Productivity in an ADD world: 3 Simple Tips

How many employees does it take to switch out some LED bulbs? Well….it depends on how many other windows they have open.

Do you ever come home from work feeling drained, tired, and mentally fatigued, but yet you also have this eerie feeling that….you didn’t get anything done? It’s actually incredibly common. Many people make the mistake of thinking that this has something to do with their chosen occupation, and that they really should ‘do something with their hands’ so they can actually see the fruits of their labor.

The problem is not with the work itself, but with getting our work done in a world full of distractions. Between our Blackberries, office phones, a steady stream of emails that come in and endless CC:ing, we can literally spend our entire days communicating and in a constant state of nebulosity. The key, which is part of the curriculum for our free upcoming web class entitled “Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship” (Registration info below), is to focus on the task at hand. Easier said than done, right? Not so. Here are some simple ways to make your work day feel productive and efficient, and to come home rested and feeling satisfied with your efforts.

1. Have power-hours. At my office, we’ve chosen to have the odd number hours be times in which meetings can’t be scheduled, and in which if we have a question for one of our office mates, we write it down instead of going to their desk and asking them. We also unplug our phone and close email for those hours and focus on one particular task–a proposal, a job we’re working on, a webpage we’re editing, etc. Believe me, getting those things conclusively done will help you avoid that feeling of going home after work and wondering what happened to the last 8 hours of your life.

2. Frame in your email. Instead of steadily answering emails as they come in, close your inbox entirely except for 2-3 apportioned times per day. During those times, you send and read all your emails that are important. At other times, you jot down an email you need to send rather than opening your inbox to send it. Too many distractions await.

3. Be concise with your conversations. Because of the ease of email communications, chains and CC/BCC conversations have simply overwhelmed many an inbox. Instead of continuing the conversation, aim to be concise and clear enough to finish the conversation so that no one is tempted to continue it.


To learn more successful entrepreneurship strategies, register for the upcoming free web class “Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship”, to be held January 25th, 6-8 PM EST. You can register at

Scott Cooney, Principal of and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.