The Productive Leader Blog
Improving Leadership Effectiveness One Task at a Time
productivity, leadership, time management, strategic planning, volunteer and leader development, nonprofit, small business, organizations and associations
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The Productive Leader Blog

A friend mentioned that her (big) company recently has added Instant Messaging to their IT system.  She says, “now, while I’m on the phone, or in a meeting, in addition to having to check emails, I have these IM’s popping up at me.”  WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???!!!!???!!!!

A study by Microsoft found that it takes an employee an average of 15 minutes to return their attention back to the previous task when distracted by email, instant message, etc.

I know, you think you are special and while you can accept that multi-tasking doesn’t work for everyone else, you can still manage it.  I suspect that you can’t.  [Also understand that there is a difference between multi-tasking and a white-noise activity.  Some people need to doodle, color, play solitaire, etc. to stay focused.]

The secret about multi-tasking?  The secret is that you can’t multi-task. The brain can only do one thing at a time.  You may a fast “task-switcher,” which means you can move from task to task quickly, but the brain is only capable of holding one thought process at a time!  Bummer.

What can you do to get more done?  Try these tips for a week – then assess:

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In the Spring I helped a client organize her husband’s home office as a Father’s Day present.  We were given clear instructions to not touch anything “on the desk,” but everything else was fair game.  Her husband is a Neuroscience Professor at an area university.  Of course he had a large library of books. They were in absolutely no order at all.

I was curious how he could find anything.  Why is it that certain people’s brains need order and others don’t?  (more…)

Yes – actually we now have names for people who keep too much electronic information.  But, there is good news!  Unlike physical clutter where our space fills up and overflows, our computers can handle massive amounts of data.  Bad news is, just like physical clutter, it can negatively affect our quality of life.  Is this you?

  • You’ve missed an important opportunity because the email invitation was hidden among hundreds of unimportant emails
  • You’ve spent hours looking for a document you know you had but couldn’t find
  • Your computer is mired in so much muck that it no longer is the wonderful resource it once was.

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Do you ever ask yourself how you can better manage your time?

If managing people is making choices about how to maximize their potential, than you can easily say that managing time is making choices about how to maximize its potential as well.

One of the most useful tools I have found to most effectively manage time is Pareto’s Principle.  Pareto was an Italian Economist who in 1906 observed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population.  From this comes The Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 rule.  Simply put, 20% inputs yield 80% output

How does this help you manage your time?

Let’s look at 3 relevant examples:   (more…)

Do you have goals?

Of course you do, but perhaps the question should be, “What are your goals doing for you?” If they are simply floating around in your head, they are probably just frustrating you, but if you take the time to do something with your goals, they can enrich your life.

Many people say they don’t use goals because it seems so complicated. Not so. Using goals to shape your life more the way you want it is really quite easy. Take ten minutes and you are on your way to accomplishing the things in your life that are most important to you.

Before you begin, it is important to review a few key terms relating to Goal Setting. A goal is an action statement that reflects a desired outcome. Life areas are areas you consider important in the balance of your life, i.e.: business, self, family, and service. The term measurable means quantifiable through time, quantity, result, or concept.

Action Plan for 10 Minute Goal Setting:    (more…)

Our lives are busy and full to the extent that we are like the Energizer Bunny that just keeps going and going and going. I know I feel like sometimes I take a licking and keep on ticking? My clients share with me that they feel that way too. What if we were to hit the pause button, what would happen?

For me creating space both physically and in my calendar enables me to see what is most important. Only then am I able to focus on the things that are fulfilling and really matter. Actually, the pause is the only way I can see what matters and is important. (Can you tell I just got back from a weekend yoga retreat?) It makes all the difference.

How can you make space?   (more…)