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New free report offers advice for time-pressed, stressed U.S. workers–especially ‘stretch workers’

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February 14, 2012  

Contact: Elizabeth Hall, Editor
(800) 543-2055  (703) 905-8000

New free report offers the latest high- and low-tech advice for time-pressed and stressed U.S. workers— especially 'stretch workers'
Falls Church, Va.—Running out of time? Who isn’t?  But there’s evidence that things really have grown worse in recent years for time-pressed and stressed U.S. workers.

In their quest for efficiency, businesses of all sizes are asking employees to take on extra tasks to boost productivity, even as they remain reluctant to replace lost workers until the economy improves.

That means many more workers find their positions have turned into “stretch jobs.” While they may be handling greater responsibilities—such as managing budgets of combined departments and supervising more employees—many haven’t received the training to manage more tasks.

“Stretch jobs challenge people to grow by providing opportunities that stretch their thinking and behavior. But it’s counter-productive to stretch employees to the breaking point,” says Patrick DiDomenico, Editorial Director at Business Management Daily and the founding editor of The HR Specialist.  “When management demands more, they should try to give more. Sometimes what may be more important even than a salary increase is giving employees the tools they need to succeed in positions of increased responsibility. While it may be desirable to have employees get more done in less time, what’s critical is that they get the right things done. And that also can be key to retaining your best talent. If you fail to get it right, in today’s tight job market, the days of happy alumni singing your praises seem to be over.”

DiDomenico points to a 2011 Corporate Executive Board survey of 4,300 employees. “Incredibly, 75% of departing workers said they would not recommend their ex-employer to others,” he says. “What’s telling is that figure is up from only 42% in 2008. The scores seem to reflect perceived poor treatment during the downturn—which has helped fuel a spike in employment-related lawsuits."

To help both employers and employees prioritize and get more of the right things done, Business Management Daily has published a new report, 10 Time Management Tips.  The free, 23-page report is downloadable and contains the best ideas from the latest time management research, including new tech shortcuts. 10 Time Management Tips offers up-to-date advice on managing calendars, keyboard shortcuts, running productive meetings, setting up agenda templates and using tech tools for project management. It includes advice on two important management challenges: successful delegation and avoiding micromanagement.

With examples from The Wall Street Journal and other authoritative sources, 10 Time Management Tips shows how to prioritize important tasks and stop working in constant “crisis mode.” For example:

    Break the urgency addiction. FranklinCovey’s Focus method  aims to help users break the habit of going from one unimportant-but-pressing task to the next.  Instead, they focus on getting the more important tasks completed.
•    Divide your life into “focus,” “admin” and “spirit” days. Stever Robbins, famous for advice on maximizing creativity and whipping email into submission, now is integrating time management and innovation into a coherent system for getting things done. From his new guide to working less and accomplishing more, Robbins offers elegant time management principles.  Nuggets include: “Don't confuse ‘neat’  with  ‘organized,” “Use the 80/20 rule” and “Make technology your slave, not the other way around.”
•    Manage paper flow.  Wall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger test-drove the most widely used systems, trying each one for a week. Among her favorites for better management of paper flow: Getting Things Done technique from davidco.com. GTD aims to “corral all the projects and tasks floating around in your head into an organizing system that you update weekly.” The system (in theory) enables users to quickly identify the next step to keep all projects moving forward.  It starts with a weekly “mind sweep,” writing down “everything you should be doing, want to do or dream of doing.” Next, users create new files, action lists, calendar items or reminders based on next steps. A daily calendar is reserved for the most urgent items. Everything else is displayed on a “workflow map.” Benefits: It clumps together your tasks by context, making it easy to, for example, tackle phone calls all at once.  
•    Get your calendar under control. Scott Eblin, author of “The Next Level” leadership blog, shares advice on top calendar strategies that have worked for his clients, including: (1) Keep your most important objectives in mind. (2) Use the help that's available. (3) Negotiate on requests for your time. (4) Beware of standing meetings. (5) Bundle meetings by location.
•    Hold only productive meetings. Proven ideas for more productive meetings include requiring a one-page executive summary for all materials,  doing 80% of the work before the meeting and emailing the supporting materials the day before.
•    Use Outlook to manage projects. Melissa P. Esquibel, Microsoft® Certified Trainer, describes quick keyboard shortcuts. She explains how to use Outlook as a project planner for: (1) Brainstorming tasks, (2) setting start/end dates, (3) categorizing tasks and (4) adding task details.
•    Use Excel to keep meetings running on time. Annette Marquis, co-owner of TRIAD Consulting, provides recommendations on how to build an adjustable meeting-agenda template in Excel. A simple work sheet automatically manages start and end times of meetings. “When you add a speaker at the last minute, time allotments for other items adjust automatically.”

While no one can create more hours in a day, people can learn how to use their 24-hour allotment more wisely; 10 Time Management Tips can help.  Download this free, quick guide to working smarter, not longer, every day.

About Business Management Daily
The HR Specialist and other employment law and business related resources are published by Business Management Daily, a division of Capitol Information Group, Inc.—a provider of sound news and advice since 1937. Business Management Daily gives business professionals the news, skills and strategies they need to grow their business, avoid legal pitfalls and advance their careers. Visit us at www.BusinessManagementDaily.com to see the full list of webinars, online training resources, subscription newsletters, free reports, and email updates.

Business Management Daily, a division of Capitol Information Group, Inc., is located at: 7600A Leesburg Pike, West Bldg - Suite 300, Falls Church, Va. 22043-2004; (703) 905-8000.


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