WORKING

Friday, February 6, 2009

Every Minute Counts

Peggy Duncan urges people to give up their receptionist jobs and focus on their important work.

"Every time the phone rings, you pick it up," she said. People are the same about instant or text messages. Such behavior takes time away from tasks that could lead to promotion or retention.

Cure the BlackBerry addiction and you'll be more productive, says Duncan, a productivity consultant who works with companies and individuals. She worked for years at IBM, which stressed logic and procedures. Her advice for those who want to work faster:

· Keep a time log for two or three days to determine where you waste time.

· Know your goals or performance plan and concentrate your time and attention on that.

· Learn the technologies you use every day. Set up macros or formats you need often.

· Develop processes or check lists for tasks you do more than three times.

· Use dual computer monitors so one is on the Web and the other is on work in progress.

· Organize your work space to reduce distractions and clutter. Even artists need to put be able to find the right brush, she says.

-- Vickie Elmer


© 2009 The Washington Post Company