Tag Archives: time management

Get Your Email—and the Clutter Within—Controlled

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

Ever since the first tolling of “ You’ve Got Mail” from America Online, email has become a standard part of our lives, both personally and in business. Checking email has become a typical part of everyday life. For example, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than 90 percent of Internet users between 18 and 72 said they send and receive email, making it the top online activity just ahead of search engines. Another example: According to a study by the American Management Association, U.S. workers spend an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes per day dealing with email alone.

We could produce statistic after statistic saying the same thing. But the bottom line is this:


Email is a part of nearly everyone’s life. The problem is that it’s also becoming a burden to time management and productivity. One of the culprits behind this is email clutter.

No, clutter isn’t restricted to your living space or place of work—it’s present in the digital world, too. There are several things you can do to keep a cluttered email box from ruling your day and getting back to a productive, well-managed lifestyle and workday:
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Digital or Paper Planning: Why Not Both?

By Bob Sadowski, APR, Public Relations & Social Media Manager, ACCO Brands

“Many people see technology as the problem behind the so-called digital divide. Others see it as the solution. Technology is neither. It must operate in conjunction with business, economic, political and social system.”

This is how former HP CEO Carly Fiorina looks at technology, and I think it’s safe to say that the same can be said about planning. Is technology the best platform for keeping calendars and notes, or is a paper system your best bet? Like Carly said, it’s neither.

Hybrid by M 93

Certainly, all of us have a preference or system of planning and organizing that works best. In fact, many people who say they are completely digital in these respects may not realize that written notes, reminders and to-do lists place them in the “paper” category as well. Herein lies the dilemma when choosing a planning system: Do you want the flexible nature of paper planning, or are you enticed by the speed of digital solutions?

Why not simply use both—it’s what we like to call a hybrid. Continue reading

When in Doubt, Trim it Out…of Your Task List, That Is

By Bob Sadowski, APR, Public Relations & Social Media Manager, ACCO Brands

As the New Year gets underway, a lot of resolutions are made. According to research compiled for our infographic released in December, many of these resolutions are focused on slimming down. Waistlines aside, that’s exactly what we’re recommending you do: Slim down your task list!

Your task list is at the core of productivity and efficiency, and when it’s too large or over-burdening, your ability to plan and organize goes down the tubes. So, for this New Year, we recommend that you take the following steps to slim down and purge items on that task list in order to make it more manageable: Continue reading

Wheel in Snow the bridge

In a Rut? Get Out and Stay Out!

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

Ever feel like you’re stuck? It could be an overwhelming list of tasks keeping you from making progress. Maybe you’ve fallen victim to procrastination. Or you simply may be burned out and hit a wall. Whatever the case, becoming aware that you’re in a rut is half the battle. The other half is getting—and keeping—yourself out of that rut.

Feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by tasks at hand will drop you in a rut every time. The first step to stop and prevent this from happening is taking control of your task list. You can do this in three easy steps: Continue reading

Sometimes, Two Really is Better than One

By Bob Sadowski, APR, Public Relations & Social Media Manager, ACCO Brands

As the saying goes, two is better than one—this applies to task lists as well. But wouldn’t that be counter-intuitive, you ask? Two task lists competing for the same allotted time, running the risk of duplicating—or completely eliminating—certain to-do items. What happened to shrinking your single list and making it concise and more targeted?

task list puuikibeachThose practices aren’t out the door by any means. However, this idea of using two lists is nothing new. In fact, if you follow our planning and organizing tips and tricks regularly, you’ll realize that you’re already doing it. Here’s the deal…

At the start of every day, we recommend you spend several minutes going over your schedule, prior task list and current to-do items in order to create a new task list. This is your Master List, so be sure to include everything of which you can think, be it from home, work or personal life.

The next step is prioritizing your list. Find the top items that must be done that day, have the highest level of criticality, and could prohibit you from accomplishing other tasks if left uncompleted. These are the action items you focus on for that day—THIS is your second task list!

The creation and use of this second list of actionable and priority tasks is vital in ensuring maximum productivity. Be sure to create an Action List every day in order to stay on task and limit it to a reasonable and achievable number of duties. Plus, update your Master List at least once a week. This will help to keep your priorities in order and prevent any tasks from falling through the cracks.

A two task list system is nothing new to planning and organizing—you just may have never called it that before or realized you were using it. Bottom line: However you refer to this planning system, it is one that makes certain responsibilities are accounted for and productivity is maximized. So, meet your “bottom line” and create your two lists today!

[photo by puuikibeach]

Use the 80/20 Rule to Put Time on Your Side

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

The old saying goes, “Time is Money.” However, anyone who’s ever struggled with time management knows it’s much more than that. Time is your life, and therefore, properly managing your time should equal a well-managed lifestyle.

One of the keys to good time management is harnessing the ability to fulfill your goals and plans, both short- and long-term. An interesting element comes into play here known as the Pareto Principle. This states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. This 80/20 Rule, in terms of time management, implies that 20 percent of your “to-dos” account for 80 percent of your results.

If you apply this rule to your daily task list, for starters, you’ll be able to keenly focus on the most important and critical tasks at hand. You’ll also avoid getting bogged down or caught up in small, less important tasks. Most likely, this is already a part of your daily to-do list development and prioritization—or if it isn’t, it should be.

When looking at your task list, examine the items you noted as the highest priority. These items shouldn’t be more than 20 percent of your entire list. Another way to look at it—and help you identify your highest priorities—is to determine the items that contribute to the highest percentage of productivity in an hour of work. These are your primary areas of focus.

The value and importance of using the 80/20 rule is imperative to good time management. It’s impossible to complete every item on your to-do list every day. This principle helps separate the wheat from the chaff and makes the most out of your most valuable asset—time.

[photo by pshegubj]