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Productivity & Time Management

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Talking Shop: The Upside of Chaos
CURRENTS Article Joan Garry, principal of Joan Garry Consulting, believes the best nonprofits are like twin-engine jets. In advancement, the board chair and institution president are co-pilots. The staff and lead volunteer engines need to be strong, effective, and efficient. But, of course, there will always be turbulence. "If you haven't had a crisis at an institution, it's not because you're good—it's because you're lucky," she warns. The author of Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership, Garry shares advice on dealing with disorder.

Why Being Grumpy at Work is Good for You
Advancement Weekly Article Research shows that being grumpy at work may increase your productivity.

Why Waking Up at 5 A.M. Every Day Just Makes Sense
Advancement Weekly Article Waking up early builds discipline, helps increase productivity and allows for personal time to develop a perspective on the coming day, according to one tech entrepreneur.

Are You In Charge of Your Day?
Advancement Weekly Article You're about to leave work when you see the piles of paper and other unfinished business scattered about your desk and wonder, "What happened to my day?"

The Pros and Cons of Pro/Con Lists
Advancement Weekly Article Need to make a tough decision? You might want to consider making a list of pros and cons—or maybe not.

Family Matters
CURRENTS Article For busy advancement officers, the line between their professional and personal lives blurs easily and often. Alumni relations staff frequently work evenings and weekends; development officers can travel several times a month to visit donors; social media directors monitor, respond, and post content 24/7. In a recent work-life balance survey, 68 percent of advancement professionals reported working 45 hours or more per week, and 30 percent said that work often interferes with their personal lives. These unpredictable schedules can take a toll on families. So how can you align your personal and professional relationships in a healthy way? Here's how to stay married to your partner and not wedded to your job.

Help Your Employees Stay Focused This Holiday Season
Advancement Weekly Article Your employees' attention may stray during the busy holiday season, but there are ways to shift their focus back to work, according to one business expert.

Update Your Morning Routine for Success
Advancement Weekly Article If your morning routine involves only a shower and quick breakfast, you may be missing some crucial steps that can facilitate success, according to one life coach.

Manage Your Holiday Stress
Advancement Weekly Article The holiday season is almost here, which means increased workplace stress for many employees. One expert offers a few tips on how to manage the extra stress of the season.

CURRENTS Article Advice on handling donor information learned during a previous position, and members share what app changed their life.

How to Design Offices for Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article According to one office innovation expert, a dull and unstimulating office environment could have a negative effect on your staff's productivity.

The Tried-and-True Formula to Tackle Your To-Dos
Advancement Weekly Article The hardest part of managing workflow isn’t making your to-do list—it’s prioritizing all the items on it. Here is one time management expert’s advice for tackling a seemingly endless list of tasks.

How to Turn Your Afternoon Slump into Success
Advancement Weekly Article By most afternoons, many of us have answered all the emails and endured all the meetings we can stand. After lunch, we feel sluggish and unmotivated. The afternoon slump can slow you down but there are ways to beat it, according to one workplace expert.

Why It's Important to Say No
Advancement Weekly Article It's natural to feel guilty or be reluctant to decline new tasks or meetings at work. But you could be more successful if you learn to say no, according to one business expert.

Things Successful People Do with Their Lunch Break
Advancement Weekly Article If you spend your lunch break eating at your desk, glued to your phone, or even skip lunch altogether, you may be missing out on a critical part of your workday, according to one workplace expert.

2 Major Reasons to Become a Morning Person
Advancement Weekly Article Being an early riser can help cut down on the procrastination that can spur stress. But night-owls, rejoice: you can make mornings your friend. Here, according to a business expert, is how to do it.

Hack Your Brain to Be Less Forgetful
Advancement Weekly Article We say we'll remember to send Grandma a birthday card or schedule a flu shot or pick up a carton of milk on the way home—but then we forget. New research on memory offers a strategy to "hack" your brain and stop forgetfulness in its tracks.

Achieve Productivity with a Plan
Advancement Weekly Article Just because we are constantly distracted with emails, phone calls and other interruptions doesn't mean that we should accept them as part of our work day, writes one small business expert.

Master Anything on Your To-Do List, Big or Small
Advancement Weekly Article When to-do lists grow, motivation wanes, and you can feel helpless against the burden of the tasks at hand. It's important to turn those doubts into actions, writes one career expert.

Are You the Productivity Problem?
Advancement Weekly Article Leaders may think that they are doing everything right to provide a productive work environment for their staff—but are they ignoring the biggest problem? One management expert warns that leaders can be the biggest obstacle in their employees' productivity.

5 Ways Small Teams Can Stay Efficient
Advancement Weekly Article A small team has many advantages—they are often more nimble and more compatible than larger groups—but they require careful management to avoid some common inefficiencies, writes one entrepreneur.

The Limits of Doing It All
Advancement Weekly Article Leaders who handle every challenge on their own may be making a costly mistake, writes one leadership expert.

Why Good Leaders Ask for Help
Advancement Weekly Article It's easy for managers to become isolated as they spend more time in meetings and ensconced in email. This results in being removed from the core meaning of their work, writes one leadership expert.

How Successful Leaders Avoid Procrastination
Advancement Weekly Article Even successful leaders struggle with whims of procrastination, but they do something that many people don't: they work through it. Leaders who "break past mental barriers" stay productive and are more successful, writes one business management expert.

Use the Rule of 45 to Your Advantage
Advancement Weekly Article Managers who receive a lot of requests each day may be tempted to respond when they have more time or not respond at all but this habit doesn't reflect well on an organization, writes one marketing expert.

Decentralizing Decision Making
Advancement Weekly Article Strong decision-making skills were once primarily the responsibility of those in leadership positions, but now nonprofits are including staff at all levels in the process. Many organizations are hoping that including more team members in the decision-making process will lead to swifter decisions that yield greater success, writes one leadership expert.

What to Do When Multitasking Becomes a Distraction
Advancement Weekly Article Leaders who are often distracted in the workplace sacrifice the ability to maintain awareness and focus on their goals, says one management expert.

Build Your Team's Reliability
Advancement Weekly Article Reflect for a moment on the projects your team is tackling right now. Even if team members are making progress, they might be moving with dysfunctional momentum rather than resilience, writes a leadership expert.

3 Travel-Inspired Efficiency Tips
Advancement Weekly Article Traveling often for business has taught Eric McNulty a host of lessons about efficiency. Here are his top productivity pointers from life on the road.

Why Time Management Doesn't Matter
Advancement Weekly Article For any leader juggling a cramped schedule, this will either come as a relief or shock: don't fret about time management, says a productivity expert.

Workplace Productivity Tricks to Tackle Email, Meetings
Advancement Weekly Article Two of the biggest office time killers are email and meetings. Combat them with these two tactics from a productivity expert.

Factors That Predict Great Hiring Decisions
Advancement Weekly Article When hiring a new team member, it can be difficult to determine how a candidate will actually perform on the job. Great hiring decisions, writes a business expert, are based on several key factors.

Don’t Ask “What Do You Do?” And Other Work-Life Balance Lessons
Advancement Weekly Article Can women have it all in work and family life? Maybe—but now, plenty of thought leaders are asking if men can, too, and what having it all really means.

3 Tried-and-True Decision-Making Tricks
Advancement Weekly Article Deliberating about decisions can sap time and energy, so professionals have to put structures in place to ease the process, writes a business leader.

Being More Effective, not Efficient, Key to Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article Human beings are not machines, and our brains are not emotionless, tireless computers, writes one researcher, who says people might be more productive if they focused on effectiveness, not efficiency.

Six Lists to Make Every Day
Advancement Weekly Article Making to-do lists can help busy professionals stay on track—but certain types of lists offer maximum benefits, says a productivity expert.

Telecommuting: Best in Moderation
Advancement Weekly Article Although more organizations are beginning to grapple with work-from-home options, research offers conflicting evidence on telecommuting’s effectiveness.

The Secrets to Making Meetings Smarter
Advancement Weekly Article Good, focused meetings—rather than dull meetings that team members scheme to avoid—are essential in today’s workplace, say two business leaders.

Avoid These Time Management Mistakes
Advancement Weekly Article By failing to plan their workday before it’s started, busy managers and workers can waste precious time, writes a time management expert.

Combine Comparable Tasks to Achieve Greater Efficiency
Advancement Weekly Article Busy leaders can get more done by completing similar tasks in the same sitting, writes a time management expert.

Organize Work Tasks to Improve Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers should learn to work smarter, not harder, writes an executive coach.

Follow These Principles to Improve Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers who make small improvements to their workplace habits can dramatically improve their productivity, writes an authority on time management.

This Four-Letter Word can Boost Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Saying “done” out loud as you finish even small tasks can make you more productive at work, says a psychologist and neuroperformance specialist.

The Best Way to Start the Week
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Productive managers use Monday to organize their schedule, prepare for potential obstacles and give colleagues notice of upcoming meetings or projects in the week ahead, writes a time-management expert.

Limit Distractions when Working from Home
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article When telecommuting, people should set a schedule to give their day structure and keep them motivated, say productivity specialists.

Learn to Stop Procrastinating
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Identifying the root cause of procrastination at work is the first step toward breaking the habit, writes a time management expert.

Set Aside Time to Recharge
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers and employees should schedule time to rest throughout the workweek to improve their attention, motivation, productivity and creativity, writes a time management expert.

Productivity Starts at the Top
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders are primarily responsible for creating and supporting a culture of productivity within their organizations, writes a leadership specialist.

A Simple Method to Prioritize Tasks
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article When tackling their daily to-do lists, managers should not start with the easiest tasks first, writes a time management expert. This will only lead to a lack of time to handle more difficult tasks.

How to Get Out of a Mental Rut
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Employees who are having trouble solving a problem should switch their focus to an unrelated task, writes an expert on workplace psychology.

Know When to Say No to Additional Responsibilities
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Top performers should think twice before volunteering to take on additional responsibilities at work, writes a leadership coach.

Office Space: Want to Retain Your Fundraisers? Give Them Unlimited Time Off.
CURRENTS Article Taking time off is essential for maintaining one's energy, sanity, and creativity, particularly in a profession where devleopment officers are expected to bring their A-game to an 8 p.m. meeting with a donor and manage other events that are part of a nontraditional work schedule.

Help Workers Learn to Focus
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers should provide attention-management training to employees who are distracted by technology and a constant influx of information, write two business school professors.

Know When to Call It Quits
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article The most productive people know when to abandon a task before it becomes fruitless, writes one productivity expert.

Longhand Beats Laptop for Note Taking
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article New research shows that people remember more conceptual information from presentations over the long term when they take notes by hand instead of on a laptop.

Diplomatically Manage Your Time
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Time management experts say leaders can set the boundaries they need to get their work done—such as saying no to meeting invitations and checking email less frequently—without negatively impacting the work of their colleagues.

To Get More Done, Slow Down
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders who work at a harried pace are inefficient and ineffective in their roles, says an executive coach.

Don't Get Caught Up with Busywork
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders are often so busy completing day-to-day tasks that they don’t take time to think creatively about how to solve larger work-related problems, says a time-management specialist.

Avoid This Productivity Killing Habit
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Many workers perform some sort of “transition ritual,” such as checking email or social networks, to help themselves regain focus after they are interrupted at work, says a time management specialist.

Stop Thinking Everything is Urgent
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders should challenge the assumption that all work tasks or assignments need to be carried out quickly, says a management consultant.

How to Overcome Procrastination
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Workers can adopt several strategies to make themselves work when they don’t want to, says a social psychologist.

How to Accomplish Long-Term Goals
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers can make lasting, positive contributions to their organizations by setting aside time to achieve them, says a psychologist.

Finish the Year Strong
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers should develop a plan to accomplish their most pressing goals before the end of the year, says a management expert.

Why Activity Doesn’t Always Equal Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Just because managers and employees are busy around the office doesn’t always mean they are getting the most important work done, says an executive coach.

Advancement’s Work Is Never Done
CURRENTS Article Worker burnout is one of the lingering side effects of the Great Recession as organizations continue do more with less. Advancement is no exception. Development consultant Karen Osborne shares work-life balancing strategies that vice presidents and foundation leaders use, or should use, to manage their time and minimize staff and volunteer fatigue.

How to 'Get in the Zone' at Work
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers and employees can greatly improve their productivity by changing the way they approach work tasks, says a psychology researcher.

Embrace Time-Saving Activities
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders can generate more free time by adopting a few key habits, according to productivity research.

Build a Strong To-Do List
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders drafting a to-do list should start every item with a verb to ensure that the list gets done, says a time management expert.

Don't Hinder Worker Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article The everyday habits of some managers may be causing stress and impeding their staff's work progress, says an entrepreneur.

Do Important Work First
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Leaders should devote their mornings to completing their most important tasks of the day, says a manager.

Avoid Productivity-Destroying Email Habits
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers need to be aware of unhelpful email practices, says a leadership expert.

What Leaders Can Learn from Athletes
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Like professional athletes, leaders should learn to pace themselves so they don’t burn out physically and mentally, says a wellness expert.

Minimize Damage when a Deadline is Missed
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers who don’t handle missed deadlines appropriately can damage their careers, say leadership consultants.

Fix What's Making You Chronically Late
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Understanding the root causes of "lateness" can help workers improve their punctuality, says a time management coach.

Social Media Use Can Boost Worker Efficiency
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article New research shows that employees who are encouraged to use social media to accomplish work are more productive.

Remove These Items from Your Desk
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Simple office supplies can disrupt some employees’ workflow, says a professional organizer.

It's OK to Close Your Office Door
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Good bosses don’t have to be accessible the entire time they are in the office, says a time management expert.

Preserve a Planning Period
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article Managers and their employees should spend an hour every day planning their work, says a time management expert.

Accomplish More by Doing Less
Advancement Weekly Article,  Article To realize their goals, leaders should create a not-to-do list, says a creativity coach.

Always Refresh Your To-Do List
Advancement Weekly Article An individual’s to-do list is only worthwhile if tasks are crossed off as often as they are added, say experts on workplace efficiency.

Turn an Unproductive Day Around
Advancement Weekly Article Managers and employees can salvage unproductive workdays with a few simple steps, says a career coach.

How to Shut Out the World and Get More Done
Advancement Weekly Article Managers can get more done by limiting distracting phone calls and emails from colleagues, says a time management guru.

Break Out of a Creative Slump
Advancement Weekly Article When leaders hit a roadblock on a creative project, they should take a break, say leading experts.

How to Successfully Manage Deadlines
Advancement Weekly Article Career development experts say the way that managers handle deadlines can make or break their professional reputation.

Why Being Boring Makes You More Productive
Advancement Weekly Article Leaders should avoid spending too much time making mundane decisions—such as what to wear or what to eat for lunch—so they can focus on decisions that really matter, according to a time management guru.

Gain Time by Volunteering
Advancement Weekly Article New research shows that spending time helping others makes people feel as if they have more time, not less, to accomplish work.

Politely Say No to Extra Work
Advancement Weekly Article Managers whose supervisors give them unmanageable workloads should learn to say no, say time management experts.

Tips for Leaders with Short Attention Spans
Advancement Weekly Article Running an organization successfully requires managers to pay attention to tasks they love as well as those they hate, says a time-management guru.

Don't Waste Time Being a Busy Manager
Advancement Weekly Article An executive coach says leaders need to stop valuing “busyness” as a positive.

Knowing When and When Not to Take a Short Break
Advancement Weekly Article Growing evidence shows that taking regular breaks from work improves productivity and creativity. But just when should you take some time to recharge?

Signs You're Wasting Time at Work
Advancement Weekly Article Managers often waste time without realizing it, says a time management expert.

Productive Tasks for a Slow Day at Work
Advancement Weekly Article They may not come very often, but slow days at the office are the perfect opportunity to take care of tasks that can better prepare you for the future, says a planning expert.

How to De-Stress When Pressed for Time
Advancement Weekly Article Whether managers have five minutes or an hour to spare during a busy workday, there are numerous tactics they can employ to relieve stress, says one time management guru.

Never Miss Another Deadline
Advancement Weekly Article Authorities on time management say it’s possible for busy managers to get all of their tasks done—on time, every time—by better structuring their workload.

Slow Down to Avoid Bad Decisions at Work
Advancement Weekly Article New research says that managers who work too fast and rush into decisions are more likely to make selfish and unethical choices.

Boredom Can Fuel Creativity
Advancement Weekly Article Some of the best solutions to work and life problems come when people take “creative pauses” to think about ideas that "no one else has stopped to think about,” says a management expert.

Always Have a Work Contingency Plan
Advancement Weekly Article The best-laid plans to complete work tasks often go awry. One time management specialist offers some contingency plans for these situations.

To Get More Done, Learn to Say 'No'
Advancement Weekly Article Sometimes time management is more about deciding what not to do than what to do, according to one leadership guru.

Ways Spring Fever Can Boost Productivity
Advancement Weekly Article The arrival of nice weather provides an opportunity to change routines and boost your productivity in unexpected ways, says one management writer.

The Benefits of Keeping a Job Journal
Advancement Weekly Article Everyone—including managers—should keep a day-to-day log of all of their activities and interactions at work, says one career expert.

Discourage Office Interruptions
Advancement Weekly Article Many managers have at least one employee who enjoys popping by their offices to discuss every aspect of his or her work. Sometimes, such visits are important, but many times they are productivity killers for both parties, writes one manager.

Training Yourself to Focus
Advancement Weekly Article New psychiatric research reveals that people can train their brain to ignore distractions—making them more focused, creative and productive at work.

Take Time to Tune Out
Advancement Weekly Article Responding to demands from workers, German automaker Volkswagen recently decided to stop email service to its BlackBerry-using employees a half-hour after their shift ends—and restore it 30 minutes before their shift starts the next day. A New York Times columnist says more organizations should encourage employees to “switch off” and “curb the twitchy reflex to check email every couple of minutes.”

What Highly Productive People Do
Advancement Weekly Article Want to be more productive and regain your focus? It’s simple. Stop multitasking, says one project management expert.

The Best Way to Start and Finish Your Day
Advancement Weekly Article One executive career coach says managers should begin their day with a plan and end it with a recap.

How to Recover Lost Time
Advancement Weekly Article Have you ever arrived on time for an office meeting that started 10 minutes late? Been stood up by someone who forgot she had a lunch meeting with you? Had a flight or train delayed? There are ways to take advantage of this “lost” time—if you’re prepared.

Multitasking Managers Make Better Decisions
Advancement Weekly Article New research suggests that managers who concentrate on one task at a time until it’s finished may be shortchanging their organizations. In certain circumstances, managers perform better when they embrace everyday interruptions—from ill-timed phone calls to colleagues popping into their offices.

How to Come Back from Vacation
Advancement Weekly Article Rushing back to work can negate the benefits of vacation. Here are some tips to help you manage the transition from beach to campus.

Office Space: The Art of Working Effectively
CURRENTS Article In this article, author and advancement professional Rob Crawford reflects on his 10-year-plus effort to manage his time and his workload more effectively and productively. The valuable lessons he has gleaned from management books as well as his own experiments offer useful advice for those looking to improve their work habits.

Slice of Life
CURRENTS Article The author of this article describes how she often finds herself somewhat overwhelmed with options that can help her stay current and better serve her institution--listservs, blogs, online publications, print magazines, classes, conferences, and more. And she is not alone. In this article, she describes the best ways for PR people to stay on top of technology-related tools in an ever-changing field. She and other communicators describe what the essentials are to read, review, and attend when time--and money--is limited.

Manager's Portfolio: First Close the Door
CURRENTS Article E-mail overload has become all too common. The hundreds of e-mail messages in your inbox aren't really messages anymore--they're broken promises, missed deadlines, and unfinished work. This article provides tips on how to establish routines that ensure you stay on top of things.

Manager's Portfolio: Defeating "Overwhelm"
CURRENTS Article Everyone seems to be suffering from a daily feeling of being overwhelmed. We feel overwhelmed when we do too much, too fast. This article provides tips on how to say “no” and keep firm boundaries because none of us are superman or superwoman.

Manager's Portfolio: Meetings Take a Beating
CURRENTS Article Many organizations or departments meet out of habit, which can be a waste of everyone's time. This article addresses how managers can make their meetings more meaningful in less time--or how to avoid them altogether.

Manager's Portfolio: On the Ball
CURRENTS Article Elementary school development offices face more challenges every year. How can these small shops handle ever-increasing expectations during a time of belt tightening and greater demands for results? Managers should begin by setting priorities, goals, and objectives as well as the strategies for achieving them. Careful measurement and evaluation will ensure that managers focus on vital fund-raising activities and stay on track toward completion.

Career Path: Time Is on Your Side
CURRENTS Article Can flexible scheduling work in an advancement office? The author, now a senior development officer for Denison University, has arranged for modified work schedules--full-time, part-time, and telecommuting--at two different institutions. She explains how she made the case each time and reflects on her experiences.

AdvanceWork: Time Management or Time Wasted
CURRENTS Article Advancement officers who can never find enough hours in the day might want to examine their time management practices. "First Things First" author Stephen Covey proposes a system of four quadrants for dividing work tasks according to their urgency and importance that can help workers identify if they're driven by crises or bogged down by the mundane.

Career Path: A Date with Success
CURRENTS Article Busy advancement professionals often neglect professional development activities in favor of more "important" responsibilities. Here are 12 ideas to help even the most overtasked advancement officers squeeze professional development into their daily "to-do" lists.

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