Time Management

march madness productivity

Is March Madness Killing 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

Four Tips to Reduce Email Overload

Do you know how people are handling the floods of e-mail?

They’re not reading them. The important e-mail that has been carefully crafted is sitting in some in-box somewhere. Ignored.

By using stand-out subject lines you can improve the odds that people will read and respond to your e-mails. A few tips…

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

Choosing

The Skill that Leads to More Happiness

Days are packed with tasks that need to be done. And if just looking at a giant list and choosing which to start on isn’t challenging enough, making the best choice about how to track all the items is a huge project in itself. There are dozens of software programs, apps, tools and methods to make sure your to do list isn’t just rattling around in your head. Which system is best?

It’s difficult to know for sure so

gadgets

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.

art of procrastination

Books on Procrastination: Two Reviews

I read two books about procrastination last weekend.

The first is The On-Time, On-Target Manager. If you are a novice procrastinator (or have a “friend” who is and out of sheer generosity you bone up on the issue in order to help your “friend”) that may be the book for you. It maps out, through a fable about Bob, the downsides of procrastination.

Bob learns, evidently for the first time, that

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

Don’t Put Off Reading This Post About Procrastination

There aren’t many resources that I couldn’t live without, but this is one of them. It’s all about procrastination.

Tim Pychyl, Ph.D. is the Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa. Tim’s website, Procrastination Research Group is packed with helpful resources to help people better understand and deal with procrastination.

His podcasts feature

increase focus

Ten Easy 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.

Using a timer to increase productivity

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

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.

Procrastination

The Difference Between Preparation and Procrastination

You’ve got a deadline to hit for a project that has been challenging – or you think may be challenging once you finally get going on it. But because of this idea about it being challenging, you’ve been delaying it for awhile. Maybe days or even weeks.

You know that there will be serious issues if you don’t get started soon, so you promise that you’ll indeed get started today. But there’s just one more thing

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