Adventures in Productivity

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Tips I've learned from some great books and tools on how to be productive in the new work environment.

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Adventures in Productivity

  1. 1. Adventures in productivity<br />Eric J. Gruber<br />
  2. 2. Workers are busier these days …<br />2.8 percent increase in productivity<br />4.0 percent increase in output<br />1.1 percent more hours<br />“This gain in productivity from the same quarter a year ago was the largest since output per hour increased 6.1 percent over the four-quarter period ending in the first quarter of 2002.”<br />- June 3, 2010, Productivity and Costs, First Quarter 2010, Revised, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics<br />
  3. 3. … and some are getting out<br />“More U.S. workers quit their jobs than were laid off in March … a sign of employees' growing confidence that more positions are becoming available in a slowly recovering job market.”<br />- May 12, 2010, More Workers Quit Than Were Laid Off in March, The Wall Street Journal<br />“A lead culprit for workers' plans to move on? The lingering effects of cost-cutting and downsizing. A workforce that's lived with higher workloads and no corresponding rise in wages is an unhappy one.”<br />- May 25, 2010, Employers, prepare for IT worker exodus, InfoWorld<br />
  4. 4. RuhRoh<br />
  5. 5. Time for real productivity helpers<br />Not good<br />Good<br />
  6. 6. E-mail<br />
  7. 7. Your inbox is a bottleneck<br />Time and attention are finite.<br />Process to zero =><br /><ul><li>Inbox Zero video: http://inboxzero.com/video/
  8. 8. Inbox Zero presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/merlinmann/inbox-zero-actionbased-email</li></li></ul><li>Your inbox is a timewaster<br />1. Turn off audible/visual alerts and automatic send/receive.<br />2. Check e-mail twice per day, once at noon or prior to lunch and again at 4 p.m. (And, don’t check e-mail first thing in the morning.)<br />3. Create an autoresponser informing others you are busy and that you will check e-mail at specific times.<br />- 2009, Step II: E is for Elimination, The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris<br />
  9. 9. Your inbox is a timewaster<br />Sample autoresponder:<br />“Because of a heavy workload today, I will only be checking e-mail at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.<br />“If you have an emergency, please call (785) 555-5555.”<br />While this autoresponder is on, consider shutting off e-mail entirely.<br />
  10. 10. Meetings<br />
  11. 11. Meetings are toxic<br />They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things.<br />They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute.<br />They easily drift off-subject easier than a Chicago cab in a snowstorm.<br />They require thorough preparation that most people don’t have time for.<br />They frequently have agendas so vague that nobody is really sure of the goal.<br />They often include at least one moron who inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense. <br />Meetings procreate. One meeting leads to another meeting leads to another …<br />2010, Productivity, Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson <br />
  12. 12. Meetings are expensive<br />“When you think about it, the true cost of meetings is staggering. Let’s say you’re going to schedule a meeting that lasts one hour, and you invite 10 people to attend. That’s actually a 10-hour meeting, not a one-hour meeting. You’re trading 10 hours of productivity for one hour meeting of time.”<br />2010, Productivity, Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson <br />
  13. 13. Rules for meetings<br />Set a timer. When it rings, meeting’s over. Period.<br />Invite as few people as possible.<br />Always have a clear agenda.<br />Begin with a specific problem.<br />Time is money.<br />No, seriously. This is the Bring TIM meeting clock, available at http://www.bringtim.com. <br />2010, Productivity, Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson <br />
  14. 14. Projects<br />
  15. 15. Creative people can be chaotic<br />“Especially in creative industries, [designers] are probably some of the most disorganized teams and individuals on the planet.”<br />- Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, March 3, 2009, VentureBeat<br />Think “happy organization” thoughts.<br />
  16. 16. Keep short deadlines<br />“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”<br />- Parkinson’s Law, by Cyril NorthcoteParksinson, British naval historian and author<br />
  17. 17. Focus on the important<br />Roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.<br /><ul><li>Vilfredo Pareto, Italian economist</li></ul>Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of your problems and unhappiness?<br />Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of your desired outcomes and happiness?<br />- 2009, Step II: E is for Elimination, The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris<br />
  18. 18. MULTITASKING IS DEAD<br />“… you should have, at most two primary goals or tasks per day. Do them separately from start to finish without distraction.”<br />- 2009, Step II: E is for Elimination, The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris<br />“Long lists are guilt trips. The longer the list of unfinished items, the worse you feel about it. At at a certain point, you just stop looking at it because it makes you feel bad. Then you stress out and the whole thing turns into a big mess.”<br />- 2010, Productivity, Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson <br />
  19. 19. Get organized<br />Creativity X Organization = Impact<br />100 X 0 = 0Loads of ideas, but highly disorganized.<br />50 X 2 = 100Less creative but because of stellar organization skills will make a greater impact than the disorganized geniuses among us.<br />- 2010, The Competitive Advantage of Organization, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky<br />
  20. 20. Resources<br />
  21. 21. Books<br />Tools<br />The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris<br />Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky<br />The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo<br />Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson<br />Action Method: http://actionmethod.com<br />Basecamp: http://basecamphq.com<br />Bring TIM meeting clock: http://www.bringtim.com<br />Inbox Zero video: http://inboxzero.com/video/<br />
  22. 22. Questions?<br />

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