Five Productivity Tips


We all seem to have more on our plate than we can handle in a given day, week, month, etc. Optimizing what we get done each day is important and often comes down to minimizing interruptions and staying focused. Maximizing how we use small blocks of time can make a big difference in what we can accomplish during the rest of the workday. Here are five tips to help you get more done.

Delay Send – Ever working late at night or early in the morning (possibly after feeding a 3 month old) and don’t want your co-workers or clients to know? It’s probably happened to all of us at some point. Outlook makes it easy to conceal the fact that you can’t sleep or are working while the rest of us are watching the game. It’s called “delay delivery” and located in the Options Menu of Outlook 2010. Use this handy feature to send those emails at a more appropriate hour.

Work offline – if you use a hosted Exchange for your email and routinely are out of the office; telling Outlook that you want it to work offline may save some time and frustration. My Outlook crashes itself if I try to create an appointment and am not connected to the internet. This feature is also nice if you need to be in your email but don’t want to download new messages and create a distraction. I use this feature at Client A’s office so I’m not tempted to read or respond to emails about Clients B & C.

Turn off wireless and Bluetooth – Battery life is always at a premium so anything we can do to increase it is welcome. On flights or long car rides it’s helpful to disable the wireless and Bluetooth radios. This makes a significant difference in battery usage and allows you to work longer without that dreaded “battery anxiety”. It’s almost like reverting back to the computer modem days where you sync, disconnect and do your work, then sync back up.

Question your appointments – Ever offer to meet someone for lunch or coffee then forget and offer the same date/time to another person? Then the first person replies accepting your offer and you are double booked. Makes for an awkward conversation, one where we basically admit we can’t manage our calendars. Now, when I offer someone two options (coffee on Monday or lunch on Tuesday), I will create an appointment with three question marks after. This indicates that it’s reserved but has not been confirmed. Occasionally I forget to remove the “???” but that’s easily fixed with a simple confirmation the day before.

Turn off push email on your phone- We’ve all met the person whose phone keeps buzzing as email after email comes in. Maybe it helps them feel important or perhaps every email they get is an immediate “must-read”. These constant interruptions break concentration and distract co-workers. Try setting your phone to manually get mail. It saves battery life and only takes a few seconds to retrieve your mail but doesn’t distract us every time some junk mail comes in.

Try some or all of these tips and see if they make a difference in your daily routine and allow you to accomplish more in the same or even less time.