How To Be More Productive at Work


Question:  I’m very busy.  I have lots of things I need to get done and I work long hours.  I feel overwhelmed and stressed because I work hard and yet still have trouble getting things done.  Are there ways for me to be more productive?

Answer:  Yes.  Many people feel busy and also frustrated because they still don’t get things done despite being busy. Here are some tips for working smarter:

  • Plan your work and work your planA few minutes of planning can save you hours of time.  Create a routine that supports planning for your work day.  Review your calendar and prioritize your task list.  Schedule time for getting work done.  Then work your plan.  This will help you stay focused on what’s important and allow you time to get things done.
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day.  If you’re working a marathon day, treat yourself like an endurance athlete.  To perform well your body needs to recharge with food, water and a change of pace (rest or physical activity depending on the type of work you do).  Your mind also needs a break from focused or intense work to recharge.  Try organizing your workday into 25-90 minute sessions.  Between sessions recharge and come back to the next session with renewed energy and focus.

Debbie Rosemont

Is a Messy Desk Good or Bad at Work?

messy desk

office team

“Although not everyone cares about how your desk looks, having a messy workspace could lead others to question your professionalism,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Keep your desk tidy and you’ll be able to find what you need more quickly and increase your work efficiency.”

OfficeTeam identifies seven desk organization mistakes:

  1. Creating a pileup. Recycle or shred unnecessary paperwork and file or scan everything else.    
  2. Failing to contain yourself. Use pencil cups, drawer and file organizers and trays to keep items in their place.
  3. Hoarding. If you haven’t touched something in a year, it probably shouldn’t be on your desk. Keep supplies you access most often within reach, and the rest out of sight.
  4. Not being tech-savvy. Going paperless can help you reduce clutter and find information more quickly, but only if you use a digital filing system or organizational app to keep track of everything.
  5. Over-accessorizing. It’s generally fine to show some personality with your workspace decorations, but leave your teddy bear collection and gigantic cat posters at home.    
  6. Being “crumb”y. Clear your desk of food wrappers, empty coffee cups and dirty plates. Wipe off your work surface after eating.
  7. Cleaning just once or twice a year. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day straightening up your workspace so you can get a quick start in the morning.



Drowning in Email- Help!


Question: Help! I’m drowning in incoming email.  I start opening email in the morning and soon hours have passed and I haven’t done anything but sift through email.  How can I both manage my email and get my work done?

Answer: This is a very common challenge.  Here are some tips for getting in control of your email and assuring you have time to work:

  • Don’t start your day by opening your inbox.  Get something, perhaps the most important something, done from your task list first.  This assures you’ve met one of the day’s goals before you delve into your inbox.
  • Reduce the frequency you check email.  Checking email every few minutes when you’re trying to stay focused on your work is a very distracting and costly behavior.  Experiment working in 25-90 minute sessions without checking email.  You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done and how the quality of your work improves without so much distraction.
  • Turn off notification sounds and icons.  These notifications, even just hearing or glancing at them, can cost hours a day in lost productivity.  Take control of your email and check you inbox on your terms.

Debbie Rosemont –

Falling Through the Cracks

post its

Question: Things are falling through the cracks at work.  I’m constantly forgetting to do things or neglecting to follow-up with clients.  I use sticky notes to remind myself of what I need to do and it often looks like my desk is covered in sticky notes.  Worse, I often either can’t find a note or forget that I made a note.  How can I get organized so things don’t fall through the cracks?

Answer:  Not only does having things fall through the cracks prevent you from meeting your commitments and goals; it also creates stress for you.  You need a more reliable process for collecting and storing your tasks and commitments.  You’ve made a good first step in writing things down.  The sticky notes fail because they aren’t safely consolidated into a task or to-do list and because it is difficult to manage your work when commitments and ideas are scattered about.  Here are some tips for preventing things from falling through the cracks:

  • Start using an electronic or paper task list.  Make this the one and only spot you write down all of your commitments.  Carry it with you.  If you do jot down something on a sticky note, make sure to transfer it to your official task list.
  • Create an end of day routine to review and prioritize your task list.  Things fall through the cracks when we lose sight of what’s on our task lists and what’s important.  Take a few minutes at the end of each day to make sure you have all of your tasks written in one place and to make decisions about how to prioritize your work for the next day.

Debbie Rosemont


Other People’s Disorganization



There’s a fellow manager at work who’s a train wreck and they don’t realize it. How do I help someone who’s clearly not organized but who thinks they’re doing fine?


In general, trying to change another person’s behavior tends to:

  1. Frustrate you
  2. Annoy them
  3. Have little or no effect on      the bothersome behavior.

Here’s my best advice for dealing with OPD: Other People’s Disorganization

Tip #1: Realize that the one who has to change – is the one who feels the pain

If you’re affected by this manager’s disorganization, your energy is best spent finding ways to get what you need rather than change what they do.

This might mean, for instance, giving them a list of your weekly needs (in a nice way, of course) and following up each afternoon.

Work out what you need in order to do your job and focus on asking for that.

Tip #2: Model the benefits of being organized

Although people don’t often respond well to unsolicited advice, they do tend to notice when someone else has what they want.

Being happy and organized yourself is a great way to sneak under this manager’s radar. Then, if they ask you how you’re so organized, you can offer to help.

Tip #3: Accentuate the positive

At heart, we’re at least partly susceptible to positive reinforcement from our environment.

Showing sincere appreciation when your colleague does the things you need for your job could help encourage the organized behavior you want.

As long as your appreciation is genuine and not manipulative, you can feel fine about conducting a little behavior-shaping experiment of your own.

Michele Connolly,

Office: Desk Command Center- organize your paperwork and supplies on your desktop

desk command center

Whether at work or at home, the top of your desk is often one of the hardest places to keep organized.  You often struggle with paperwork, files, pens, supplies, tools like staplers and much more.  In this video we share a few tips to help create a desktop command center.

Products that can help your desktop:


 rack it 

  Rackit File 

Like-It Desk Organizer