eTips

eTips are quick suggestions for improving productivity.  You can quickly digest the tip and put it to use immediately.  Sign up to receive eTips via email, or read them online, below and on her blog.

Casey’s eTip: Channel Negative Energy into Positive Action

“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues,” Duke Ellington once famously said. Take a lesson from his playbook today.

Casey’s eTip: Channel Negative Energy into Positive Action
You can “fight” negativity inside yourself or leaking out of other people, but that battle takes time and effort. Why not embrace and re-channel that energy instead? Turn disappointments, frustrations, aggravations, etc., into humorous stories, inspirational lessons or even art. It’s a powerful way to control your outlook, reactions and, ultimately, your life.

(This eTip brought to you by the Drive link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Strike a Power Pose to Boost Your Confidence

Research has shown that certain physical postures generate confidence and improve performance. The “power pose” increases testosterone and decreases cortisol (a stress hormone) and its effects continue for ten minutes afterwards.

Casey’s eTip: Strike a Power Pose to Boost Your Confidence
Before answering your next call or attending your next meeting, put yourself into a “power pose” for one or two minutes:
Stand with your feet shoulders-width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders down and back, hands on your hips, smile on your face. There’s a reason Superman and Wonder Woman do it…

(This eTip brought to you by the Drive link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Make Room for the Predictably Unpredictable

It’s no surprise that you might be asked today to take immediate action for a client, prospect, coworker or supervisor. The only questions are who, what and when. So plan for it…

Casey’s eTip: Make Room for the Predictably Unpredictable
Don’t fill more than half your day with meetings if possible. (And it’s more possible than you think!). Also, your “Do Today” tasks should fill less than 50% of the remaining work day. Now, when the expected “unexpected” work arises, you have time. If it doesn’t, your master task list will guide you.

(This eTip brought to you by the Planning link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Exercise your Decision-making Muscles

Yet another reason to walk, run, bike, skip, swim, climb, ride, row, dance, scamper and jump…

Casey’s eTip: Exercise your Decision-making Muscles
You’ll manage your tasks and time better if you exercise daily.* It just takes 20-30 minutes at moderate intensity (where you feel the effort and sweat but can still carry on a conversation). The reason it works: Your brain needs plenty of oxygenated blood to help you make good decisions and control your behavior.

*Source: AARP Magazine, June/July 2013

(This eTip brought to you by the Decision-making link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Stop Procrastinating by Clarifying Your To-Do’s

Procrastinating on a task? Maybe that item on your list is a project, not a task. Or it’s a task, but not a “next-action:” it can’t be done until you take a (sometimes tiny) step first.

Casey’s eTip: Stop Procrastinating by Clarifying Your To-Do’s
Your task list works best when it contains only next-actions. Start each with a verb. When you do, your priorities can better compete with other next-actions, such as answering an email that helps someone else complete their work!

(This eTip brought to you by the Task/Project Management link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Participate in National Day of Unplugging

Here’s a challenge I urge you to accept. It will strengthen your Boundary-setting link and Health link. And it might help your Relationships link as well. :-)

Casey’s eTip: Participate in National Day of Unplugging
Unplug this Friday evening and experience what it’s like to be internet-free for 24 hours. Will you feel calmer? Less rushed? More “present”? (Freaked out?) Try it and find out…
See NationalDayOfUnplugging.com

Casey’s eTip: Review Your Projects and Task Lists on Friday

Managing your projects and workload is one of the most important functions of your job:…

Casey’s eTip: Review Your Projects and Task Lists on Friday
Clear your mental clutter by reviewing all your commitments (big and small) before you go home Friday.
* Your time off will be sweeter and less anxious
* Next week will be more productive

(This eTip brought to you by the Task/Project Management link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Protect Your Inboxes from Time-Wasting Clutter

Every email, snail mail and phone call requires your time and energy to assess, decide and act. Here’s how to reduce that time significantly…

Casey’s eTip: Protect Your Inboxes from Time-Wasting Clutter
Email: When you make online purchases, opt-out of offers to receive email promotions
Phone: Register all your personal phones on the Federal Trade Commission’s DoNotCall registry
Junk Mail: Consider apps such as PaperKarma.com to unsubscribe from catalogs and credit card offers

(This eTip brought to you by the Organization of Objects/Data link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Consider Nozbe for Your To-Do’s

As you know, I’ve long been a fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done method for managing tasks and projects. Finally, there’s software that really supports it (for Windows, Mac, phones, etc.)

Casey’s eTip: Consider Nozbe for Your To-Do’s
Nozbe lets you see action items by project or by context/category. You can email tasks to specific projects and use it to collaborate with others. Most important, it collects your Next Actions all in one place.

* I am not getting paid by or receiving any form of credit from Nozbe for this recommendation. It’s not a perfect product but it’s pretty good, so I want to share it with everyone.

(This eTip brought to you by the Task/Project Management link in your Productivity Chain.)


Casey’s eTip: Ask “Is It Worth It?”

“Time management” is really decision management. And every moment is an opportunity to decide wisely…

Casey’s eTip: Ask “Is It Worth It?”
Before you begin your next physical action, stop and ask yourself about its potential ROI. Will the results be worth what you spend in time, energy, emotions, even relationship currency? If so, do it.
If not, do something else. One moment at a time…

(This eTip brought to you by the Decision-making link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Create Accountability for Yourself

New Year’s Resolutions almost  forgotten? Do you need to do a task you’ve been avoiding?  Whatever the size or status of your goal, you’re more likely (33%*) to reach it if you share it with another person, especially someone you trust and hold in high regard. It’s a smart way to hold yourself accountable.

* Source: Money magazine, Jan/Feb 2014, p. 17

(This eTip brought to you by the Goal-setting/Prioritization link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Get Outside to Get More Done

If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder–and even if you don’t–get ten minutes of sunshine every day if possible. Getting outside, if only for a while, changes your perspective and reminds you that Spring is just a little ways away. A Forbes article Monday quotes me on this tip and more… The article

(This eTip brought to you by the Health link in your Productivity Chain.)

Casey’s eTip: Clear the Clutter One Scrap at a Time

A survey of Human Resource managers found that 83% thought your desk reflected your professionalism. Not very orderly…not very professional. You won’t get fired for it, but clutter may limit your advancement–fair or not.*

Casey’s eTip: Clear the Clutter One Scrap at a Time
Piles and scattered notes reflect decisions deferred. To clear the clutter, decide the VERY NEXT ACTION for each item, one paper or post-it at a time. Put those actions on a list and the papers in the trash or the file drawer.

(This eTip brought to you by the Organization of Objects and Data link in your Productivity Chain.)

* Source:  2011 OfficeTeam survey (Spirit magazine, SWA, 2012-05, p. 36)

Casey’s eTip: Capture Your To-Do’s Immediately

As soon as you end a phone call, email, meeting or conversation, identify your next action to push that particular matter forward. Do you need to make another call or email? Are you now waiting for someone else to act? If you can’t take the action immediately, write it down.

Casey’s eTip: Capture Your To-Do’s Immediately

As soon as you end a phone call, email, meeting or conversation, identify your next action to push that particular matter forward. Do you need to make another call or email? Are you now waiting for someone else to act? If you can’t take the action immediately, write it down. One task at a time, you bring your projects to completion. (This eTip brought to you by your Task/Project Management link.)

Casey’s eTip: Practice Being Imperfect

To be effective, you have to determine which tasks must have no errors (e.g., tax documents) and which can be “good enough.” Perfectionism impairs that judgment and kills productivity. If you’re a perfectionist, you have to learn to tolerate “good enough”  when appropriate.

Practice it by allowing spelling mistakes in your to-do lists, letting your paper files get a little messy-looking, or putting away a decorative object in the wrong place. It’s a spiritual exercise that will help you make better judgments about how to spend your time. (It strengthens your Drive link.)

Casey’s eTip: Prioritize Ruthlessly

Forget categorizing tasks or projects with A, B, C or D importance. Instead, keep it simple and apply the following phrase from novelist Shirley Conran: “First things first, second things never.”

Casey’s eTip: Plan Your Holiday Activities

Take a few minutes today to begin scheduling your holiday activities. Block time on your calendar and make project lists for…
* shopping (it takes time, even online)
* parties and events
* baking
* traveling
An ounce of planning prevents a ton of stress.

Casey’s eTip: See, Touch & Feel Time

Here’s a strategy for those with ADD that can help anyone. Today’s interruption-rich workplace inevitably fragments attention, however long it naturally is. Special timers and clocks can focus your attention, grounding you in the reality of time. They help you ”manage” what you normally can’t see, touch or feel. Products like the Time Timer (http://www.timetimer.com/) make time more tangible, re-calibrating your inner clock, enabling you to make better decisions about how you spend your time.

Casey’s eTip: Lean into Criticism

The next time someone complains about you, your behavior, tone, whatever:
#1: Relax.
#2: Say “Tell me more.”
#3: Listen. Forget it’s about you and really try to understand his/her perspective.
#4: Say “Thanks for speaking up. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”
#5: Think about it. Apply any feedback that can help you learn and grow.

Casey’s eTip: Stop the Junk Email!

To stop (or at least decrease) the junk email, you can:

1. Create a separte email account for online purchases: Then keep that account’s inbox separate from your phone’s main inbox (and update selected vendors with the new email address). Check the special inbox occasionally, but otherwise let it collect all the noise.

2. Unsubscribe from vendors’ mailing lists: Do this ONLY if you know the vendor is reputable, e.g., a store where you’ve made purchases. Otherwise, you’ll get more junk because the spammer knows your email address works. The unsubscribe link is usually at the bottom of emails.

Casey’s eTip: Check Your Email Less Often

Resources is an important link in your Productivity Chain. Resources may be people, equipment, software, and so on. The right resources enable you to make huge productivity leaps, shaving hours off your week and days off your year.
If you use Outlook, for example, make sure you have Outlook 2010. It’s year 2011 and some people are still using the 2003 version. Outlook 2010, like 2007, has a much better search feature, among other improvements.

Casey’s eTip: Review Your Goals

Pull out the goals you set for yourself for this year, both personal and professional. Is that first goal still relevant? If not, discard. If so, how is your progress? What is the VERY NEXT ACTION you need to move the ball forward? Add that action to your task list. Then do the same for each remaining goal. It’s a productivity booster shot. (If you didn’t set any goals–or have any set for you–create some now while you have over half a year to achieve them.)

Casey’s eTip: Help Someone Else to Help Yourself

Some emotions make productivity plummet. If you feel sad, grieving, depressed, or ticked-off, the best way to feel better is to help another person. Do a secret kind act for someone TODAY. If s/he finds out, pick someone else to help. Be especially kind to that coworker who annoys you. Pay for the lunch of the stranger in the car behind you at the drive-through. When you focus on helping others, you end up helping yourself. And when your mood improves, so does your productivity.

Casey’s eTip: To Boost Performance, Release a Resentment

If you allow a person, a behavior, or a situation to frustrate, annoy, or pre-occupy you repeatedly, you are giving away your power to that person, behavior, or situation. Take it back!
Change what you can (e.g., your attitude and actions). Accept the rest. Then turn your attention to some activity you enjoy. Your attitude and productivity will improve. Try it and see.

Casey’s eTip: Put Your Health FIRST

If you think you don’t have time to get enough sleep, exercise, nutrients, or relaxation, think again! Without these key fuels, your productivity engine will stall. And you don’t have time to be sick. Pick one way to care for yourself this week and do it.

Casey Moore eTip: Stretch Yourself

When you set a goal this year, make sure it stretches you. Easy-to-reach goals are boring and more likely to be discarded. They almost imply that you can’t do any better. Challenging goals inspire and motivate. Even if you don’t achieve them fully, you will accomplish much in the attempt.

Living Simply eTip: Use the Calendar that Works Best for YOU

Use the calendar that works best for you–paper or electronic. (Ignore pressure to go to a PDA device if it’s not right for you.) Productivity depends upon comfort, simplicity and speed. Choose the system that helps you achieve the maximum of these for your needs.

Living Simply eTip: Mark It, Then Read or Toss It

Do you feel guilty about the stacks of reading you’ve neglected this year? Here’s a way to get over it.

Mark each newsletter, periodical, and other reading material that you think you “should” read. Mark it again each time you pick it up or THINK about it. When you have four marks on it, LET IT GO. Next week or month you’ll get another opportunity to read that periodical.

Living Simply eTip: Stay Organized One Item at a Time

Don’t wait for the moons to align and your motivation to go into hyperdrive so you can go into an organizing frenzy. Instead, find a home for one thing RIGHT NOW. Then another. And maybe tomorrow, another. Bit by bit, you’ll be done.