Mini-Monk Mode Sharpens Focus And Increases Productivity standard

Short Bursts of Quiet In his book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” Greg McKeown refers to getting focused as being in the “Monk Mode.” The benefit to the Monk Mode is greater and higher quality work product. Given our time-starved world, it might be more effective to find Mini-Monk Modes throughout our day. Here are some ways to do that: Silent Times. Seek out short periods during the day—like 20 minutes—during which you grant yourself permission to work uninterrupted. This may be first thing in the morning or after the proverbial dust settles at the end of the day. The point is to actively determine when these periods occur. The act of choosing delivers great rewards; repeating that act ...

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Five Killer Note Taking Abbreviations standard

Action-Oriented Note Taking Taking notes is a good way to capture and digest the content of a meeting. It also increases focus on the subject matter at hand, as the notes preserve the salient points. Here is a list of abbreviations for use when taking notes to make them even more productive: A is an Action item. C is a Call that needs to be made. R is a Reference item for further use. F is a Follow-up that needs to occur. S is something that needs to be Scheduled. After the meeting, work through the notes to prioritize or delegate the associated action items.

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Get More Done Through Better Capture – Part 1 standard

More Technology but Less Productivity The irony of the modern world is that we have more tools and information at our disposal than ever before, but we’re getting less and less done. Sure, there’s a lot more activity, but it’s productivity that matters – advancing the cause, moving the ball down the proverbial field. There are many reasons for this and possibly as many suggestions for solving the problem. We’re going to focus on making one small slice of time – odd-lot time – more productive. Making Odd-Lot Time Productive Examples of odd-lot time include those minutes between when the meeting was scheduled to start and when it actually starts, the small (or large) slice of time commuting, and that ...

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The World in Five Sentences standard

You’ve no doubt hear of the six-word memoirs? If not, take a minute to check it out at Six-Word Memoirs. There are some amazing contributions. In a similar vein, Mike Davidson founded Five Sentence Email several years ago. The idea is simple: write shorter emails to reduce the increasing burden everyone is experiencing with email overload. Here are five reasons to consider adopting the five sentences approach: Takes less time to write. Takes less time to read. Results in clearer messages. Creates more time for doing the associated work. Lowers stress for all involved. See How Crafty You Are Writing cogent, concise emails is highly effective. Give it try the next time a message needs to be sent.

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Get More Done Through Better Communication – Part 1 standard

Buying a Car Sucks Buying a car ranks high on the list things we dislike doing. There are dozens of makes and models, option lists are daunting, and haggling with the dealership is a nightmare. In spite of this, we spend a tremendous amount of time and energy pursing the best decision about the choices before us. However, we spend very little time choosing what vehicle we’ll use to communicate. Today’s defacto vehicle is email, regardless of how effective it is. Consider the following alternatives the next time you need to communicate with someone:

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Making Email Better – Part 2 standard

You are the Cure for Email Overload Part 1 of Making Email Better observed that how we use email significantly contributes to its negative effects on our productivity and sense of satisfaction. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on a UK study that found up to 80% of email traffic is a “waste!”   Better Mechanics and Better Messaging We established that focusing on Better Mechanics – use of the tool – and Better Messaging – the manner of communicating – makes email more effective and productive. We covered three best practices suggestions for each. You can review those here.

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Making Email Better – Part 1 standard

Swimming in Email We are overwhelmed with the flood of email. They flow into our inboxes unabated like the ocean tides. We struggle to keep up, often ending the day feeling that we’ve only treaded water. How can this situation get better? Technology solutions, like spam filters, have helped. But what about all the email that we legitimately receive? What can be done to stem the rising tide? We are Them – A Dichotomy The irony of our situation is that we’re doing it to ourselves. This is not the work of auto-bots. Other people are sending us email, and we are sending them email. Focusing on receiver-centeric behaviors – managing the inbound flow – can only help us so ...

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Making Time To Be On Time standard

Bruce Turkel is a nationally recognized expert on branding. He’s also a prolific blogger, one that I follow. Bruce recently wrote about his serendipitous early arrival to the airport in a post titled “Early To Bed. Early To Rise.” It’s a worthy read. I commented on his post, focusing my message on the importance of being on time. It’s what I call Making Time To Be On Time.  Here’s the way I see it. Why Being On Time Is Important Being on time – in any form and for any purpose – is important in three specific ways: Leadership – Being on time demonstrates leadership.  It communicates that we command our schedule and we fulfill our obligations. Others follow those ...

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The S.M.A.R.T. Email Credo – The T standard

What Does the T Stand For? The T in S.M.A.R.T. stands for Time Usage. People are overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail they must handle each day. There are a number of reasons for this, including the global and ubiquitous availability of e-mail, the ability to communicate asynchronously, and the use of e-mail to replace other forms of communication, namely, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings. Our use of and reliance on e-mail is largely positive. We accomplish much more now than even a few years ago because we can communicate with others on our schedule and they on theirs. However, some of our e-mail habits are big time wasters from a recipient’s standpoint. Some of these habits have been covered earlier in this Credo, ...

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The S.M.A.R.T. Email Credo – The R standard

The R in S.M.A.R.T. stands for Recipient Focused. Effective use of e-mail requires focusing on how your recipients will receive your e-mail and what they need to know to be fully informed by it. We might term this empathetic sending because we need to put ourselves in the recipient’s shoes to ensure we are communicating effectively with them. Transferring the information in our heads to our recipient is difficult in any medium. Leaving out important context, background information, and companion information leaves the recipient without all the pieces of the puzzle. Including the pertinent information increases the effectiveness of our communication and reduces the inefficient back-and-forth required when clarification is needed. E-mail is particularly susceptible to the risk of insufficient ...

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