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|Tuesday, July 26, 2011|
BY TOM COX
Power is a measure of work per unit of time. As you use your time better, you become more powerful.
Email seems to expand to take up the time available for it, plus 20%. Christine coaches people to use these five tips to discipline themselves around their email:
Turn off all audio and visual alerts of new email arriving. When we are “in the zone” being productive, the ‘ding’ of new email takes away at least two minutes of focus, attention and productivity — even if we don’t actually look at the email.
The inbox isn’t a storehouse. For each email, decide on a next step and sort the message into a folder that relates to that next step. For Facebook notifications, turn them off or send them to a separate personal email address.
If I don’t truly need to do something with an email, delete it on the spot.
Create email folders just as you would for paper files, and use the “filters” and rules of your email system to automatically sort incoming emails into appropriate places. This means I’m deciding in advance what my system is for handling email, and automating at least part of that system.
If an email can be processed in less than two minutes, go ahead and do it, rather than filing it for later. Having a cluttered inbox is exhausting. All clutter represents unmade decisions. Every time we look at clutter of any kind, it reduces our morale and our energy. Ultimately, systems make our work easier and faster, in part by making decisions easier and faster.
Systems Enable Delegation
Systems and processes are a vital prerequisite for delegating. Without any written process, we end up saying “it’ll be easier to just do it myself.” And that blocks our ability to grow.
Yet another red flag raises when people say “I can’t get it all done” or who fix things and the fixes don’t stick.
Christine Giri shares Christine Comaford’s suggestion to, at the beginning of every month, pick the three most important tasks that you must do that month, and put them up on the wall where you will see them from your desk. Every day, do something on each of those three.
Working longer or harder does not make us more productive. Without pacing, without periodically relaxing, we cannot be effective in the hours when we actually are working. A rested and relaxed person can be 2 to 10 times more effective per hour of work than an exhausted workaholic. (Al Lee describes how to build your energy level just like a weight lifter builds muscles.)
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