Tag Archives: jack of all trade

How to Be More Productive When You & Your Staff are Spread too Thin

I recommend the Clemson Conference to anyone working in training. I have attended many times over my career. This year for the first time I am giving a presentation. I am looking forward to sharing ideas with you at the August 24 – 26, 2014 Clemson Conference. As Founder and President of the Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses), I have been in the continuing education/training “trenches” for 30 years. From a few dollars of seed money and starting with one associate in 1984, we have built ATI into a multi-million dollar technical and scientific training company with over 200 subject matter experts as instructors.


One of my key observations from 30 years of experience is that most training companies and university continuing education departments operate as small business units, usually with less than 50 employees. The training department at many companies is also small, perhaps 5 people at a typical company or government facility.  Everyone must be a knowledgeable “jack of all trades,” and at the same time “master of some.”


With a small staff, everyone must have clearly defined responsibilities, but just as important to success is having everyone crossed-trained to provide back-up. Cross-training and back-up is especially important as the work load increases, or as people change jobs or retire.  As we know many organizations face the retirement of key “Baby Boomers.” Are you and your team ready for the people who will likely leave in the next few years?

As people leave or retire, the existing staff is often asked to take on more responsibility. This means each one of us has to be more productive. Today, I thought I would share with you a working list of 20 ways I have tried to stay productive over the years.

  1. Get a Full Night’s Rest
  2. Wake-Up & Get-Up Really Early
  3. Eat a Banana or Fruit Mid-Afternoon Every Day
  4. Have Two Monitors on Your Desk
  5. Put House Plants in Your Office, but Try to Get Others to Water Them
  6. Work by a Window Whenever Possible
  7. Limit Your Email Use (or at least schedule your email time)
  8. Avoid Social Media Rabbit Holes
  9. Don’t Try to Multi-task
  10. Chew Some Gum or Drink Water Regularly
  11. Avoid Procrastination and Putting Off Projects. Prioritize Tasks Each Day
  12. Take Short Breaks Between Bouts of Work of About 1.5 Hours
  13. Use an App Like Toggle to Keep Track of Your Time Allocation
  14. Ditch Your Perfectionism
  15. Get Up Out of that Desk Chair and Stretch
  16. Say ‘I Don’t” When Declining an Offer vs. ‘I Can’t
  17. Measure People by the Size of Their Hearts, Not Their Resumes
  18. Know that Life is Not Fair & That You Will Fail Often. But Overcome That with Persistence
  19. When Times are Tough, Get Going and Face Down the Bullies and Other Inevitable Problems
  20. Never, Ever Give Up. If You Fail, View that as a Successful Learning Experience and Move On

I will elaborate on these ideas when we are together. I look forward to getting your ideas and sharing more of our experiences at the conference. So Register Now and join me and the Clemson Team in Chicago. If you want to attend, my contacts will receive a $200 discount. We have created a  special Collaborative Professional Development Registration Form

for the people who learned and register for the conference through ATIcourses.  See the following link: http://www.clemsonconferences.com/registrationpayment_CBR.html

ATIcourses colleagues can book at $495 rather than at  the regular price of $695. Please let me know if you are planning to attend and we can get together during the meeting.



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