Get Everything Done and Make It To Happy Hour

When I was in my early 20s I loved to watch Sex and The City. I was working weekends at the time and I would sneak episodes while I was writing or producing for the news. I hoped it was an accurate picture of what my life would be like – brunches and after work, get togethers with the girls. However watching it back these days I can tell you my life is not really like that. Did those girls ever actually work?

While we can’t all live the glamorous lifestyles of Carrie and Samantha, we can still make it to happy hour. Provided of course, that we get all our work done. When we’re buried under a heavy workload the chances of leaving work on time get slimmer and slimmer. But it is possible, all it takes is a little planning.

Here are some of my secrets to help you head out the door at 5!

  1. Make a roadmap of your day – Every day, when I’m nearly finished with work I create a “roadmap” for the following day.  I’ve stolen the idea from my time as a live news producer.  We always have a rundown to keep us on track during a live show.  Your work day should run the same way. Having this roadmap means I can hit the ground running and everything goes so much smoother when I get in the following morning.
  2. Don’t answer the phone Only answer if it’s absolutely necessary. That means the person who is calling can give your information about the task you’re working on or you have an appointment for the call right then. It’s far too easy to get wrapped up in conversations that go nowhere! You’ll get back to them later – just add it to your list.
  3. Break the day up into chunksGot some mammoth task you’re really not looking forward to? Split it into smaller chunks and distribute it throughout the day. Giving yourself a chance to look at emails, etc in between will help to ease your frustration.  Breaks are our friends. But don’t get sucked into other projects. Give yourself specific time limits.
  4. BacktimeI’ve talked a little about backtiming before. It’s a concept I got from working as a TV news producer. You start at the end goal and work backwards. So what do you need to have done in order to get out of work on time. Make a list of all these things and how long they will take. If you incorporate this with your plan from the night before you can create a schedule for your day.
  5. Make a meeting checklist – The biggest time suck in the office is not people checking their social media or chatting by the water cooler, it’s meetings. Who hasn’t been in a meeting that has gone on for an hour longer than it needed to? Meanwhile the mound of work on your desk just piles up. By having a meeting checklist you can make sure all the important things are covered, but it can also help to move the whole process along!

So now the only thing left to decide on is  what you’re drinking when you get to happy hour!

If You’re a Spreadsheet Nerd – You’ll Love AirTable

Not so long ago the most revolutionary organization tool was the filofax. Once home computers became popular this was replaced with programs like Excel spreadsheets or Outlook. Nowadays there’s a million and one productivity tools to choose from. How do you know what to pick?

Personally, I’ve always felt there was something about spreadsheets that really stands the test of time. They present your data in an easy to read format and you can tab between the various options. I use Google Sheets for example to keep my blog schedule and ideas organized. Read more

Making a Plan to Save Some Money

When it comes to balancing our budget we’d all love to be able to save more money. Most people use budgeting apps to help stay on top of their finances. These apps are great, but they mostly just tell you how much you’ve spent and how much more you have left for the rest of the month. I’m a big believer that anything can be made better with a plan and saving money is no exception. Here are some ways to stay organized and save money. Read more

An Entire Store Dedicated to Pencils!

I’ve always loved office supplies, notebooks, pens, highlighters – you name it I go crazy for it.  If you’re an organizational nerd like me you probably can identify. But for some reason pencils, in particular have always been my thing. I write with pencil pretty exclusively and only use pen when I’m writing a check or filling out a greeting card.

The main problem with being such a pencil fanatic is that it’s hard for me to find the perfect pencil. Typically I use mechanical pencils but I’m very particular  because I’m a lefty and we have a smudge problem when we write.

Imagine my excitement when my mother told me that she heard about a pencil only store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan called CW Pencil Enterprise. Given my affinity for pencils I was intrigued and had to visit.

Read more

When is YOUR “Power Hour”?

Here’s something interesting that most people don’t know:

Each of us has a specific two-hour window every day when – thanks to certain physiological processes – we’re naturally TWICE as productive as normal. Not only that, but our cognition is sharper, too.

Remember the last time you were in the zone? Chances are, it was during this two-hour window.

I know my peak time starts around 11am, I need some time to get settled into the day and then I’m ready to get down to work.

Knowing when you’re at your peak performance can help you in so many ways. You know precisely when to do your most important work. Better yet, you could set an alarm and wait for it to ring before diving into tasks that are essential for getting ahead.

Why? Because then, without even trying and tapping into your personal productivity style, you’d perform at a higher level and, ultimately, do a better job. You’d finish faster, leave work earlier, and arrive home with more energy at the end of the day.

This two-hour window occurs at a different hour for each of us.

It’s hardwired into our neurology. Read more