What’s slowing you down probably isn’t a huge procedural issue, but a bunch of small, anti-productive habits that add up over the course of your day. Fixing small challenges can have a big impact on your day.
Respect the 2-minute rule:
Think about the important piece of paper that you shuffle from one side of your desk to the other instead of dealing with it immediately. Then, two days later, you find yourself picking it up again.
This is where the 2-minute rule comes in. Many of our immediate responses are to shuffle rather than to just act. Break the habit and just act – take 5 seconds to assess whether something will take you less than 2 minutes to do. If it passes the test, DO IT IMMEDIATELY!
Look at the emails sitting in your inbox from last week. Take 5 of them, and, with each one, determine whether you can act within 2 minutes. If you can, do it immediately. If you cannot, wait till later. Always remember, nobody will hold it against you if your reply is shorter than usual. The main thing is to reply and get it done.
Check your e-mail on the go:
No, don’t check your emails while driving, but when you have a few minutes here and there during the day, when you’re waiting in line at the coffee shop, waiting for your next appointment to arrive and so on.
The underlying and most important thing about checking email on the go is that you make your “desk time” sacred. This is when you get real work done. Often, emails are not “real work”. Reply, forward, archive and delete from your phone. If a message requires more, you can save it for “desk time”, then you’ll have a much smaller pile that actually requires your attention than your typical overwhelming unopened inbox.
- Don’t check your email from your computer today (yes, I know, you can’t help refreshing that screen as you’re reading this now).
- Set aside tomorrow morning to answer any email from today that require more than what you could type or do on your phone.