The Think Productive blog offers different ideas on how you can increase your productivity on a daily basis. We also like to feature our clients and other people we admire to share their favourite productivity tips and habits. In this post, we spoke to Ildi Arlette, President and CEO of Results Continuum Inc about how her desk has adapted over time and how handy her ‘Read’ inbox folder is.
Occupation: President and CEO
Company: Results Continuum Inc. (Women in Leadership and Business Conference)
Location: Alberta and Ontario
Other job titles in life: Founder, Women in Leadership and Business Conference & Born to Lead Conference, wife of John, mother of Jaclyn
What’s important about your workspace?
That it’s mine. I prefer a layered approach to my work – small efficient file piles and shelves that no one else uses. I have a systematic approach that helps me and others put their hands on materials quickly: working file and piles on my left (as I’m left handed) and pending items on my right.
It’s also important to have things that inspire me, drive me or remind me of the importance of my life and work. Years ago, I would only have ‘work’ things on my desk, no personal items. Slowly, I began to appreciate and respect the time and energy I spent at my desk and in my workspace, so I began adding things, like a container of colorful markers to remind me to be creative and think outside the box, a decorative paperweight, a picture of my daughter to remind me that work will never be as important as family and a plant as a reminder that life changes all around us. I found these items functional and inspiring at the same time.
Which five apps could you not live without?
I’m not an app person… yet.
What’s your favourite piece of stationary?
I have two: one is a simple, white, blank piece of paper as it represents infinite possibilities and the second is a set of paisley stationary that is creamy, turquoise and gold. I love using it to write an important note or letter.
When in the day do you have the most proactive attention?
In the morning, when my head is clear and focused.
What’s your trick for when you’re tired or struggling with attention in the day?
I start my day with the most difficult tasks and work to easier, shorter ones as my attention and focus wanes as the day passes. Sometimes I stop work and revisit it later.
What’s your best advice for reducing stress?
Only take on as much work as you can, not how much you think you should have. People are so over-extended and in the end it makes them less productive, less effective and less fulfilled.
What’s your email regime?
It’s quite informal. I open my email and start viewing as the emails have come in. I scan for important ones and sadly, I ignore many. Recently, I created a “Read” file in my inbox. This is for items that I want to read and will take more time to read but have to be done later. It’s a handy file to revisit when I have time or need a break from other activities. It’s also very useful on an airplane!
What’s your favourite way to take a break in the middle of the day?
Have a nap.
What’s the secret to your productivity?
I have a few: I use a timer to keep me in-check with tasks so that I don’t get lost in my work, and I set a ‘finish-line’. I’ve learned to focus on projects and initiatives where my work can make the most impact, rather than accept all work and opportunities that are presented.
The 6th annual Ontario Women in Leadership and Business Conference taking place on April 18th & 19th, 2016 is a national, 2‐day interactive learning and professional development event for leaders and entrepreneurs being held at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The platform of the conference is: Grow your Business and Advance your Career.
The event is designed to engage delegates with speakers and peers during 12 workshops, keynotes, panel and discussion groups and networking breaks. Keynote and workshop topics focus on current leadership and business topics from experts, authors and accomplished business people from around Canada and the US.