Announcing a Rare Public Seminar LIVE with Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro® on 11/2!

At The Productivity Pro, Inc., we average 100 emails a year asking, “When is Laura going to be presenting a seminar in my city?” On November 2, 2016, Laura Stack is presenting a half-day intensive open-enrollment workshop in Parker, CO, so here’s your chance to hear her latest thinking—even if you have to fly to Denver for the event! It will be another couple years before this opportunity is available again. DATE: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 TIME: Registration at 8:30 AM and Seminar from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM LOCATION: The PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, CO 80138 INVESTMENT: $199 (includes detailed workbook). Coffee will be served. SEMINAR: Workflow Mastery: Organize Your Time, Tasks, and Inbox with Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro CLICK HERE TO REGISTER … [Read more...]

Bridging the Workflow #SkillsGap

Bridging the Workflow #SkillsGap by Laura Stack #productivity

"The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination." —Elbert Hubbard, American writer and philosopher. The #SkillsGap I see most often in my practice as a productivity expert is managing workflow. Too many people lack a decent time management and organizational system, and it seems we all have too many inboxes. Both represent huge timewasters that shoot holes in our productivity, forcing us to work longer days just to catch up. Once upon a time, the average worker had only a few inboxes (using the term loosely) demanding his or her attention: the paper one on their desk at work, a paper to-do list at work and home, and a mailbox at home. Nowadays, the two-edged sword of technology has created … [Read more...]

Continued Progress Requires Constant Reevaluation

Continued Progress Requires Constant Reevaluation by Laura Stack #productivity

Like that children's song, some workplace tasks just never seem to end (“It’s a small world…”). They constantly cycle, and you can't shift your attention away for long, lest something slip out of whack (sorry for getting that song in your head). As exasperating as this may be, it's the reality. Consider, for example, the constant reevaluation of personal and team workflow. Few things are more necessary—or, in the end, more rewarding. The "good enough for government work" argument doesn't cut it in the white-collar world. So it makes sense to reexamine your tasks regularly, always looking for easier, faster ways to do them. Begin by reading widely in your field, so you know about new breakthroughs and theoretical approaches. Once you have a new workflow process up and running, keep a … [Read more...]

Breaking Parkinson’s Law: Six Ways to Deliberately Constrain Your Workflow

"I might as well put some action in my life/Breaking the law, breaking the law..." -- Judas Priest, British heavy metal band. "[Parkinson's Law] is the magic of the imminent deadline… The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to greater focus." -- Timothy Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week In an essay published in the The Economist in 1955, British historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson formulated his most famous axiom: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Though originally applied humorously, Parkinson's Law hits uncomfortably close to the mark. You can apply it to everything from committees to finance to corporate structure—and people have. I believe it's especially applicable to personal productivity. … [Read more...]

Helping You Helps Me

In some situations, the concept of taking accountability for productivity and performance extends beyond your own job—especially when you find yourself in a leadership position—and team productivity becomes paramount. In situations like these, doing your job well also means helping others do their jobs better and more efficiently, so their performance dovetails with yours in a satisfyingly synergistic way. Carefully cultivated, the result can be a fruitful cycle of productivity, forming a positive feedback loop that expands into all aspects of the workflow process, making work life easier for all involved. As a manager, you must constantly refine your organization’s workflow processes and streamline your systems. Actively pursue opportunities to eliminate nagging time bandits, … [Read more...]

Sharpening the Scalpel of Strategic Focus

"Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do." -- Michael Porter, business author and professor at Harvard Business School. Business people have no time for the irrelevant. We certainly can't afford to chase poorly defined goals, so hardnosed practicality generally rules. The less important aspects of one's work must either take a backseat to the crucial or be removed altogether, leaving only the lean, profitable core. The best tool for achieving this result at a managerial level is strategic focus. Use these tips to sharpen that focus to laser keenness: 1. Define your marketplace position. Assess your current state, vis-à-vis items like fiscal health, market share, infrastructure, and labor costs. Can your resources keep up with current … [Read more...]

Why Are You Here, Anyway?

"Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission." -- Former U.S. Secretary of State and four-star General. Why am I here? In addition to being one of the great mysteries of human existence, this question is one of the most important ones you can ask yourself, especially when you contemplate your job. It’s an exercise that should be undertaken regularly. Why do you occupy this particular box in your workplace's org chart? What do your superiors expect you to accomplish? What is your personal return on investment? What value do you bring to the company? If you have no real reason for working other than your need to occupy yourself or provide for your family, then you've lost sight of your workplace … [Read more...]