19SOCIETY OF INDUSTRIAL AND OFFICE REALTORS ®
FOLDERS AND RULES
Establishing folders and rules is a common technique for
organization and efficiency. But you’d be surprised how many
people don’t do it, or don’t do it well. Even Gmail is now
offering Tabs for new ways to organize your emails. Set up
rules or automatic filtering and then fight the urge and don’t be
afraid to leave a few unimportant emails unread.
From the Pomodoro technique to timeboxing, to the Pareto
Analysis, there are many strategies designed to help you block
out distractions and work more efficiently. Many involve
distributing your work into prioritized, manageable blocks of
time, with time allocated for breaks.
When you need a little additional
assistance, technology can help.
WHITE NOISE GENERATORS
We all know the benefits of white
noise. It helps babies sleep. It calms
nerves. And it can help you drown
out background noises and focus
your brain on the tasks at hand. Many mobile devices offer
free white-noise generators. A good one is White Noise Lite.
When a little white noise doesn’t suffice, these tools can help
you block highly distracting websites (ehmm…those fantasy
football sites) during key periods of time when you absolutely
need to hunker down and focus. Many of them are free add-ons for your browser. It might be painful at first – but it can be
Some well-reviewed suggestions: Chrome Nanny,
WasteNo Time, and LeechBlock.
It may sound a bit Big Brotherish, but monitoring your
computer activity can help you evaluate and improve how you
are spending your time. There are several apps that now run in
the background on your computers and measure which websites
and applications you use most. The software generates a report
(often weekly), providing you with a timeline of your day. The
time you spend is grouped into categories – such as social
networking, email and scheduling – so you can see how much
time you spend doing different types of tasks.
Check out Manic Time and RescueTime.
We've all experienced this at some point in time. We’re sitting
in a meeting talking about what we discussed in the last
meeting, to only then plan out when we will be meeting again.
It can feel as if nothing was ever truly accomplished.
Every meeting needs to have a facilitator, a strategic purpose,
an agenda, and a valid reason for each person to participate in
the meeting. Failing to address even one of these factors can
quickly derail a meeting.
Collaboration and planning doesn’t have to begin and end
inside the conference room. There are a variety of tools that
can assist you in collaborating smarter.
One of the biggest challenges
in meeting planning is
finding a convenient time for all parties to get together.
Managing a calendar of proposed times can get confusing and
time consuming for all. Tools such as Doodle facilitate this
efficiently for you. Share an internal calendar and quickly and
easily find a time that works best for everyone.
New for SIOR members,
this new online community
lets you collaborate with
your peers privately online,
with tools to share ideas and
documents, plan and manage events, or get answers to the
questions only fellow SIORs can answer.
Now, with MySIOR, you can have those face-to-face meetings
online in between the conferences. It’s like using Dropbox and
LinkedIn and Gmail all at the same time, in one central place
specifically created for SIOR members.
This is a collaboration tool for
managing to-do lists. Boards can be
created and shared with your team or for
a particular project, tracking projects
that are completed, in-progress, or
planned for the future. Trello allows
you to easily move tasks across lists
and reorder items to prioritize them.
Now stop reading this and get back to work!
ALEXIS FERMANIS is the SIOR Director of
Communications and Editor-in-Chief of Professional
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