Productivity

5 simple ways to tune your inbox

April 20, 2011 Categorized in: OrganizingOutlook

Administrative professional Debbie is in search of the magic bullet that will make it easier to archive e-mail—and later find what she needs. While e-mail is a source of productivity, it can also become an out-of-­control monster. Tune up your inbox with these tips:
Transferring to-dos into your calendar will help you make more stra­tegic choices about how to spend your time. But you’re also likely to end up with a handful of to-dos that don’t fit into your calendar. What do you do with them? Use the three-day rule.
You’re a model of efficiency … except when it comes to that one task you dread. Whether it’s filing, completing an assignment for your “difficult” manager or approaching the boss about a raise, you fall prey to the procrastination monster. You know the answer is “Just do it,” so push yourself along with these tactics:
Research shows that, by May, most New Year’s resolutions are gathering dust. If this has happened to you, resolve now to use the energy spring fever gives you to get back on track. Here’s a step-by-step plan for turning those worthwhile resolutions you made back in January into your new habits of today.
Use these six strategies to say “No” to a request for your time … and make it stick:
It’s not enough to do your work correctly and efficiently; you must also be sure that other members of the team or project-based work group can be trusted to finish what you started. Try using or adapting this “handoff checklist” to your work. Ask these questions of the person taking accountability for the completion of the work:
As people grapple with the urge to put things off, economists and psychologists have turned the study of procrastination into a significant field. And what have they discovered? Simply trying harder to “stop procrastinating” doesn’t work. Here’s what will:
“My boss is inundated with business cards,” writes an admin reader. “Some are in Rolodexes, others are loose. But he doesn’t want to weed through and toss old ones. Any ideas on how to organize them?”

8 steps to a more productive meeting

January 12, 2011 Categorized in: MeetingsOrganizing

Between vague agendas and never-ending PowerPoints, meetings have become a waste of time for many. Here’s how some “experts” structure their huddles to make them productive and run smoothly:
Pay attention to first impressions—the ones you’re making on others … Steel your resolve by clenching a muscle … Increase productivity by keeping one to-do list … Optimists find jobs more easily than their peers and are more likely to be promoted …
A reader writes: “We have tasks assigned to us via e-mail, the phone, in-person, in passing, etc. I carry my notebook and keep it on my desk to jot down assignments and then transfer some tasks to Outlook, but I’m wondering if there is a better, more efficient way to keep track of everything. What are your secrets to staying organized and on top of all your assignments?”
If an underlying tension exists between you and a co-worker, now’s the time to address it. While it may be easier to ignore it, such tensions can mushroom. Use these techniques to reverse the momentum of mounting conflict:
Next time you feel overwhelmed and frozen, tighten your focus on a few, easy things. Knock out easy tasks for 15 minutes. Then turn your attention to one of the hardest tasks on your plate, and work uninterrupted on that task for 35 minutes. Take a 10-minute break, then start the cycle again.