Do you suffer from
the "too-much-to-do-and-too-little-time-to-do-it" syndrome? Is your to-do list
perpetually unfinished? If these are familiar laments, it's time for time-blocking.
Time-blocking is the
process of designating specific blocks of time each day for tackling particular
activities or tasks. Commonsense (and a host of studies) shows that checking
your e-mail throughout the day is distracting and a
poor use of time. Rather, checking e-mail only at
designated times, allows for better time management. The same is true for a
host of other daily activities: scheduling discrete tasks at specific times
To begin, make a
list and prioritize the tasks and activities in your daily routine. Next
establish timelines for how long each task should take. Once you have your
to-do list with accompanying timelines it's time to sort the tasks into
discrete time-blocks for the day. Tips for effective time-blocking include:
Keep it real: Set realistic time-blocks; in a nine hour work day,
realistically eight hours or less will be spent on work. The other time is
allocated to transitions and breaks.
Interruption-free zone: Schedule blocks of time when you can be
interruption-free each day. Close the office door; turn on your voicemail.
Schedule tasks that require deep concentration during this time-block.
Energy check: Identify when your energy levels are high and when they
are low. Schedules tasks that require concentration or dedicated blocks of time
for when you are high energy and maximize low energy periods by tackling
routine tasks that can be done easily.
For more time-blocking tips, set aside time to read Work Smart: Avoid Office Distractions
With Time Blocking and Is This a "Morning" Task? - Scheduling Important
Activities for the Right Time of Day.
Do you have
time-blocking tips or techniques? What is your most productive time-block and
why? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
by Carly Fadako
When the corner office is across the globe, personnel
increasingly need to work across wide geographies and multiple teams. In a past
post Teams and Time Zones: Tips for a Global Workforce we offer ideas for managing the logistics of working in
different offices and time zones. Useful options for bridging the time zone
divide include web and teleconferencing: both can help shrink the divide, facilitating both informal
meetings among a handful of colleagues and gatherings for audiences into the
To make web and
teleconferences run smoothly, keep in mind a few simple points. Try to schedule
conferences at a time that's convenient for all participants. If that's not
possible, rotate the times so that all parties have a turn at the less desirable
(i.e. late/early) time slots.
Be sure to introduce
yourself when speaking at least the first few times; don't assume participants
will automatically recognize your voice. As with any meeting, limit side
conversations. Make use of that mute button if you must colloquy separately
from the meeting.
limit typing and cell phone use during calls, you want to give your audience
your full attention. Add a personal touch; if using a web cam, make routine eye
contact just as you would a face-to-face meeting. If a webcam isn't available,
consider uploading a .jpeg photo.
For more useful tips on web conferencing, check out these
For more useful tips on teleconferencing, check out these
Do you make use of web or
teleconferencing? What tips do you have to make web and teleconferencing
productive? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
by Bradley Eggers
To tweet or to
e-mail? Phone or face-to-face? When a host of communication options are at your
fingertips choosing the right one requires careful matching of audience and
Before we get into
the nitty-gritty, let's take a minute for an overview. Communication can be
broken down into two broad categories: verbal and written. Both are used
extensively in the workplace and life.
Generally speaking, verbal communication is a more personal form of
communication and is well suited for interactions that require extensive
questioning or back-and-forth and for delivering emotionally-charged
information such as compliments or reprimands.
communication is the most appropriate choice when delivering
detailed information, when something needs to be documented, or when a person
is too far away to easily speak with in person or by phone.
What to Pick?
When proceeding, ask
yourself how would you like to best receive information? In addition, I like to
ask the people I interact with on a regular basis, what method of communication
they prefer. Tap into your commonsense and do a gut-check. When in doubt, consult with a colleague for a
second opinion. I've also found a list from the book The
Leaders' Communication Toolkit to be a helpful guide:
Keep in mind that
choosing the right form of communication matters less than how well or
effectively you communicate. When communicating verbally, master your emotions,
avoiding sarcasm or angry tones. Be sure to be a good listener as well, verbal
communication is a two-way street. For more tips on interpersonal relationships
and communication in the workplace read our post Developing
Emotional Intelligence: Putting on Your "Feeling" Cap. For tips on effective written
communication, check out our post How to Write Persuasively
What rules of
thumb do you use in selecting the right form of communication? Share your
thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook
and Twitter pages.
by Candie Harris
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.