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

I went to a great meeting yesterday with a lot of free give-aways. I saw people taking and taking and taking. I kept thinking “Where are they going to put it all?” I thought about what it means to bring all this stuff into our homes and offices. Free isn’t really free. Bringing something into your space costs you in many different ways:

  • Freebies take your time – now you are going to have to make time to put it away. How much time will it take you to make a space for it so it can be useful? How much time will it take to figure out how to use it and when to use it?    (more…)

A crucial element of effective organization is to focus your efforts on something specific.  Work a small area at a time and don’t move on until that area is complete.

  • It is much more effective to spend one hour organizing a small area like a shelf, or a box, or an inbox than it is to spend it on a big area such as an office, a kitchen, or a file cabinet.
  • When you only do a little bit in many different areas the impact is minimal and nothing permanent gets accomplished.
  • When you do a specific space from top to bottom you end up with an organized space.

I call this my eye-dropper metaphor.  When you put a few drops of water here, a few drops there, and a few more drops somewhere else, you just have little puddles of water; but if you focus your resources into one specific space then you end up with something to show for your efforts.

If you thrive on deadlines, it’s better to plan for them than fight them. Worrying about if you are going to get done on time or being frustrated about how you’ve waited until the last minute is a complete waste of energy. Instead try planning your success:

  1. Plan backwards to your deadline – identify exactly when you need to finish the project. Don’t build in extra time. If it’s due Thursday at noon it needs to be done Thursday at noon.
  2. Write down the steps you need to accomplish. Identify each step on its own index card or post-it. That way you can keep the current step top of mind and not worry about anything else. Put them in order.    (more…)

We weed our garden so the nutrients and water are available to the flowers. If we leave the weeds they end up sucking the vitality from the soil and our flowers might die; certainly our flowers will be healthier without them.

Are there weeds sucking the vitality out of your life? Are they on your schedule, in your self-care, on your desk?

  • Are there things on your schedule that take more than they give? Is it time to pull that weed?
  • Is there something that you can stop doing (or start doing) to take better care of yourself? Is it time to weed your choices?
  • Is there clutter in your space that’s making you less effective, stifling you, or slowing you down? Is it time to weed your space?

I’m sitting here at my desk with the window open listening to the birds singing. Certainly spring has sprung here in New Jersey. As we move into spring think about which “weeds” you can pull so the most important things in your life can thrive.

  • Do you think things should be neater?
  • Are you worried about what other people think of you?
  • Are you trying to please a spouse or a boss?

These reasons are sound. But will they motivate you? Are they important enough to give up your valuable time and energy to get organized? Probably not.

A better approach may be to find your own motivation. What is it you want that you don’t have?

  • Do you wish your space was open, clear and energizing?   (more…)

How many times do we mean to do something but forget?  The best of intentions don’t make it happen.  The brain is not designed to simply remember, it is wired to respond to cues.  Which of these cues can you use today?

I need to remember to take this with me:

  • Tape it to the door knob
  • Take it to front seat of the car now
  • Put it on top of your keys

I need to take this from one place to the next:

  • Put it in the middle of the doorway so you can’t leave the room without walking on it or stepping over it    (more…)