Time for a Digital Detox
Everyone wants to accomplish more work in less time and utilize time for tasks with higher ROI but the question is how. We will provide the answers in this week’s newsletter series.
Welcome to One Up Your Career – the daily info-vitamin capsule ?? by Unnati to help you growth hack your career.
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Less stuff equals more freedom – Maxime Lagace.
Our theme for this week is personal productivity. We will talk about ways to enhance personal productivity, share tips from an expert when it comes to working productively from a home office and suggest tools that will help you become more efficient.
So, where should we begin? Maybe something that is staring right at you. Your screen. Our electronic gadgets end up hoarding a multitude of files, images, and data that we do not need but for some reason, we keep it till the gadget runs out of memory. I have to confess, I am guilty of being a digital hoarder. I have more than 1440 unread emails and a dump load of redundant files in my Downloads folder. So, if you are able to identify with me then the article below is for us.
Stop Living in Your Inbox
Have you heard the term ‘Inbox Zero’? It is intuitive and easy to follow framework for dealing with the high volume of incoming emails in a short amount of time. The concept was introduced by Merlin Mann in a Google tech talk. He says something very interesting – time and attention are the two most important resources and they are finite. In order to enhance personal productivity, it is important to ascertain our resources for constructive tasks and spend less time sorting email.
Applying the Inbox Zero concept means making sure that every time the inbox is checked the result should be zero unread emails. A cluttered inbox has the same psychological impact as a cluttered room and digital clutter impedes productivity. Inbox Zero system is the easiest and most practical one I have heard so far and here are the excerpts from the original presentation:
Processing: Checking emails and not taking actions is like taking orders in a restaurant and not cooking the actual meal. So, take relevant action which does not necessarily mean that you have to respond to every email. All you need do is take action on the email at that very moment.
Keeping the ball in motion: Each email requires an action from you. It could be responding, archiving or simply deleting. So, take action. If the email chain has reached a point that it does not require any action from you then end your participation with a note. Now, what do you do if you do not have the right response to the email? You either delegate it or admit that you do not have the information but it is important to keep the ball rolling.
Creating Categories/Folders: Inbox Zero system encourages to create folders based on the nature of your work. For instance, any email that might be required later should be put in the Archive folder and an email that requires immediate action should be in the To-Do folder. Do not create a folder within a folder within a folder. It is an email inbox, not a surprise birthday gift. So, if an email fits a broad category, just move it.
I heard the tech talk given by Mann and found his concept simple yet something all of us fail to follow. Here is the link to the talk if you wish to hear it: https://unti.in/7ir. Also, let me tell you in advance that there are no shortcuts to achieving Inbox Zero. You will have to go through each email in order to reach the Zero and there could be no better time than the lockdown to do it.
Here is a useful plugin that I am using to sort my emails:
Sortd – I just installed the plugin from the chrome store and am already halfway through sorting my emails. My Gmail account has been converted into a personal board with multiple task lists. I can directly drag & drop emails to different lists that I have created according to my requirements. The Sortd view of the inbox displays the emails to the left and all the lists to the right. Personal board, email filter (much like the one in Outlook), and easy action window are the features that enable managing my inbox easily. All the Gmail actions and features work the same with the plugin and you can toggle to the standard Gmail view anytime you want to. There are many more features to explore. Refer to the links for tutorials.
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