3 simple steps to move your business closer to paperless

Have you ever heard the expression, Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill? While this saying is usually used to help us deal with the troubles in our lives, I like to apply it to paper … which can definitely be a trouble for many of us.

If we’re not mindful of all those pieces of paper that come at us, they’ll stack up into bigger and bigger piles and before you know it, we’re surrounded by mountains of paper.

Lucky for you, I’m going to share with you 3 simple steps you can take right now that will make a huge difference in how you manage all your paper. You’ll see immediate results and you’ll have conquered those mountains once and for all. [Read more…]

Productivity lessons I learned while on vacation: lesson #4

Productivity Lesson #4:  These 5 tools kept my business running 

My vacation has come to an end. I feel relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to help you work more efficiently and productively.

However, just because I’ve been on vacation doesn’t mean that I have been completely disconnected from my work … sometimes a little connection can go a long way. So, how did I do it? With relative ease, thanks to these five tools.

Here’s how I kept my productivity high and my workflow moving along, even though I was miles away from my office. [Read more…]

Productivity lessons I learned while on vacation: lesson#3

Summer Heat on ThermometerProductivity Lesson #3: The heat is a productivity killer.

I confess, I’m a hypocrite.

All winter long I complain about the cold weather. Then along comes summer and I’m filled with joy, until it hits. The intense heat and humidity. And I hear myself saying those three dreaded words: It’s too hot.

While I truly do love the heat, it does come with one big downer. It depletes our productivity. Today, I was chatting with a colleague and she validated what I had been thinking all along. She said, “I’m not as productive when I’m hot.” Even though she was sitting in her air conditioned office, she could still feel the effects of the high temperature outside.

It’s true. Heat can be a productivity killer. But there is a way to win the battle without working up a sweat. [Read more…]

Productivity lessons I learned while on vacation: lesson #2

laptop on a beachLesson #2: You still need an Internet connection while on vacation

As a service-based independent professional, it’s important that I stay connected to my clients and my work, even while I’m on vacation. While this sounds like a sad state of affairs, it really isn’t. It just means checking and responding to email on a regular basis.

Typically, I travel with my laptop and my smartphone. This is really all I need to accomplish my work. My clients need never know I’m actually lounging on a beach looking out at the water rather than sitting in my office working.

But on the road to that beach there’s inevitably a bump. How do I connect my laptop to the Internet while I’m away from the office? [Read more…]

Productivity lessons I learned while on vacation – lesson #1

Lesson #1:  Many of us waste time and energy using the wrong tools.

Here’s the scenario … three families sitting on the beach on a hot and sunny summer afternoon at the cottage. Three of our kids come up to us and want to use the giant floating toys, which are currently deflated. It doesn’t take us long to figure out that blowing up these things the old-fashioned way (i.e. using our lungs) will take at least 30 minutes.

We look at each other. Then we look at the puppy dog eyes these kids are giving us and we begin to blow. Shortly afer we start this exercise that is making us feel light headed and dizzy, I remember we have a pump that is equipped to inflate these toys. But there is a glitch. [Read more…]

5 ways to stop multitasking

When you ask people how do they get so much done in a day, many will proudly respond it’s because they are great multitaskers. However, research suggests this perception couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is this: multitasking kills productivity.

Researchers continue to find that multitasking decreases your productivity by decreasing your ability to focus and increasing your stress level. Technology has added to the problem by tempting us with email, texting, social media, etc.

So why do so many of us brag about multitasking? And if multitasking is impairing our efficiency and wasting our time, what can we do about it? [Read more…]

How to plan your tasks without jumping out of a plane

A good friend of mine loves to skydive. He loves the peaceful feeling of being up that high, the exhilaration of free falling and the clarity that comes from intense focus and concentration.

But what struck me in my friend’s description of skydiving were these words, “When I’m up that high, I get a big picture view. I can really SEE our world.”

His words resonated with me. I couldn’t help but think how useful it would be to have that perspective of our tasks. To see our To Do list from high above the clouds where everything is uncluttered and crystal clear.

So, I did some research (which didn’t involve me using a parachute and jumping out of an airplane). What I found was an exercise call mind mapping. [Read more…]

3 ways to use time to work smarter

Have you ever lost track of time? Typically we think of this is a good thing. Time is often used as a barometer to measure how much we enjoy what we’re doing: if time flies we’re having fun and if it drags we dislike the task at hand.

That may or may not be right, but in order to truly manage time we have to be aware of it. If you subscribe to my newsletter, Switching Gears, you’ll read all about how effective you can be when you time your tasks.

In fact, I’m timing the writing of this blog right now. I’ve given myself a set time limit … I’ll let you know how I do.

So here are three ways a timer will help you work smarter: [Read more…]

5 simple steps to start your paper-based task list

Last week I wrote about how to CLEAR your workload so you can stay focused and accomplish your work. In that blog, I referred to using a digital task manager. Since then, I’ve had a bunch of people ask me if they can apply my CLEAR formula to their paper-based task list. The answer is, definitely.

While I’m all about using technology to work smarter, I acknowledge that sometimes you have to use the system that works for you. And for many, that means a paper task list. So, here are five simple ways to start and maintain your paper-based To-Dos.

[Read more…]

How my tech tools helped me CLEAR my workload

I started the week in a bit of a panic. This is a particularly busy time of year for me. Home and work life tend to collide in June. Activities are winding down for my kids, which means recitals, play-offs and competitions. Client work ramps up as people tend to want to get organized when the weather turns warm. So, last Sunday night when I looked at the week ahead, alarm bells sounded. How was I going to accompish everything I had to get done in a mere five days?

Granted, I took comfort in knowing a lot of people feel this way. I work with them every day. But that comfort didn’t make all those to-dos get done.

So I took a deep breath and started implementing my CLEAR strategy. This is a proven process I use to help my clients organize their space and manage their time.

Here’s how CLEAR worked for me.

[Read more…]