Become a Master of Your Own Time– Great Time Management Tips

Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:

  1. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
  2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
  3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
  4. Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
  5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
  6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
  7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
  8. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
  9. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
  10. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.clean desk

10 ways to stay focused on the task at hand

If you’re forever falling behind on your work because you cave in to distractions, see if a few of these tricks can help you stay on track.

Most of us have trouble focusing at one time or another, but the reasons differ. Some people stray when they’re bored; others find reasons to avoid a difficult task. But almost all of us occasionally wander from the task at hand. If you’re lucky, it’s just a momentary lapse and you’re soon back on track. But if staying on task is more than an occasional problem, try some of the following tips. They won’t all work for everybody, but you’ll probably find at least a few tricks that help. They say it takes 21 days to break or adopt a habit, so be patient.

1: Know your poison

Before you do anything, spend a little time in discovery mode. When you find that your mind has wandered, try to recall what you were doing when you lost your way. It’s a bit difficult to do, at first. This type of discipline isn’t natural. It will take a few days for your mind to catch on, so don’t give up. Keep a diary of these events. Once you’re aware of the actual distraction(s), you can implement countermeasures. You have to understand what sets you off before you can effectively deal with it.
2: Try Pavlov’s cure

If you really feel a bit out of control, you might need remedial help — a little bell that gently reminds you to get back to work. Set an electronic timer or an ordinary kitchen timer to go off every five, 10, or 15 minutes. Pick the interval based on the severity of your problem. A little chime every few minutes will help pull you back to your work. This method sounds counterproductive, but it works. Eventually, you’ll find yourself setting the timer for longer intervals.

Please be considerate though. If you’re in a cube farm, your timer might be a distraction for your co-workers.

3: Suck it up

Sometimes, we just have to deal with reality and adjust accordingly. You can’t eliminate job-related interruptions, but you can adapt. Come in early or stay late and use those quiet hours when no one is around to do the work you can’t get to during the chaotic workday. If that’s not an option, set aside a couple of hours every day and ask co-workers not to interrupt you. Then, stick to it. Let in-house calls go to voice mail. Shut your door if you have one. Put up a Do Not Disturb sign if you can.
4: Tune them out (a.k.a. Pavlov #2)

If you’re interrupted or easily distracted by others, wear a good set of headphones. You can listen to music or not — I’m not suggesting that you drown out surrounding noise with more noise. You’re simply conditioning your co-workers to leave you alone. When your headphones are on, ignore everybody. Fight the urge to remove the headphones and say, “Do you need something?” Eventually, your co-workers will learn to leave you alone when they see the headphones.
5: Remove the fun!

Nothing is more distracting than fun, but you can’t play FreeCell all day. (That’s a lie; I’ve done it.) If computer games and activities are your problem, you must be ruthless. Remove them. You heard me — uninstall them. No, you can’t leave them on the laptop sitting nearby. That goes for your IM pals too. They have to find something else to do while you’re working. If you’re disciplined enough, you can schedule play breaks during the day, but most people addicted to this stuff just have to go cold turkey. (You won’t find FreeCell on any of my work systems!)
6: Schedule email

Unless your job requires it, limit your access to email. For example, you might check email twice a day: when you first arrive and maybe again in the midafternoon. When you’re done, close your mail client and don’t open it again until the next scheduled session. Constantly checking email interrupts your train of thought. Make email a to-do task that you complete on schedule and then forget about in-between times.
7: Take a break

Most IT professionals don’t have mandatory breaks scheduled into their workday. That’s unfortunate because a few minutes of stretching and relaxing usually helps you concentrate when you return to work. You don’t have to be rigid about the timing. Just do it. It’s the simplest method you can employ, and you’ve heard it before, but it’s the advice people ignore the most.

8: Reward yourself (a.k.a. Pavlov #3)

If you’re facing a particularly unpleasant or difficult task, promise yourself a treat when it’s done. You might keep a favorite tea or coffee blend around or treat yourself to some special chocolate. If you’re not the only one involved, it’s a great way to keep others on task too —”When we’re done, let’s meet in the breakroom for a surprise treat.” (Well, it works for me!)
9: Leave a hook

A hook is a classic writing tool, but it works in most settings. When you must interrupt your work, don’t just walk away. Leave a clue to quickly pull you back into the work. It might be as simple as a Post-it with the words “Start here.” A hook helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to re-engage with the current task.
10: Kill the multi-task monster

We’re conditioned to believe that multi-tasking is efficient, but successful multi-taskers are rare. Multi-tasking actually dilutes your focus. Every time your mind switches gears, you lose a little time. Most of us can’t talk on the phone, read email, and give instructions to our assistant, at the same time — and do so efficiently. If you don’t believe me, run a search on “multi-tasking study” with an open mind.

Have you wondered what Office 365 is all about???

Office 365. “Office 365” refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services), such as Skype for Business web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with OneDrive and Skype minutes for home.
Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices. The full, installed applications include: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. (Publisher and Access are available on PC only.) And you can install them across multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, Android tablets, Android phones, iPad, and iPhone. When you have an active Office 365 subscription that includes the desktop version of Office, you always have the most up-to-date version of the applications.
The Office 365 plans that are online-only are a great choice for certain business needs, and they are compatible with desktop versions of Office 2010, Office 2007 (with slightly limited functionality), Office 2011 for Mac, and Office 2008 for Mac. This does not include the Exchange Online Kiosk or Office 365 Enterprise K1 plans.
All Office 365 plans are paid for on a subscription basis, monthly or annually.
Microsoft Office. “Microsoft Office” is the name we still use for our familiar productivity software. Office suites are available as a one-time purchase and include applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which can be installed on only one PC or Mac. The applications are not automatically updated; to get the latest version, you can purchase the product again when the new version becomes available. The latest versions currently available for one-time purchase are Office 2013 for Windows and Office 2011 for Mac. These suites do not come with any of the cloud-based services included in Office 365.

10 Tips to Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized & Productive

clean desk

Is your desk a mess?
Do you return to more clutter than you remember leaving in the first place?
Don’t let your messy workplace impede your ability to get your work done.
Here are 10 tips to keep your desk clear of clutter and ready for work.
Cleanliness = Productivity
Keeping your desk clean is key to being able to get your work done.
Despite the excuses that some will give, piles are not organization. And a messy workspace isn’t conducive to being productive.
“If your desk is a mess, you don’t have space to work, nor any room for creativity.”
When inspiration or motivation hits, you don’t want to be searching for space to set down your important work or fighting back the flood of stuff on your desk.
Here are 10 Tips to Help You Keep Your Desk Clean and Organized:
1. Designate a Physical Inbox – We all have too many email inboxes, yet many people no longer have a physical one on their desk. You need one place for incoming papers to reside. Otherwise, they will scatter all over the existing documents on your desk.
2. Have a Trash Can Within Reach – If you have to get up from your desk to reach the trash, then it is too far away. (Nor do you want to be playing trashcan paper toss…) Make sure that you can easily and quickly reach the trash from your chair.
3. Minimize Incoming Paper – Stop that incoming paper flood, or at least minimize it to the extent possible. Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions, reduce the number of paper reports and memos. If you don’t need something in hard copy, then stop it from coming to your desk.
4. Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter – Do you need all those knickknacks and office accessories laying all over your desk? Unless they serve a purpose, get them off your work surface. You don’t have to go to the extreme of creating a sterile workspace, but if you are not using it, move it off your desk.
5. Schedule Regular Cleaning Time – If you have not cleaned your desk in a month, it could take you a few hours to tidy it up. However, if you do it daily, it should only take a few moments. Avoid compounding your organizing time by scheduling a designated time each day.
6. Never Put Trash Down – Whether it is a piece of paper or a food wrapper, never set trash down. Get in the habit of holding it in your hand until you can reach your trash can. (See #2) You don’t want to put trash on your desk and forget about it. As well, that half-empty soda is an accident waiting to happen.
7. Take a Picture – Do you have items on your desk that are simply for reference? A battery or ink cartridge that you need to replace? Or a clipping or article? Instead of leaving these items on your desk, take a picture with your smartphone. You will be more likely to have your phone with you when you need to reference the item.
8. When in Doubt, Throw It Out – You will never need 99% of the papers that you are saving. When in doubt, throw it out. If you truly need a hard copy, make sure you have a filing system to put it where you will know where to locate it.
9. Scan It– Is the price of a scanner worth the peace and organization it will bring? Yes! Clear that paper clutter, by scanning it into soft copy or PDF.
10. Clean It Before You Leave It – If your boss were to come to your desk after you departed for the day, would you be proud of what he or she would see? One of the best times to clean your desk is the end of the day. It brings closure to your work day and sets you up for a clean start tomorrow.
Keep it Clean
An organized work area helps you get more done.
It starts by giving you space to actually work, instead of stacking new work on top of old papers.
Keep your desk clean and improve your productivity.

Great Tips to Organize Your Office Space

  1. Purge your office – De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while? Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc. Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.
  2. Gather and redistribute – Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.
  3. Establish work “zones” – Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.) Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.
  4. Close proximity – Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.
  5. Get a good labeler – Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.
  6. Revise your filing system – As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased. What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups. Some quick tips for creating a smooth filing system:
  7. Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
  8. Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
  9. Clear off your desk – Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.
  10. Organize your desktop – Now that you’ve streamlined you desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it. Use desktop organizers  or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.
  11. Organize your drawers – Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc. Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.
  12. Separate inboxes – If you work regularly with other people create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.
  13. Clear your piles – Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones. Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.
  14. Sort mail – Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .
  15. Assign discard dates – You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded. Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.
  16. Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
  17. Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
  18. Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
  19. Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
  20. Straighten your desk – At the end of the day do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.
  21. File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way. Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working.