The Case of the Missing Post-it Note

August 30, 2007

 
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missing-post-it-final.jpgSeveral years back, before becoming a productivity trainer, I worked in a sea of cubicles like so many of the rest of you. One day my manager gave me a post-it note with the name and phone number of customer I was to call to “resolve an issue.”

Now, this particular “issue” was one of those less-than-fun tasks, that I was-less-than thrilled about handling. So my first thought was to quickly postpone the call until the next day. I’ve learned better since then (see when you’d rather not).

So I placed the post-it on my computer monitor to remind me to make the call the next day. Well, that day came and went, and no call was made. The day after that, I knew I’d better call that customer, So in an attempt to bump it up in priority, I moved it from the computer monitor to my phone.

That strategy proved so effective that a whole other day came and went with no call being made. Adjusting its priority again, I moved it to my palm pilot (yes, I had the original palm pilot of the late 90’s).

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A Cool Way to Prioritize Tasks in Outlook

August 29, 2007

One of my favorite features in MS Outlook is the ability to sequentially prioritize tasks by dragging them around within the taskpad list. This video explains how to update the settings.

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A Cool way to Prioritize your Tasks Using MS Outlook

FYI: I’m using OL 2003 above, but these settings work for outlook 2000, & 2002 as well.

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Want Lobes of Steel?

August 28, 2007

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A recent study suggests exercise can boost brain power

I just read this New York Times article about how exercise can boost brain power, and thought you might find it interesting. I know from my own experience, that when I’m in the regular routine of doing cardio-vascular exercise: I sleep better, have more energy, and seem more alert (at least that’s what my friends tell me).

My complete layman’s opinion is that:

More cardio = Stronger blood flow = More oxygen

Which I always figured was better than less oxygen :) Check out the article here or sign up for Nate’s Productivity Tips Here!

“Notes … Copious, F!%king Notes!”

August 24, 2007

 
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23232.jpgSeveral years back, while in a business meeting my boss at the time (a rather intense man), the tension in the room became quite thick as the boss admonished everyone to, “Stop taking notes, and start paying attention to everything I’m saying” … he further added, “You can’t pay attention and take notes at the same time!”

Not two minutes later, he walked over to where I was sitting and quite sternly explained, “Not you, you’re their manager … you need to be taking notes … copious, f**king notes!!”

To this day I giggle every time I think about that moment, for two reasons: First, because my boss has such strong opinions on the matter. Second, because I’m sure I was witness to the first time in history the word “copious” and the “F” bomb where ever used in the same sentence.

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Indecision Halts Progress … Always!

August 23, 2007

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One of my clients is a busy Silicon Valley executive who faces literally hundreds of decision a day. Some of his decisions are as simple as where to file an email; others include major policy shifts that impact his entire organization. But it’s the sheer volume of decisions that he finds overwhelming. He once confessed that, some days he finds himself so emotionally drained that he refuses to make another decision.

This is completely understandable, as making decisions is challenging and mentally taxing, but the alternative means brining progress to a screeching halt!

So what are some strategies to aid in the decisions making process? Bellow I’ve listed three strategies based on the kind of decision needing to be made: Process related, Product selection, and Big picture/life altering decisions.

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