The Eagle Blog

Making Time to Be More Productive

Every now and then I write about personal productivity (also known as time management). 

A little more than a year ago I wrote a piece asking whether people were Too Busy to Help Themselves?  The obvious point being that many of us could be much more productive if we took time to plan, to train, to delegate etc.  In fact it is a classic problem for many managers … they can do “it” quicker themselves, so they don’t bother to train someone else to do “it” … even though, once trained that person could really save the manager a lot of future time.

In January this year I wrote a blog entry giving 10 Tips for Lifelong Learning … to “keep up” with our fast changing world means that we NEED to find time to train/learn/upgrade our skills.

Which leads me to today’s point … most people I meet use office productivity tools, email/calendar/word processing/spreadsheets etc.  Most of those people think that they are fairly proficient with those tools, but I think reality is a little different.  For example there have been 14 versions of Microsoft Office released … and while many of the features may not be necessary, there have been many gains in productivity that most users don’t know.  I only have to look at some of the spreadsheets I get from people to know that they are not even scratching at the capabilities of the tool.  How many times do you get a document to print and it prints a bunch of empty pages because the person sending it to you didn’t know how to format it properly.  etc.etc.

If you can use the “tools” available to you effectively then you will increase your productivity AND reduce your stress levels.  The problem is that most people don’t take the time to help themselves! 

Here is my idea …

1.  List all of the office tools you and your colleagues use regularly. 

2.  For each one of them, set up a “lunch and learn” session where you each comes to the table with a productivity tip that the others might not know.

3.  Perhaps get the most proficient user to share a few tips. 

4.  If you all feel you might benefit from it, then bring in an expert to show you some stuff.

After a few lunch and learn sessions you might just  surprise yourself at how much you have learned … and how it helps your productivity!   maybe you can even get the boss to spring for lunch!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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