Bringing order to a chaotic work day
Posted by Ravi Banda on March 9, 2010
My usual day started with early morning meetings, catching up on email, looking up my memory for the to-do tasks and following up with my team by writing more emails, participating in meetings, and resulting in more emails.
As you can imagine, it was pretty hectic, a reactive work style and of my own doing. However much I tried to come out of it, I sunk in further so decided to take help from the “Productivity” class – one of the cool benefits of working @ Oracle is the access to a wide-variety of development tools (ok – I had to put in my compliments for Oracle somewhere :-) )
My style is now “task based” and its simple –
- I am writing down all tasks – work and personal (using Outlook) with the goal of not relying on memory.
- I have set myself a frequency on checking mail (every 1 hour)
- I am now quickly processing the mail and dividing into 3 buckets
- If it can be replied quickly in 1 min or less, do it immediately.
- If it needs an action or following up with someone, create a Task for it and set a Start Date and Due Date. The tendency is to focus more on Due Date but at the same time “Start Date” is critical, as setting it correctly based on the work load for today / tomorrow and the current week, will determine how successfully I will get to it and complete it.
- If it’s a FYI mail, move it into an archive folder and rely on “search” tools to find it later
- All I am now focused is to get the Tasks done and yes – writing this blog post was a task for Today.
I now have a “0” mail Inbox and a healthy list of 30 tasks that I need to do this week.
The added benefit of having Tasks is that I can now lookup my Tasks for the last week and send my Goals mail (which is the work I did last week + work to do this week) to my team. For some of the larger tasks – I can also pull them easily into my performance review document
My team is also following this approach, and as a result, we are all now competing with each other to show who is more productive. And, just the fact that, I have come out of a 2 year blog hibernation shows how happy I am with the new “me”.
What about you ? Do you have any productivity tips to share ?