Here’s what you can achieve:
1. Call a new client.
3. Write a thank-you note.
5. Delete emails from your inbox.
7. Clear your desk.
8. Create a new story.
9. Phone a friend.
10. Read an article.
ing, making travel arrangements, filing and faxing.
By outsourcing tedious but necessary tasks, you can
concentrate on what you do best.
“I hire out all the things I don’t want to do, don’t
do well, and/or don’t have time to do,” Rayburn
says of keeping his office running while he’s away.
That doesn’t mean you should write off productivity when you’re traveling. The 15-minute rule is
ideal for busy travel periods, when you may not feel
up to doing much at the end of the day. These are
the times to print out and organize the documents
you will need for your return trip or a future trip,
spend a few minutes at the hotel fitness center reenergizing, or prepare handwritten correspondence
to send to clients and colleagues.
If you are traveling for an extended period, your
down time at the hotel can provide a distraction-free opportunity to complete a variety of tasks, such
as writing proposals, book chapters and articles,
catching up on industry-relevant reading, or clearing out your email files.
Also consider using a Blackberry to stay connected
with your staff and clients. Free online social networking sites and blogs provide convenient options
for keeping in touch when you’re on the road. If you
have been avoiding technology and social networking
sites, now is the time to get involved.
If possible, hire an assistant. My business man-
ager, Maria Novey, is the key to my success
and keeps me on track and up-to-date. You
also can employ a virtual staff by relying on
video and teleconferencing, email, fax and
your cell phone. While Amanda Gore, CSP,
prefers face-to-face conversations and finds
value in the spontaneous discussions that inevitably arise, Rayburn notes that a virtual team
allows for convenient meetings and a clear
separation between work and personal time.
On the other hand, Australian speaker David
Penglase, CSP, finds that a blend of the two
provides the best of both worlds.
Plan of Action
Productivity determines your success. It is critical to
think big and set goals. I start each year by reflecting
on my previous year’s goals, and then set new ones.
If you are launching your career, your goal might
be to attend at least 10 strategic networking events
in 2009. I also recommend active participation in
professional and social groups. Surround yourself
with successful people to get invigorated, make contacts, and get feedback and support. We can all use
a cheer squad now and then.
Start on a small scale by creating a personal
action plan for the next 90 days. Select two productivity tips from this article and implement them
for 30 days. Repeat this process two more times.
When all is said and done, you will have implemented six strategies in 90 days. Now, that’s
Neen James, ASM, is a dynamic speaker and
author who helps people rocket-charge their
productivity and performance to achieve
amazing things. With her unique voice, sense
of fun and uncommon common sense, Neen
delivers a powerful lesson in productivity. Find out more
GET MORE OUT OF YOUR DAY
• Invest the first 30 minutes
of each day to strategize.
• Schedule your day to
include travel time, exercise
• Always keep a pen,
notebook, stationery and
stamps at hand.
• Subscribe to a wireless
service to keep Web-based
• Check email only three
times per day, and respond
to client email first.
• Use voicemail often,
and keep your message
• Group your business
• Leave messages at clients’
or colleagues’ offices late
• Delegate tasks to others.
• Outsource areas you
• Choose a 15-minute activity.
• Leverage your travel
time by reading industry
• Check in with your staff at
the end of each day.