Our workplace productivity, how we do what we do, is really made up of our habits, routines and use of the systems/tools we have access to…in life AND at work.

Thank you for attending our MPP seminar, and I hope you were able to go back to your desk and implement many of the ideas we discussed during our day together. Remember that question: When was the last day you took an entire day to pause, think about and reflect on not just WHAT you do, but how you work? For many people in our seminars, they say this was the first/only day that they have taken this year! So, to maximize it, continue to “give yourself the gift of your own attention” and implement one or two of the ideas presented.

Starting off the morning, I introduced the idea of “contextual cognition;” this concept that we think and work in different places, and at any given time can have ideas about OTHER work and OTHER places. As a result, almost anything we do “here” could be carried over to “there” and as such our systems need to be designed, maintained and improved with that in mind. Now, that begs the question: What IS the best system to use?

Since I’ve been studying this topic since becoming a high school teacher in 1995, I have not come up with a great answer. That is, I’ve seen too many people prefer a different system than mine, and as such there simply is not perfect system. By the way, here’s the link to that TED talk by Malcolm Gladwell.

Early in the morning, I introduced a few concepts (and, some 5 day experiments) you could begin utilizing right away. For example, we talked about the three different kinds of work:


Everyone goes through those different kinds of work on…


…a daily basis. That is, when you wake up in the morning, your mind is probably already moving quickly to calibrate all the ideas you have with all the things you have to do, with all the surprises coming your way.

So, we did the activity where you began exploring the “concept” of TIME. Remember, you wrote:





And then, for each letter, you came up with a word that “HELPS” and a word that “HURTS” time management. I’m always surprised with the same word shows up on both sides (teamwork, information, meetings, email…for example!). I hope you went back to your team and initiated a meeting…get everyone around the room to hear what you have to say regarding the difficulties you’re experiencing relative to time management…and, your ideas for making it better!

Getting back to your desk, you may find value in reviewing the TED talk I showed after the first break, the one about managing teamwork and collaboration.

There are a lot of things you could go back and implement after our seminar. For example, for the next few days, spend a little time each day organizing your email inbox. Consider going through your “older” messages, and asking yourself, “Do I turn these in to tasks, add reminders to my calendar, or do I file or delete this note?” That way, over the course of 5 or 10 days, you may gain a little more clarity and organization around your email inbox processing station.

Also, review the three (or more) words you underlined on page 1 of the workbook. Remember, those were the three words that stood out to you as important as we started the seminar, and many times, by simply reviewing those words throughout the day, you can get an idea or  sense of urgency toward really getting more out of the day. That leads me to something else we discussed: The definition of productivity. When YOU decide what that word means to you, you can easily decide how late to stay at work, what extra meetings to attend, and how to improve your workflow.

Everyone I work with needs to create their own “I’m at my best when…” program. We started yours in the class, I hope you’ll look at that one a few times over the next few days. By taking time to really STUDY how you work and what you can do early, mid and at the end of a day to maximize your day, you’ll get more done, finish more, and feel more productive.

Mastering Workplace Performance program

There is a lot more we could talk about. Consider adding to the dialogue, and sharing your questions and comments in the area below.

Also, I shared with you some of the tips and tricks that we’ve found inside of Lotus Notes (and the LN Dashboard). I hope you’ll go back and dive in to how that tool can assist you as a “personal assistant,” making it easier to park reminders and add ideas to the different parts of the system.

And, if you haven’t seen this TED talk by Ric Elias (he was on the plane that landed safely on the Hudson River), take 5 minutes and check it out!