The Crackberry: A Corporate Noose or Time Leveraging Tool: Time Management and Blackberries

I enjoyed this post about how to be more productive with your Crackberry, I mean Blackberry. Especially true is Nakagawa's comment, "...the people who are the most productive don’t seem to have them."  I'm sure you have your beefs about Blackberry usage in your organization (or by your spouse, for that matter).  If you were king or queen of the world, what "rules" would you create about Blackberry usage?  In addition to the 10 the author lists, I'll add the following from personal experience: 1.  Do not pretend you are listening to someone by brainlessly mumbling "uh-huh" while you are answering an email on your Crackberry. 2.  Pay attention to the presenter during training sessions rather than using the time as your personal … [Read more...]

Saving time writing and researching with the Son of Citation Machine

I'm on a three-day writing retreat, composing my newest manuscript Up Your Energy!  The only thing I dislike about writing is creating the citations for my endnotes---making sure they are in exactly the right format consumes a great deal of time and energy.  Well.  Enter the "Son of Citation Machine," a web-based tool that automatically creates the citations for you in the correct format.  You choose the writing style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) and the format (book, website, magazine, etc.), fill in the appropriate fields presented to you, hit submit, and VIOLA!  I perfectly-formatted citation you can copy and paste into your endnote description.  This has saved me precious hours of time already, and I highly recommend it. … [Read more...]

43 Folders: W. H. Murray on the power of starting

Happy New Year!  I read this quote posted on the 43 Folders blog from the Scottish mountain climber W. H. Murray: Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I believe this is, indeed, a truth.  Take vacation planning, for example.  Countless business people in my seminars have told me their schedules are so hectic, they can never fit in a vacation.  That's the wrong approach.  You should first schedule the vacation, … [Read more...]

Time management during the holidays: purposeful non-productive time or productive non-purposeful time

Not that you're keeping track, but I haven't posted this week.  With the blizzard that hit Denver a few days before Christmas, and the one we're in the midst of right now, the city has been a forced to slow down.  It's been a blissful few days of purposeful non-productivity.  Most people (who weren't stuck in the airport) unexpectedly spent several days holed up with their families, which can be great for life balance. I built every Bionicle, Lego, and Exoforce kit my sons got for Christmas---real quality time doing activities they love.  Hmmm...I also spent time purging my files and pulling out tax documents for I guess it wasn't all non-productive. Some businesses, not blizzards, also purposefully cause a slowdown during the holidyas.  This article "We're not as productive … [Read more...]

Workaholism: a well-defined addiction

I wrote recently about an article from the Christian Science Monitor, in which a reporter interviewed me about "Extreme Jobs," people who work 80+ hour workweeks. I received an email from someone who read my post, miffed that I could judge someone, as "I did not know her." Of course I don't know her and can't judge her personally...I'm sure she's a very nice person, gives to the poor, and rescues puppies...and the only thing I (and anyone else for that matter) can observe is behavior. Working seven days a week, 11 hours a day (not including time at home working) is workaholism, pure and simple (heck, even God rested on the seventh day). It's been studied, researched, and rehashed, and just because it’s been re-titled an “extreme job” doesn’t mean it’s anything new. It's … [Read more...]

‘Extreme’ jobs on the rise: poor time management skills and workaholism to blame

So I'm quoted in an article today by the Christian Science Monitor called "'Extreme' jobs on the rise," which cites a study by the Harvard Business Review called "Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek" (there is no free version of this article; they make you purchase a copy for $7.00).  Read the fascinating quotes from the CEO of a gift basket company who works 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day, including weekends.  She essentially says she works those long hours because she has passion for her work.  So what?  I have passion for my work, too, and you don't find me working that long.  This is workaholism, pure and simple.  I feel sorry for her husband.  She doesn't go outside the house, gave up golf, and installed a home theater in her house to make up for the lack of … [Read more...]

NewsGator Inbox for Outlook 2.6 saves time

I've always used RSS Reader 2.0 as my news aggregator/feed reader, until it started acting buggy, and I explored other options.  After reading other blogs and postings on the subject, I decided to try NewsGator Inbox for Outlook...and I love it!  What a time saver!  It integrates right into my Outlook email client and acts just like an email.  It has its own folder, and I can delete, forward, store, and search blog postings just like email.  It adds a nifty "Subscribe in NewsGator" item to the Internet Explorer menu.  I also like the wizard that lets you search feeds by keyword. It has some disadvantages: you can only use it with Outlook, although NewsGator has different software versions as well.  The only thing I don't like is you can't group … [Read more...]

Microsoft at Work article

My article "7 Ways to Leave the Office Earlier" was posted in the Microsoft at Work newsletter at I'd love to hear your strategies, secrets, and tips for how you get out of the office earlier and keep from working late nights!  Ideas? … [Read more...]

Delegate when someone else can do it better and faster and cheaper

I recently visited my grandparents (ages 81 and 86) and discovered a treasure trove of old family photographs.  Especially precious were the ones of my mother as a little girl (none of which she had seen before) and my great-grandmother, whom I vaguely recall visiting before she passed away.  With seven children, my grandparents had no idea how they were going to split them up after they passed, since many were one-of-a-kind.  My easy answer was to scan them, save them as .jpg files, and make CDs for each of my six uncles and my mother.  So I packed my precious cargo in my suitcase and headed home.  Then it hit me…what exactly did I get myself into?  I counted the photos: 282.  I quickly realized the huge time commitment and realized I was of course able … [Read more...]