Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are Productivity and Email Mutually Exclusive?

I recently worked a major development project and found that the 600+ emails a day were completely paralyzing me, and I knew I wasn't alone.  I announced that I was implementing a new policy of "Planned Neglect."  Essentially, I said "I will look at emails first thing in the morning and in the evening, no more than thirty minutes each.  If you have a crisis that I absolutely must participate in then come see me or call me.  You know where I am and you have my numbers.  Use them."

As a result I discovered that,
  • My ability to focus concentration on the most important matters and tasks increased dramatically
  • My productivity and value contribution soared
  • The quality of personal interactions improved
  • People respected and even cheered my stance, and
  • I enjoyed the project and life a whole lot more
This was not me running away and hiding from the world.  I did not limit my accessibility to the team, in fact I improved it.  Lesson learned?  Some day email will go the way of the Dodo Bird.  Until then it needs to be managed, as does any other good tool that turns into a time killer.

Your productivity and value quotient are the most important assets you contribute - protect them.

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