Tag Archives: productivity

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drama decisions

Drama Decisions Are Not Productive

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Each day you have a responsibility. The responsibility to make decisions. Are you making drama decisions, or good decisions?

When your job, at least in part, is to make good decisions have you considered the information that guides those decisions?

Obstacles and Validity

It’s common that workplace leaders hear and see a lot. People run to bosses, especially middle managers, seeking an opportunity to have a voice.

They voice their opinions. Opinions that sound like facts, but are not facts. Some may be valid and reliable. Others may be nothing more than hearsay.

Your best decisions may come from careful analysis. It may mean examining the data, asking more questions, and even having the patience to allow things to unfold a little before jumping.

Some workplace leaders find themselves sandwiched between a variety of stories with little data. These stories are often embellished versions of the real story, and unfortunately an easy management trap is to listen to a few and then the last presentation seems to win.

These are drama decisions.

Drama Decisions

Drama decisions are fueled with unproductive emotions. Often arising from jealously, envy, or spite.

Voices get loud. Frequencies increase, and the outcomes feed the drama even more.

If part of your job is being responsible for making good decisions then it may be very important to consider the characteristics of the source.

Are you listening for facts and not reacting to opinions?

Is there any data to back up the message?

What is really the root cause of the scenario being presented?

You didn’t achieve a position responsible for making good decisions by often making bad ones, but could you still do better?

Have you considered the value of thinking more critically and making better decisions?

It may be a worthwhile exercise.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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work mode

Work Mode May Condition Work Mood

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Are you in work mode? Do you have your, “get things done” game face on?

Many things will condition what happens next for your productivity and effectiveness.

In case you haven’t realized it, there has been a disruption in what we do and how we do it. The disruption is based on an external event, and for many people, stress, worry, and anxiety have spiked.

Some people are still actively reporting to work, some have paid time off, and many have been furloughed or cut loose as a statistic of the disruption.

Maybe you’re working from home (WFH), and perhaps that is a brand new twist.

Work Mood

Are you able to get into work mode? What does it have to do with work mood?

We’ve probably all identified someone by their mood.

He is in a bad mood.

I wouldn’t go near her office today.

When he sees the results he is going to flip out.

Today and every day we all have an opportunity to condition our behavior and attitude. Certainly, external stimuli can add to the pressure for high performance, yet, the choice remains yours.

Work Mode

Getting into work mode is a responsibility. It is part of the job commitment for leaders.

What choices are you making about your work mode?

Don’t become one of the negative external events for your work team. Whether you are working remote or face-to-face, get yourself positioned for the proper work mood and share it. This is work mode.

Every day is a good day to be a positive role model.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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work from home

5 Tips To Help You Work From Home

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There are some people who just realized their dream opportunity. Largely, this sudden shift may feel more like a nightmare to many people. Are you prepared to work from home?

More or less I have worked from home for the past 14 years. I’ve had part-time offices out of my home and spent many hours onsite at client locations. However, when I’m grinding out new content, writing, studying, and preparing for deliveries, I’m often at home.

Work From Home

First, let me say that there are pros and cons. I spent over 20 years working in conventional workplace settings. I definitely recognize both sides of this story.

Solitude can drive you mad. Yes, it seems kinda cool at first, but after some time you miss the interactions and sometimes the climate of a face-to-face team. There is also no one immediately available to bounce ideas off of, except for your plant or a family pet.

Let me jump right in. Here are five tips to help you get started, stay productive, and not feel like you’re totally alone.

  1. Set a schedule. Planning to do things when you get around to it is probably a bad idea. If you’re planning to do some wash, run the vacuum, or get a snack for the kids you are best to plan around a schedule. A schedule keeps you focused during high energy times of the day and helps you avoid time sucking distractions. Productivity is going to be important so set a schedule.
  2. Prepare a work space. A home office is ideal. However, you can also use your kitchen island, a coffee table, or a stand up desk by using your ironing board. Your best work is going to occur if you can establish a place to setup and keep it somewhat permanent. Using your laptop on your recliner may work for processing some email but your best work is going to occur from a little bit more rigid work space.
  3. Block out distractions. It may feel pretty cool to have the news on the TV, or be jamming to music so loud that the neighbors can hear it, but these are largely distractions. While everyone is different and some will think that they work better with these distractions I encourage you to think twice. Every time you pause to think about something else, something different, or throw in the next load of laundry you are wasting time and more importantly energy.
  4. Take some breaks. A break is not necessarily a distraction. It can be an energizer. It can also be very healthy both emotionally and physically. Your best-case scenario is to plan your breaks. Set a timer and forget about it until you are alerted. You could take break every hour or every two or three. They are important and don’t skip too many.
  5. Teamwork. If you you’re working remotely with a team a great energizer is to plan for team calls or video chats. One way is to plan a call for every two hours. The team quickly assembles at the appropriate time and in a round-robin approach you take turns talking about what you accomplished since you last spoke and what you plan to accomplish in the next time slot. This call should last no more than 15 minutes. It is a quick huddle, and energizer, and a great way to hold each other accountable.

Working from home is just that, it’s work. Yes, you may be able to dress down a bit and yes, you may have some additional flexibility but there is still plenty of work to be done so don’t coast.

-DEG

You may also be interested in the Managing Remote Work Teams or Master Your Work From Home Environment webinar(s).

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace sharing

Workplace Sharing Starts with Compromise

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Are you involved in workplace sharing? Do you negotiate for resources? Is everyone willing to share and compromise?

When we don’t agree in the meeting, we may feel the correct path is to compromise. Many believe that compromise means you’re getting less, you’re breaking things into pieces and distributing only part of the whole.

What if the part is the whole?

When FedEx delivers a package, it contains something of value inside for the recipient. Another person standing nearby, may need a corrugated box.

The person who needed the contents doesn’t need the box and the person needing a box doesn’t care about the prior contents. Is this sharing, compromise, or negotiation?

Some may suggest it could be all three.

You may share a bite of your dinner with your dog. Afterwards, you may also share a blanket, but likely not the water bowl. You share what provides value, you may both enjoy the blanket, but the water bowl is off limits.

Workplace Sharing

In the workplace we are always operating through frames. We condition what we’ll accept or reject based on the frame. The frame is largely defined by the organizational culture.

Sharing, compromising, and negotiating are part of a successful team. That team will be both effective and efficient when they are happily operating within their frame.

Sharing will matter. It matters for workflow and job duties. It matters for resources and the work that gets done. Sharing is framed by the culture.

One of the most important things to share is the idea that sharing is essential for team success.

It starts with you, or it may never start.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace curiosity

Workplace Curiosity and Why You Should Have More

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Do you have workplace curiosity? Is the culture creative, interesting, and inclusive? Are there good listeners?

Have you ever felt so busy that you completely miss something happening right in front of you? You are concentrating so hard that you don’t even notice?

That could be a very positive and intense level of focus. It could also be a signal that you to dig a little deeper in your patience reserves and pause for long enough to notice.

Work and Curiosity Matter

Businesses are about work. They work to create a product or service that is attractive and compelling to their audience. They may also serve society or do something for the greater good of mankind.

Yet, work is still about work. There is a job to do and it is always measured against time.

Productivity, efficiencies, and profit matter. So does your organizational culture.

Are you genuinely curious about what is happening in your workplace?

Workplace Curiosity

I’m not referring to drama filled destructive behaviors, political views, or what happened last year. I’m referring to curiosity about the work at hand, the difference to be made for the customer, and the things that could improve efficiency while also creating more opportunities.

Some of the best cultures have the most curious listeners. Those that listen with their ears, head, and heart. Hearing is not necessarily listening. Listening needs intellect and it needs heart.

Are you engaged with what is happening around your workplace? Do you listen for understanding and not to refute? Are you appropriately generous with your time?

Workplace curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, it builds the culture.

Be genuinely curious.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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productive way

The Productive Way is the Only Way

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Are you doing things the productive way or do you find yourself stuck? Are your workload demands overwhelming?

You are not alone.

Becoming more productive is an interesting challenge. Productivity may depend a lot on exactly what and how you measure it.

Productivity or Strategy?

For the person who rushes to work with a bagel in one hand and a coffee in the other, are you productive? Does rushing illustrate productivity?

For the person who applies makeup while driving in your car on the way to work, are you productive? Are you distracted or focused?

And for the person listening to a sports podcast while working on the next marketing campaign for your company’s latest technology product, are you productive?

The measurement of productivity is often very subjective.

Workforce generations may also add to the mix of subjectivity. OK boomer, you grab a book and I’ll watch a video.

It is likely that all productivity, regardless of generation, comes down to the ability to get out of your own way.

Productive Way

Everyone can feel busy, be distracted, and lack focus. Everyone can be running late, facing adversity, and blindsided by an unexpected problem.

Trying to do two things at once is a sure sign you’ll feel busy.

When you step back and recognize that being busy is not the same as being productive, you’ll likely view your opportunities differently.

Tactics will matter, but tactics aren’t strategy. Resources, learning, and risk have a lot to do with productivity.

Sometimes the most productive way, is to get out of your own way.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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decide soon

Decide Soon, Waiting Wastes Time

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Are decisions really connected to productivity? They are, which is exactly why you should decide soon.

Certainly not all choices are the same. Some choices become better with a slower decision. We access more information, the picture gets clearer, the decision improves. What about your daily productivity?

Are You Productive?

An email response in haste may result in a bad decision. Emotions are often higher, the message riskier, the results sometimes misunderstood. On the positive side, you didn’t procrastinate, you did it immediately. Time saved or time wasted?

You can only put off the wait staff so long. They may advise, “I’ll give you a few minutes.” Yet, you still know you must decide quickly. They can’t wait too long and your friends and family are ready to order.

In the meeting you hesitate to speak. You have an idea, a point to make, or some additional information. Is the timing right, will the people understand, will you get blacklisted for making such a ridiculous suggestion?

Decide Soon

The truth often is that we waste time by waiting. Yes, not every decision should be made in haste, but the outcomes are not altered on many of your choices. Time is wasted and productivity is decreased.

What if you receive one hundred emails a day? How many do you glance at, open, close, and come back to later? How much time is spent in thought, consideration, and a careful response? Your conscientiousness is important and valuable, yet there is relevance to the speed.

One of my favorite time wasters? Deciding that responding too soon implies that you are not busy.

Decide soon, your decisions probably won’t change much, but your productivity does.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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productivity trap

Would You Believe Time Is a Productivity Trap?

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Ask someone if they are going to the fitness center, and they may say, “I don’t have time.” Ask about running errands, paying bills, or doing the laundry, people may suggest there isn’t enough time. Could it be that time is a productivity trap?

What is time costing you? When life is all about the opportunity cost, what are you paying?

Time Spent

We make a lot of decisions every day. Many of those choices have to do with the time we spend. There are opportunities that are either gained or lost.

What choices will you make about time today?

How much time will you spend:

  • In the drive through lane at the coffee shop?
  • Studying the quality of the selfie image on the social media thread?
  • Procrastinating about work to be done instead of jumping in?
  • Proofing an email that took you two minutes to write but you’ve been studying it for ten?
  • Picking up your phone, turning it on, assessing in-bound data, turning it off, putting it back down?

What if the cost of an hour changed? Instead of sixty minutes it became fifty? How would this affect your productivity?

Productivity Trap

Imagine you are on the job for eight hours, but you lose ten minutes each hour. Hours are now fifty minutes. The workload and opportunities remain constant.

You lose one hour and twenty minutes per day. That is more than six hours per week. On average then you lose over twenty-four working hours per month. That would be more than 288 hours per year, which is more than seven work weeks.

If you were absent from your work for more than seven weeks what would have changed? Would nothing change, or might you suggest that everything would change?

Taking time for granted is the biggest productivity trap of all.

Waste less.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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managing time

How Are You Managing Time?

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Time management sounds like a boring topic. It seems like everyone should just get it. We often think, “Do it right, do the right stuff, be effective and efficient.” Are you managing time properly?

What’s Your Focus?

The golden rule that we’ve all heard is that we all have the same amount of time. Certainly, it’s true. Twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week, and we’re all counting.

Consistent with that thinking, time, it seems, isn’t really our problem. It is how we decide, or feel forced to decide, how we will spend it. What space will we occupy or what activity will we do during our time.

Here lies the real challenge. Do you have the dedication, the devotion, and the focus to really be productive? Are you committed to making the most of your time?

It may require emotional labor. Emotional labor feels hard, exhausting, and makes us question the return on investment. However, it may be necessary to make the best use of your time.

Managing Time

The first step to understanding how we manage our time comes from self-assessment. How are you utilizing your breaks? Are you taking a short brisk walk? That may be productive if you need better fitness.

What are your distractions? Are you creating them or are the result of others? Walking to the coffee pot or the break room may be a distraction. How many trips are you making?

Asking your co-worker across the cube if they watched the Grammy awards the night before, or the latest episode of the Walking Dead, or the Presidential Rally is likely inviting a delay of the real work to be done.

Assess the next three or four hours of your work. What are the time wasters? What activities are you substituting into the mix to procrastinate about the real work to be done? If you’re honest, you may be surprised.

Managing time, we all have the same amount.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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productivity fact

Productivity Fact or Perfection Myth, Which Is It?

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Productivity is important for every workplace. The idea is that efficiency drives profit. Are your daily habits driven by the productivity fact or the perfection myth?

What is the difference and where are you spending, or wasting your time?

Perfection Myth

People spend a lot of time and money on perfection.

There are hours spent on perfecting the product. It happens with goods and it happens with services.

There are hours and hours of fine tuning and making it just right. Hours are spent on the meetings, the waiting for decisions, and on rejected work.

In extreme cases, work is produced that is never used. It is only discarded, no longer needed, or locked in the closet being viewed as too risky for release.

We do it with our written communication to the CEO, the board of directors, or for the project proposal.

We may spend 80 percent of our time proofing, rewriting, and tweaking. In the end, much of that 80 percent of time was wasted because the initial 20 percent of time fulfilled 80 percent or more of the requirement.

All of this lends credibility to the idea that perfection is a myth. Perfection means more time wasted, less time producing.

Productivity Fact

What about the productivity fact?

Kittens and puppies are picked every day not because they are perfect, but because people aren’t judging for perfection.

Your best friend probably isn’t perfect. Your favorite book isn’t perfect. The car you drive, nope, probably not perfect.

Your house may be clean, or the lawn may be cut, but neither are probably perfect.

The work that we do, the product we produce or service we deliver, is probably good enough long before it is perfect. Sometimes everything beyond good enough, is productivity wasted. Time spent that we’ll never recover.

Perfect is often a self-developed illusion. One that we can’t live up to, and one that wastes our time.

Productivity fact is much more important than the perfection myth.

Do great work, but keep moving. The clock is always ticking.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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