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Are You Putting Off Productivity?

I recently took a good look at what was keeping me from accomplishing what I needed to do. After all, I had my goals. I had them written down. I read my affirmations daily. And still, I was not achieving what I wanted to do.

Leaving town was a major undertaking. And that's not good when you're a professional speaker! I need to be able to leave at a moment's notice and arrive ready to give my full attention to my audience. So it was time for a look at what was holding me back. Here's what I found.

1. I used my desktop computer in the office. However, my accounting program and contact databases were on that machine, so my assistant also needed to use it. We sometimes found ourselves waiting for the other person to get off the machine before we could do what we needed to do.

2. I used a 3-lb laptop on the road. Though I rarely used them, I had to pack the CD player and floppy drive, plus the docking bar with the parallel port on it - just in case I needed any of those items.

3. I often found myself without a file I needed or a contact's information. It took me up to an hour or two before I left town each time to decide on and transfer what I needed to my laptop, then another 30 minutes or more when I returned to update my desktop with all I had worked on while I was gone.

4. I had an early 2MB Palm V that could not hold any e-books and did not sync with my Outlook calendar and contacts. So again, I spent a lot of time copying and pasting information between my desktop or my laptop and my Palm.

In general, things were not working well and the problems were pretty obvious.

Here's how I resolved most of my issues.

1. I bought a new laptop. This is 3 years newer than the other, but it's four times faster and has a larger screen. And while I traded a 3-pounder for a 7-pounder, my new laptop has a built-in floppy and a built-in CD burner. That means all the pieces are with me all the time. And with the CD burner, I can back up data quickly or move it to another computer easily - very nice when you need to use someone else's computer!

2. I moved my desktop to another office for my assistant. That means she and I can be working at the same time on the rare occasions I'm in the office - what a concept!

3. I only put the programs I need for my tasks on my laptop. So if I don't think I should be doing it, I didn't load the software. I did not put my accounting program or my databases on my laptop; instead, I'm delegating those tasks to my assistant (another new concept!) If I need to look at anything on those programs, I'll walk into her office and check.

4. I purchased a new color Palm. It's color with lots of memory. Best of all, it syncs with Outlook contacts, tasks, calendar and notes. Plus it uses Word and Excel, as well as Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is truly revolutionary! To ensure I have the information I need with me, I put the Palm into its cradle and it automatically syncs everything. No more deciding what to take, then copying and pasting it! I find I'm editing Word documents on the plane, plus I'm getting a lot of the e-books read in airports and sitting alone in restaurants. When I want to create an article from scratch (as I'm doing with this one), I use the keyboard.

In short, my travel life has changed dramatically in the past 2 weeks! And as I walk back into my office this afternoon, I'll pull my laptop out and put it on my desk, then sync it with my Palm. I will have everything with me that I've had on the road for the past 10 days. My assistant's work life won't be interrupted and we'll never lose a beat in getting the job done!

Just the sense of calm and control are worth it. No more frantic transferring of files as I leave. No more waiting to use my computer while she prints invoices for the month. No more... well, you get the idea! I'm thrilled with the make-over!

Do you need to review your productivity? Take this short quiz and see:

1. Do you always have the information you need with you - either on your cell phone, your laptop, and your PDA (personal digital assistant, such as a Palm Pilot or IPAQ)?

2. Are you trying to share a computer with anyone else?

3. Can you get on the Internet as often and as long as you need to?

4. If you need a client file while you're traveling do you have it? Can you get it within 15 minutes - even after hours?

5. If you need to move a file or print a file, so you have a way to do that while you're traveling?

6. Are there tasks that are not getting done? Why? Could it be cured by shifting or adding technology?

Remember: Technology is a tool that works FOR us. If you're working harder and longer because of the technology, it's not working the way it should. Don't put off productivity!

For more on productivity, get Jeanette's special repor "Ten Most Overlooked Productivity Tools" at TechTamers.com

Dr. Jeanette Cates is an Internet strategist who works with experts who are ready to turn their knowledge and their websites into Gold. Her reputation as a speaker and trainer has earned her the title of The Technology Tamer. Jeanette shares her news and views in OnlineSuccessNews.com

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