Get More Done Through Better Capture – Part 1

Odd-LotMore Technology but Less Productivity

The irony of the modern world is that we have more tools and information at our disposal than ever before, but we’re getting less and less done. Sure, there’s a lot more activity, but it’s productivity that matters – advancing the cause, moving the ball down the proverbial field.

There are many reasons for this and possibly as many suggestions for solving the problem. We’re going to focus on making one small slice of time – odd-lot time – more productive.

Making Odd-Lot Time Productive

Examples of odd-lot time include

  • those minutes between when the meeting was scheduled to start and when it actually starts,
  • the small (or large) slice of time commuting, and
  • that brief period on the plane when everyone else is still finding their seats.


Get More Done Through Better Communication – Part 1

UsedCarBuying a Car Sucks

Buying a car ranks high on the list things we dislike doing. There are dozens of makes and models, option lists are daunting, and haggling with the dealership is a nightmare. In spite of this, we spend a tremendous amount of time and energy pursing the best decision about the choices before us.

However, we spend very little time choosing what vehicle we’ll use to communicate. Today’s defacto vehicle is email, regardless of how effective it is. Consider the following alternatives the next time you need to communicate with someone: […]

Leadership Meets Productivity: The Macro View Versus The Micro View

imagesLeaders are fundamentally charged with getting things done. That’s the underlying principle of my seminar/book titled “The Waterfall Effect: Six Principles for Productive Leadership.” Thus, the ultimate objective for every leader is to be productive. Failure to do so results in the loss of leadership, formally (demotion) or informally (ineffectiveness).

Controlling the People – The Micro View

Many leaders, especially those in the professional services industries, view leadership as an exercise in micro-management. They constantly insert themselves into their team members’ every effort. They either redirect team effort by giving detailed, step-by-step instruction, or they usurp team effort by just doing the work themselves. This is an example of controlling the people.


Tending to the Fields: Welcome Back to the 24×7 World

I was recently asked my thoughts on a productivity theory that advocated allocating specific slots of time for specific types of behavior – Productive Work, Administrative Work, and Non-Work.  As the question was being posed to me, a mental image of an industrial era worker came to mind – how they conduct productive work during part of the day, administrative work part of the day (cleaning up, etc.), and non-work part of the day (at home, away from the factory).   What struck me as odd about that image was that it didn’t fit into most modern professional and corporate work environments.

In fact, my answer to the question was that the post-industrial professional and corporate worlds are more akin to a rural farmer’s lifestyle, than the 50’s image of Dad heading to/from work in his black suit and white shirt.  Let me expound a bit before passing judgment on this observation.


Responding Versus Responsiveness

I’m a productivity guy.  It’s what I do.  As a result there are two cardinal rules in my world.  First, never be late.  It’s not only poor form, it displays a complete lack of command for the concept of time management!  I’ve often had clients joke that they couldn’t believe THEY were late for a meeting with the “time management guy,” but it’s not a reputation someone in my field can survive.

The second rule of thumb is to be responsive – highly responsive. I take it very seriously.  To me, responsiveness is the essence of good relationship management.  When my clients are confident that I will get back to them in a timely manner with information that assists them in their efforts, we have a strong relationship.  Not only is that good for my business, it makes working with my clients a pleasure.

When I talk about responsiveness (in conjunction with its siblings – efficiency and effectiveness), I often find that people confuse “responding” with “responsiveness.” Understanding this distinction is important to your individual productivity and success.  This article outlines some of the distinctions between each, and lists their relative advantages and disadvantages.  Some suggestions for improving both are also included.


Productivity Saboteurs – Identifying and Managing Them

Today’s working environments are riddled with interruptions and distractions. Just when we get focused on one task, a new e-mail arrives, the phone rings, or someone stops by and off we go on a new tangent. Later, when we return to the original task, we need to get back up to speed before we can make any progress. The net result is lost time and greater anxiety.

Unfortunately, interruptions or distractions are a part of the workplace. Consequently, we must understand the nature of each to better manage them.

Dissecting Time Bandits

Productivity saboteurs originate from one of three sources – You, Them, and It. Let’s examine the role of each source in diminishing our productivity.


QuickTip: 4 Tips to Better Command Your Workload

We entered the workforce well educated, but few entered well skilled.  Gaining skills on the subject matter of your job is critically important, but so too are skills for managing how you actually get your work done.  Workflow processing and organizational skills focus on the actual completion of your work – how efficiently you accomplish[…]

The Most Important Non-Renewable Resource: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

We spend every day in the trenches. Putting out today’s fire.  Rising to the next occasion.  We focus on moving the proverbial ball down the field.  Little thought is given to what it means to cross the goal line. I recently had occasion to enjoy a cup of coffee with a client towards the end of the[…]

Getting the "Work" Back into Work-Life Balance – Priming America's Productivity Pump

Recently, we had occasion to hire a new part-time person at my kayaking business – Outdoorplay.  (See the footnote at the bottom for information on Outdoorplay.)  This is usually a difficult experience given that the labor pool in our small resort town is (a) limited and (b) largely populated by people who’ll abandon their posts at[…]

Work-Life Balance Requires Change

I called my Nanna today.  It’s the first time I’ve talked with her in months and the only time in years I’ve called her voluntarily.  That is, usually my Mom waits until I’m visiting her, then she dials Nanna up and hands me the phone.  Actually, today was only semi-voluntarily since my Mom left a message on my voice[…]