Three personal administrative tasks and is key to your personal productivity. We all deal with them in some way. This development module is about how to move from good to great in managing mail, tasks and your schedule.
Your personal productivity is where most productivity gains start. Your ability to deal with repetitive tasks as mail, tasks and scheduling is the first area to address. And think and test out of the box with regards to new tools that can make your work simpler than the classic PC tools. Most of these activities you are likely dealing with on the go through a mobile device.
The mail-box is for most of us the single biggest time consumer in a day. This is also an area where lack of timely actions can give you a reputation of being non responsive. But attending to every e-mail when they come in will make you inefficient. 300 mails daily are more realistic than you think. The most powerful efforts in this area start with you and your own behavior. Set a responsiveness level you can keep on a daily basis. Make sure anyone can get your mails from the headline or at least by reading the preview. Elaborate with different filing systems and you will be down to a handful of powerful folders. Screen out marketing mails automatically.
The tasks we get are growing, and as a manager you are responsible for managing both your teams and your own tasks. Tracking with mails will sooner or later move you out of control. Look at options for tracking your own tasks and think as if you already had a team and had to manage 10X as many tasks. That is the ambition level you should have for your personal task management system. Your best superiors will “inspect what they expect” and you want to make sure you are always one step ahead.
The final part in this trilogy is about your calendar. The more senior you get the more critical it is to have a good scheduling system in place. In a previous development area we talked about how to create more time slots. This area is about how to maximize the use of them. You will be managing a range of different activities at work. Some driven by you and some where you are a contributor. Early on you want to be able to see how you use your scheduled time and the relation to unscheduled time. The groups you schedule time in provide a lot of information of the profile of your role. Your own suggestions on how to increase your personal productivity comes using the time you already have. All professional roles need a set of basic activities each worth an own color in your calendar.
Your ability to manage your mail, tasks and schedule is essential for your personal productivity. The sheer volumes and a high level of repetitiveness make this vital for individual contributors. For and executives it is a life line, with or without administrative support.
Good questions to work with here
• How responsive do I need to be towards my prioritized interfaces during a regular work day? – Type of business and company cultures varies and define what you ambition level need to be.
• How can I structure a filing system for my mails and separate between marketing and real mails in the best way? – Filing should help you and one touch on each mail should be your norm.
• How do I set up my task system and tools to secure I keep all my promises? – Delivering on what you say you will deliver on is the single biggest contributor to your professional reputation.
• How many colors do I need to manage in my calendar? – Will make your life easier to plan and to track productivity
• What are my favorite tools for managing mail, task and calendar? – This is the focus area for development by all a variety of Internet service providers.
The area of personal productivity is widely documented and here are a few examples
- 5 productivity mistakes you don’t know you’re making [BLOG] – by Kimberly Yuhl through Steamfeed
- E-mail mania and mobile madness: Burn-out follows where management fails [BLOG] – by Marion Schick
- The Hamster Revolution: How to manage e-mail before it manages you [eBOOK] – by Mike Song, Vicky Halsey and Tim Burress.
- How to use a calendar to create more freedom [eBOOK] – by Catharine Murphy and Susan Hale
- Get more done & have more fun [eBOOK] – by Catharine Murphy and Susan Hale
- Continuous productivity and the next generation of work and tools for work [ARTICLE] – by Steven Sinofsky
I hope this development areas has inspired you to become a star on the subject of running me, myself and I. You will soon need it.