An Easy Way to Stay Focused

You sit down at your desk in the morning and have every intention of working on most important task on your to do list. But before you get started you decide to make a quick check into email or maybe your social media feed, a news website or your favorite blog. Something you see while doing this rooting around inspires you to check out a related news site or perhaps something on YouTube. And you’re off. Off to the land of “Where the hell did the morning, go?”

Morning Routines to Be Productive All Day

The ideas in the article linked below aren’t your run-of-the-mill suggestions about how to be more productive. It isn’t always about a better task list — you have to be in the right mindset to deliver your best. You can try several of these and still only be adding a few minutes to your morning routine. Others take a bit more time, but pay off in the long run.

9 ways to decimate productivity

9 Surefire Ways to Decimate Productivity

See if these describe you or someone with whom you work…

Procrastinate: That thing that you don’t want to do isn’t going to be any more appealing if you put it off for hours, days or weeks. Do it or decide you’ll never do it but quit avoiding it and making yourself miserable.
Hoard information: Being the holder of all of the information simply means other people on the team are in the dark. A team that’s working half in the dark can’t reach the goal in any kind of timely or profitable way. Having more information doesn’t make you more valuable.

client from hell and wimpy manager

A Guide to Surviving the Client from Hell and the Wimpy Manager

You have a horrible client who is not only demanding, but rude and dismissive as well. Your manager, believing that this client’s business is very important, does nothing. If it was your company you’d fire the client, but it’s not your company. You know from past experience that your boss will never do anything to help the situation. Sure, once in awhile she tells you she knows how awful it is, but the situation never changes. Getting up the nerve for you to say something to the client would be pretty much impossible. But even it were possible it would probably result in a reprimand in your personnel file, a demotion or getting fired — and you need this job.

What do you do?

march madness productivity

Does March Madness Kill Productivity?

Yes. And no. According to a recent study, work time spent engaged in watching games, talking about teams, filling out brackets, etc., will cost U.S. companies $134 million in lost wages in just the first two days of the tournament and over $1 billion per hour in total.

That assumes that in months without the NCAA tournament as a distraction, all those hours would be spent productively.
Not so fast.

The worker who has their head down

How to Boost Productivity AND Creativity

“I have to be spontaneous. Structure saps all of my creativity. Routine is boring.”

I hear this all the time from creative types, but the thinking is flawed. Established routines serve two important functions:

Routines allow you to do certain things without expending too much brain power . Doing specific things at certain times of the day, following processes, even adhering to checklists means you think less about


New Year’s Resolution Writing Worth Reading

If you Google New Year’s Resolutions 2014, you get over 1,500,000,000 hits. Over a billion. That almost sounds like a joke. So you don’t have to wade through that many, I’ve gone out and pulled together some good ones. If you read only these and apply just a few of the things that are suggested, you’ll have a fantastic year — resolution-wise.

Jerks Kill Productivity

A recent study indicated that nearly two thirds of employees are not engaged at work. For a variety of reasons, workers would just rather be anywhere but in their particular workplace. It’s often not the work that people dread, it’s the interaction with specific co-workers. A LinkedIn article, The Top Ten Reasons People Hate Their Jobs listed “Their Boss Sucks” as number one. And it’s not always the boss that’s the problem. Colleagues can make the workday pretty miserable, too.

It’s disheartening to hear so many stories about workplace environments that range from annoying to unbearable due to obnoxious behavior.

How about the CEO


Inventions and Gadgets: Save Time or Take Time?

So many people are struggling with trying to get “everything” done. Many years ago when inventions came along they helped save time. The automobile made travel faster. Refrigerators and freezers meant fewer trips to the grocery store. Inventions like the washing machine not only made keeping clothes clean much simpler but because the task no longer required our constant involvement, it allowed for time to be spent doing something else. You could be washing clothes and relaxing with a book at the same time.

But the best inventions today usually require more of our time, not less.

increase focus

Ten Ways to Increase Focus

Focused people get the right things done. And we all want to get the right things done. Here, ten easy ways to increase focus.

1. Turn notifications off on your computer and smartphone. New emails are more likely to be distractions than urgent matters
2. Clear off your desk. You are less likely to be distracted by what you can’t see.
3. Do a brain dump of to do items. If you have multiple lists,

block of time

The Break Down that Prevents a Breakdown

The deadline for a giant project looms. Knowing it needs to get done and yet also knowing you haven’t started on it yet creates a pervasive gnawing at your brain. The dread can go anywhere from a sense of unease to full blown panic.

You know the anxiety will diminish as soon as you can get started but right now you don’t have what you need because what you need is a large block of time. In this large block of time you’ll be able to focus completely on this important project and, step by step, close loops on consecutive tasks until finally your project is wrapped up neatly and triumphantly.

And a large block of time is exactly what you’ll never get.


Is the Dreaded Task as Bad As You Think?

Take a moment or two and think about a task you’ve been putting off. Something that you think is going to be difficult, or take forever, or be scary to do, or has the potential to make someone unhappy with you if you do it.

Got one? Good. Now I’ll tell you mine.

I had never put air in my own tires because I didn’t know how. Wasn’t sure how much air should go in there. Was afraid the tire might explode if I did it wrong, etc. So when a tire was low it became

kitchen timer

Using a timer to get more done

Using a timer to increase productivity works because it supports focusing long enough to get difficult or unpleasant tasks done. I’ve been touting this as smart idea since childhood. I learned it from my mom.

The simple idea is to set the timer for a short amount of time that you need to focus on a particular task and get to it.  While the timer is counting down, no checking email or surfing the web.

read more books

How to Read More Books

According to StatisticBrain, 57% of books started are not read to completion.

Of course, one reason we might not finish the book is because the book stunk. Or perhaps it simply didn’t resonate. But I’ve had enough conversations with clients who have full shelves of non-fiction books to know that it’s not always the quality of the book that stops a reader from finishing it.

how to nap

Powernaps: The Why and How of Sleeping on the Job

I’m an expert napper. I come from a long-line of experienced nappers, including my mom who probably found it a necessity with five children under nine years old. She eloquently called it “resting my eyes.” My husband has even learned the art and taken to it like a champ (though not at work, yet).

This talent used to be something to be kept undercover (See what I did there?) because nappers were considered slackers. But early in my career

slipping not failing

Slipping isn’t the Same as Failing

Have you ever successfully used a system to take notes, manage paper flow, handle email or keep your office looking decent and then one day you realize that not only are you not using the system anymore, your notes, papers, email or entire office are out of control.

What usually follows this realization is, “Argh! I can get organized why can’t I stay organized.” Or, “That system didn’t work for me. Need to try something else.”

Yeah. You’re not alone.

short meetings

How a Boiling Cuppa Joe Solved a Problem

Meeting with busy people is tough. You just need a couple of minutes. Either to run an idea by a colleague to get feedback or perhaps to get quick supervisor approval on an aspect of a project before you can move on. Trouble is, the person you need to meet with is either wildly busy, frequently out of the office or due to the nature of their job, moves about the office so much that catching him is a challenge.

Not getting that time can be disappointing or frustrating – and can also affect your ability to get things done. There must be a way to deal with this problem.

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