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1-Minute Strategies: May ’09

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Boost productivity by “plotting” the items on your to-do list. Before starting on any task, spend the first five minutes creating a roadmap. Assign times for each piece of your strategy. Watch the clock while you are working to gauge whether you’re staying within your assigned time range.

Organize a boss’s overflowing e-mail box
by setting up inbox folders labeled ACTION, FYI, READ and PERSONAL. File messages into the folders. Your boss can first review the ACTION folder, then work his way through the rest.

Give employees, customers or internal clients a positive feeling about engaging with you by saying: “I took your suggestion.” Telling them that you valued their ideas enough to use them makes a powerful impact.

Take a breather every hour, for peak productivity.
Doris Jeanette, a psychologist with the Center for New Psychology, tells CareerBuilder.com that employees should work for 50 minutes of the hour, then change focus or shift gears for 10 minutes; then repeat.

Prepare for maternity or paternity leave by enlisting an office messenger.
Ask a trusted co-worker to keep communication flowing to and from the office, while you’re away. Benefits: You stay current, and your colleague helps ensure that no one forgets you’re still part of the team.

Take a step out of your comfort zone. With businesses under pressure to perform, now is the time to take on new challenges. Feeling hesitant? Grace Lieblein, the new president and managing director of General Motors de Mexico, tells Pink magazine: “Be confident about taking on new assignments, especially when they are out of your comfort zone. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to get others to believe in you.”

Manage team conflict with this tactic
from Harvard Management Update: When tempers flair, arrange team members in a semicircle around a whiteboard. Put ideas on the board, and then ask team members to ally against the conflict, not each other.

Stretch your recession-strapped clothing budget
by holding a clothing-swap party with friends. You can gain clothes while getting rid of things you don’t wear anymore. Other ideas: Refurbish suits and shirts by having cuffs repaired, buttons replaced and hemlines adjusted. Repair a shoe with holes in the soles and wear them for another season.

Create a system to answer the question
, “What was that great idea Harry had last week?” Use a Flip HD or other camcorder to video-record brainstorming sessions. Mark the sessions by date, client, topic, etc. Now you have a searchable repository of creative ideas.

Time to kiss the free coffee goodbye?
Companies plan to cut back or reduce spending on social events such as picnics and holiday parties (65%), special office perks like coffee and discounted vending (34%), incentive trips (28%) and philanthropic activities (21%), according to a CareerBuilder survey.

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