Single Biggest Productivity Tip

drawing checkbox

My biggest productivity tip is very simple. It isn't a fancy application for your computer. It isn't a complicated process. It is very basic and very easy. Here it is: At the beginning of the day, take out a blank piece of paper and place it in the center of your desk. At the top write the three most important things you want to accomplish for the day. These are the three tasks that are important enough that their completion will allow you to declare the day a success--regardless of what else gets done. That is it. It is simple and easy to do, but if you follow that advice you'll find your productivity will skyrocket. Your day is like a jar that you are trying to fill with three large … [Read more...]

Interruption Prevention Strategies


If you work in an office, you probably deal with interruptions. Now, not all interruptions are bad--the whole point of working in an office with other people is so that interactions can occur. However, it is possible to get into a situation where your entire day is spent dealing with interruptions. If you need to cut down on the interruptions in your life, consider some of these methods. 1. No seating If you have your own office, you might consider getting rid of the extra chairs. People are less likely to come in and stay for a long period of time if you don't have a place to sit. You can keep a fold-up chair in a closet or behind your desk for situations where it is needed. 2. … [Read more...]

Simple Time Savings Investments


Poor organization is one of the biggest productivity killers. When you can't find a tool you need or have to sort through a pile of outdated papers to find the one you are looking for, it slows you down and eats up valuable minutes that could be spent on something more important. In this post, we are going to look at some simple things you can do to help make your life more productive by organizing specific areas. Most of these are things where 15 minutes of focused effort will go a long way toward saving you hours in the future. 1. Clean out your closet You've probably heard the saying, "You can't see the forest for all of the trees." A similar, but less popular quotation is "You … [Read more...]

Going Back to College


Summer is ending and students are headed back to school. But what if you are past college age, replete with family responsibilities, holding down a full time job, and still feel like some additional training would improve your career? Thanks to the Internet, there are all kinds of options for getting a degree while keeping your current job and still making it to your kid's baseball games. I recently completed an online master's degree in software engineering through Harvard's Extension School, and I can definitely say that in a world where you have to constantly retrain yourself with new skills, online education is the future. Most online degrees give you some flexibility regarding … [Read more...]

Getting the Most out of College

Multicultural College Students outside on campus

With students all headed back to school, it is a good time to look at some ways to get the most out of college. College is a fascinating place and most people won't fully appreciate all the opportunities they were given until years later. With that in mind, here are some tips for students wanting to get the most out of their college experience. 1. Networking A large part of the value of a college education is the people you meet, but to really take advantage of that you are going to have to intentionally network with people. Don't be the person who sees every person as a potential "networking" opportunity, but do be someone who is friendly and keeps in touch. Facebook and LinkedIn … [Read more...]

5 Efficient College Tips

Students group

There are two ways to approach college. The first is to be intentional and plan out your studies. The second is to just let college "happen" to you. Obviously a little planning can go a long ways toward giving you the best educational experience. In this post, we are going to look at five tips for making your college years more efficient. 1. Take intersession courses from a junior college. Over Christmas break of my junior year, my brother and I took American History from our hometown community college in seven days. These were eight hour days with two or three tests each day. The rest of our time was spent studying. It was very challenging, but those seven days of focus cleared … [Read more...]

Intuit Productivity Webinar


Yesterday I participated in a webinar sponsored by Intuit called "Get More Done. Today." with Craig Jarrow (blogs at Time Management Ninja) and Mike Williams (CEO at David Allen Company). Dan Schawbel moderated the event. I had a great time answering questions and learning some new tips and tricks from Craig and Mike. If you'd like to view the recording, click here or on the image below. … [Read more...]

Becoming Selective

Businessman pressing high tech type of modern buttons

Back in Mozart's day, music was a rare thing. If you had an opportunity to hear good music, it was a special treat and something you'd definitely want to take advantage of. Now days, music can be found everywhere. People listen to it while working, while driving, while exercising. Music can put you to sleep at night and wake you up in the morning. With access to music everywhere, the hard part is deciding what you are not going to listen to because there are just so many options. It wasn't that long ago that books were a rare treasure. They were difficult and expensive to produce. Even after the invention of the printing press, there was limited choice on what was available to read. … [Read more...]

vLetter Handwriting Font


Several years ago, I wrote about vLetter's handwriting font. I got an email from them a few months ago asking if I'd like to try out an updated version of the font. The big difference is that in the past you had to write your text and then convert it to your handwriting, now it will let you write with your handwriting font directly and it is smart enough to figure out which version of each letter to use to make it connect correctly with the letters that come before and after it. If you have an existing font from vLetter, they can upgrade it to the new smart font. Otherwise you'll need to download the form and write all the words as shown below. This provides vLetter with the information … [Read more...]

Home Office Update

Mark Shead's Home Office

Several years ago I did a post on my home office setup. Since my home office is constantly evolving it seemed like a good time to do an update. One thing that has changed from a few years ago is that where I used to spend short periods of time video conferencing, I now spend pretty much 8 to 9 hours a day on video conference with clients. Previously, I had two glass top desks setup in an L shape with a single 30 inch monitor. I've moved these desks on either side of the room behind where I sit and have gone to double Bivi desk with three large monitors. This gives me a reasonable amount of work area and I can roll back to one of the two glass desks if I need to spread out some … [Read more...]