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

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 cumulate 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 substantial 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 uninteruptable 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 “InboxZero” 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…)

At this time of year people tend to bite off way more than they can chew. Resolutions don’t work….but identifying “why” can drive change. Ask yourself: “Why do I want to be more organized?”

  • Do I want time to do more important things?
  • Do I want to stop feeling burdened by my possessions?
  • Do I need better balance in my life?

When you are clear about what’s important, figuring out what to do about it is easier:

 

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There is no better time than this week to set up your paper systems for 2013. Here is what I do:

  • I start with an empty Bankers Box
  • I pull out all my household financials (bills paid, bank statements, etc.) for 2012 and put them on one side of the box
  • I pull all my (personal) receipts from 2012 and put them in a gallon zip lock bag marking it with Personal Receipts 2013 with a black sharpie and toss those in the box
  • I take out my 2012 business records and put them on the other side of the box.
  • I take all the papers out of my 2012 taxes bin and put them in a 10 x 13 envelope, marking it “For 2012 tax prep” – I lay this envelope on top of the other stuff in the box

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Carve out an hour to transfer all of your standing meetings and other obligations onto your 2013 calendar. Be sure to include:

  • conferences
  • out-of-town meetings
  • hair, doctor, and groomer appointments
  • holidays
  • family events
  • school and camp schedules

The sooner you do this the better the chance that you won’t double book or overbook yourself. And once it’s on your calendar you’ll have a much better chance at honoring your commitments.

 

At this time of year when time and space are at a premium, it’s helpful to clear space quickly and without much emotional investment. Be it at home or at the office, there is ALWAYS too much information around. Imagine the space you can make by doing a quick publications purge. 

Here are some thoughts to help you move them from prime space to the recycling bin:

  • Many of the magazines we have today are freebies that are sent to raise the subscription rates to attract more advertisers…you didn’t ask for them, are they really worth your time and space?   (more…)