I'm bumping this post up because I did it on Saturday and it got pushed down by some others. --K
Brian Oberkirch with another thought-provoking post, this time on increasing productivity. I am adding my comments below in CAPS. Read his suggestions and let me know what you think. Is what he proposes feasible? If nothing else, I do think controlling and prioritizing email checks is a phenomenal idea.--K
Trimming the attention sails at Like It Matters
by Brian Oberkirch
You are what you pay attention to.
I had a “no mas” moment. I have a project generating a ridiculous amount of non-productive email. I have social networking service emails crufting up my inbox. I burned time in online ‘debates’ I just shouldn’t have gotten involved in. And I read Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week, which unhinged my mind and helped me think totally differently about goals, workflow, and being a stringent gatekeeper of your time. (If you like 43folders, you’ll like 4 Hour Work Week.)
So, I’m off my duff and doing the following:
* Deleted all my newsreader feeds and really evaluating each feed as it goes back in. Things I’m unsure about go in a ‘trial’ folder and I’ll zap them if they don’t interest me within a week. KS: I DID THIS A FEW WEEKS AGO. NEED TO DO IT AGAIN.
* I’m checking email Dr. Pepper style, at 10,2 and 4. Batching should help, and also making it a sprint to process my inbox within 10 to 15 minutes. ‘Reply to’ stuff goes in that folder. Stuff I note and might want later goes to ‘Archive’. Stuff I never need again gets deleted. You can delete a ton of your email. Really. Process voice mails at the same time. (I’ll also do an RSS feed run at these times. I’ll reward myself with a flickr/twitter/mefi review if I’m a good boy.) KS: DEFINITE ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT HERE.
* No email review in the morning as I start my machine. KS: I WILL TRY THIS ALSO.
* Unsubbed from all email discussion lists. N/A
* Turned off all email notifications from social networking sites. N/A
* All sound-based notification off. Dock bouncing, outta here. Only growl for notifications. KS: DITTO.
* Reinforcing my habit of making a micro to do list of 3 to 5 things. Index card or sticky note for the day. Setting crazy short deadlines for each activity. Doing only one thing at a time.
* Keeping my desktop clear of cruft and using Merlin’s distraction free environment hacks. KS: NEED TO READ THIS FIRST.
* Resetting workflow hours — mornings are mine, as that’s when I jam. Afternoons are for brief meetings and team interaction. KS: AGREE
* I’ll keep IM ‘office hours’ for a few hours after lunch each day. KS: THIS IS A GEM. IM BECOMES LIKE CLOCKING IN AND OUT. IF YOU AREN'T ON PEOPLE THINK YOU AREN'T IN.
* 30 minute meeting increments by default. I’ll need a good reason why our meeting needs to go longer than half an hour. My hunch is, with prep on all sides, no meeting should really go longer. If meetings can be shorter, let’s make them shorter. Or, better, let’s accomplish our to do’s and not have the meeting at all. FOR MEETINGS I HAVE CONTROL OVER YEAH.
* No impromptu meetings unless it’s really an emergency. And it rarely is.
* Stop trying to accomodate a global work schedule. Again, unless it’s really mandatory or unavoidable, I work during my work hours, not those in other parts of the world.
* No answering emails on the weekends, unless absolutely necessary. One review per day on Sat/Sun. KS: GUILTY AS CHARGED.
* Anything that can be converted into a feed, do it. Shunt the email directly to archive. KS: DITTO
* Dump new contacts immediately into Address Book so I never waste time looking up contact info. KS: DITTO
* Make ‘no’ the default answer for new project/app review/etc. requests. New things should earn their way into the attention field. KS: I'LL TAKE THIS ONE "UNDER ADVISEMENT."
Any other suggestions?