8 Time-Saving Tips

by Ian McKenzie on July 31, 2014

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  1. Use the “standby” or “hibernate” feature on your PC instead of shutting it down when you step away for a short time. You’ll be able to resume your work much faster than from a cold start.
  2. Find urgent computer files faster by starting file names with numbers. That ensures that they will be at the top of your list of files.
  3. Cut down on steps. Instead of jumping up every time you have work to deliver, stow it in an expandable file with slots organized by department. Then, take one stroll through the office to deliver everything.
  4. Take a “personal errand day.” For personal errands you can’t schedule on Saturday or Sunday, take a day off to take care of them all. That’s less disruptive than rushing from the office and back several times.
  5. Become a hero to staff members who know only the basic functions of your voice-mail system and other devices, by learning the shortcuts and most useful and underused features; then teaching them.
  6. Create checklists for common tasks, such as preparing your boss for a business trip. You’ll run through the preparations faster and will be less likely to forget a step, even when you don’t look at the list.
  7. Take a short break. Carve out 15 to 30 minutes at lunch for something you enjoy, such as walking, reading or photography. You’ll return to work with more energy.
  8. Anticipate wardrobe emergencies by packing quick-change options. Keep one full outfit ready in your closet for those mornings when you discover a missing button or other hassle. Tuck stockings or a neutral tie in the back of a desk drawer so you can change quickly, instead of trying to stop a run or clean a stain.

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How to Manage the Rush Jobs

by Ian McKenzie on July 29, 2014

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It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and your boss calls from the road and says, “Drop everything, I need this report in an hour.”

Fifteen minutes later another manager comes by looking for last-minute help with a PowerPointpresentation.

Meanwhile, you’ve skipped lunch, a courier is waiting on a delivery from you and the intern is hovering, looking for approval on the next step.

When urgent requests come in from various sources and you’re already pressed for time, how do you handle them?

Here’s four tips:

  1. Show how much is on your plate. Create a chart that shows the projects you are handling and the time required to complete them. It can be as complex as a Gantt chart or as simple as a pie chart.Another approach would be a two-column to-do list. Column one is tasks you’ve been asked to complete, column two is the task as you’re taking the action steps, scheduling them into your day.

    You then have a visual representation showing the trade-offs required to accommodate the demand for a rush job.

  2. Suggest work that can be traded-off. Conventional advice suggests placing the decision of priority back on the one requesting the rush job. “Here’s what I’m working on, you decide what is a priority for me.” That puts control of your workflow in somebody else’s hands.Instead, you make the suggestion as to what should be deferred to accommodate the job.  ”I suggest we move the deadline for the widget report to Wednesday. That way, I can complete your presentation today.”
  3. Point out any issues that might interfere with finishing a rush job. If you know you’re going to need information from Nancy and she’s in a meeting at a client’s office, let the requester know. This way you’re not left holding responsibility for not completing the task.

  4. Have a chart of common task times. Often, the boss will not know how long it took you to complete the rush job. You’re there until midnight, the boss went home at 5:00.

    Put together a list of tasks you commonly complete along with the time it takes to finish.For example: typing a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation: two hours, provided all the material is complete.The boss then has some idea what kind of time commitment  the request represents.

The boss, being the boss, may still go ahead and expect the rush job to be completed. However, this four-part strategy will help you gain control over those rush jobs.

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How to be an Effective Employee

June 19, 2014
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Sometimes being an effective employee is easy and sometimes it’s not —work responsibilities and circumstances vary, as do relationships with co-workers. One thing is certain: your attitude makes a big difference in how successful you are at work. A positive attitude is a requirement of all of the following tips for improving your chances of [...]

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The R’s Of Employee Motivation

June 16, 2014
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If you think your employee’s poor performance is costing you profit, instead of overhauling your employee roster, why not try motivating them to become better employees? Smart managers never overlook this fact: loyal, productive employees are one of your biggest assets. From corporate cubicles to the factory floor, the collective skills and efforts of people keep your operation [...]

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How to Write a Eulogy

May 9, 2014
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I attended a funeral some time ago for a woman who had lived a good, long life. There were two eulogies given, one by a long-time friend and the other from a family member. It was interesting to hear the similar themes that came out as they spoke of someone who had played an important part [...]

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Enhance Your Langauge Skills for Successful Public Speaking

May 7, 2014
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Another essential skill for successful speakers is using the correct form of the language. Being limited to English, I can’t say what equivalent errors might exist in other languages. However, nothing can destroy your credibility as a speaker than the misuse of the language. Toastmasters International highlights the importance of correct language by appointing a Grammarian to listen to [...]

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7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking

May 5, 2014
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It takes a lot of preparation to craft the kind of speech or presentation that is going to grab your listener’s attention. Once the speech is crafted, you need to spend a lot of time practising, so as to make sure you keep their attention. Listeners don’t give their attention lightly and it doesn’t take [...]

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Tips for Communicating with Angry or Violent People

May 2, 2014
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A number of years ago I was involved in the termination of an employee. He was about eight inches taller than me and had 70 or 80 pounds on me. His supervisor delivered the bad news, we reviewed the termination process and documents and then stood to leave. Suddenly, he was standing toe to toe looking down [...]

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How to Write a Speech to Inform

April 29, 2014
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If you’ve ever told your spouse about your day at work, or explained how to make an omelet, you already have experience giving an informative speech. An informative speech can be used to tell people about something you’re interested in or to explain how to do something. If that sounds easy, it’s because it is. Just choose your [...]

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3 tips for a stress-free connected workplace

April 24, 2014
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(NC) Does your workplace stress you out? It may not be the everyday tasks, projects and deadlines, but rather the physical environment. Maybe your desk is too messy, or your colleagues are too loud. Perhaps your boss is always looking over your shoulder, the dated technology gives you anxiety, or you can’t stand the fluorescent [...]

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