Most of the time, procrastination is easy to spot. However, there is a subtle and very dangerous type of procrastination everyone should be on the lookout for. It looks like productive work, but the result is the same...it keeps you from accomplishing the things you need to accomplish. This type of procrastination can take several forms, but in the most dangerous one, the victim appears to be involved in good habits of organizing and planning their work. In reality, they are being lured into doing nothing that will actually move them closer to their goals. To avoid this type of procrastination, you must be alert. When you get the urge to suddenly rearrange your office from … [Read more...] about Procrastinating in Sheeps Clothing
Owners of small businesses are particularly concerned about productivity. For a small company the difference between being highly efficient and moderately efficient can be the difference between profit and going out of business. Most efficient practices are also applicable to personal productivity as well. However, with businesses, small productivity gains can be replicated over many people multiplying the gains well beyond the benefits you'd get just for yourself. A focus on productivity can let you cut your costs so you can make a profit even when your competitors are losing money. Here are eight key points to consider when establishing productive practices for your … [Read more...] about Streamlining your business
In the last few months, I've spoken with several people who are having a difficult time working with their boss. In each case, the boss isn't a bad person, but they are so unorganized that it is difficult to get much done under their leadership. Obviously, the fault lies with the boss. However, for people who are used to being highly productive, knowing where to place the blame offers little consolation. This is the first in a series of posts listing common problems you'll face with an unorganized supervisor and some suggestions on how to best deal with them. The boss who doesn't know what needs to be done. This happens in two different forms. Some bosses know exactly what they … [Read more...] about Dealing with an Unorganized Boss
The physics most of us are familiar with is called Newtonian physics. You can use it to calculate how fast a ball will fall when dropped from the Eiffel tower, where a canon ball will land when shot at a particular angle and all kinds of other useful things. However, if you start dealing with things that are very small or very large, Newtonian physics is no longer accurate. When dealing with very small things like computer processors, individual photos and other partials, you have to use Quantum Theory to produce meaningful results. When dealing with very large things, distances and objects, you have to use Einstein's Theory of Relativity. With Newtonian physics, the GPS in your … [Read more...] about Productivity at the Fringes
The ability to be productive is not something that is evenly distributed to each human. Take five random people and give them all the assignment to create a storage shed and a week to work on it. At the end of a week, how much variance would you expect to find? Some individuals wouldn't have started while others would be completely finished. There are several reasons for this. If one of your subjects happens to be a carpenter, it makes sense that he would make more headway than the Wal-mart clerk. So skill and past experience definitely have an impact. However, there is another difference that is even more important that has to do with how different people see a problem and what … [Read more...] about How big are your blocks?
Over the last holiday, I spent some time thinking about how we relax. Personally, I find that there are two ways achieve "down time". The first way is when I intentionally plan to take some time relaxing. This occurs when my wife and I decide to watch a movie, go on a walk, take some vacation and visit family, or go to the lake. The second way is when I have a list of things that I need to work on, but I really want to take a break. In this situation, I intend to do work, but instead I find myself fiddling with some gadget, browsing the web, etc. The first way of getting down time is relaxing, fun and refreshing. The second is frustrating and makes me feel worn out and like I need to … [Read more...] about Relaxing on Purpose
I just got a personal assistant, but they aren't saving me any time. What am I doing wrong? Several people have asked me about this. There are many different issues that could be involved, but I see a lot of people who hire an assistant and then can't think of what they wanted them to do. Either that, or it turns out their original ideas are all things that really can't be handed off to someone else. Here are some of the things I have had assistants do for me. Some of these tasks can be done virtually, but many of them require physical presence. I'm leaving out most of the things my assistant helps me do for clients and trying to primarily give you some ideas of how your assistant … [Read more...] about Reader Question: Why isn’t my assistant saving me time?
If you are thinking about adding a larger monitor to your workspace, you might want to checkout these articles: Large Monitors for Productivity - Jason Calacanis The Large Display Paradox - Jeff Atwood Increase Your Productivity - Buy a Large Monitor! - Andrew Mason Dual Monitor Display Increases Productivity - Chris A Large Monitor Makes You More Productive - Jeremy Zawodny Big Monitors Can Increase Productivity? - DanB Enhance Your Productivity with Multiple Monitors - Mike Gunderloy Multiple-Monitor Productivity: Fact or Fiction? - Patrick Dubroy … [Read more...] about Benefits of a Large Monitors
We signed our 15 month old daughter up for swimming lessons at the city pool. Arriving early, I read the pool rules for the regular swim periods. I hadn't been to the pool in about 14 years and was suprised to see that they didn't allow any type of flotation devices. No rafts, life jackets or arm "floaties". I asked one of the lifeguards why, and discovered that the city pool puts some real thought into their policies--much more than the local library. The lifeguard explained that when people have a flotation device, they tend to rely on it instead of their swimming skills. A child with a life raft is more likely to get into water that is too deep than one without. Worse still, … [Read more...] about No Flotation Devices
An experiment with loggers demonstrates that "doing your best" isn't as good as doing something specific. … [Read more...] about Past Post: The Power of Definite Goals
Darren at Problogger has written a great post on Batch Processing. Basically he has found that he can get more done by batching similar tasks together. I generally set aside Monday mornings (and usually Wednesdays also) for writing posts. I take my laptop - camp out in a cafe - spend most of the morning off-line (so there are no other distractions) and just write. My goal is to write at least 5 posts that I can then use later in the week. Quite often I’ll write as many as 10 posts in a 5-6 hour period. About twice each year I do something similar for Productivity501. I'll spend about a week writing posts for the next 6 months. I'll spend 3 or 4 hours a day for 4 or 5 days just writing … [Read more...] about Batch Processing
Everyone gets mail. It can consume a lot of your time, effort and storage space to process and store. Here are 5 tips to help you manage your incoming mail. Open your mail over a trash can. This simple tip can help make sure that any mail that doesn't belong in your house gets taken back out. If you have a trash can outside, that may be an even better place to open it. This is a particularly good way to make sure that the envelopes and generic mailings don't clutter up your work area. Get off the lists. If a company has you on their mailing list, but you don't want to receive anything else from them, simply ask to be taken off. It is better for the company, better for the … [Read more...] about 5 Tips for Dealing with Mail
Glen at LifeDev writes about how is is trying out Binge Productivity. Instead of dealing with a big todo list, he is working on whatever project he wants for as long as he wants. If you have the flexibility to work like this, it can be a great way to take advantage of the intense focus that comes from getting into your work zone. … [Read more...] about Binge Productivity
Time management usually concentrates on doing more with your time. At least once in awhile, we should concentrate on doing less. Over time we tend to acquire a bunch of baggage of things we feel we need to do. By eliminating some of our current activities, we can increase the amount of time we have available to concentrate on the things that are really important to us. The approach of the new year gives us all a great opportunity to prune activities from our schedule. By taking a few moments to re-evaluate the ways we currently spend our time, it is likely that we can identify at least a few items that don't really need to be maintained. Here are some questions that you should … [Read more...] about Doing Less
In the United States, most people are paid for their time instead of for their work. In many other cultures this is unheard of. A young man from Africa was going to college in the U.S. and his land lady hired him to dig a ditch. She was going to pay him a reasonable amount per hour. He was horrified! Why would she pay him per hour? Time didn't represent the amount of work that was actually accomplished. Having a finished ditch was a much better measurement of work. If he went slow it would be easier and he'd make more money. If he worked quickly, it would be harder and he'd make less. They eventually reached an agreement, he dug the ditch and was paid a fair rate. This young … [Read more...] about Work Less, Accomplish More