Tag Archives: productivity

My On-the-Go Toolkit for Working and Presenting Using iPad – Mobile Work

Since I have easy access to my files through the Dropbox app on my iPad, I wanted to travel more without my laptop. Here’s my on-the-go toolkit for working while mobile, complete with my links to each on Amazon.

Present Using iPad Adapters for Projectors

Here are the two adapters I purchased so I can use my iPad for either type of projector a conference makes available.

Microphones

External microphones are a must-have if you’re going to do videos, podcasts, SKYPE, etc. The sound will be the on-board mic every time. I have 3 microphones that work with my iPhone and iPad. I have a handheld iRig mic, the smaller iRig Mic Cast, and a Movo lapel mic.

Wireless Presentation Mouse, Bluetooth
Bluetooth wireless presentation mouse SatechiI have a wireless presentation mouse, Satechi Bluetooth Smart-Pointer.

External Keyboard – Logitech K480

Logitech Bluetooth keyboard K480 for iPadI’m a power typist, and when I’m using apps such as Word or PowerPoint on my iPad, I need a bigger keyboard with shortcuts I’m used to. Here’s the external keyboard I chose. It’s the Logitech K480. You set the dial to tell the keyboard which gadget you’re typing on (iPad or iPhone, for example), or if you’re using it on a computer.

Mobile Charger

Mobile charger for iPadTo avoid being without any way to charge my gadgets, this mobile charger is a must-have. This one is more compact than my older one.

Car Charger

For long trips in the car, it just makes sense to add a car charger to the list.

Stylus

I use the OneNote app (free from Microsoft) to organize my notes. Its Draw command allows you to handwrite/draw on a page. I like the feel of this stylus.

Screen Cleaner

After so much tapping and swiping, the screen on your gadget or computer can get rather cloudy. This cleaner pad fits right on your hand and wipes the surface to clear.

Put Your iPad to Work at Work

Contact me directly to schedule a SKYPE session, Webinar, conference seminar, or a hands-on workshop. The focus of the training is improving your personal productivity while on the go.

Put the iPad to Work

  • Explore important Settings you have unfortunately ignored.
  • Organize an on-the-go toolkit of must-have apps and iStuff built for mobile productivity.
  • Capture and organize notes and photos, file everything, and find it quickly when you need it.
  • Create and edit documents using tap and flick shortcuts and Office apps you’re already used to.
  • Sync the Safari browser and navigate with ease.
  • And so much more!

Whether you want individual, customized training via SKYPE (or in person), a Webinar, a conference seminar, or a hands-on workshop, contact me directly to get started.

Let me know in comments if you have anything to add to this list. I’m a sucker for gadgets and gizmos that boost productivity.

PEACE.

 

EMAIL TIP: I use my iPhone to MONITOR email. I MANAGE it on my computer.

When someone responds to an email message that “yes” they’re going to do something and I see it comes from their phone, I have just about zero confidence that they’re going to remember to do it. Here’s why.

At my computer, I’m inside Outlook, and a new message arrives. I immediately drag it to my calendar or tasks with a reminder or an appointment. And depending on the situation, I might flag that message for follow-up. On the other hand, when I check email on my iPhone, I’m not going to do all that. Neither will you. You most likely look at the email, respond with a quick “yes,” and make no effort to put anything in place to help you remember.

When I MONITOR email, I’m just checking for anything I need to respond to right away (e.g., an inquiry from a reporter on a deadline, a cancelled meeting, etc.). Otherwise, I’ll deal with everything else when I’m in front of my computer because I can MANAGE better and easier.

For more tips on managing email, here’s a series of low-cost, how-to videos I recorded called “12 Fast Ways to Answer Email in Outlook.”

Also, check out my article on managing #emailoverload on NYTimes.com, “Room for Debate: Reduce Bad E-mail Habits.”

PEACE.

Will Productivity in the Workplace Suffer Due to the Winter Olympics? It Depends.

Productivity in the workplace is expected to take a dip during the weeks of the Winter Olympics, but some employees will handle it better than others.

Sporting News recently reported that heavy sports enthusiasts spend on average over 31 hours a week following sports. These same people will probably completely shut down the next few weeks to follow the Olympics. Others will do what needs to be done…it all depends on the type of worker they normally are.

Slackers will use this as an excuse to do less work. If they’re wasting time instead of working now, they’ll just do more of it these few weeks.

On the other hand, conscientious employees will continue to meet goals, beat deadlines, and service the customer.

If you’re the boss and are going to require less of them during this craze, you should have required more from them before it heated up.

PEACE.

Features I Love About iOS 7 for My iPhone–Improve Your Personal Productivity

I’m digging the latest update for my iPhone (I’m still on the 4 model, and that suits me just fine).

Here are the top features that help me stay productive.

 

The Unit

  • Control Center. If you swipe up from the bottom of the screen (from anywhere except the camera so far), the Control Center opens with shortcuts. I especially like that I can quickly play my music and set a reminder with the alarm. The flashlight is right there too. The other shortcuts there are either to features I don’t use or already have easy access to (e.g., camera). You can change the functionality of the Control Center in Settings (e.g., you might want to turn it off when inside an app). When it’s disabled, you’ll still be able to get to it on the Home screen.
  • Notification Center. If you swipe down from the top of the screen, the Notification Center opens. It shows new mail, missed calls, a calendar Today view, and more. You can customize what you see by tapping Settings, Notification Center.
  • Searching. Whether I’m looking for a contact or an app, if you swipe down from the middle of the home screen, you’ll be able to conduct a quick search.
  • Alter Data Usage. Under Settings, Cellular, you can determine which apps will be restricted to using WiFi as opposed to your data plan. I turned completely off and will use cellular plan only when I have to.
  • Zoom. Use your fingers to zoom. To turn the feature on, tap Settings, General, Accessibility, Zoom. After this is set, use three fingers and double-tap to zoom in and out. Double-tap and drag three fingers to move around the screen.
  • Easier Tapping. I’ve realized that the more streamlined interface makes it easier to tap the keyboard.

Apps

  • Automatic Updates. You can set your unit up to automatically update apps. Tap Settings, iTunes & App Store, and scroll down to Automatic Downloads and tap it on. You’ll also see where you can opt to use your cellular data plan for updates instead of the default WiFi. I left this off.
  • Quick Preview of Apps. When you double-tap the Home button, you’ll be able to swipe through preview screens of the apps you have open. Tap one to open. To quit an app, just swipe it up and out of preview.
  • Organize More Apps Inside Folders. I have most of my apps organized into folders using broad categories such as Media, Travel, etc. I just noticed that I can add more than the nine I can see. To preview the others, tap the folder to open, then swipe to the right to see more. (To get them into a folder in the first place, press down on any icon until all start to shake. Then slide an icon on top of one that you want to group. When you release, you’ll have the opportunity to name the folder by tapping the text, deleting, and typing as you normally would.)
  • Media Organization. I’m a professional organizer and organize everything. I appreciate having my photos separated from videos in albums. Tap Photos on the home screen, Albums. Another feature is Summarize Photos and show in collections and by year. Tap Settings, Photos & Camera, tap to turn the feature on or off.
  • Close Apps. Double-tap the Home button. Close apps by swiping them upward. You can see more of them by swiping left and right. Double-tap the Home button when done.

Messages

  • Message Templates. I love the message templates. Go to Settings, Phone, Respond with Text. Create your own custom messages. When a call comes in, Message will be one of your options. Tap that, and choose one of your templates.
  • Selecting Text-Paragraph. Only if you’re in typing mode (e.g., replying to an email message), you can double-tap (use two fingers) a paragraph to select it.
  • Selecting Text-Word. To select a word, double-tap it (use one finger). Then drag the pointers to extend the selection.
  • Timestamps for Messages. It’s easy to check for the exact time every message was sent and received by swiping message bubbles to the left.
  • Blocking Unwanted Calls and Messages. You can block someone by first adding them to Contacts, Settings, Phone, Blocked, Add New, find that contact you want to block.
  • Always Bcc Yourself. When I send a message from my iPhone, I automatically send myself a blind copy so the message will end up in my Outlook Inbox. Under Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, scroll down to Mail, and turn on Always Bcc Myself.
  • Customize Your Signature. I wanted to add a couple of lines to my auto signature. Under Settings, Mail-Contacts-Calendars, scroll down to Mail, tap Signature, tap inside the signature space, and tap your text.

Calendar

View in a List. If you’d rather see your appointments in a list, open Calendar, and tap the magnifying glass at the top. You can search your calendar from here also.

Reminders. I don’t use iPhone’s Reminders as mine are in Outlook and synched. Plus, I have a separate app (Alarmed) that I use. But if you do use Reminders, here is a great article about that.

 

More Tips

Here’s a great article I found with some more less obvious tips. Click to find out how to:

  • Delete an entire conversation (swipe to the left in the Messages screen). “However, if you want to keep some messages but delete others, this is less obvious.“
  • Find out how to see the timestamp on every message.
  • And more.

Here’s a great article on ways to save on your battery life.

Have you found features hidden in this new operation system? Leave a comment to let us know.

PEACE.

Will Productivity in the Workplace Take a Dip as a Result of the London 2012 Olympic Games? It Depends.

Productivity in the workplace during the Olympics 2012Productivity in the workplace is expected to take a dip during the next two weeks, but some employees will handle it better than others.

Sporting News recently reported that heavy sports enthusiasts spend on average over 31 hours a week following sports. These same people will probably completely shut down the next two weeks to follow the Olympics. Others will do what needs to be done…it all depends on the type of worker they normally are.

Slackers will use this as an excuse to do less work. If they’re wasting time instead of working now, they’ll just do more of it these few weeks.

On the other hand, conscientious employees will continue to meet goals, beat deadlines, and service the customer.

If you’re the boss and are going to require less of them during this craze, you should have required more from them before it heated up.

PEACE.

Animoto Video: Record Your Memories and Produce Movies for Work or Play

This past Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, and I do hope you honored them. One of my clients, Global Evaluation & Applied Research Solutions, Inc., (GetInGears.com), held their second annual Administrative Professionals Conference. Organizations that invested in their employees and sent them to this training included the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), MARTA, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), and more.

I was the keynote speaker, and my speech was titled, “Spend Your Time Right and Your Dreams Will Come True.” I talked about my journey from my first job after college at IBM as a secretary and how my skills landed me a promotion to project manager, and also how I’m using those same skills to run my business. That afternoon, I demonstrated some of my favorite tips and tricks in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

My main advice for the day: turn off the TV and spend your time and your money feeding your brain. There is too much you need to learn to waste your time on some so-called Housewives of Atlanta.

What a great day we had! The following is a video I created that captures it.

A colleague, LaTonya Blount, used my Flip camcorder to record a one-hour video. I used Movavi Video Converter to convert the Flip’s MP4 to the Windows Media Video format (so I could import to Camtasia, which I used to edit the video). We’d taken some photos also, and I used Windows Live Photo Gallery to crop them. After all that, I pulled everything into the Plus version of Animoto and created this finished product (for video, Animoto’s limit is 10 seconds per clip, and that’s all you need).

Animoto adds all the animation. I purchased their Plus version so I could make something longer than what’s available with the free version, and I wanted to add videos. When I used the embed code from Animoto, their logo showed on the screen during playback (the logo comes with their embeddable flash player). I’d have to move up to the Pro version to create an unbranded video (and to get their coolest transitions), but that’s just not happening. They jump from free to $30/year to $249/year. I uploaded the video to YouTube so I could use their player instead. After that, I used LinkedTube.com to create the banner that’s on top of the video that reads, Hire This Woman! The music is my official theme song, Time Catchers, that my ex-husband, Larry, wrote for me.

Converting the video consumed the most time. I always start this process and keep working on something else. When I get my Kodak PlayTouch (zi10) camcorder, this will be a step I’ll be able to omit. I love the Movavi Video Converter because no matter the format, it keeps the quality.

Let me know what you think. Give Animoto a try, and use the free version to get a feel for how easy it is. And to create your YouTube channel the right way in the first place, or take the one you have to the next level, you’ll want my booklet, Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel Made Easy. It’s available on my main Website with free shipping.

PEACE.

 

Information Overload: Email, IM, Fax, Mail, Phones

A new client called me this morning stressed out about all the information coming into her office every day. She’s having a hard time concentrating on work that generates income and needed some suggestions.

You have to take stock of what is bothering you, write it down, and develop some solutions to reduce the angst or make it go away. The following turned out to be her main issues.

Email
What type of messages are coming in? Is it spam, personal friends, potential clients, current clients, etc.? Analyze the incoming messages so you know what you’re dealing with. I have numerous ways to manage email, and she realized she should take my Outlook/Time Management class.

  • Create answers to messages you receive often. Save them as signatures (in Outlook 2003 or older) and in QuickParts (Outlook 2007 or later). When you need to send the same answer, it’s already written and a click away.
  • Stop checking email all day. Set aside times of day to check email. Get into a meeting with the Inbox and stay focused on it. During that meeting, analyze each message and either delete it, pend it, schedule it, task it, flag it for follow up, or do the work if it’s quick.

Cell Phone
Who’s calling your cell phone during the day and why? This was a mix of her family wanting to know what she’s doing, clients who are also friends, and personal friends.

  • Change the outgoing message on your cell phone. “Thanks for calling. My cell phone is turned off during the day. If you’re a client, please call the work phone at (the number). I’ll return all other calls after work hours. You may also send me an email at (email address). If this is an emergency, please call the work phone.
  • Turn off the cell phone during the day and only use it at your convenience.

Instant Messages
Who’s sending you instant messages and what do they want? This amounted to a lot of “What are you doing?” type of questions so that account will be logged off during the day.

Fax
What is coming in via fax? Information comes in via fax that needs to be filed. Change the old-style fax machine to receiving faxes via email. She didn’t receive a lot of faxes so I advised that she sign up for a free fax account at http://home.efax.com/s/r/efaxprint

Mail
When the mail comes in, put it in one place, separating by recipient. Someone should process it once a day.

Telephone
Who’s calling you the most and what are they asking for?

  • Change your outgoing message and let people know when they should expect a return call, suggest they send you an email instead, and refer them to your Website for more help.

    If you’re in a job such as a reporter with tons of irrelevant calls (e.g., from publicists), don’t say, “I’ll return your call as soon as I can” because you’re not. It’s perfectly fine to say something like, “Due to the number of calls I receive every day, I may not be able to return yours. However, I want to responsive and have put a link on our Web site, blah, blah, blah.”

  • Make your Website easier to navigate and add a Frequently Asked Question page. This will reduce the number of non-revenue calls.

Can you afford to allow non-revenue interruptions to interfere with work? Me neither. Analyze each interruption and put a process in place to manage it.

Have you made any changes that help you get work done during the workday? Let us know by leaving a comment.

PEACE.

6 Ways to Create More Time. Hint: Stop Wasting So Much of It!

Every time I hear of company layoffs, I feel badly for the people losing their jobs. But I immediately start to wonder how the people left behind will make it. They were already working inefficiently; now half of their co-workers are gone.

In my work as a consultant helping people improve their personal productivity, I see so much wastage. I often wonder how anything gets done and how people have any time for a life outside of work.

Create More Time

If you’ve wondered “How on earth will I find time to do all this work?”, read on. Now is the perfect time to turn off the TV and start developing ways to work smarter.

Keep a time log. If you don’t believe you waste a lot of time, keep a log. How many times did you surf the Internet reading useless blogs (not mine), etc., that are not work-related? How many personal phone calls? How much time spent on personal errands, events, etc? How much time are you spending looking for a file on your computer? Keep track of every minute for a few days and be honest with yourself about how you’re spending work time.

Organize everything. Save hours a day by creating paper, computer, Inbox, etc., filing systems so you can find anything you need the instant you need it. Start with your clothes closet and purge the things you don’t need and put like items together by type and color. Use this same system for everything else that you organize, not necessarily by color, but by putting broad categories of items together. In a filing system, this could mean putting all of your marketing files together, accounting files together, etc. Get everyone to use the same logical systems so anyone can find anything anywhere in the office.

(Free templates are available at www.PeggyDuncan.com that will help you with all this and will save you hours of tedious work. My site views best in Internet Explorer.)

Set goals and prioritize. You have to determine what your goals are so you’ll know how you should spend your time. The easiest way to figure out what your priorities are is to stay focused on those things that make you the most money. On a job, it’s what’s laid out in your performance plan that’s connected to the size of your raise. In business, it’s whatever is bringing in the most revenue, whether it’s a particular set of clients, products, or services..

Streamline your processes. Get back weeks by not working the same way you always have. Spend time figuring out better ways to get everything done. Look at everything you’re doing, especially the most time-consuming, miserable, mundane work you have to do. Is the work necessary in the first place (not all of it is)? What steps are unnecessary? Is someone else doing it a different way and finishing faster and with fewer errors? Examine everything you’re doing, write it down, move steps around, and eliminate all wastage.

Computerize everything. Get work done in the time it will take you to blink. Technology you already have can perform magic, but few people have stopped long enough to seek training. If you learn how to use the software you touch every day, you’ll finish everything at least six times quicker. Either learn how your software works or hire a geek who already knows.

Delegate or outsource what you can. Once you’ve gotten organized and computerized, you’ll have a clearer picture of the work you do and how it should be done. Now you’ll be able to get someone else to do much of it and offer logical explanations of what you need (because now it makes more sense to you). Spend your time and mind on your core work and delegate or outsource everything else.

You might have to give up a weekend or two to get this done, but you’ll get all that time back and feel better every day going forward. And unlike dieting or exercising, the results from all these things are immediate!

Need training? Check out my Website for public productivity workshops, Webinars, computer classes, and information about hiring me as a speaker for your next event or for company training.

And my book, The Time Management Memory Jogger(TM), teaches everything I know about working smarter in a quick, easy read.

P.S. Here is an excellent article on motivating employees who are left behind after a layoff. And use the calculator in the right sidebar to determine how much free time you have after doing all the things that MUST be done.

PEACE.ggy Duncan, Personal Productivity Expert

Coaching Session Turned Into a Slideshow/Video

Monday Breakthroughs

I recently recorded a coaching session/Webinar I had with two clients who wanted to get organized at work (that’s the number one way of creating more time). One is a small business owner (events planner) and the other in hotel sales. Clutter was taking over their lives and blocking them from reaching their full potential.

The next day, as I was listening to the recording, the idea hit me to create a video of this call and include the slides.

I considered different ways I could create this video and ended up doing it as follows.

Step One

The first thing I did was to edit the audio to a tight conversation that’s the right combination of my tips and how my clients understood them and will use them. Once that was perfected, I made a separate recording of my introduction to the video (the next time I do this, I’ll include this when I record the phone call).

Step Two

The next step was to save each slide in my PowerPoint presentation as pictures (here is a previous post I wrote on how to Save a PowerPoint Slide as a Picture). So now I have my audio and my PowerPoint slides in a format I can use. Next, I had to sync everything.

Step Three

I use Camtasia Studio. I created a new project and added both the audio files to the timeline. I also inserted all the slides into the Clip Bin as separate pictures. As I listened to the recording, I stopped every time I referenced a new slide. I’d then add the appropriate slide/picture to the timeline and adjust the recording to fit.

Step Four

Once I had the project the way I wanted it, I rendered it as a Flash video and uploaded it to Techsmith’s Website, Screencast.com.

Finished Resource

Now I have a product: Monday Breakthroughs. You’ll be able to view the full video/presentation/training at your convenience, then join me on the phone any Monday for live group coaching that’s only for Q&A. (In addition to the video and phone coaching, you’ll also receive my ebook, Get Organized At Work, and a set of free Word documents that make it easy to create a filing system and will save you hours of work.)

Here’s the trailer.

Get all the details and sign up right here.

I went from a coaching call to developing a new product using tools I already know. I spent one day developing this instead of outsourcing, waiting months, going back and forth until I could get exactly what I wanted, completely stressing out, and paying a ton of money.

My question to you: how can you take what you know and create products to sell while you sleep? Leave a comment with your ideas.

What’s Next?

I think my next project will cover how to improve your email habits and etiquette, and how to manage email overload using Outlook. I’ll keep you posted.

PEACE.

Social Networking Can Lead to Social Notworking

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest craze of social media and networking. But when it takes over and you start to neglect handling business, it’s a problem.

One of my clients didn’t understand why it was so hard for her to finish projects on time. She worked crazy hours but was always trying to catch up. I suggested that she maintain a time log for at least a week to track how she was spending her time.

Guess what? She quickly realized she was spending more time Twittering, Flickring, Facebooking, and Myspacing than she was working. She’d landed into the thick of all the popular social networking tools, but she became so addicted it led to social NOTworking.

If this sounds familiar and you think the same thing has happened to you, keep the time log for a few days. Make a visual of how you’re spending your time and let me know what you discover.

The social media tools can be good for business if you do it right. I hope you’ll start to balance all this.

PEACE.

UPDATE: Here is a study conducted by Nucleus Research on the topic of social notworking.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert