Productivity Tips

- Efficiency -

• Stick to a color scheme for your wardrobe.  I purchase mostly black, red, and navy clothes.  When you do this, you won't waste a lot of time hunting down accessories that only go with one outfit or trying to mix and match correctly.

• Make school lunches in the evening while preparing dinner.  This leaves one less thing to do and clean up in the morning. 

• Use voice mail to increase efficiency.  If you need uninterrupted time to finish an important project, voice mail allows you to identify who’s calling and temporarily screen out less urgent calls.  If you’re in a hurry, leaving a voice mail message will let you avoid lengthy conversations punctuated by the usual social niceties.

• Don’t wait on hold on the phone-purge a file while you’re at it.  While exercising on your treadmill, get through a current magazine or trade journal.  While waiting for reports to print out, book your next dentist appointment.  While commuting to work, listen to current business books on tape or just relax and enjoy the music.  Make use of your available downtime!

• If someone is capable of performing a task 80% as well as you can, delegate it to them.  We often have the misperception that only we can do a task perfectly.  Delegate tasks that others could do efficiently at a lower cost to the company.  Give clear instructions, issue a deadline, and follow up.

• Look at airplane trips and doctor’s visits as opportunities, rather than ordeals.  Rip out magazine articles and keep them in a “to be read” folder.  During visits and long trips, pull them out.  Or write articles, read the “heavy” books, or plan out your monthly goals.

• Buy two of each of your favorite cosmetics (three if you travel frequently).  Keep one in your bathroom for your morning routine, one set stashed in your office for touchups (or in case you don’t have time to apply it at home), and one in your suitcase, always ready to go.  This will eliminate the time and hassle to transport makeup back and forward between these locations.

• To avoid getting into a long, drawn-out conversation with Mr. Difficult or Ms. Chatty, call them during lunch.  Chances are, they will be out, and you can leave a short voice mail message.  Or call at the end of the day, when you know people are trying to get home and will be less likely to talk incessantly.

• When you’re asked to attend a meeting, find out if your presence is really necessary.  Perhaps you could give your input in advance, in writing, or orally to a designated representative.  Or send someone in your place.  You’ll quickly eliminate unnecessary meetings and gain more control over your time.

• If you suspect you’re not using your time as efficiently as possible, use a time log to keep track of HOW you spend your day.  (Let me know if you need a sample form.)  Write down what you’re doing throughout the day and how long it takes---you may find that you’re wasting time in surprising ways.

© 2013 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is The Productivity Pro®. For over 20 years, her speeches and seminars have helped professionals, leaders, and teams improve output, execute efficiently, and save time at work. Learn more at TheProductivityPro.

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