12 tips to increase productivity from Laura Stack | Greetly

Posted by Greetly Digital Receptionist on December 10, 2014
Operate Efficiently

Operate Efficiently

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Productivity expert and professional speaker Laura Stack speaking at the Colorado American Marketing AssociationThe Greetly team recently attended a presentation given by Laura Stack, “America’s premier expert in productivity”. Having spent more than 20 years studying productivity and office automation, Laura gives countless presentations and has written six books on the topic.

This particular discussion focused on how to protect yourself from 12 “productivity suckers” – the distractions that inhibit you from getting more done. Every employee should consider the importance of implementing Laura’s recommendations. As a manager, more importantly, how can you make institutional changes that helps your entire team increase productivity?


Increase productivity by avoiding technology traps

Woman applying makeup while driving a car

  1. Stay organized. How often do you look at the same email? Laura recommends you never read an email twice. Instead, you should take immediate action the first time you read an email. delete, take the appropriate action, delegate or turn it into a task for completion later, sorted by importance within your broader task list.
  2. Don’t let technology control you. Research shows distractions impact productivity – it can take up to 25 minutes to return to the prior tasks! All those alerts for new emails, texts, instant messages and phone calls are distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode during work blocks to increase productivity. Use short, scheduled periods of time to efficiently respond to the communications you missed.
  3. Maintain focus. Some people work better with music playing. Others dead silence. Whatever works best for you, combine it with the tips above for maintaining focus.

Increase productivity by working smarter

  1. Working on the right tasks. Building a task list is helpful. More important though is ordering it. Most people work through their work on a FIFO basis (first in, first out) and/or by who is asking more persistently. Increase productivity by constantly ordering the importance of your projects and working through them in order.
  2. Obey your brain. Write things down. The old fashioned way with pen and paper. Research shows this helps increase conceptual understanding. And having good notes will help you complete tasks efficiently.
  3. Stop wasting time. This one is pretty straightforward… Taking breaks are vital for boosting focus. But playing games during work blocks is downright unproductive.

Increase productivity by working smarter with others

  1. No open door policy. You turned off your technology alerts and are humming through a work block. Until a visitor or co-worker distracts you. While an open door policy may be great for foreign affairs, it can be detrimental to your productivity.
  2. Clear communication. Don’t assume people will not distract you. Inform colleagues about your working style and create clear cues that you are in a work block.
  3. Say no. Volunteering is great. Giving away too much of your time increases stress though. Empower yourself to ‘just say no’ to free work.

Increase productivity by increasing your energy

  1. Work when energy is high. Some of us are morning people; others are night people. Most of us endure energy peaks and valleys throughout the day. Boost productivity by scheduling your work blocks when your energy is highest. Take breaks that involve moving around and socializing during low energy times.
  2. Minimize low value activities. In addition to using time that could be used for more valuable tasks, many view performing mundane tasks an energy drain.
  3. Have a sense of humor. Laughter has many therapeutic properties. One is to boost your energy. Whether socializing around the office, watching cat videos or just remembering that high school, making time to laugh can increase productivity.


Laura Stack neatly categorizes most productivity inhibitors into four categories – technology traps, self sabotage, people pitfalls and energy enemies. She then offers specific tips for fighting back against each category of productivity pitfall. Think about how you can implement these strategies to boost results for your office.

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