2016 - 01

Happy New Year from the TPDW!

Last year seemed to fly right by as we all diligently worked and created new and exciting projects, installations, and plans. While some districts were "business as usual", many areas of the State experienced high intensity disaster situations that immediately tested their adaptability and strength. In true Conservation District fashion, folks from all over the state came together to support and help one another, and progress is underway to restore and enhance those areas.

Here at the TPDW we see this as an example of professionalism and technical expertise that we can nurture and enhance through better training, planning processes, and programmatic support. Our upward trajectory continues and we look forward to providing even more opportunities to District staff in 2016. We have some exciting new opportunities in store for 2016, and while I don't want to spoil the surprise, look forward to the launch of certification programs, new and improved partner training events with NRCS, installation of a new Discovery Farms program across Washington, and of course, the return of the TPDW Law Games to WADE 2016!

We will keep our newsletter going, but check into our website regularly for the latest news on training events, professional opportunities, and more!

Have a happy and productive 2016!

Start 2016 Off Right!

There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. There are two ways increase your output--either put in more hours or work smarter. I don't know about you, but I prefer the latter.

Being more productive at work isn't rocket science, but it does require being more deliberate about how you manage your time. A recent post from Inc. listed some simple but effective strategies for increasing your productivity at work, and I thought it was a great time to share to get you started off right in the new year.

1. Take regular breaks.

It sounds counterintuitive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

2. Set self-imposed deadlines.

While we usually think of stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you're watching the clock.

3. Follow the "two-minute rule."

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the "two-minute rule" to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. According to Olenski, completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online.

4. Quit multitasking.

While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.

5. Give up on the illusion of perfection.

It's common for entrepreneurs to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task--the reality is nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It's better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.

6. Take exercise breaks.

Using work time to exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If possible, build in set times during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what's needed to clear your head and get your focus back.

7. Be proactive, not reactive.

Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires--but that may be all you get accomplished. My friend and business partner Peter Daisyme from free hosting company Hostt says, "Set aside time for responding to emails, but don't let them determine what your day is going to look like. Have a plan of attack at the start of each day, and then do your best to stick to it."

8. Work in 90-minute intervals.

Researchers at Florida State University have found elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. They also found that top performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day. Sounds good to me!

9. Minimize interruptions (to the best of your ability).

Having a colleague pop her head into your office to chat may seem innocuous, but even brief interruptions appear to produce a change in work pattern and a corresponding drop in productivity. Minimizing interruptions may mean setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for time-sensitive projects.

If you feel the need to increase your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in longer hours or pack more into your already-full calendar. Instead, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Training Events


Basic Conservation Planning – Certified Basic Conservation Planner 3

  • May 2 - 5, 2016 in Ellensburg, WA

  • May 23 - 27, 2016 in Ellensburg, WA

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning Training (CNMP)

  • April 12-14, 2016 in Yakima, WA

Look on the Training Events & Opportunities page on the TPDW website for an upcoming link to apply, as well as the prerequisite list for each course.

FAQs & Fun Facts

1. The state of Washington is the only state to be named after a United States president.

2. Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.

3. Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined.

4. The highest point in Washington is Mount Rainier. It was named after Peter Rainier, a British soldier who fought against the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

5. The oldest operating gas station in the United States is in Zillah.

6. Washington's state insect is the Green Darner Dragonfly.

7. The world's first soft-serve ice cream machine was located in an Olympia Dairy Queen.

8. Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world, was founded in Seattle.

9. The forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rainforests (such as the Hoh Rain Forest) in the continental United States

10. By the turn of the 20th century, Aberdeen had the distinction of being "the roughest town west of the Mississippi" because of excessive gambling, violence, extreme drug use and prostitution (the city remained off-limits to military personnel into the early 1980s).