One of the reasons that the ASE exists is to help groups become more productive by solving complex challenges and helping them to leverage the best from within their organisation. On a recent event we were challenged to think about how to help individuals themselves. Ultimately by helping individuals to achieve more, more can be achieved by the team and therefore the organisation.
A speaker from Productivity Ninja came in and discussed the nine ninja techniques to become more productive. One area of particular interest was the different times that we are Proactive, active and inactive.
By understanding our preferences for working and when we are most efficient we should try to arrange our working day as much as possible to match that. We all know the clichés of different type of workers;
  • the morning person
  • the person that is only motivated right up to the deadline
  • the post lunch slump workers
Ultimately these all get partly overridden by our need to be constantly connected and working to whatever are our client requirements. But can you change your day, even a little, to help yourself be more productive?
The inbox curse
The simple answer is yes, regardless or your seniority. We are all slaves to our email inbox which only brings in information or requests in the order in which they arrive. There is no sophistication to our inboxes as most of us use it for so many different purposes ranging from things to read, things to do, personal items, work items, things not to forget because we are waiting for a response etc.
Why are you reading a group wide company communication first thing in the morning if your most productive time is first thing and you are a morning person? We need to be smarter on our individual productivity.
They suggest that you choose when you open your inbox and should not be a slave to it. When you are opening it up, if things can be done in 2 minutes then by all means do it there and then. But much of what we do cannot be done in 2 minutes and often we may not be doing things at the right time.
One of the techniques in the Productivity Ninja series is to set up three folders in your inbox;
  • @read (all emails that you just need to read/be aware of)
  • @action (things that require thinking work to action)
  • @waiting (where you are waiting for a response but don’t want to forget as if there is no response you will need to chase again).
The system suggests that you file all the emails that can’t be instantly deleted or addressed into one of those folders. You are then in control of when you look at each folder.
  • If you have a slump post lunch then this could be a good time to read all of the @read emails rather than in your highly productive time.
  • If you are a morning person then starting the day with a quick flick through your inbox and then addressing the most important items in your @action folder will mean you are doing the right work at the right time for you.
  • Checking the @waiting folder once every 48 hours for 10 mins is a better use then constantly flicking through those items in your inbox but not being able to do anything about them.
As our world gets more connected and the balance between life and work becomes more blurred, understanding you and how to get the most out of yourself is key. Addressing the way you interact with your inbox is one very practical way of going on that journey.