A colleague of mine faced a problem; her team, driven by mission, wanted to keep working to get their important work done but the organization could not afford to pay the overtime.

Another equally important challenge management faces today; the demand by the workforce for a greater work/life balance. How is this supposed to happen when there are not enough hours in the day to get the work done?

So how can we help our ourselves and our teams get the job done in less time, avoid overtime pay and create the time for the ‘balance’ items?

The solution, we need to be more productive! What is an easy way to be more productive?  The field of industrial engineering holds some secrets on how to accomplish this. Studies have shown if you can eliminate unnecessary interaction with technology you can save time.

Here are just three easy to implement time savers to reduce unnecessary time spent interacting with technology:

-Limit your number of key-strokes

-Limit your number of corrections

-Limit the number of repetitions


Today limiting the number of keystrokes isn’t just typing.  The concept includes such actions as homing (moving the hand to mouse and keyboard), clicking the mouse, pointing and mental operations (deciding what to do next). Take the time to organize your interaction. Get to what you want to as fast as possible the moment you turn your device on. Learn how to shortcut to files, websites, etc. While a bit of time is required to set up these ‘pointers,’ just do it! Milliseconds add up!


Just slow down and limit multi-tasking and interruptions when you need to focus on completing a sentence, doing text, etc.  Just do a simple test on the last five texts-how many times did you have to make corrections-try to eliminate having to make these corrections. It is easier and faster to get it right the first time!


In the course of the day, how many times do you have to type your email address, or physical address, or other common words and phrases? Technology has auto-fill features and plug-ins you can use and shortcuts so you don’t have to type or speak an entire phrase.

Finally, when you say I just don’t have time to “learn” how to save time by reducing this unnecessary technology interaction, make the time. Set aside just even 15 minutes a week during a less than productive time of your work day and learn some new tricks by reading a blog, watching a tutorial on YouTube, doing a quick web-search or even going to the help section on your device to learn these tricks.

Do the math! If you are spending 4 hours a day interacting with your technology and you could just be even 10% more efficient you could gain 24 minutes a day. You have gained the time to get the real work done, and maybe even enough time to take a quick walk and improve that work/life balance.



From buildings to parties, YOU can plan it!

Whether building a building or putting on a party using a systematic planning and execution approach will get you the results you want.

I was recently asked to chair the benefit gala for the National Repertory Orchestra. The NRO is an 88-piece orchestra composed of young musicians from all over the world who come to Colorado on full scholarships to play for the summer. The gala needs to bring in enough money to cover 15% of the annual operating budget-no small feat!

There was a pretty good list from previous years’ galas of all the things that needed to be done with due dates to start planning. Unfortunately, I was brought in pretty late in the game so the schedule needed to be severely compressed. As a newbie to gala planning and execution, I was apprehensive that we couldn’t pull it off with a much shorter time frame. In that moment of “panic” the light went off, “you have used a project management approach to build some amazing buildings so why not apply this system to throwing a party with a purpose! You can do it girl!”

I used the following six basic principles to pull off a great party that was financially rewarding.

  1. Establish the 3-4 main goals of the “project” and put them into writing.
  2. Take a list of tasks and develop it into a project management plan that includes task, start-date, due date, and responsible party as categories that you can monitor. Easy to use web-based software exists today for project management.
  3. Foster the team approach. Be clear on roles and responsibilities of team members and create easy communication methods. While much of the communication is virtual, make time for face-time (lunches, in-person team meetings, and formal and in-formal get-togethers). You need to create strong bonds with the many people involved when work needs to get done quickly.
  4. Have agendas for meetings and distribute them in advance.  Take notes and make sure to include any decisions made and future action items agreed upon.
  5. Have a very clear decision making process. With an abbreviated time-frame, decisions have to be made quickly; who has authority to make decisions should be clear to all.
  6. Decide on a revenue and expense budget (in our case we also had a net target) and monitor actuals against the budget in real-time if possible. Use the budget as you make choices (and make sure the budget has a contingency to cover the unexpected).

Of course just like a finished building not everything is “perfect” but using a systematic approach to planning and execution makes for a great (and profitable) party! Think about using a project management approach for your next event!