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Time Management Article
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Leave the Office Earlier- The Productivity Pro® Shows You How to Do More in Less Time…and Feel Great About It- By Laura Stack, MBA, CSPby PRWEB
One of America’s leading productivity experts reveals her ten simple keys to getting organized, working smarter, and enjoying a more relaxing new life
(PRWEB) May 13, 2004 -- Burning the midnight oil is harmful to employees and employers. But deadlines loom, e-mails pile up, and meetings drag on. The next thing you know, you’ve put in another thirteen-hour day, and still feel like you’ll never catch up. Getting to the heart of why we experience these log-jams—and revealing how to abolish them once and for all—acclaimed productivity expert Laura Stack shares her proven ten-step solution in her new book, Leave the Office Earlier: The Productivity Pro® Shows You How to Do More in Less Time … and Feel Great About It (Broadway Books; May 4, 2004; Trade Paperback Original; $12.95).
While productivity in the U.S. has recently soared to new heights, these gains have come at a high cost: employees—fearful of layoffs, forced by “downsizing” to get more done with fewer people, and expected to churn out work at warp speed—are suffering, and not always silently. American workers are stressed to epidemic proportions, with 44 percent of respondents to a 2003 workplace survey by CIGNA behavioral health saying that their jobs were more stressful today than a year ago, and 45 percent reporting that they had either considered leaving their jobs in the past year, have left their job, or plan to do so soon.
In Leave the Office Earlier, Stack shows how to achieve spectacular results at work without sacrificing one’s personal life, happiness, and health on the altar of professional expectations. The book has inspiring anecdotes, quizzes, checklists, and graphics that enable readers to first measure and then increase their personal productivity. Using the word “productive” itself as a foundation, she spells-out the ten factors that will help people leave the office earlier, with less stress, and more to show for it:
-Preparation relates to goal setting, planning, and scheduling. The toughest part of setting goals is turning the lofty, long-term goals into actionable tasks you can work on today. Using your personal mission statement to guide you, create personal and professional long-term goals, break them down into short-term objectives and project plans, create monthly task lists, and then determine daily activities. You will only achieve your long-term objectives if you consistently focus on the correct daily priorities.
-Reduction relates to the obstacles that waste your time during the day, called “speed bumps.” Once you have determined what you want to achieve, many things can get in your way and ruin your best-laid plans. By eliminating these speed bumps, you create the space to accomplish important tasks. Speed bumps may include crisis, interruptions, overload, meetings, and improper delegation.
-Order relates to your level of organization and how well you control the paper, email, and other information into and out of your office. Order is your ability to find what you want, when you want it. Getting rid of clutter is more than just being efficient, more than being more productive on a daily basis, more than a way to lower stress. Being organized is a key way to find the time and the self-control to start achieving more of the things you want to do.
-Discipline relates to your ability to maintain consistent, productive behavior. Sure, everyone has an “off” day. If you are self-disciplined, however, you exhibit consistent focus in your day-to-day work, even if you don’t feel like it. It means taking advantage of your prime time, being flexible, not procrastinating, and distinguishing between high standards and unrealistic expectations.
-Unease relates to your stress levels. According to a recent study by the Xerox and Harris Interactive, most people in America work more than sixty hours a week, and over 33 percent work on weekends. The “faster, cheaper, do more with nothing” approach has created a workplace in which workers are always in high gear. This work style reduces productivity and increases stress. Problems with time commitments, chronic worrying, interpersonal conflicts, and demanding friendships are all things that can sap your energy. Once you identify the stress challenges in your life, you can identify possible ways to eliminate them.
-Concentration relates to your ability to focus on the task at hand. So many things compete for attention in the workplace that it’s often very difficult to stay on target. For example, daydreaming, re-reading the same paragraph over and over, and multi-tasking are big concentration culprits. It’s important to capture distracting thoughts, so you don’t forget them, but equally important not to let distractions dictate your day. So stop checking email as it comes in and schedule future appointments for drop-in visitors.
-Time Mastery relates to your skill at managing your activities. Without good time management, you can experience negative consequences such as missed deadlines, late nights, stress, crises, and overload. Positive self-management brings the rewards of recognition, results, free time, clarity, and focus. Creating document templates, using shortcuts, and consolidating calendars are important time skills. You must also know how to work with people with different time styles, eliminate bottlenecks, take advantage of down time, and save time in bits and pieces.
-Information Management relates to your technological savvy. Your ability to work productively with your computer, email, voicemail, the Internet, Blackberry, PDA, cell phone, and pager…the list goes on and on…is an increasingly important skill. Technology can undoubtedly improve your productivity, but it can make you less productive if you’re not careful. Use the latest technologies to your advantage, without letting technology take advantage of you. Get off mailing lists, use “filters” for your email, narrow your web searches, take the time to learn how to use your software correctly, and eliminate hardcopy faxes.
-Vitality relates to physiological factors and self-care habits that affect your ability to work productively. Recent studies have revealed that we have the potential to dramatically affect our productivity by paying closer attention to our health. We eat too much, drink too much, don’t exercise enough, work too much, and don’t sleep enough. Bottom line: When you feel good, you can accomplish more. Feel great in the office through simple exercises and stretches, adequate lighting, comfort, and noise reduction techniques.
-Equilibrium relates to your work and family balance. Proper balance is tough to achieve, because employees have a real commitment to their jobs and to their families. It’s important to allocate your time according to your values and the top priorities in your life. Once you’ve created a personal mission statement, you can assess if you’re spending your time in ways consistent with your values. Set boundaries, stop thinking about work, and enjoy your personal time. After all, we are working to live, not living to work.
An empowering and accessible guide that provides a blueprint for achieving peak performance in less time, LEAVE THE OFFICE EARLIER will be an invaluable resource for the millions of people in America who have forgotten what it’s like to have a free weeknight or weekend, who long to win back their lives.
About the Author
Laura has been awarded the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest earned designation given by the National Speakers Association, held by less than 10% of all professional speakers worldwide. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Speakers Association.
With a client base that includes Time Warner, IBM, Coca-Cola, Lockheed Martin, Coors Brewing Company, Wells Fargo, VISA, and a multitude of associations and government agencies, she delivers more than one hundred presentations a year. She lives with her husband and three children in Denver, Colorado.
For more information, please visit Laura’s Web site at www.theproductivitypro.com.
To schedule an interview with Laura Stack, contact Marc Winter at 212-782-9077 or e-mail protected from spam bots
Contact: Marc Winter