Productivity

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Drowning in busy work? So were Jersey Standard Oil executives...in1923

I have a few rhetorical questions for you: Do you feel like your company wastes too much time on meaningless tasks? Do you feel like reports are created and then sent around, just so people can broadcast that they’re busy? Do you feel like different departments basically just talk past each other, rather than truly
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Think more about systems, and less about people

When it comes to politics, you know one of the things that frustrates me the most? The focus on the politicians themselves. Politicians constantly talk about other politicians. Sometimes it’s glowing praise. Other times it’s stinging rebuke. But you can’t get away from hearing one politician talk about another politician. That gets old, in a
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Take the time to consider a plan B

I’m processing a ton of data at work right now. In an ideal world, I’d have some software built for large data sets. In the real world, I have Microsoft Excel. We have developer licenses for TIBCO’s Spotfire. I’ve used Spotfire in the past, and I really like it. It would do what I need
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Lose your Excel antagonism

When I was in graduate school, I despised Microsoft Excel. That’s not entirely accurate. I despised Excel so much, it wasn’t even on my radar. I wouldn’t consider using it…for anything. It was a non-entity. I had a scientific calculator for on the fly use. I had scripting languages for matrix algebra. I had traditional
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Be ready to show your work at any minute

I facilitated part of a meeting yesterday. I planned to show a couple of analytical tools that I built…tools that helped us manage some of our forecasts. I didn’t plan to show some of the other, preliminary tools I built. I used these preliminary tools to build the models themselves. But the preliminary tools were
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Treat your work day like it's the weekend

Here’s a quick productivity tip for you: treat your work day like it’s the weekend. What do I mean? I mean, if it’s a Monday, pretend like you’re working on a Saturday. Why? Two reasons: It’ll help you prioritize your tasks. It’ll help you know when a task is complete. I worked a lot this
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Answer questions before they're asked

My boss asked me to build a revenue forecast recently. He gave me a rough idea of what he wanted. I was free to fill in the blanks as I pleased. I had some important decisions to make: What methodology did I want to use for the forecast? What parameters would I include? How detailed
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Overcome the anxiety fueling your procrastination

I have a serious weakness around procrastination. I procrastinate on two types of tasks: Tasks I simply dislike doing. Tasks I don’t know exactly how to do. The solution in each case is simple…just start. Seriously. If I dwell on the fact that I don’t want to do the task, or I don’t have a
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Good enough can be very hard

A while back, one of my stakeholders asked me for some pricing data. I had visualized this kind of data countless times for countless stakeholders. I opened a new Excel file, and dumped in the raw data. I created three different pivot tables, each with a standard view I knew some of my stakeholders loved.
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