Intuit Productivity Webinar

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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...]

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...]

8 Habit List Usage Ideas

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We've had some great response to the Habit List post. Here are several usage ideas for the Habit List: Negative Items - If there is something you are trying not to do, you can add it to the list as negative item.  For example, "Didn't watch TV" could be one of the items on the list. Different Lists for Different Places - Part of the idea of the Habit List is to let you focus on your tasks with habit type items out of the way.  If your habit list gets long, you might want to use different lists separated by where you will use them.  For example, you might have one list for exercise, another list for work, and a third for your home stuff. Teaching Your Kids - The Habit List also … [Read more...]

Paradox of Powerful Tools

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I once worked with an organization that was using two different word processors. They had an old mainframe system with an integrated office suite that been in use for years. The mainframe was accessible from dumb terminals as well as from the newly added PCs. As they added PC's, more and more employees began switching to Microsoft Word. Word was a much more powerful system than the mainframe word processor. The mainframe only offered basic formatting (bold, italics, and underline), a single mono-spaced font, and a few other features like tabs and the ability to center a line of text. It seemed obvious that individuals using Word would be much more productive than those who used the … [Read more...]

Reader Question – How to Wake Up

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What is the best way to wake up if you haven't slept? If you feel drained because you haven't had enough rest, the best thing you can do is go ahead and get some sleep. This is a little like asking "How can I stop from feeling thirsty when I haven't had anything to drink?" Your body is trying to tell you something and you should listen to it. There are somethings you can to to help stay awake, but you can only trick your body so long. Here are a few things might help if you are having trouble focusing because you are tired: Take a short walk - The exercise will help wake you up. Lower the temperature - If you feel overly warm your body may start trying to go to sleep. Work standing … [Read more...]

Are You Reading Too Much?

Albert Einstein, 1879-1955

I ran across and interesting quote by Albert Einstein the other day. Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. ~ Albert Einstein This isn't exactly the best known quote by Einstein and I doubt many teachers quote this to their students. Reading is generally a good thing, but if it starts becoming a substitute for thinking on your own it can hold you back from reaching your potential. This quote touches on a problem that holds many people back from actually accomplishing things. It is easy to spend so much time researching that you never actually … [Read more...]

Aversion to Change

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Across the country, state and federal funding is being cut for education and this has left many communities scrambling to figure out what to do.  I was originally hopeful that less money would prompt a reassessment of the fundamentals of education and encourage schools to really focus on the things that will give kids the tools they need for a successful career and benefit society as a whole. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be what is happening.  The small town where I live voted to raise local taxes to make up some of the difference in funding to try to maintain the status quo as much as possible. I'm not opposed to paying more in taxes if the result is better educated kids but doing … [Read more...]

Interview with Al Pittampalli

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I recently wrote a review of Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli. It is a good book and well worth the money. Al was gracious enough to do an interview with us about his passion for creating better meetings. You may end up buying a bunch of extra copies to give to give out at the office.  Also check out the Modern Meeting Standard website. Al used to work for Ernst & Young where he spent his working with a bunch of different companies. A good percentage of his time was spent in meetings, so he is in a good place to understand the problems with normal meetings. More importantly, he has some great ideas about how meetings should be used and how they should be … [Read more...]

Being Wrong vs. Doing Nothing

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It is easy to get so caught up in trying to make the best decision that we do nothing.  Next time you find yourself struggling with this, re-read this quote: A person determined never to be wrong won't likely accomplish much. ~ Ken Wisdom Of course that doesn't mean you should try to make bad decisions, but it does mean that lack of action is more harmful than occasionally making a mistake. At the very least, making a mistake means you are doing something and the chances of success when you are actually doing something is much greater than the changes of failure when you are unable to decide what to do next and do nothing. … [Read more...]

Free Book – Read This Before Our Next Meeting

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I just finished reading The Modern Meeting Standard - Read This Before Our Next Meeting. I was going to wait a few days to review it, but I wanted to tell you about it in time to take advantage of a special free give away. For a limited time you can get Read This Before Our Next Meeting Kindle Edition for free. (Don't forget you can read the Kindle Edition on most cell phones and computers even if you don't have a Kindle.) The book lays out a plan for more effective meetings with the following seven principles: Meet only to support a decision that has already been made. Move fast. End on schedule Limit the number of attendees. Reject the unprepared. Produce committed action … [Read more...]

Business is Doing Smart Things

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Marketing isn't really all that complicated.  If you have a decent product, you simply have to let people know what you are selling and some of them will buy right?  Obviously you can be more efficient by focusing your efforts on people who are likely to buy your product.  It wouldn't make too much sense to show financial services ads during Saturday morning cartoons.(Assuming that Saturday morning cartoons still exist.)  Omaha Steaks probably wouldn't want to mail their flyers out to religiously fanatic vegetarians.  If you have two lists, one of people who are deaf and one of people who love to listen to music, which do you think would create more sales for high end headphones? This … [Read more...]

Time Discounting

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There is a psychological phenomenon known as time discounting. Basically, it means that a desired result in the future is perceived as less valuable than one in the present. For example, if you allow people to choose from being paid an amount in one year as opposed to being paid a smaller amount now, they will settle for a much smaller payment right now than they will in the future. There has been some research done on this and scientists found that a $100 payment in 12 months is just as attractive as $68 right now for the average person. This means that on average, people will discount the value of a gain made in one year by 32% over how they would value the gain made … [Read more...]

Tuesdays Tip: Start Something

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Procrastination is the first hump we have to get over to do something. Here is a trick to get over procrastination. If there is something you don't want to work on, promise yourself to start the task and work on it for 15 minutes and then you can quit. Much of the time, once you get started you'll find that what was really holding you back was just starting the task. This is a great way to handle exercise. If you dread going to the gym, go for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes if you still don't want to exercise, you can leave. If you don't like it that day, no problem, you made the effort and you'll stay longer on a day when you like it better. We can apply Newton's first law of … [Read more...]

Taking A Break

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When you are focused on a problem, issue or task, it stays in the conscious part of you brain. However, there are some problems that you are unlikely to solve until the problem gets the attention of your unconscious mind. How do you let your unconscious mind take a look at your current enigma?  You have to take a break. Mentally demanding work requires taking break to stay efficient. Unfortunately we have a cultural viewpoint that encourages people to see taking a break as a weakness. Nothing can be further from the truth. Taking a short period of time away from your main task requires a discipline.  It takes discipline to know when to start and it takes discipline to get back to work … [Read more...]

Personal Outsourcing Caveats

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Asian Efficiency has a nice post on personal outsourcing. The article makes some good points, but it falls into a few common traps. I'd recommend reading the article and then coming back here to read my list of gotchas when it comes to personal outsourcing. 1. Not all of your time is valued the same It is easy to assume that if you make $20 per hour, any task that you can pay someone $10 per hour to complete should be outsourced. My normal rate for consulting is $145 per hour.  If I was to apply this logic, there are very few things I'd do for myself.  But, I have a limited number of hours each month that are worth my $145 rate.  Those are my best and highest performance hours.  Even if I … [Read more...]

Un-Procrastination Book by Leo Babauta

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Leo Babauta has written a nice little ebook called Un-Procrastination. If you struggle with procrastination this is a very good resource.  I've seen a lot of stuff written on procrastination that basically says, "I never procrastinate and here is how to be like me."  Leo is a bit more realistic and admits that sometimes he even likes to procrastinate.  In spite of that he has been able to accomplish a tremendous amount of work by following the suggestions in his book. One tip that I think is particularly helpful is to make sure you really want to do something.  I've touched on this idea before in When Procrastination is a Good Thing. Leo also discusses how to deal with the Internet and … [Read more...]

How to deal with a boring job

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Reader question: My job is driving me crazy!  I work in tech support, so I'm mostly getting paid to be there if there are any problems that come up.  This means many days I'm just sitting there dinking around on the internet for 2 or 3 hours at a time.  This might be a dream job for some people, but I feel like I'm losing my skills. I'd look for another job, but I think my place is pretty secure here and I don't want to risk going somewhere else only to get let go in a bad economy.  Do you have any suggestions for me? Brad Those are some good questions.  I've previously talked about figuring out your work zone to help decide when it is time to leave a company and … [Read more...]

What is Holding You Back?

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What is keeping you from reaching your full potential?  Think of four or five things that are really holding you back.  Better yet, write them down on that scrap of paper sitting on your desk. Did you write them down?  Why not?  Go ahead and do it. I'm not going anywhere. Did you write them down now?  Ok good.  Now, take a look at what you wrote down and divide them into two groups. Things you can control. Things you cannot control. In general I find that people who accomplish very little tend to see all of their obstacles in the second category, while people who achieve things see obstacles in the first category. In other word, successful people understand that they are the … [Read more...]

Work From Home Tips

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1. Go to work When you work from home, your workspace may be just down the hall, but you still need to intentionally go to work when you are ready to start your day. Some people will walk around the block go to work in their home office and then walk around the block to "go home" at the end of the day. It may seem silly, but you will be much more productive by making a concrete breaking point between when you are at work and when you are off. You can still take advantage of a zero commute by breaking your day up and perhaps doing a few equivalent hours of work late in the evening or early in the morning--just be intentional about it. You don't want to get into a situation where your work … [Read more...]

Solving the Wrong Problems

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It is amazing how good people are at problem solving.  Think of all the inventions and methods people have come up with to fix everything from minor annoyances to large scale worldwide problems. Even as good as everyone seems to be at solving problems, we are notoriously bad at identifying the correct problem to solve.  Let me give a few examples. Aviation safety Our public aviation security in the US is based around the idea of keeping bad stuff off airplanes.  The idea is that if we can keep anything dangerous off planes, we will be safe.  Lots of problem solving effort has gone into keeping dangerous stuff off planes, but is that the real problem?  There is stuff all over in a plane … [Read more...]

Other Side of Productivity

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Occasionally I'll get some criticism that I'm too focused on productivity. People say that I need to lighten up, etc.  The problem is that on this site we focus on productivity--not on what to do with the free time that being productive buys you.  Here is a short video about enjoying the fruits of productivity--free time to do things with family. (If you want to more of the other side, you can checkout my personal blog.) The Other Side of Productivity from Productivity501 on Vimeo. It's great to strive for efficiency, but it is also important to make sure that being above average in what you accomplish buys your above average rewards. … [Read more...]

Power of Routines

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Routines are a simple method to guarantee that you do the same thing at the same time in the same way every day.  Routines allow you to decide ahead of time what you are going to do, make the decision once, and then spend all of your effort executing rather than pondering what you should do next. Here are some examples of beneficial routines: Reading something helpful for your career for 15 minutes each day during your lunch break. Going for a 30 minute walk every evening. An hour first thing in the morning spent with 15 minutes organizing your desk, 15 minutes sending networking emails and 30 minutes writing for your blog, Those are just some simple examples, but the point is to … [Read more...]

Improve Your Focus

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One of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to focus. Anything you can do to improve your focus is going to make you more successful. Any non-trivial task requires focus and attention if you want to reach any level of productivity. When you aren't focused, tasks take significantly longer, are prone to mistakes and in some cases progress is impossible. Multi-tasking Myth The multi-tasking myth has done more to destroy our ability to focus than just about anything. People consider multi-tasking to be something they are proud of. After all, computers multi-task right? It turns out that humans are amazingly horrible at multi-tasking. Many people feel like they are … [Read more...]

The Role of Lighting

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Lighting plays a much greater part in our productivity than most people realize.  There is quite a bit of research that supports the idea that productivity increases along with the amount of light in your workspace (at least up to a certain point). However, if the increase produces glare, it is counter-productive.  This is especially true for people working in front of a computer. The best lighting solution is one where the lighting is indirectly bounced off the ceiling.  This helps diffuse the light and cuts down on the amount of glare. Some of the best lamps I've used are the halogen floor lamps that shine their light all on the ceiling. Another thing to consider in lighting your … [Read more...]

17 Things you Should Stop Doing

This is a list of 17 things you shouldn't be doing any more because they waste time. Old habits die hard and it can be difficult to shift yourself from an old familiar way of doing something to a new, better way. Take a look at the list and see if there is anything you can change to help make you more productive. If you have any suggestions please add them in the comments.   Manually Depositing a Paycheck -- That is what direct deposit is for.  If you spend 15 minutes every two weeks dealing with depositing your paycheck that is 65 hours over the next 10 years. Put this time to better use. Writing Checks for Bills -- That is what the bill pay service from your bank is for. … [Read more...]

Productivity – What is it?

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What is productivity? Productivity is simply the amount of output you get per unit of input. It is a way to compare the cost of something to its benefit.  So if you have an input of 5 and output of 5, your productivity is lower than something with an input of 5 and an output of 10. Productivity is kind of like the miles per gallon on your car. It tells you how far you can go on a given amount of input (gasoline for your car). In this article, we are going to look at productivity from your boss' perspective and then talk about personal productivity. Employee Productivity In mathematical terms, productivity is output divided by effort.  So if  O = output, I = input then P = … [Read more...]

The Productive Scholar

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When most people think of going to college, they imagine a huge time drain and hours of studying. While the hours of studying is certainly a truth that can't be avoided, there are some major benefits to attending college as far as learning to manage time wisely. In my classes this past semester, I encountered many non-traditional students with families, second jobs, their own businesses and many, many other pursuits. Each of these students also had a full class load. Though the norm for traditional students entering college is to be able to slack off a bit, being able to watch the older students (and some younger ones) juggle a schedule I didn't think possible was a real learning … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolutions

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New year's resolutions have a bad name.  They have become somewhat synonymous with "making promises you don't intend to keep" and "setting unrealistic expectations.  Resolutions can be a very helpful tool, but you have to approach them in a smart way. 1. Resolutions should be daily or weekly tasks. Setting a resolution of "getting in shape" is setting yourself up for disappointment.  A resolution of "go to the gym at least twice per week" is better.  A resolution of "do 15 pushups each day" is another good one.  Focus your resolution on the specific actions you will take--not on what you hope to achieve. 2. Set small, specific tasks as resolutions Resolutions need to be something … [Read more...]

What Do You Measure?

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Managers are told that whatever they measure will get attention and improvement. If they measure the number of defects in cars coming off the manufacturing line, just giving it this attention will help lower the number of defects. So, how can you use this for your personal productivity? The same rule applies. Measure the things that you want to improve. For example, if you want to read more this year, keep a list of every book you read. If you want to write more for your blog, keep track of how many posts or words you produce each week. If you want to lose some weight, keep a chart in the bathroom next to your scale and record your weight every day. If you want to watch less … [Read more...]

The most important part of Mobile Email

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Many people overlook the most important part of a mobile email solution.  It is easy to get caught up in the idea that it is going to be so wonderful to have access to your email where every you are.  The fact is, if you can't delete emails from your mobile device in a way that will delete them from your desktop computer, your mobile solution is probably going to cost you more time than it saves. If every email you read and then delete requires that you "touch" it again on your desktop, you are doing a lot of extra work.  In the paper world, you get the most efficiency by minimizing the number of times you have to physically handle an item.  The digital world is no different.  Every … [Read more...]

Interview: Productivity Tool

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In our interview series we asked a number of people the following: What do you feel is your most important productivity tool?(1532) The metaphorical axe - no bit of software or technology would help me if I didn't know how to constantly remove anything from my life that is getting in the way of living in a balanced and productive manner. Joel Falconer (rss) The word "No". I am getting really good at establishing boundaries and saying "No". "No" is probably THE most difficult thing for anyone, like me, who is interested in everything, loves talking with people, and has no internal time clock.  I love generating ideas and options.  I truly do not naturally like to say no to … [Read more...]

Where Did My Day Go Contest

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Matthew Cornell has a great little PDF out called Where the !@#% did my day go? He has offered to let me give a copy away here on Productivity501.  See below for information about the contest. "Where the !@#% did my day go?" is designed to help you adopt a daily planning routine. It assumes that you have some type of task management and calendar system in place, already. From that standpoint, it kind of picks up where other system leaves off--once you've captured what needs done, how do you execute? Here are some of the things I found interesting: Task selection - Matthew has some really good points about how to select tasks so that you feel good about what you've accomplished … [Read more...]

Sunlight to Reset your Internal Clock

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If you ever find yourself having trouble sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day, don't forget that your internal clock is set based on sunlight.  Getting even just 15 minutes of direct sunlight every day can do a lot to help reset your internal clock if you are coming from another timezone or have just messed your schedule up by working a bunch of late nights. Sunlight can also help you when you are feeling tired.  It is amazing how much you can improve a sluggish afternoon just by opening the blinds and getting some direct sunlight into the room or taking a 10 minute walk outside in the light. I'm not sure if sunlight works best because of the spectrum or if it is just … [Read more...]

Interview Productive Work Zone

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What is your most valuable tip for getting into your productive zone for working? (190) Definitely keep a clean desk and inbox. Before I leave work for the evening, I clean off my desk. When I get to work every morning, I always have a clean desk. The only stuff that can be found on my desk are projects that require action that day. The same can be said for my inbox. Every evening I clean it out. The next morning only contains emails that I'll read/work on that day. Michael Morton from Marketing Monster (rss) Pavlovian conditioning. Here's where procrastination can really hurt you in the beginning. If you go into your home office (or cubicle or whatever) and do nothing, that's … [Read more...]

Bounce Feature in OS X Mail

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OS X Mail has a neat little feature that lets you "bounce" an email back to the sender, making it look like your email address doesn't exist. This isn't particularly useful for dealing with automated spam because most spam is sent from fake addresses anyway.  However, it can be very useful to deal with emails from people who you don't want to have contacting you or who insist on sending you jokes and hoax warnings all the time. To use this feature, simply control click on the offending email and click "bounce" on the popup menu. They will get a message back that looks as if it came from your server saying that your email address doesn't exist, like the image you see below. … [Read more...]

The Right Space for the Job

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My work area has a comfortable chair, a nice desk, a computer, a large monitor, a phone, etc.  It is easy for me to get stuck at my desk and not want to go to other parts of the house because everything I need is right there. However, when I just stay in my office, I miss out on some of advantages of the other parts of the house. In fact, sometimes the tools that make me feel so productive actually get in the way of what I'm trying to do because they are distractions. Trying to sit and think while I'm sitting right next to my computer is kind of like the teenager trying to do Algebra in front of the T.V.  My email is right there along with all of my other online tools. Reading is the … [Read more...]

Inteview: Biggest Productivity Challenge

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What is your biggest challenge to productivity and how do you overcome it? (671)  That is the question we asked a number of bloggers and here are their answers. As a student, I was a master of procrastination, running down the clock as long as I could before beginning a project. What resulted was strong work and ridiculous levels of self-induced pressure. (I suppose that's the academic version of living on the edge.) The strategy that I now like to call granularity helped me to overcome my tendency toward procrastination, by making it possible to see a large project as a matter of many smaller, more manageable tasks. Michael Leddy from Orange Crate Art (rss) My biggest challenge … [Read more...]

4 Day Workweek 3 Day Weekend

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On April Fools day, I made a post about working all 40 hours of your work week at once and then having the rest of the week off. In the post where we discussed working from home, I mentioned that one way to reduce your commute is to work a shorter work week. Before I go any further, let me address all the people who are poised to send me vicious hate mail saying things like "What type of world do you live in?!" or "My boss would never let me do this!" Please recognize that this won't work for everyone--I know that. However, it is a good thing to keep in mind throughout your career because there may be a point where it would work for you. Okay. Now that that is out of the way … [Read more...]

Skill & Focus

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Personal productivity is something that is fairly difficult to quantify.  Most people tend to just assume if they are doing better than the average person, then they are doing well.  For people who really want to achieve their full potential, simply comparing themselves with others isn't particularly rewarding because it doesn't say anything about their true capabilities. If most of your work is repetitive or easily quantifiable, it is easy to measure your productivity against yourself.   You just consider how many of units of work you accomplished in a given amount of time.  Unfortunately, most work doesn't lend itself to this type of measurement. If we could measure both our … [Read more...]

Top 5 Worst Productivity Ideas

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Here are some of the top five traps I find people fall into when they try to increase their productivity. Most of them aren't bad things in and of themselves.  However, if they become your focus, you can be sure you aren't going to be getting the benefits you are striving for. Buy (yet more) software to make you more productive Software needs to enable your system.  Just buying a piece of software won't make you any more productive.  Sometimes when you buy software you are also buying the system and procedure that comes with it.  This isn't bad, but if you don't understand that the real thing of value is the system you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I know people whose … [Read more...]

Productive Blogger: Promotion vs. Production

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Most bloggers have the idea that blogging is 97% writing and 3% promotion. This view places way to much emphasis on writing. It isn't that writing isn't important, but if you write 5 posts per week that no one knows about as opposed to writing 1 post per week that get spread around the web, which do you think will be more effective? Network With Peers There are a bunch of ways to promote your content. Getting on the front page of Digg or Delicious is great, but you will probably have better results over the long term by focusing on good old fashion networking. You need to meet other people in your niche. Subscribe to their blogs, comment on their posts and email them offers to … [Read more...]

People Who Come to Distract You

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If you work in a traditional office, it is likely that you deal with a lot of traffic in and out your door that is little more than distractions. Here are a few tips for keeping distracting people out of your office. Don't have a place for them to sit -- If you have a chair, put a stack of books or papers on it. You can also keep a folding chair behind some furniture for the times you need it. It is much more difficult to get someone to leave once they have found a seat. Stand and come out from behind your desk -- If you conduct your conversation standing, it will likely be much shorter. This is a good thing to do before you know if they have something valuable or if they are … [Read more...]

Fewer Choices Result in Better Efficiency

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There was a study published in 2003 by the Journal of Psychology that attempted to measure how helpful time management training was for employees.  They sent a group of employees to a 1 and 1/2 day seminar on time management and then compared their self-assessment one month later with a control group. The study showed that individuals who had been through time management training believed that they significantly decreased their avoidance behavior and worry.  They also reported that they had an increased ability to manage time. (Notice that the study wasn't trying to measure their actual skill level, only their perception of their skill.) This is, of course, a great study for all … [Read more...]

Ways to Deal with Distraction

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Focus and dedication are things that everyone must master in order to be successful and productive. We've gathered a list of articles intended for various audiences on the subject of focus. Working in a cubicle Dealing with Distractions-Dawn Foster Those that work in close proximity with others know that even small things can become major distractions. This article points out a few ways to deal with this problem. Sounding off on Cubical Survival Tips-Office Smurf This article gives some sound advice (pardon the pun) for eliminating or coping with a loudness in the workplace. Noisy Coworkers: 5 Ways to Deal with Them-noisycoworkers.com When the cacophony becomes to bad, … [Read more...]

Remote or Local Assistant?

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There has been a lot of interest in virtual assistants. The idea sounds great.  You hire someone to do the work you need remotely.  Since you don't have to be in the same city, state or country, you are free to choose the most cost effective assistant from anywhere in the world. On the other hand, there are some significant advantages in hiring someone locally. Here are some advantages for both types of assistants. Benefits of a virtual assistant They can work while you sleep. If you hire someone from a different time zone, they may do the bulk of their work outside of your business hours. Depending on your line of work, it can be very convenient to hand someone a project at 5 PM … [Read more...]

Beautifully Simple Solutions

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The study of aesthetics is the study of beauty. When you really think about it, the way we react to art and music is fascinating and not very well understood. Sometimes beauty seems to be only in the eye of the beholder--subject to cultural conditioning. Other times beauty seems like something that can be appreciated by all humanity--transcending cultural considerations . The way we react to beauty is really an emotional response. I don't know how to really define it, but for me, the reaction to something beautiful feels like it comes from something in my chest instead of my head. Maybe that sounds weird, but that is the best way I know to describe it. In college and graduate … [Read more...]

Links of Interest from LifeRemix

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Thirteen Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Done-The Happiness Project This post offers some practical advice for those that want to be organized about their writing schedule, as well as those that feel "burnt out" after writing. Make Your Yard Look Like Wrigley Field-The Art of Manliness Getting your yard to look decent can be a chore, and mowing isn't always everyone's favorite of the chores on the weekly "to-do" list. However, this article has some fun and interesting tips to help you make your yard look like it belongs in a stadium. Some Thoughts on Angel Food Ministries-The Simple Dollar Because of the recent economic downturn, this article might contain some useful … [Read more...]

It Isn’t How Much You Do

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It is very easy to confuse motion with accomplishment, but simply being busy doesn't do anything toward reaching our goals.  Being busy can be addictive.  Look around and you will hear a lot of people complaining about how busy they are, but when you look deeper, it is clear that they like being busy. I'm not sure why this is.  I think being busy makes us feel important. It is possible that we feel important because we assume that important people are busy or that people who accomplish a lot are busy.  While neither of these things is necessarily true, there is something about being busy that people like. The people who are really productive are usually the the least busy. In fact, … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Wake Up in the Morning

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Your method of waking up is the first thing that starts your day. I'm not saying that waking up to an annoying alarm will ruin your day, but it probably isn't going to help anything. Here are a few ideas for waking up: Wake up to a CD. Many stereos have a built in alarm clock that will start the CD at a certain time. (This can also be the basis of a nice college dorm prank.) Wake up to the radio. Most clock radios let you wake up to whatever is being broadcast instead of the normal alarm. Wake up to light. A simple outlet timer hooked to a bright light can be a great way to wake up because the light will help tell your body that the day is starting. (You might want to set a … [Read more...]

Interview: Successful Habit

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What productive habit do you feel is most responsible for your success? (960) I try to only do things that make me happy. I could make more money working in an office than from cooking or writing, but it would bore me and make me frustrated and angry. So while I might not always want to get up at eight AM to slave in a hot kitchen, knowing that I'll enjoy the work and have fun with my friends there means I never resent it. And I apply that same mentality to my writing and my studies and everything else I do. It's only hard work if it's something that you don't want to do in the first place. David Robertson from The Church of Chris Martin (rss) Getting started. It's only … [Read more...]