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9 Ways to Be More Productive

Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 | 0 comments

1. Invest in speed. I don’t know how much time I’ve lost waiting for web pages to download, for email to send, and for various computer programs to open, but I know it would be a whole lot more without the broadband Internet connection and the relatively new computer. Spend a little bit more for the speed and you will never regret it.

2. Prioritize often. At start of each week, I scan the calendar and the to-do list and make some mental notes about what I want to focus on that week. At the start of each work day, I note the top three tasks I want to complete. An hour or so before I quit for the day, I look at the long to-do list again and see if there is anything really important that has to be done that day. Often times urgent communications tasks will pop up during the day, but don’t let them sidetrack you from working on your other priorities too. Integrate them into your full to-do list.

3. Delegate. This is a hard one for me, but I’m getting better at it. What tasks can you pass off to an intern or someone you can hire for under $20/hour? Even if it takes me 30 minutes of training and supervision to make it happen, allowing someone else to do the busy work that would eat up three hours of my time is a bargain. It lets me focus on the tasks that truly require my personal attention. Get someone else to format the web page or the press kit after you write the meaty part.

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Resolutions for a More Productive 2013

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 | 0 comments

Does your new year include any work-related resolutions? Mine always do. In past years, I’ve done the “three words” approach.

This year, I’m taking the “year of weeks” approach, where I am going to try a little something new each week, and commit to doing that thing for a solid seven days. At the end of the week, I’ll decide whether I really do want to try to make it a permanent habit (which takes longer than a week), or just an occasional to-do, or to drop the thing completely because it just isn’t for me. This will include both work and personal choices.

This “year of weeks” concept comes from a couple of different books I purchased last year: 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You and One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler.

This week I am establishing new morning and evening routines, which comes from One Bite at a Time. I especially want to switch up what I do in the hour or so between when I get the kids out the door and when I really wake up enough to start work. I am not a morning person, and since I work from home, I don’t have a commute where I can finish waking up. When the weather is warmer, I will sometimes exercise in the morning, but not when it’s cold out. So what ends up happening now is basically a lot of sitting around, often watching pathetic morning TV or reading the newspaper on my tablet, most of which isn’t particularly helpful or enlightening either.

So I’ve come up with a new morning routine with a handful of items, including one right brain and one left brain activity. Right brain activities are journaling or drawing. My left brain activities are either doing sudoku or reading a non-fiction book (right now, I’m reading The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns and Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives).

I also want to do a better job at expressing my gratitude to people personally, so I asked and received some new notecards for Christmas.

I know from reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business that cues are very important to establishing new habits. So to help with the new morning routine, I created a space in my office with what I need. I can’t miss the huge green chair in my office, and right next to it, I’ve placed my writing journal, a blank page notebook, some remedial drawing books, colored pens, notecards and stamps, and sudoku books and a pencil. I’ll plop my morning brain down here with a cup of tea, and get to it.

Morning Routine Space

I made this corner in my office into a visual cue for the new morning routine I want to make a habit.

Interested in other productivity ideas for 2013? Here are few other posts from earlier today that you might like:

From Katya: Three Powerful Ways to Do a Better Job in 2013

From Hubspot: Five Resolutions to Amplify Your Nonprofit’s 2013 Fundraising Strategy

From ScoutieGirl: Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet

What new things are you trying in 2013 to increase your productivity or just make a happier you? I’d love to hear in the comments.

This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

Originally shared on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog

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Work Is a State of Mind, Not a Place

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 | 1 comment

A recent survey of business executives concluded that work isn’t really a place any longer — it’s a state of mind. That’s because mobile technology and social networking make it easier for us to merge the professional and the personal. As this infographic shows, 98% of executives say they send work-related emails on nights and weekends, and the same percentage deal with personal matters at the office.

The Work State of Mind

 

I have no doubt that this holds true in the nonprofit world too.

But what are the implications for nonprofit communications staff? Is this good, bad, or neutral for your nonprofit?

I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments. 

 

Originally published on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog

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