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Gini Dietrich

Getting More Done: My Secret

By: Gini Dietrich | November 7, 2011 | 
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I was scrolling through my Twitter stream a couple of days ago and I saw the following phrase:

Why bosses should beware of pasta and peanut butter.

But then I got distracted and never had the opportunity to click through to see what it meant.

Until now.

According to The Corner Office at BNET, it has the following meaning:

If you’re looking to destroy your company, try adopting a “peanut butter” approach, spreading your resources thinly across every available surface. If your company survives that, try a “pasta” strategy, in which you fling money and resources around at random to see what sticks.

If you’re like me, you’ve likely employed both of these “strategies.” But the “peanut butter” approach really has me thinking, especially in this economy where we’re all doing more with less.

We live in a real-time, instant world where, if you’re not multi-tasking – or spreading your resources thinly across every available surface – you’re perceived as one who can’t manage everything.

But is the human brain equipped to cope with more than one thing at a time?

If you’re on a conference call or webinar, for example, how many of you will also check email, text a family member, or instant message a colleague? When you do that, how much of the call are you missing? I’d venture to guess most of it.

Test a theory for me.

Choose a challenging task that needs to be accomplished the next day. Block out 60-90 minutes to at least get it started, if not complete it. Close email. Turn off Skype and instant messaging. Put your email in offline mode. Turn off every alert you get for your social networks. Set the timer for your allotted time and get to work.

I’m willing to bet good money you’re much more productive working this way. If it works, determine the top five things you need to accomplish each day, set your timer, and get to work.

Soon you’ll be leaving the office earlier and people will wonder how it is that you’re able to be so productive.

This first ran as my weekly column in Crain’s

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

136 comments
Brankica
Brankica

Hey Gini, I kept this one in my Triberr stream cause I didn't have the time to read it and would not approve it cause I didn't want to lose it... I kinda felt it was something awesome! Finally listened to my guts and definitely was right.

I am so multitasking/ADHD that it isn't healthy, but recently I had a week of revelation, well it actually only lasted about 3 days when I actually managed to put all this under control and do exactly what you are talking about here. I was like 500% more productive!!! So I definitely have to try this again!!!

Ryan Hanley
Ryan Hanley

I cannot write with email up. I'm really bad at getting phone calls done with email up. There is no chance paperwork is getting done with email up...

Solution: Turn EMAIL OFF!

So simple but yet so hard.

Thank you!

Ryan H.

JohnnyP
JohnnyP

Me: “Hello, my name is John”
All: “Hello John”
Me: “It’s been 1 hour since my last usage of the Words With Friends app!”
All: “Good job John!”

I read this post yesterday and it made me think how many times I stop work and play Words With Friends (it’s always beeping at me…begging me, taunting me, to post a new word).

So, I decided to put my iPhone in Airplane Mode even though I was at my desk and nowhere near an airport.

I forgot how much work can actually get done in one hour!

New rule for me : 1pm to 2pm is “Airplane Mode Time”. During this hour, please leave me alone, I’m actually getting shit done.

Thanks for this post Gini!

moni_gi
moni_gi

that;s the only thing that works for me!

lauraclick
lauraclick

Love timers. I recommend using them all the time. I think that we often underestimate how long it takes to REALLY get something done (or at least I do). Using a timer helps me better understand how long something takes (i.e. writing a blog post) or limit my time (i.e. social media) so I don't let it take up too much of my day.

And yes, when it's time to write, strategize or do other work, I've got to shut other things down. Email might be the only thing I keep open because I often have to reference information from there.

Great tips here. Simple, sound advice, but often hard for us to do since we're so darn programmed and addicted to multi-tasking and being connected!

WordsDoneWrite
WordsDoneWrite

Oh man! An assignment??? Gini, you're killing me!

Of course, I totally see your point though. Distractions can be productivity killers.

Last week at BlogWorld I asked CC Chapman about time management and he said he uses Freedom. A Mac-based application that shuts down the internet for an amount of time you set. You cannot log on to do any of that other stuff. Of course, the bad thing is you can turn off your computer and restart it to disable. That kind of stinks.

MichaelBesson
MichaelBesson

AGREED! This is such a good mantra for your work day and you won't believe how much work you actually get done. I'm going to pass this around to my staff ;)

troycostlow
troycostlow

@ginidietrich I like that post a lot - have you ever tried the pomodoro technique for time management?

terence.stephens
terence.stephens

one of the most useful tips I've ever gotten out of a book was scheduling my email time and then not touching the inbox until planned on times throughout the day.

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Lately, that's the ONLY way I get a task completed. I block out everything - another reason I've been MIA from the Twitter stream for long periods of time. It's go time! Work to be done...when I have everything open, I'm like a cat chasing a light (have you seen Puss in Boots yet??) and lose track of where and who I am. So, my solution is your solution - block out time and get to work. Great results from that!

Ameena Gorton
Ameena Gorton

This is the only way I can survive. I have 1 block of 3 hrs per day to get my work done. Anything more than that is a bonus. I HAVE to be super organized even if it goes against my nature.

Tinu
Tinu

Singular focus is the key to almost every success I've had. I have parts of the day where I multi-task like everyone else, but at the top of the day, I work with no distractions. Then when I get to the blog posts, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, it's during the part of the day where I'm giving one part of my brain something to play with while the other part works on something in the background. This isn't just true in the realm of productivity. If I want a product launch, workshop, or even something as simple as the maturation of an idea to go faster, and produce better results, eliminating every other task my brain is working on helps dramatically. Sometimes for days, I won't think of anything else but the videos I'm creating or the guide I'm writing. Works wonders.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

No you can not take away my Skype! I refuse! I am hooked! You mean evil woman!Momma!!!! Momma!!!! Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! I need my Skype!

Wait....what is Skype?

I thought you said Skippie Peanut Butter. Not the healthiest but damn tasty especially crunchy.

Sorry. Carry on. Great tips. Not really a secret anymore eh?

BTW I typed this while listening to Iron Maiden during a Teleconference and almost at level 346 of Tetris while sipping a Latte.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Tinu What time do you normally start and how long do you go without distractions? I am my most productive from 6-9 every morning. I almost want to get up an hour earlier to have one more of uninterrupted time. Almost.

Brankica
Brankica

@ginidietrich I was kinda trying to be forgive for not tweeting it yet ;)But yeah, I definitely need to start doing this an hour a day, I would do so much more and better! Thanks for the reminder, I can always count on your to "wake me up"

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@TheJackB I knew I liked you for more than your social media Jack! Yes love Killers, Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind after that they got a bit too accessible for me.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@TheJackB 2 or 3 years ago when Guns and Roses was touring just Axel Rose as the original member he ordered security at a concert in Australia to not let anyone in wearing a Slash t shirt!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@SocialMediaDDS@ginidietrich I just like PB&B. Never been a jelly guy. But adding some butter on on side is quite yummy. Yes I know I am weird. My girlfriend thinks I hate everything just because I hate eggs, cream cheese, mustard, sweet potatoes, and sou cream.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Getting More Done: My Secret originally appeared on Spin Sucks on November 7, 2011. […]

  2. […] Gini Dietrich, wrote the other day about her secret to getting more done. You can read her post here. Gini wisely pointed out that multitasking is a myth and that you will get more done if you focus […]

  3. […] strategy. In the past few years, we’ve been doing more with less. But multi-tasking and spreading ourselves too thin (a la peanut butter) does not […]

  4. […] exec Gini Dietrich offered some advice in a column she wrote last year for Crain’s Chicago Business: “Choose a challenging task that needs to be […]

  5. […] exec Gini Dietrich offered some advice in a column she wrote last year for Crain’s Chicago Business: “Choose a challenging task that needs to […]

  6. […] Getting More Done: My Secret originally appeared on Spin Sucks on November 7, 2011. […]