Tag Archives: productivity

timing and stopwatches

Four productivity tips that you can start using today

When you combine planning and discipline together, things get done. Looking for ways to streamline your schedule? Follow along as we review a set of clever productivity tips from four experts who know how to make the most of 1440 minutes in each of their days.

Look forward
Recognized author and speaker, Laura Vanderkam shares “Plan your weeks before you are in them. Friday afternoons are a great time for this. Make a 3-category priority list: career, relationships, self. Making a 3-category list reminds you that there should be something in all 3 categories! It can be short, 2-3 things in each, but listing these priorities, and plotting them in to the next 168 hours, greatly increases the chances they get done.”

Productive technology
Today show and CNN tech contributor Carley Knobloch enjoys writing with pen and paper. However, she has a smart solution on how you can move handwriting into the digital age. “Evernote’s brilliant app organizes your notes and makes them searchable, even when they’re handwritten. That’s why its collaboration with Moleskine is perfect: pick your journal, enjoy jotting, then use Evernote to upload your work. The app is optimized to take pictures of Moleskine pages, and the notebook comes with three months of Evernote Premium, which means you’ll be able to upload more doodles and brainstorms per month, and even access them offline.”

Helping hand
In his book Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World, Michael Hyatt reminds us “If you’re like the average business person, your workload is overwhelming you. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, but you keep losing time to email, billing, scheduling, transcription, and more administrative details than you can manage. You’re drowning. Hiring a virtual assistant maybe just the solution you have been waiting for.” In Platform, as well has one of his eBook’s, Michael Hyatt explains how a virtual assistant enables him to come up for air and offload the work he doesn’t enjoy, so he can focus on what he does best.

Timeless insight
If you are focused on moving ahead in your career, Gary Keller’s remarkable book The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, is an excellent guide that will save you time. Inside he shares studies and wisdom along with thought provoking questions such as “What’s the ONE Thing I can do today to complete my current project ahead of schedule…?; “What’s the ONE Thing I can do this month to produce better work…?; and for moving to the next level: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do before my next review to get the raise I want…?” A book recommended for everyone who is ready to see how the ONE Thing can streamline their move forward.

Next step
Do you have a favorite tip that saves you time during the week? If so, take a moment to share your thoughts with our audience by adding a comment below. Here’s to more productive days ahead.

leaving late 500px

How To Leave The Office Before Dark

I’m a fan of Kathryn Dill‘s work at Forbes, and she reported on an interesting piece, How To Leave Work By 5 P.M. And Still Get Everything Done.
Here are seven key tips she outlines, along with two of my own that can help you escape the office by the time it gets dark and still get things done:

No. 1 Qualify Your Time. Figuring out how you actually spend your time versus how you plan to allocate your time during the workday is a great place to begin. Get started by keeping a simple log for two days, review at the end of day two and streamline where possible.

No. 2 Shorten Your To-Do List. List 3 – 5 must do’s and ditch the rest. There are no bonus points for having a long list – when you don’t get to everything. Remember to delegate smaller tasks when possible and team with co-workers or peers where appropriate.

No. 3 Set An Alarm. Alarms can help you take control of personal issues, keep you from becoming easily distracted, and help you firm up personal deadlines. Interestingly, alarms are not just for waking up and a simple phone alarm can help you escape a meeting that is running long while increasing your productivity throughout the day

No. 4 Cut Down On Email. Experts recommend eliminating it from your first waking hour and your first working hour each day. Adjust by starting your day proactively attacking tasks rather than reacting to messages.

No. 5 Plan Your Work Three Days In Advance. By taking time to plan your work three days in advance, you will not only stay on track during the day, it will also give you a better understanding of your work load. This can give you a better big picture view, to see if you are in a position to step up and take on additional tasks.

No. 6 Triage Tasks On Arrival. Scenario: If you are committed to leaving work at a certain time and a late afternoon task arrives that requires your attention (that isn’t a matter of corporate life or death). Option: you need to access and act in the time remaining – not simply commit to an evening in the office.  

No. 7 Build A Dynamic Life Beyond The Office. The reality is that work expands to fill the space you give it. So be sure to prioritize the end of your day. For most people, the best way to be more efficient during the workday is to build a dynamic life beyond the office.

Before signing off, two personal tips that I find valuable:

No. 8 Organize Priorities For 5 Minutes – The Night Before. This can be as simple figuring out your wardrobe for the next day and placing critical items (e.g., brief case, computer, et al.,) by the door you will exit from the next morning. Another tactic, create a smart phone note with a short list of tasks to tackle the first 20 minutes after arriving in the office.

No. 9 Get Moving And Recharge. Research shows that in workplaces where regular breaks are encouraged, productivity increases and rates of sickness decrease. A healthy approach I have adopted includes conducting a walking meeting at least once a day.

Did you find one of the tips helpful? Let us know. In the meantime, here’s to productive days and more office departures before dark.