Increase Your Productivity
Effective Use of Time & Email
We have the opportunity to design our lives – stay focused – and be successful!
We are most effective in life when we operate by design – rather than through our automatic tendencies. Design your day and week so that you are in action consistent with your short term and long term commitments.
This daily/weekly design must be written in a reliable, accountable, organized, available place. Without this – our ideas and commitments get sidelined and the flow of the day will take the leading role in our lives. Consistently using a system [Outlook, Day-Timer Book, etc…] will significantly increase your efficiency and effectiveness and the likelihood of success.
It does take discipline to design your life in writing and then follow that design. If you are just beginning this practice it may be useful to set up a support system. Make a promise with someone you respect that you will fully use your new system and then report in on a weekly basis until it becomes a habit.
We all have some tendency to be obsessive and compulsive. Here are some suggestions that can help you manage your tendencies and increase your effectiveness:
- Obsessive email checking – For those of you that are compulsive – turn off the automatic “Outlook send/receive” and check only 3 – 4 times during day.
- Your job may require that you regularly check your email messages. Only send an immediate response if one is required or if that is truly the best use of your time at that moment. Schedule time slots in your day to “tend to your emails”.
- Think before you press “reply” or “reply all”. Who are the appropriate people to read what you are sending? Keep the appropriate people informed without wasting anyone’s time.
Compulsive “stopping” of what you’re working on to do something that comes to mind is another decrease in effectiveness. Most things can wait – and should wait. Write them down and keep your focus on what you’re currently doing.
- Think before you interrupt someone else. Is this the best use of their time and yours? Interrupting others “now” when you could email them or leave a voicemail message later or schedule a meeting for a later time is not effective use of everyone’s time.
- If someone interrupts you – think if you should have the conversation now or ask them if you can get back with them later (then specify when you will get back with them). Some interruptions are appropriate and some are not. Only you know. You can handle this so that the other person still feels supported by you.