The two biggest time wasting activities are group emails and meetings. When it come to sending group emails it seems I’m the worst offender. Whenever I find something cool geeky thing on the web, not just cute kittens, I feel the need to email everyone at the office with a link to said amusement. After a while it become noise. Today I’m slapping myself on the wrist and admitting I have a problem. No more unnecessary emails!
The other big noise in our lives are meetings. They are evil and disrespectful of other people’s time. Too harsh? Maybe, but they tend to eat up so much time and so many resources I can’t help but think they are the antithesis to productivity. Meetings also become a great excuse for procrastination. I realize some meetings are a necessary evil so instead of suggesting you buy another collaboration app I’m going to suggest a few simple behavioral adjustment solutions:
- Think before you email. Not everyone needs to hear about everything.
- If you have a cool discovery to share with everyone, it’s probably cool enough to add to the blog or tweet about. The best part of blogging is that we can read when we get the chance and so can the community at large.
- If you need to discuss a project with a few people ask yourself if a meeting is really necessary. Will a phone call or a IM chat suffice?
- If a meeting is unavoidable, ask yourself, “do I really need to invite six people?”
- Meetings tend to fill the time allotted for them. Most of us are used to the standard 1 hour meeting default. Set your Google calendar to default to 20 mins for a meeting slot. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in a shorter period.
- Make your meetings work harder by always being on time, insisting that others are on time and that you have an agenda that you stick to. If someone brings up non-agenda items just ask them politely to send you an email “…so we can discuss that separately.”