Productivity blog postings

Productivity Postings

Earliest: July 14, 2003Latest: August 16, 2017Total: 41

March 1, 2012

Three Things To Do When You Have 5 Minutes or Less

If you?re going to the Post Office or someplace else with some time to waist, don't just stand there and read the wall posters. Be more productive, here are some creative ideas to make your short wait time a little more productive:

Fill out some store surveys!
Got a smart phone? Take one of the receipts from Starbucks/Pizza Hut/wherever and visit their website and fill out the customer support survey. The few minutes of time may actually net you some extra cash.

Clean out your jacket, pocket, or purse.
Take a few minutes and clean out. Throw away the gum wrappers and receipts that you save thinking that you would need it, when in fact you probably forgot the reason you saved it.

Make a List of things to get done
Got a buzy day ahead? Why not spend at least five minutes to organize your thoughts about what you need to get done. Then plan your time.

I am sure that you can come up with some ideas on your own. The best thing to do is to have something planned when you know you?re going to be sitting around a while.

August 23, 2011

Four step strategic planning model

In her presentation, Wilma Matthews, the Co-Author of On Deadline: Managing Media Relations, described a four step strategic planning model:

  • Set a goal: the business outcome. What you want your communications to achieve.
  • Establish strategies: The broad approaches you are going to take in order to achieve the goal.
  • Define objectives for each strategy. Objectives are the measurable tasks that will be undertaken in order to realize the strategies.
  • Develop tactics - the tools that will be used in order to achieve the objectives.

Wilma used the example of World War II in order to illustrate the application of these concepts.

  • Goal: Win the war.
  • Strategy: Surround Germany to choke off the resources that fueled its military force.
  • Objective: Invade France. This is measurable. You?ll know if you?ve succeeded and to what degree.
  • Tactics: What will you use to do this? e.g. ships, planes, soldiers, etc.

In summary:

  • Goals = the broad outcomes
  • Strategies = the approaches you will take
  • Objectives = the measurable steps to achieve the strategies
  • Tactics = the tools you will use


March 3, 2010

Home Office

We are in the process of building a home office. A very exciting and rewarding home improvement project. We have painted the ceiling and walls, added Ethernet and phone jacks and updated the electricity in the room.

One of the problems that I have encountered is when I moved my desk into the room, it was going to block the Power and Ethernet jacks. We had a flat power plug power strip available, but I haven't been able to find a flat Ethernet cable.

I have search several websites for a flat Ethernet Cable and the only thing that I keep finding is a flat cable that goes under a rug. I haven't found a low profile cable anyplace. I know there was a company that made these, I just can't seem to find them right now.

One of the places I was looking at is X-TremeGeek.com they sell all sorts of cables and the popular Power Strip Liberator Cables, which I have plenty of in my power supply bin in the basement. 

Another good source is CyberGuys, they have all sorts of great technical products. I was not able to find any Ethernet cable products that would fit my needs. Still a great place to shop, lots of neat things!



July 21, 2008

Parkinson's Law

How true is Parkinson's Law?

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Which basically means that if you plan 2 hours for a project, then the project will take 2 hours, regardless if others can do it in half the time. Something will make the project last as long as you schedule it.

If your into Productivity, you should read more about Parkinson Law and the famous Cobb-Webb theorem.

March 8, 2008

Quote of the Day

I saw the following quote on someone bulletin board today:

Do the things that you have to do
so you have time to do the things you want to do
The quote was attributed to someone, but I didn't write down the name.

January 16, 2008

PDF Central

I am working on updating the PDF Section on my website. There's a fair amount of traffic going to the page, but the content hasn't been updated recently so its time to step up!

So the goal is that by January 31st, I'll have at least 24 new and exciting PDFs on the site. This should be an easy and manageable goal since I have plenty of creative PDFs on my computer that I can share.

Here is the list of the top five downloaded PDFs from last year:

  1. Gulf War - A PDF version of my popular 1991 Gulf War page.
  2. Blackjack - A handy Blackjack guide to learn the basic blackjack strategy.
  3. Planner - Going on a trip? Use this Packing Planner to make sure you don't miss anything.
  4. Hollywood Sign - Everything you could possibly want to know about the famous Hollywood sign.
  5. VegasHotels - General information on the various hotels in Vegas, including hotel reservation numbers.

Check out the PDF section for more exciting documents!

August 16, 2007

Effective Space Management

In an effort to improve my home office I am planning on doing more organizing this weekend. My desk drawers are filled with junk and the top of my desk has lots of clutter.

Effective Space Management, is a very similar concept to Time Management. Effective Space Management is managing existing space more effectively. With a clean and organized space, personal productivity should be improved. A clutter space is not a workable space. However, the solution is not to throw everything on top of your desk into the desk drawers. This only leads to spending time later looking for things, thus causing unproductive time in the future.

There are three categories that the contents of my desk falls under:

Trash
Its time to throw away receipts that I don't need any more. I have a habbit of keeping CVS receipts because they usually include a coupon that I may use. If I come across any coupons that haven't expired yet I'll put them in my wallet and stop at CVS tomorrow morning.

Computer Supplies
I have some PCI cards and CD Sleeves in my desk drawer, however there's no need to keep these in the drawer. I have better things to put in its place. I have several computer supply bins that I'll be using for these items.

Office Supplies
I shouldn't have to keep all my office supplies in my desk drawer. So extra staples and envelopes will go into my office supply bin. Any time I need any office supplies, I know where to check.

Having a cleaner and organized office makes it much easy to be productive. I won't be spending needless time finding office and computer supplies.

August 9, 2007

Songs to spice your Mood

I found this on the Internet about 6 years ago when I was looking for songs on my iPod.

SONGS TO SPICE YOUR MOOD

Depressed "Dance with Life" Bryan Ferry, "Keeper of the Flame" Martin Page, "I go to the Rock" Aaron Jeffery, "Emotions!" Mariah Carey, "Back in the High Life" Steve Winwood

Down and lonely-"Have a little faith" Jewel, "I have the touch" Peter Gabriel, "Get up Stand Up!" Bob Marley "Express Yourself" Madonna

Feel bummed about life-"I just want to Fly" Sugarray, "Elevate Your Mind" "I Feel Good" James Brown, "Wind Beneath my Wings" Bette Midler

Blue because nothing is going right- "Get knocked down" Chumba Wumba,"Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac, "Holiday" Madonna, "Promise of a New day" Paula Abdul "Life Is a Highway" Tom Cochran "Return to Innocence" ENIGMA

Choose to feel good for once this week-"Cherish" Madonna, "You're Simply the Best!" Tina Turner

Choose to get that zip back in your attitude-"Walking on Sunshine," Katrina and the waves, "Parra Von DeVas" The Iguannas, "Stir it up!" Bob Marley or B-Tribe, salsa or reggae is great too! (watch lyrics though) "Zippi Dee Doo Dah"

Tune to spark that," I can do anything!" feeling-"One Moment in Time" Whitney Houston, "King of the Raod"general

June 1, 2007

Declutter is Awesome

Declutter is Awesome

This weekend I'll be cleaning the basement and organizing some of my stuff. Yes, I have lots of stuff. The basement is a mess and its long overdue for a good cleaning and organization. There are three key things that need to be sorted/put away that are cluttering the basement: Clothes, Computer Stuff, Books. Here's my plan to tackle each one of them.

Clothes
I have a lot of clothes that are in trash bags sitting on the floor in the basement. Due to my success at Weight Watchers, many of these clothes are too big for me. This weekend I will be sorting the clothes into three piles: clothes that I don't need anymore, winter clothes, and clothes worth keeping. Summer clothes should be moved upstairs.

Computer Stuff
I have lots of DVD-Rs, Zip Disks and Floppy Disks. My solution will be to use an 18-Gal bin for all my floppy disks and Zip disks. These are legacy storage media, and while most cleaning experts would advise to throw them out, I do plan to back the media to a modern storage device such as Blue Ray or Hard Drive. The key thing I want to have is a central location for all my legacy media.

I also have a collection of cables and will be sorting these out into two categories: Audio/Video Cables, and Computer Cables. This will make finding cables a lot easier. Since I have different types of USB cables, I plan on labeling USB cables that are not USB2 compatible.

Books
The main goal is to get the books off the floor and onto some shelves that are in the basement. I don't need to keep all the books, as most of them are old computer books that have absolutely no value. The best option is to drop these at the recycling center. I do have some books that are worth some money, and these will go in a special bin.

May 31, 2007

How To Throw Things Away

How To Throw Things Away

According to Michele Passoff, author of Lighten Up! Free Yourself from Clutter, "everything that is important must have a specific place. If it doesn't, it's trash." Since the wastebasket may be the most important and most underused item in your home office, you may want to ask these questions when deciding whether or not to trash a piece of paper:

  • Is the information recent enough to be useful?
  • Can it be found anywhere else?
  • Is it important from a tax or legal standpoint?
  • Are there any particular instances when the information would be used?
  • What is the worst that could happen if the item was discarded?

In early 2002, I decided to declutter my apartment in San Jose, California. I came up with six rules to live by:

  1. About 80% of what you have now will be replaced with something better in less than two years.
  2. Prioritize your needs.
  3. Learn to live with less than what you have now. (Simplify your life)
  4. Do you need it, no? Then throw it away now.
  5. There's no value in keeping everything, the more items you have the less value it has.
  6. Organize, Organize, Organize.