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Getting Started

OK, so you’ve arrived at 360 Minutes and there are more posts than you want to read right now to become: (a) productive, (b) more productive, or (c) really productive. Or, maybe you’d just like an easy way to sort out the non-core content from the core productivity content. Well, that’s what this page is for.

The following posts are listed in the recommended order of reading to help you get started being more productive with less stress…so you can enjoy life. Check back periodically, because this page will be updated as additional content is posted.

Getting the most out of your 360…
360 Minutes is about achieving improved productivity in your life with less stress and more personal satisfaction. It’s about tasks, steps, projects, solutions, attitudes, and an occasional miracle – maybe. It’s intended to serve you within whatever framework of time/workload/schedule management you employ.

The One Page Inbox
A one page inbox? Really? Yes, really. Although, keeping it that way will take hard work and discipline…like most achievements worth making. First, an obvious – and salient – question. Why a one page inbox? Because one page is all you can see and skim without scrolling!

Inbox Interruptions
Inbox interruptions are like all other interruptions in at least one respect: they redirect your attention away from whatever you were doing before the interruption. If it was being productive, uh-oh. So, how to manage them…

Processing, or Let’s Make Some Hole
In the context of office productivity, the hole we will make is in the pile of “stuff” cluttering your brain (more on this in a near-future article) and in-basket(s), whether they exist as actual in-baskets, a box of notes hiding under your desk, an email inbox, notes scribbled on napkins and squirreled away in your briefcase, or a combination of these methods and others.

Clean Up Your Mind!
Unless you regularly make an effort to capture everything nagging away at you in your head and get it out, your mind is cluttered with myriad things that need doing – regardless of whether you’re consciously thinking about them. That perpetual nagging robs you of your productivity, saps your strength, wastes your energy, and dramatically increases the amount of effort it takes to stay focused on tasks.

The Door Can’t Always Be Open
I’m going to share an effective, in fact I believe indispensable, way of honoring the open door policy (if you have one) and still ensuring you have uninterrupted productivity when you need it.

Schedule Mercilessly
Fighting your schedule daily can strain the best working relationships and sap the energy from your power breakfast as soon as you get to the office…whether that office is in an office building or your home. Here I will share some tips – learned the easy way and the hard way – for making your schedule work for you.

Daily Notes, or the Joy of Writing
Daily notes…journals…work diaries…project notes…whatever. They need to be kept and maintained, and most people loathe to keep them. I’m going to recommend an easy method of keeping these critical notes and, hopefully, show why they’re critical.

Decide What’s Important
Decide what’s important. To you, to your family, at home, and at work. Until you make this decision and commit to the principles required to do what’s important, you will spend countless hours doing things that are not important to you. Sustained effort without knowing what’s important will dramatically increase your stress and erode your quality of life.

Cooldown Cycle
Cooldown time is a concept familiar to anyone who operates anything from a lawn tractor to a piece of heavy construction equipment. It’s not good for a piece of heat-generating machinery to go from full load to switched off without an opportunity to idle for a period of time to “settle down” and cool off. Bad things happen…blocks crack, bearings sieze up, oil degrades faster. It isn’t good for us, either…

Tame the Filing Monster
We all have to face it, and most of us dread it. Filing. It isn’t fun, it takes too much time, you can’t remember where you filed something so you keep it all in one pile…most of us who have to keep files have used these excuses to avoid proper filing, but the monster can be tamed!

Productivity, uninterrupted
Do you find your best productive time interrupted by…well, interruptions? Can you sign this… Where do I… Which department is responsible for… Our best client needs… The list of potential interruptions is endless, but not all requests are created equal, and some of your time must be generally uninterruptible.

TIMBO: Productive Pragmatism
Everyone has a TIMBO in their organization…sometimes more than one. TIMBO is the person whose requests must be answered, instructions must be followed, or meetings must be attended regardless of what you had planned. But they don’t have to destroy your productivity or calm.

Email Worth Reading
Tired of being inundated with pointless email? Or worse, tired of emails with actions you need to take but can’t find in all of the fluff? Chances are, so is everyone else. Here are a few tips to make your email – and you – more effective.

Making a Point Using PowerPoint
Do you have a point to make? Does it require PowerPoint to make it? Do you think your point requires PowerPoint for you to make it? If you’re ready to pull your hair out and throw it at that one presenter whose presentations always provoke nausea, headaches, and spatial disorientation from the jumble on the slides, read on…

Delegate! But, Don’t Fire and Forget!
Do you find yourself with more tasks, assignments, or projects than you could possibly finish yourself? Even if you could finish them all yourself, should you? If you have staff, coworkers, or teammates for whom you’re responsible in any way…workload management, professional development, or mentoring…you need an effective way to delegate. Fire-and-forget is not the answer, but here’s one solution…

Is your routine driving you crazy?
Is your routine driving you crazy? Insanity has sometimes been described as doing the same thing – again and again – and expecting a different result. Oftentimes, we apply brilliant process improvement to our work lives while allowing our personal lives (or work:home life ratio) to enter a death spiral.

Ten Questions For Setting Great Daily Objectives
What to do today? Where to start? I don’t know where to begin! If you’re like most people, you face those questions, and likely more, at least occasionally and perhaps every day. They’re daunting questions when considered beyond the immediate timeframe, and I’ll discuss in this article a powerful way to respond to them.