In the last article, we explored how increasing your limits results in increased productivity. Today we focus some attention on one of the greatest productivity tools in recent history; the personal computer. Used correctly, it can propel you into hyper-productivity. However, misuse the computer (like most of the world) and it will suck your time.
Here are my keys to using the computer for hyper-productivity.
- Check e-mail twice per day on work days. When I first heard this advice I dismissed it. However, the more I experiment with it, the more I found that (1) I am addicted to checking my email, (2) it interrupts my work-flow multiple times a day, and (3) I can check my email in two 15 minute batches per day. This is remarkable, considering that my primary means of communication is through e-mail.
- Check no work email on days off. I have a separate email for personal correspondence. Few people have this address. In rare cases will I check my work email on my day off. Why? Because I am not working. I have to draw a line. Doing this makes me more productive at home and more productive in the office, where I am forced to get stuff done and not take it home.
- Refuse most IM requests. Face it, almost everyone wants to be your cyber-friend. I refuse several requests. Having a full list of IM friends is like trying to work at a party. You are in the corner working on a critically important matter and “bing” your smelly Uncle pops in view and wants to talk about nothing important. I’m not trying to be cold hearted here, but my employer does not pay me to have my time interrupted by drunk Uncle Larry.
- Accept key IM’s. There are key IM’s that I do accept (and request). My key IM’s are my team leaders and those that work on projects with me. Sometimes I am hung up on something and need a 60 second IM session with my team-mate. IM saves me the wait of email. With my team, I get in and out fast. I have to remember that they have work to do as well. As a side note, when my team IM’s each other, it usually starts with “got a sec?” Many times we do have a few seconds. Sometimes we do not.
Drop in next time when we explore how to use friends to increase productivity.