I’ve had a lot of great opportunities over the past few months. Unfortunately, those opportunities didn’t lend themselves to keeping up with my posting schedule. Look for new updates beginning in May - it’s good to be back!
Sometimes “I don’t think so” isn’t enough. Reinforce that with a strong and simple “no” without feeling the need to follow with an explanation.
Is your phone holding you back from peak productivity? Do you feel as if you cannot accomplish anything because of the constant interruption from your phone? Here are a few ways to boost your productivity without sacrificing accessibility.
Use a service such as Google Voice to filter your calls. By giving this number out (and not your cell or direct line), you can control and minimize interruptions. Using such a service enables me to send calls to a number that I choose at times that I designate and also provides a voice mail to e-mail transcription for times that I cannot answer but may need to know the nature of the call. When I must remain focused, I set my Google Voice number to go to voice mail and then I can respond to those voice mails at a time that I designate. I typically give this number out and only give out my direct line and cell numbers to those who will need to reach me in emergency situations. Google Voice also provides blocking of inbound calls by number. I’ve used this sparingly, but it is effective for those who continue to call after you’ve asked them to cease. Use your discretion wisely.
Do not rush to your phone for every phone call. Consider the matter at hand. If you are holding a conversation with someone, then your focus on the topic at hand is important. Silence the phone. If you are awaiting a call that must take priority, then excuse yourself from the conversation and take the call. Nothing is worse than trying to multitask with two disparate conversations. Not every phone call needs your immediate attention. Aunt Edna’s documentation of her day can wait until you have a free moment to give her a call. Conversely, the question about tomorrow afternoon’s meeting can wait until you finish your dinner with your loved ones.
Where are you spending your time? Are you current techniques getting you the results that you want? Implement the above strategies and you will be surprised at your increase in productivity.
Mistakes happen. Deal with them directly and with haste.
Remembering this as you go through each day will decrease your frustration and increase your planning and productivity.
Technology is great. It enables the flow of information and helps us with our own organization habits; however, it can also become a time waster instead of a time saver. Here are some tips to tame your inbox:
- Set up or designate an e-mail account for solicitations. Give this address out to loyalty programs, special offers, etc. You can check this account at your leisure and this reduces the amount of e-mails you have to wade through on a daily basis just to get to the e-mails that need your attention.
- Periodically review your e-mail subscriptions. If you have not utilized a particular service/subscription, unsubscribe from the e-mail. This applies only to e-mails that you requested (not junk or spam).
- Train your junk/spam filter. I heavily use this and scan the junk folder before exiting my e-mail and manually trashing the junk folder contents.
- Don’t participate in the latest text/e-mail forwarding campaign. We all have friends and colleagues who like to hit forward and sent information to everyone they’ve ever met. Don’t do it. Read the information and determine if it’s relevant and accurate. Is it an urban legend (check www.snopes.com for validity)? Is it unfounded research? Is it really that funny? Will this provide the recipient with information they need?
- Designate time for reading e-mail, surfing, or social media. I typically read and respond to my e-mails at predetermined slots throughout the day. I use my smartphone to quickly scan for any urgent items. This allows me to focus on reading and responding to e-mails and be efficient in doing so because I’ve minimized other distractions. I like to check in on the social media sites and give myself an allotment of time during my day to do so. Once my time is up, I move on to the next task – no loitering online! You can use the same strategy for reading news, playing games, or any other activity that doesn’t directly relate to your goals.
These are just a few ways that I keep my inbox organized, minimized and optimized. Try these and you will be amazed at how easy it is to get a handle on that overflowing inbox. Remember: Are you using technology to your advantage or is it using you?