Start the New Year Off Right with 7 Simple Productivity and Time Management Tips

safety lastIn my last post, I talked about the “unmade beds” in our lives. Those messy distractions that drain our energy, keep us from focusing, and stand in the way of getting any “real work” done.

But once you’ve made the bed and sat down at your desk, where do you go from here? How do you decide how you are going to spend the next eight to ten (or more) hours of your workday?

As the management guru Peter Drucker famously put it, “Time is the scarcest resource; if it is not managed, nothing else can be.” So how are you going to manage your time .  . . while you try to manage to find the time to do all that you need to do?

There are a million time management and personal productivity tools, tips, and techniques out there. You can spend hours researching all of them. (But then you really wouldn’t get anything done, would you?) Or you can start with any of the seven simple tips I’m suggesting below.    Read More →

Immediately Enhance Your Productivity with these 5 Skills

Vintage Karate Photo

Todd Cherches, CEO of consulting firm BigBlueGumball and long-time Hired Guns blogger shares his 5 best tips to enhance your productivity. Results pictured at left not typical.
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Get Your Blog On: Justin Lambert of “Words That Begin with You” Talks About Setting Goals and Avoiding Blogger Obscurity

One day, the consultant and copywriter Justin Lambert found himself thinking that he was “getting absolutely nowhere” in his blogging. Not a good place to be, and probably not an uncommon sentiment, either. But what was different was what he did next.    Read More →

The Power to Change… to Get the Power You Need

One of the main reasons we hesitate, procrastinate, or fail to take action is that we feel like we lack the power to act.

When we’re out of work or stuck in a dead-end job, or struggling to get others to buy in to our ideas, or even to return our phone calls or emails, it sometimes seems as if we have no leverage at all.

But guess what: You have a lot more power than you think!

Last month I introduced the Five Levels of Proactivity model and discussed the key reasons why we may not be as proactive as we might like to be -– and how you can go from being inactive and reactive to super-proactive. Now I’d like to show you how to give yourself the confidence boost you may need to proactively take your game — and your career — to the next level.    Read More →

Want to Be More Productive? Take a Break — and Get Moving

Taking a break for some exercise in the middle of your workday may have you getting more done. A Swedish study that was published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that physical exercise can improve productivity, even with a reduction in working hours.

In the study, employees at six “dental healthcare workplaces” were excused from work for 6.25% of the time (about 2.5 hours a week). One group had two mandatory exercise times, and the other group just got the reduced working time. The results? Both groups showed increased levels of productivity, even though they worked fewer hours. The exercise group also had fewer sick days on average.    Read More →

Bullet Points: No Ideas No Problem for One VC Fund’s Startups

  • The venture capital firm Y Combinator is willing to fund startups that have no idea what they’re doing — literally: “If you apply for this batch and you seem like you’d make good founders, we’ll accept you with no idea and then help you come up with one.”
  • From now through the end of April, Inc. magazine is taking submissions for its annual Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies. To make the list, companies need to have made at least $2 million in revenue last year and at least $100,000 in revenue in 2008.
  • Scott Belsky of Behance covers “Reactionary Work” and the four other kinds of work that fill our day. As you might expect, it’s the essential but hard-to-schedule Planning Work that usually gets short shrift. [The 99 Percent]
  • And David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, has some ideas on how to fight back when technology keeps you from being as productive as you’d like to be. Spoiler: there’s no quick fix. [NYT]
  • The clothing chain Uniqlo pays its workers a lot more than its competitors, and so far that strategy has paid off in equally high profits. James Surowiecki looks at the “false economy” of scrimping on payroll. [The New Yorker]

Proactivity: Are You Getting Ahead or Just Getting Things Done?

Do you wait for things to happen . . . or do you make things happen?

Do you find yourself stalling for the “right” time to take action. . . or do you make “now” the perfect time?

Do you always find yourself one or more steps behind. . . or comfortably ahead?

Whether we’re talking about your personal life, your career, or your current job, one of the most overlooked keys to success is your degree of “proactivity,” which can help you get ahead of all the barriers, obstacles, and challenges that stand in the way of making things happen.    Read More →

Bullet Points: Just Say No

Bullet Points: Happy 2012!

  • Michael Wolf believes that 2012 will be the year of artist-entrepreneurs, who can cut out the middleman through spunk, digital knowledge, and much easier ways of getting goods to consumers.
  • It’s too late to use this advice for Christmas, but it’s not too late to use it to make your resume more winning: “What Clever Advertising Can Teach Us About Buying Gifts.” As Jordan Weissmann writes, “The trick for a good gift-giver, or good marketer, is to think like the person they’re trying to connect with. In one of the experiments, subjects told to think about the big picture when putting together a resume abandoned the more is more approach, and instead focused on a few appealing accomplishments. It worked.”
  • New York’s American Museum of Natural History has begun a fully paid Master of Arts in Teaching program for aspiring science teachers. An open house for the program will be held on Saturday, 7 January.
  • If there was one previously admired work habit that took a beating in 2011, it was the energy-sapping habit of multitasking. But even if you’ve already stopped trying to do a dozen things at a time, there’s always room for improvement in other areas: “7 Things Highly Productive People Do“. [Inc.]

And from The Hired Guns blog:

Cutting the Email Cord, One Day at a Time

No Email DayTomorrow, it turns out, isn’t just Veterans Day — it also happens to be the inaugural No Email Day.

The group’s founder, a British project manager named Paul Lancaster, encourages all of us to “stop using email completely for 24 hrs” in order to “do something more productive with the time saved.”    Read More →

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