Productivity in the Workplace (and at home): Collection
I was recently interviewed by the Juice on ways that I stay productive at work. I thought that I would write a short series on my particular methods of productivity. This is more of a description of how my system works, there will be very little technology mentioned. If there is interest, I could write a followup for the specific techniques that I use, however, I suspect that such information would be less useful to others than the general overview that follows in this series.
[flickr]photo:3992081(small)[/flickr]And people said, let the world bring forth work, the clients yielding requests, the bosses yielding projects after their visions, whose success is in itself, upon life; and it was so.
And the system collected the work from the world, the requests from the clients, and the projects and visions from the bosses, and everyone saw that it was good.Most people start talking about GTD with this idea, but I held it for later because GTD is a cycle. As work flows, it has to flow somewhere. Most people put work in two places: their brains and their email box. Most people are also overly stressed and tend to not think ahead.How many emails do you have in your inbox? No, really Go count, I can wait.
OK, good. Want to know how many I have?
I’m sure that right now, you’re thinking “how the heck is that possible?” It’s pretty simple. Every email represents an item of work. Work exists to be done. So, I went through my mailbox and read everything. I deleted what I didn’t need and processed what I did. That left a grand total of nothing left. Now, I just keep it there.
The same goes for my other in boxes. Here is how it works:
- Work email
- Home email
- RSS reader
- Physical in box
- My brain
Those are the ONLY places that work can be. Four of those fill up automatically.
Email flows 24/7 and often requires something to be done other than just reading it. For me, about 60% of what comes in needs to be processed, not just deleted. This means that I either do the work right away or I make a to-do entry on my Treo and file or delete the email.
My telephone can ring at any time, but it doesn’t happen very often. When it does, I turn the call into a note on paper. Then, I either do the work, or convert the paper into a to-do item on my Treo.
My RSS Reader fills up constantly, but the vast majority off the items are to be read and not responded to. So, several times a day, I look at the headlines and read what’s important and mark the rest read. Sometimes I defer an item to be read later.
Two of these fill up manually.
My physical in box is the home for paper-based items, usually magazines. When I have time, I grab a magazine and read it. Then I either file or toss it.
My Treo holds all my to-dos. It’s where my tasks live when they need to be done, but not right now.
Lastly, my brain holds some information about what I need to-do when. This is a big NO in GTD. The idea in GTD is to empty your brain of what needs to be done, so it can focus on doing. However, for me, no matter what I do, I can’t get everything out. It’s just not possible. I aim to get most of what I need into my system, and I just accept that the rest will stay stuck in my brain. It’s just how my brain works.
- Do you know how your employees organize their work?
- Are you confident that your requests won’t get lost in someone’s email box?