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

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…)

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.

Endless Tasks….Overwhelming Pressure…Desire for Results…Knowing there has to be a better way….

Escaping to Walden Pond or traveling the country via RV are definitely options – but for most of us not viable ones. Minor adjustments that accumulate for noticeable change are much more desirable. Here are some of my favorite time control techniques:

MINIMIZE THRASHING

Thrashing is the computer science term for when a system spends more time switching from task to task then actually working on the task. When we spend our time thinking about what we have to do, remembering where we were in the project, and then building up momentum to get results, we are thrashing. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the meat of a project and then having to stop. I have found the best way to minimize thrashing is to plan chunks of time for a project. I’ll arrange my schedule to be able to commit 2 or 3 CONTINUOUS hours to the task. While it may be hard to find those uninterruptible hours it sure is worth it when the project is done!   (more…)

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I cannot project my personal need for a lean email inbox on others. What I can tell you is when my inbox has too many emails in it I feel stressed that I’m missing something important and unclear what I should be doing next. My solution is to sort the emails in my inbox in order of PRIORITY. If you use Outlook, try assigning and sorting by categories. These are the categories I use. For sorting purposes, it’s important to put the letter in front:   (more…)