Laura Stack: The Productivity Pro (R) Leave the Office Earlier
a news"E"letter from The Productivity Pro - Laura Stack
Number 131:: April 2010

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In This Issue:
Message from Laura
Educational Resources
Time Tips and Traps
Ask the Expert
Laura's Blog
Hot Links
Letters to the Editor
Words of Wisdom
Laura in the NEWS
Book Laura
Where in the World is Laura?
Subscription and Contact Information
Reprint Information



Buy The Exhaustion Cure at Amazon.comA 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 and at better bookstores everywhere.



Buy Find More Time at Amazon.comFind More TimeYou 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

Leave the Office Earlier, Leave the Office EarlierLaura 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

More of The Productivity Pro's Resources



Featured Educational Resource from The Productivity Pro®
You Can Be a Productivity Pro® Personal Productivity Video Training Class

Would you like to learn how to be more productive at work and achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®? If you’re working excessive hours and want to get more done in less time, this video training class is for you. Many people email Laura and request personal coaching, input, and advice on how to become more productive. Now you can have Laura coach you in the privacy of your own home or office! This is a video CLASS. You will be sent one video per day for 20 days, so by the end of the class, you’ll have improved your personal productivity from the start of your day until the end.

You will receive instruction in the following areas:
• Introduction: Welcome to the wonderful world of productivity
• Lack of Time: You have all the time in the world
• Time Management: Understanding the difference between time management and productivity
• Planning: Learning the best time to plan
• Pareto: Identifying the most important tasks on your to-do list
• Discipline: What to do when you don’t feel like working
• Priority 1 Activities: Deadline-driven projects, focus, and crisis
• Priority 2 Activities: Long-term horizons, procrastination, and proactiveness
• Priority 3 Activities: The activities and people that steal your time
• Priority 4 Activities: Self-discipline, lack of control, and pleasure
• Chaos: Controlling your day in an uncontrollable world
• Scheduling: Building in flexibility and mapping out your day
• Multitasking: Why it’s unproductive and how to concentrate
• The Brain: Understand what’s happening when you try to focus
• Write it Down: Eliminating mental to-do lists
• Paper vs. Electronic vs. Hybrid: Which way is best for YOU to organize?
• HUG: Your Handy, Usable, Garbage free system
• Time Management Components Part 1: Calendars, Lists, Contacts
• Time Management System Part 2: Categories, Communications, Projects
• Energy Level: Working with your prime and down times

If you don’t get to one of your daily lessons, don’t worry! You can go back and watch the video you missed any time, as often as you wish. Executives, high potentials, leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, managers, and administrative staff will gain scores of new ideas from The Productivity Pro® on increasing output without increasing effort and performing at your matchless best!

Click below to order or to watch the first video below from the actual YOU CAN BE A PRODUCTIVITY PRO® VIDEO TRAINING SERIES.



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.” — David Buerger

“...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



Laura's Blog

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Recent posts:

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 Warrior



Hot Links

Blunt the e-mail interruption assault - If you’re constantly checking messages, you’re not working

The Ultimate Guide to Productivity: Git 'Er Done With Helpful Hacks and Hints

Work it Wednesday: New work/life balance initiative launched in Minnesota

Feature Article:



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 life.
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 systems.

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 time.

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!

(C) Copyright 2009 Laura Stack. All rights reserved.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Laura,

I have been a fan of yours for several years and attended the webinar you hosted on 1/7/10.

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 on point.

Thank you.

Best wishes for a happy (and productive) new year.

Your pal,
Meryl Hooker
Sales Rockstar

Book Laura


Have Laura speak to your company, conference or organization. How do you know if Laura would be perfect for your next event, meeting, or training? View the "Laura Stack Is Perfect For This Group" fact sheet.

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 subject line.

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, 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 Sign up for a free 30 day trial, click here.
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, click here.
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
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 to download the Free Edition to help you stay safe online.
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

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Laura Stack: The Productivity Pro (r)

Laura Stack, MBA, CSP

Messages from Laura

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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

Outlook version 2003: 9:00 pacific/12:00 eastern
Outlook version 2007: 11:00 pacific/2:00 eastern

Click here for more information and to register.


Monthly Productivity Webinar: April 26, 2010, 1:00 PM Pacific/2:00 PM 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.

Click here for more information and to register.

Laura's Demonstration VideoView Laura's Demonstration Video

Reprint Information
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, website, blog, or organization newsletter is hereby GRANTED, provided:

1. The ENTIRE credit line below is present,
2. The website link to is clickable (LIVE), and
3. You send a copy, PDF, link, tearsheet, etc. of the work in which the article is used when published.

This credit line MUST be reprinted in its entirety to use any articles from Laura Stack:

© 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 to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

** The above website link to MUST be clickable to receive permission to reprint the article.

Laura in the News!
ABC Channel 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 Productivity Pro®

Match Your Tasks To Your Energy Level: Productivity Pro Suggests Ways To Give 100 Percent

Where in the World
is Laura?

These 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.


April 2010

14::Sioux Falls, SD

19::KS, Missouri

20::Englewood, CO

21::Vail, CO

23::San Jose, CA

26::Denver, CO

28::Tampla, FL

30::Denver, CO


May 2010

13::Washington, DC

18::Denver, CO

19::San Antonio, TX

21::Apple Valley, CA

24::Denver, CO

27::Greensboro, NC


June 2010

7::Denver, CO

16::Suitland, Maryland

17::Denver, CO

19-24::Athens Greece

24-25::Vail, CO

28::Denver, CO

29::San Diego, CA


July 2010

12::Denver, CO

13-16::Orlando, FL

17-20::Orlando, FL

26::Denver, CO


August 2010

8-10::Breckenridge, CO

23::Denver, CO

26::Denver, CO


September 2010

11::Cologne Germany

14::Cary, North Carolina

18::Birmingham, AL

27::Denver, CO


October 2010

1-2::Overland Park, KS

4-5::Overland Park, KS

9::Nashville, Tennessee

19::Palm Desert, CA

23::Adelphia, ML

25::Denver, CO



Visit Laura's Calendar On-line for her complete availability.