Friday, October 8th, 2010


How much time do you spend being productive versus just being busy?

This topic has been on my mind recently because I believe it is a huge issue inside CPA firms.

I have always stressed to my clients – Talk to those you  directly supervise EVERY day and be sure you TALK, TALK, TALK about the work.  MBWA (manage by wandering around) first thing in the morning and ask questions of those you directly supervise:  Good morning, Susie, are you making progress on the Adams return?  Will you still be able to hit the target date?  Is there anything I can do or that you need from me?

That’s it – talk about the work.  DO NOT talk about Dancing With the Stars, the morning traffic jam or what little Joey did in pee wee football.  See if your people need help and then move on.

A recent article on American Express Open Forum titled, Why Germans Have Longer Vacation Times and More Productivity, is what started me thinking more about this topic.  Also, because many of you will be working like crazy from now until next Friday – the October 15th due date.

The article notes that Germans focus on output, Americans focus on time.  Germans view results as the biggest indicator of effectiveness.  Americans view time as a currency in the workplace, as opposed to output.  Germans work while at work, leave on time and then socialize.  Americans socialize at work.

Sure, there are bigger issues under the surface with the European workforce, but working while you are at “work” is an issue for accounting firms.  One of my biggest pet peeves when I was actively working in a CPA firm office was the people who would arrive at 8:00 or 8:15 and then spend 30 minutes getting coffee, putting their lunch in the refrigerator, chatting by the mailboxes, even eating breakfast they brought with them before they sat down at their desk to work.

A second article caught my eye this morning, Are You Being Productive or Just Busy at Work?  Do you read your email first thing in the morning?  Are you managing your social media time?  Read the article and learn more about these “Tips for Being More Productive

  • Identify priorities
  • Create deadlines
  • Manage interruptions
  • Designate set e-mail time
  • Streamline tasks
  • Say no
  • Limit e-mail
  • "Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back."
  • Harvey McKay

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