Interview with Elizabeth D. Bowman

PEelizabethdbowmanWhat projects are you involved in?

As a productivity consultant, we work with companies, teams and individuals to help them become more efficient throughout the workday. We currently have over thirty active projects that our team is balancing. In order to ensure all of our client’s deliverables and deadlines are met, it’s a constant process of prioritizing tasks throughout the day and weeks.

How did you get interested in productivity?

I’ve always been a naturally organized person. I tend to be involved in many different projects and in order to get everything done in the day, productivity is of the utmost importance. When I worked in Corporate America, I quickly realized that not everyone shared the same skill set or desire to maintain their calendars and manage their time. I wanted to help. The thing I love about productivity is that it is always looking for the faster, better, more efficient way to do something and streamline workflows – both personally and professionally.

How many meetings do you normally have each week?

I have about 6 to 8 meetings per day, so 30 to 40 meetings per week. Some are on-site with clients; others are web-based virtual meetings or conference calls depending on what we need to get accomplished. As a consultant, at least 65% of my meetings are client related.

What are some of your favorite productivity tips/apps?

When I’m in a meeting and taking notes, I immediately add a checkbox next to action items. That way, when I’m processing and reviewing my notes, I can easily identify tasks I need to complete and add them to my calendar.

As far as apps and tools are concerned, I am a big fan of Zoho CRM for keeping track of our company contacts. I also sync my Microsoft Exchange calendar with my personal Gmail calendar to ensure I can always access an up-to-date version of my day and upcoming week. Since I’m constantly on-the-go, I like to use virtual notebooks like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote to track tasks, set reminders, and capture information. Finally, I use sleepyti.me to help me calculate when I should go to sleep or set my alarm to wake up daily.

What’s the most recent adjustment that you’ve made to your personal productivity routine?

Instead of staying up later, I’ve found I’m more productive in the morning and have been getting up earlier in recent months to take advantage of the morning sunlight.

Do you measure your productivity? If so, how do you do it, and what is your metric?

I use a time blocking method, which means I use my calendar as my to-do list and block off times to work on specific tasks. I also color code my calendar between work related tasks and personal tasks. At the end of the week, my ratio of work blocks to personal blocks tells me how productive I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished.

What do you think the next productivity trend will be?

Going paperless and decentralizing people from their offices. As tablets continue to gain popularity, the apps and software will become more powerful. I think people who have been holding out and still use a lot of paper, will start making the transition. As we become more and more paperless, traditional offices will become less necessary. As a result, we will shift from organizing physical clutter and papers to organizing digital clutter and electronic files.

Elizabeth D. Bowman, President and Productivity Consultant of Innovatively Organized, blogs about improving productivity for individuals and businesses at InnovativelyOrganized.com and TheProductivitySchool.com. If you want Elizabeth to share her tips with you, subscribe to receive her monthly newsletter.

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