|In This Issue:|
|Message from Laura|
SUPERCOMPETENT KEY #4: ACCESSIBILITY|
Time Tips and Traps|
Letters to the Editor|
|Words of Wisdom|
|Laura in the NEWS|
|Where in the World is Laura?|
Subscription and Contact Information|
|A holistic approach to increasing your get-up and go, from the productivity expert whose previous books showed people how to Find More Time and Leave the Office Earlier. If you want to be productive but are just too tired all the time, you need to read this book! Laura Stack combines invaluable insights and practical advice in this guide to becoming more energetic and more productive in every area of life. Stack describes the factors that contribute to low energy (the "energy bandits") and explains how to reduce their effects and build up or renew sources of positive force (with "energy boosters").
Available now from Amazon.com and at better bookstores everywhere.
|Find More Time. You can't add more hours to the day, but Laura will help you make the most of the time you have and get things done. Available now from Amazon.com.
Leave the Office Earlier, Laura shows you how you CAN get more done than you ever thought possible and still get home to your real life sooner.Available now from Amazon.com.
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|Words of Wisdom|
|“PROGRAM (pro'-gram) n. A
magic spell cast over a computer allowing it to turn one's input into error
messages. v. To engage in a pastime similar to banging one's head against a
wall, but with fewer opportunities for reward. — Anonymous|
“E-mail advocates love to push the benefits of direct communication. Managers
send and receive messages on a one-to-one basis. Now that secretaries don't fix
their sloppy writing, the whole world wonders how they passed English 1A.” —
“...heavy investments in information technology have delivered disappointing
results - largely because companies tend to use technology to mechanize old ways
of doing business...Instead of embedding outdated processes in silicon and
software, we should obliterate them and start over.” — Michael Hammer, Harvard
Business Review, July, 1990
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Business Efficiency: The Productivity Minute Video 27: Meetings Where Minutes
are Kept and Hours are Wasted
Business Efficiency: The Productivity Minute Video 28: The Disorganized Road
the e-mail interruption assault - If you’re constantly checking messages, you’re
The Ultimate Guide to Productivity: Git 'Er Done With Helpful Hacks and Hints
Work it Wednesday: New work/life balance initiative launched in Minnesota
SUPERCOMPETENT KEY #4: ACCESSIBILITY
This month’s article correlates to the fourth key in my newest book
SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best (Wiley), to be
released on August 16: ACCESSIBILITY.
SuperCompetent people can quickly find the information they need.
ACCESSIBILITY is the ability to organize the inputs and outputs in your
This key gives you the systems you need to locate data contained in any
medium: paper, email, phone calls, contacts, Internet, etc.
When I was in college in the mid-eighties, I attended my first time management
course. The instructor told us to write down our schedules for the entire day,
including the specific time we would work on each task. I dutifully wrote
up-to-the minute agendas, detailing what I would complete: "from 8:00 to 8:30,
I'll do this…from 8:30 to 9:10, I'll do this…"
Back then, I could pretty much keep up with it, and the day usually went as
planned. When something unexpected arose, it was fairly easy to adjust my plan.
Then things started to change: technology exploded, voicemail, email, and the
Internet entered the scene, and the productivity game was forever altered. If
you attempted nowadays to write out every minute of your day, how long would
your schedule last? It would probably blow up in the first five minutes. You
could probably spend more time revising the plan than simply doing your work!
Indeed, it has become harder to be productive, for all these reasons:
• We're busier than ever before—since we have more to do, with fewer resources,
and less time to do it in.
• We're more disorganized than ever before, as we receive information from
multiple sources and have more data to track and organize.
• We're constantly communicating with more people, more quickly, through more
medium, so we have more conversations and history to recall.
Being productive today requires many different competencies—one of which is
being organized. If you excel in this competency, you likely have systems,
rather than piles of paper and piles of files. If you're organized, you can find
what you want when you want it—in thirty seconds or less. Being organized means
controlling the paper, email, reading material, and inputs into and out of your
office and life. Organization is your ability to sort, filter, and process all
types of information effectively. It's how tidy your office (and home) looks,
inside and out. It's how in control you look and feel, inside and out. Being
organized will give you more control over your life and time. SuperCompetents
find the time and the self-control to achieve organization through proper
If Accessibility is a Key you have issues with, keep these suggestions in mind
as you move forward:
1. Invest a little time in developing simple systems, so you know where
everything is at all times. Despite the popular saying, a clean desk is not
a sign of an empty mind. It's a sign of a productive one. Experiment with
various ways to become more productive; it's worth the time you'll spend on it.
2. Set up a logical, easy-to-follow scheduling system, and stick to it.
Highly productive people always know where they're supposed to be at any
particular time, so learn to effectively manage the three distinct scheduling
components: 1) Appointments and meetings, 2) Things to do; and 3) Reminders.
3. Don't let yourself get distracted by the technology you use to stay
organized. You're the boss, not your PDA or smartphone. If you'll take a
little time to handle, organize, and track your files, emails, and other
communications as they come in, you're unlikely to be overwhelmed later on.
4. Keep careful track of your contacts and communications. We communicate
with more people than ever these days, by means of more media than ever before.
Fortunately, there are many effective ways to track contact information,
histories, and pending communications—if you're willing to put in the necessary
5. Don't waste travel time. A second saved is a second earned; so instead
of taking things easy while you're traveling, use the time to get ahead so
you'll have more free time later. You can also save plenty of annoyance and time
simply by preparing for your trips in advance.
How much time do you spend every day trying to track things down—whether it's
basic information that should be at your fingertips, that pesky file where you
keep your vendor list, or the phone number for that productivity expert you were
thinking about asking to address your work group? It's not that these little
interruptions take all that much time. The problem is that they force you to
relinquish your focus. Once it's gone, it takes a while to get it back—and
that's where the real time is wasted.
Make it a productive day! (TM)
(C) Copyright 2009 Laura Stack. All rights reserved.
Letters to the Editor|
I have been a fan of yours for several years and attended the webinar you hosted
Even though I have read your book, Leave the Office Earlier, read your monthly
e-zine, and have implemented many of the time allocation and productivity
strategies you recommend, I found your webinar incredibly helpful. It was a
great reminder of some things I’ve let slip and really helped get me re-focused
on managing my ever-expanding task lists (now daily and universal, thank you!)
more effectively. I’d gotten pretty sloppy about doing my daily planning the
night before and Thursday evening, I did it. As promised, I slept better and hit
the ground running on Friday morning.
I really value all you do to keep Type AAA personalities like myself focused and
Best wishes for a happy (and productive) new year.
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Time Tips and Tricks |
To be featured in this section of our newsletter
and get a free eBook with our thanks, send your productivity tip or trick to
[email protected] with “Tips and Tricks contribution” in the
1. AmiGlowz is a unique, community-based
website designed for people looking for a complete goal management system.
Whether you are looking to achieve goals on your own or need inspiration and
support from others in our community, Amiglowz.com has powerful and unique
features to help you accomplish your dreams. You will have greater success in
completing your goals if you keep a record of them. Now you can take it one step
further and manage your goals on Amiglowz.com. Sign up for a free 30 day trial,
2. Chrometa (PC only) automatically
captures and categorizes all billable time spent on the computer – with no
interaction or data entry required. Result: Chrometa helps you maximize revenues
by ensuring your firm is paid for every second of billable work performed. To
obtain a free 45 day trial,
3. Eluma 2.0 is a new desktop application
that offers web users a simple way to collect, organize and share web content,
eliminating the need to use multiple applications. It combines functionality
from RSS reader, bookmark manager, desktop alert and social bookmarking tools
into a single, unified application to improve web users’ productivity. Eluma 2.0
provides the ability to collect online content directly from Internet Explorer
and Firefox browsers; organize it using folders, tagging and smartlists; and
share it with certain people or with the entire community of Eluma users. For
more information, go to www.eluma.com.
4. Text2Go is a PC application that lets
you turn wasted time into reading time. Text2Go converts text into speech and
transfers it to your iPod or MP3 player so that you can listen to it on the go.
Listen to news, articles, blogs and eBooks specific to your personal interests,
while commuting, out for a run or in the gym. Text2Go uses clear and natural
computer voices to generate speech that's easy on the ear and easy to
understand. For a free 30 day trial, go to
5. TCHART is a time study tool that constructs Gantt charts. It is a computer
program written in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and runs in Excel. It
depicts the sequence of events of a repeating task. It is similar in appearance
to many Gantt charting software packages that are available, but is
distinguished from these in that the object of study of TCHART is a repeating
task, whereas the object of study of all the others (I have seen) is a one time
only task, such as a project. Download at
6. The DM200 Digital Mailing System from Pitney Works is an efficient way for
small businesses to tackle both small and large print jobs. Studies show that
small businesses can save up to 20% on postage costs by eliminating guesswork.
The integrated 5lb scale helps ensure correct postage for envelopes, letters and
parcels. The system also allows users to track postage expenses for up to 25
accounts while its built-in inkjets give envelopes a crisp, clean, professional
look in a matter of seconds.
7. SUPERAntiSpyware is a powerful
anti-spyware solution available in both Free and Professional Editions. Join
over 13 million users worldwide who are protected from spyware, malware, adware,
grayware, scareware, and other harmful and potentially identity-stealing
infections. Our software requres very little system resources and will work well
with your existing security software. No one solution can protect you 100% of
the time. Visit
www.superantispyware.com to download the Free Edition to help you stay safe
8. 1DayLater is a new web-based software, which allows for the simple tracking
of time, money and mileage. Developed by two brothers after experiencing similar
frustrations working freelance, 1DayLater aims to tackle common everyday
problems with organization and forgetfulness. The brothers had found it
difficult to remember how they had spent their working days which reflected in
their invoicing and poor working habits. They created 1DayLater as a way of
'scratching their own itch.’ The interface has been designed so that users can
log their activities in literally seconds. This means that using 1DayLater
should soon become second nature and won't become yet another tedious process.
Once information has been entered, beautiful real-time visualization gives
insights into working habits, helping to motivate users into becoming more
productive. Having an accurate working history also lets users know exactly the
hours they've worked, expenses accrued and business miles travelled. Invoices
will be more air tight and users will have renewed confidence in their worth.
Lastly, the 1DayLater phone applications help keep users organized regardless of
where they are, or what they're doing – allowing for recording of business
miles, time with clients and casual expenses while on the move. 1DayLater is
free to join at http://www.1daylater.com/
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I NEED YOUR HELP! In order to get a statistically valid sample, I need
approximately 250 people to take the NEW SuperCompetent Assessment featured in
my newest book (in bookstores August 2010): SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to
Perform at Your Productive Best (Wiley). For a limited time, this assessment is
FREE while I’m gathering the results. So if you want to know if YOU’RE
SuperCompetent, take the
SuperCompetent quiz here! Thank you!
Monthly Microsoft Outlook webinar: April 26, 2010. Using the Calendar:
Calendar—New Appointments, Recurring Meetings, Sharing Calendars, Permission
Levels, Converting Appointments to Meetings, Compare Multiple Calendars, Change,
Cancel, Reschedule, Schedule for Others, Process Meeting Requests and Responses
for Others, Track Reponses, Navigating, Changing Views, Calendar Options, Label
Colors, Appointments by Category, Create New Personal Calendars, Converting
Email into Appointments, Schedule Task Pad Items, Printing Calendars, Emailing
Calendars to Others Not on Outlook
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Mountain/3:00 PM Central/4:00 PM Eastern. How to Tame Your Tweets, Focus Your
Facebook, and Lasso Your LinkedIn: Using Social Media to Maximize Profits and
Save Time. This course is for anyone using social media in business
• Understand the difference between Facebook profiles, groups, and fan pages.
• Use Twitter and Twitter apps effectively.
• Use LinkedIn productively to market and network.
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|All Articles (C) 1999-2008
Laura Stack. All rights reserved. This information may not be distributed, sold,
publicly presented, or used in any other manner, except as described below.
Permission to reprint all or part of this article in your magazine, e-zine,
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© 2009 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and
professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with
Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®,
Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement
in high-stress organizations. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and
seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today's
workplaces. She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway
Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office
Earlier (2004). Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc
and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her
clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M. To have Laura
speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401. Visit www.TheProductivityPro.com to
sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.
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Laura in the News!
7 Denver story and video: No Time Like Now To Get Organized! The Productivity
Pro Has Simple Ways To Help You.
Beat the Tax-time Blues with File Organizing Power By Laura Stack, The
Tasks To Your Energy Level: Productivity Pro Suggests Ways To Give 100 Percent
|Where in the World
are all private client engagements with Laura Stack. At this time, Laura does
not offer open enrollment seminars to the general public. If you’re interested
in bringing Laura to your organization to present a training seminar for your
employees on the day prior or the day after one of these engagements below,
please contact John Stack for
special “piggyback” pricing.
14::Sioux Falls, SD
23::San Jose, CA
19::San Antonio, TX
21::Apple Valley, CA
29::San Diego, CA
14::Cary, North Carolina
1-2::Overland Park, KS
4-5::Overland Park, KS
19::Palm Desert, CA
Visit Laura's Calendar On-line for her complete availability.