Ellen Faye | 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

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…)

Much has been written about password safety over the years, but with the recent hacking of my favorite app EVERNOTE it finally affected me. No information was stolen from Evernote files but Evernote did a automatic reset on all 50 million user passwords in what the company called “an abundance of caution.”

I’ve studied password security and am well aware that experts advise that you have different passwords for each and every site. I just counted and that means I would have to remember roughly over 150 passwords. Ha! Many experts also advise that you use special software to help you remember your passwords and that they are computer generated so no one can guess them.

And how many people in real life do this? Of the many many clients I’ve seen over the years I can say hardly any. What I see is that the clients use the same password, or version of the same password over and over again.    (more…)

A lot has been written in the news about working from home. I understand why Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo has put an end to it for her company – a lot of people who say they are working from home, do everything but work. Working from home is a privilege I wouldn’t want to lose. Here are my top 3 tips for maximizing the opportunity:

  1. Outline a Daily Plan – Be clear in what you want to accomplish. Write out specifics identifying what you want to get done. It could be a part of one big project, or many little tasks – but write it down.
  2. Make a Daily Schedule – project how much time each item on your plan is going to take and plug it into a schedule. Don’t forget the time you need to let the repairman in or to pick up your child from school. When you see your day in black-and-white it will help you from frittering time away.
  3. Create Space – I’m a huge advocate for creating effective work space. You’ll need a clear space that isn’t cluttered with distractions that take you off your game. It could be a desk, a table or a big comfy chair – but be sure that you have room to spread out. I also suggest that you have a printer close by and basic office supplies (stapler, pens, highlighters, post-its, binder clips, etc.). It’s a huge time-suck to have to keep getting up for essentials.