Cubicles May Be Disastrous to Employee Productivity – Reuters News Service
Why do some employers think that having employees work in cubicles is a good idea? That’s a question that many employees, managers, and HR professionals ponder as they wrestle with the distractions and interruptions of working in cubicles. Cubicles are often poorly designed work spaces that provide 4- to 5-foot walls with no office doors, and sometimes one or more office mates sharing a pod of computer workstations.
These work areas provide little privacy or quiet needed to perform tasks such as writing, analysis, or just plain thinking. However, Ken Zeigler, author of Organizing for Success (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.) and productivity and organizational expert, explains that there are ways to make work time more productive, even if you are in the midst of a cubicle crisis. Read more.
The Charlotte Observer Article – Plan to Spend Time with Family
A man who runs a company that coaches other companies’ workers on maximizing productivity should be the model of efficiency and work/life balance himself. Ken Zeigler is. But that wasn’t always the case. Zeigler started his corporate, which counts many of the Fortune 500 among its clients, 10 years ago, before he was any good at having a career and a personal life. “I had no separation. I thought about work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One day I woke up and I was 43 years old with no prospects of marriage,” he said.
He’s named his company, Zeigler & Sons, Inc. even though he wasn’t married and didn’t have any kids. Call it wishful thinking, he said. In case you’re wondering, Zeigler got married and has two sons, Zachary and Nicholas. The family recently moved to Cornelius from Nashville so Zeigler could be closer to his sick father, who lives in Conover, NC.
When he’s not traveling, Zeigler runs his business from home so he can be part of raising his sons. He starts work at 6 a.m. and usually has the day’s two biggest tasks completed by 9 a.m. He wraps up by 6 p.m. (at the latest) so he can have dinner with his family. When on rare occasions he tries to work later, he tells his wife Mary Beth, to give him a “ton of grief,” so he sticks to his word. How does he strike balance? He batches reading and writing email, returning calls, and working on similar activities.
He has definitely changed how he plans his day and week. When I was younger, I would come to work with an optimistic plan and go home nightly feeling less than fulfilled. Today I come to work with a more “worst-case” plan and leave work feeling great. I do a “brain dump” every night before I leave my office and turn it all off. It’s not about how much time you spend on your personal life, it’s all about the quality of that time!
NY Post article
The New York Post featured Organizing for Success in today’s “At Work” section—including a photo of the book jacket. Read More.
Washington Post article
Become a Task Master – First, Scrap That Daily To-Do List. Read More.
4 Ways to Make a Better To-Do List – Chicago Tribune article
What’s currently on your to-do list?
A 2012 global survey by professional networking site LinkedIn found that 63% of professionals frequently create them.
But are we as productive as we are organized? Not exactly: The same survey found that only 11% of professionals accomplish everything they plan to do in a given workday.
Want More? 50 Ways to be Productive in 10 Minutes or Less… Think You’re Good at Multitasking? Think Again
Are You Really as Busy as You Think?
Clearly, most of us are on board with keeping to-do lists—but finishing them is a different story. So we spoke with productivity experts to figure out not only how best to plow through our lists but also whether there’s a best type of list out there to begin with. And then, just to make you feel a little less alone, we snagged the looming lists of four real, aspiring list-finishers.
If “figure out how to be more productive” is on your list, you’re about to check it off.
How to Actually Do Your To-Dos
Documenting the people and things that need our attention isn’t so much of a challenge in itself—the tricky part is checking off tasks without that “I haven’t accomplished anything today!” feeling. To keep moving forward, keep these four expert tips in mind:
Maintain One Master List
Ken Zeigler, a productivity and time management expert who has conducted over 16 years of research in the field, suggests a “Master List”: a portable pad of paper (he finds the old-school medium most effective for retention) where you keep all to-do items (whether financial, personal or professional) for an entire week. When you have a thought, write it down immediately, then delete it from your mind. “Allow your mind to be a strategic thinker,” he says, “not a memory chip.”
Batch Your Tasks
The next step in Zeigler’s process is to review your Master List daily and transfer action items onto a Daily List, which should be in electronic form to make it easily portable and accessible from multiple devices. This list should be “batched,” or separated into groups of similar tasks (like the three separate emails you must answer in the next hour or the five errands you need to run in town). Zeigler explains that batching tasks improves productivity. “By working on all of the similar tasks, it will prevent your jumping from task to task and help you focus on one type at a time,” he says.
Identify Two Key Tasks Each Day and Commit to Getting Them Done
Most to-do lists are overwhelming. At the end of each day, when you should be updating your list (before you go home) in preparation for tomorrow scan your list. Pick the two tasks or activity that have the highest payoff value and commit to getting them done tomorrow. Most lists are too large and unfocused. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver each day. Plan for a difficult day with changing priorities and unexpected fires. Remember, it’s not about how many tasks you start in a day but rather how many you complete.
Add Your Personal Life to Your List
Your personal life (or lack there of) does have an impact on your work productivity according to research. People are constantly commenting, “I wish I had a personal life!” Your list should reflect “balance.” Most people are very visual. You need to see you have a personal life by the check marks next to personal tasks that are completed. See and feel balance. At the end of each day your list should reflect that you have become a “Master Blender.” To be a “Master Blender” you should see check marks next to the key tasks or activities you needed to complete; check marks next to to-dos you helped others with; and check marks next to personal to-dos.
Health Enhancement for Lifelong Professional Students Newsletter
Sure, I’m Organized—I Can Do Ten Things at Once!
“When you are disorganized, you are always in a rush, always scrambling to meet a deadline, and in danger of missing deadlines,” says productivity specialist Denise Landers. “You are stressed and you don’t sleep well. And when you miss getting a good night’s sleep, your IQ can drop 10 points the next day. It’s not surprising that lack of organization can keep a graduate or professional student from achieving educational and professional goals.”
As owner of Key Organization Systems, Inc. and the author of “Destination: Organization,” Lander helps people and companies create systems for handling their business and personal lives more successfully. Read more.