Improving Your Productivity

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Your ideas and energy give life to your organization and enable it to function at its best. The more you realize your potential, the more you and your firm benefit.
When you contribute to something worthwhile, you feel good about yourself. And there’s no substitute for feeling like somebody.
Your state of mind, attitude, morale – al these things – affect the quality of the work you produce. Feeling good about yourself and our performance helps you to produce work for you and your firm can be proud of.
You count as an employee. You make a significant difference to the organization. When employees and management alike keep that in mind, both succeed.
You Can Get Satisfaction:
To perform at your best and with more ease, you should try to eliminate habits of procrastination.

Here are some tips to overcome them:
Remember the “Four D’s.” when handling paper, dump it, delegate it, delay it or do it. After you have delayed something, allow sufficient time to see if you need to act on that particular item. If not, toss it.
Don’t gift wrap the garbage. It’s not necessary to do insignificant tasks perfectly. Efficient people get things done right – but effective people get the right things done.
Stick to a time limit on those jobs that you don’t like to do. This technique builds trust and confidence in yourself and encourages you to work on those kinds of jobs again.
Set a date an time to start a particular job.
Focus on the results that will come from your accomplishing the task that you have been putting off. Think less about what has to be done and more about what wil result when you finish.

Other Helpful Approaches:
Excessive stress can interfere with performance. You can minimize it if you:
Set your own daily or weekly goals. This increases our sense of being in control of your life and can reduce stress. Also, informal surveys show that self-imposed goals will motivate you. You’ll get a feeling of pride when you reach them. Just be sure the goals are realistic.
Ask the right person if you’re unsure about something to do at work. Winging it or getting an answer from someone who isn’t responsible for a particular decision could get you in trouble and increase our stress level. Bosses prefer employees who ask questions in order to get the job done right.
Stop trying to change your boss. To build a better relationship, change yourself. Many people underestimate the power they have to improve a situation by changing their behavior and their expectations of others.
Take control of your stress and take care of yourself.
List the things that cause you stress. Try to change those over which you have control and acknowledge those over which you do not.
Write down three positive things you can do for yourself in the next week. Then do them. You’ve got to take care of yourself and your stress before you can offer your best to the people you work for.
How to work Better, Not Harder:
Certain tasks tend to become routine. No matter how long you’ve done a task in a certain way, you generally can improve on it. Try these tips and ideas to make your routine a lot smoother.
When photocopying a long article or memo, start with the last page first. That way, when you’re finished, both the original and copy will e in the correct page order.
To avoid handing out an original as a copy – requiring that you later make copies of a copy – try this: Put a white self-adhesive label (the ¾” dots work well) on the original. The dot won’t show on the copies but will stand out on the original.
Consider enlarging a newspaper clipping on the copying machine before circulating it in the office. The clip will be more eye catching and quickly readable.
Develop a file (in print or in your computer) of commonly sought materials and information. This way, you will avoid sorting through files to retrieve the answers to frequently asked questions.

Make Computer-Use Easier:
A computer can make work faster and easier or it can cause problems you never had with your typewriter. To avoid such problems, take advantage of these tips:
If you’re working at a computer terminal and experiencing visual fatigue, blink more often. With each blink you can lubricate your eyes. Dr. Frank Weinstock of Northeastern Ohio University says that “staring at the screen to avoid missing anything” rather than at the screen itself seems to cause a sense of eye fatigue.
Wipe your computer screen with one of the many cleaning pads available for this purpose. You’ll cut down on glare and eye strain.
Save documents on which you are working every 15 minutes.

Cost-Effective Correspondence:
Verbal and written correspondence, two jobs that occupy many employees a great deal of the time, can be sources of potential problems. Make the time you spend using the mail and phones pay off for you and the organization. Here are some ways to do this when:
Always use toll-free numbers whenever possible. Use toll-free information whenever possible. Call toll free information (800-555-1212) to get numbers, or use internet phone directories such as and Be sure toll-free numbers are recorded in office telephone files.
Circle or highlight phone numbers the first time you look each number up in the telephone directory. You’ll save time when again searching for the numbers.
If you’re trying to call a business number after hours and the switchboard is closed, try dialing a number or two higher. Example: Instead of dialing 555-1000, try 555-1001. Reason: You may be able to bypass the switchboard and find someone on a live extension. But remember, it doesn’t always work.
Make sure you have the correct pronunciation and spelling of the names of you most important clients and customers. Be aware especially of those that are hard-to-pronounce or spell. Also, don’t assume that a particular name is male or female. Many names are used by both sexes.
Use telephone message slips that have a line for the phonetic spelling of the caller’s name. They can save you the embarrassment of mangling a caller’s name during the return call. Example: You take a call from Ms. Shiloh. After writing down the correct spelling of her name, yo also write down the pronunciation phonetically, Shee-low.
When Using a speaker phone, always ask the other person on the other end if you can be heard clearly. Many speaker phones sound hollow, and some people don’t like to deal with them.
Call instead of writing a letter if it serves the purpose as well. This alternative, usually saves money and time.
If you’re having trouble making contact with someone for the first time via email or on the telephone, consider sending your messages to her or his fax machine.
Put the phone numbers for all emergency services on all phones. You could save a life.
Take a look at your small memo pads to be sure that your phone number and extension, as well as the name of your company and its address, are included. These items save people time and probably put them in a better mood when they do call you. And remember to include your extension on interoffice correspondence as well. Co-workers will appreciate the time you saved too.

If your firm is overpaying postage by as little as $10 a day, the cost of an electronic scale can be offset in a couple of months. Suggest looking into the purchase of such a scale. Most units sell for between $750 and $1000, but you can find less expensive one that will do the jobs.
Use your electronic postage scales to count large numbers of identical booklets or brochures. The simple math in weighing a few brochures and then multiplying can save lots of time over hand-counting individual items.
Try sending meeting and appointment reminders on a post card. Reasons:It saves on postage, grabs attention and can easily be paper-clipped to appointment calendars.
When mailing something important, such as invitations to a key event, include yourself in the mailing. This is one way to make sure the items made it through the post office and into the right hands.
Use the lowest class of mail service that will get the required job done. Not all ail should be sent out first class.

Reprinted with permission from Communication Briefings (Briefings)

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