Professional Un-productivity

20070227overload.jpgAs mentioned before, the task of comparing one worker to another in terms of their productivity has become much harder.

However, the results of examining their in-box can give a good insight into how productive they are. In other words, a person who has an in-box of thousands of items is less productive than one who maintains less than 10 at any time.

(If you are immediately offended by this assertion, then stay tuned…)

What is the reasoning behind this statement?

To put it simply, a “full” in-box is a sign of very low mastery of the 2Time fundamental components.

But, what is the problem with having 100 or 1000 or 10,000 email items in an in-box? Is it even a problem worth considering?

Yes, it’s a problem and here is why. Contained in that in-box is a combination of different time demands:

Inbox Difficulties

inbox1.gifBack in the old days it was easy.

The unproductive guy was the one who still had a bunch of bricks sitting in a pile waiting to be assembled into a wall, while the productive guy was finished long before, and was onto the next task of digging the trench.

Productivity was easily measured by throughput per hour, per day, or per week.

By contrast, one of my clients in the car insurance industry remarked to me the other day that his company has a backlog in the claims area. The company, in its attempts to increase productivity, had started to measure the number of cases disposed of per day by a claims processor. Unfortunately, this way of “measuring” the relative productivity of each person was running into problems. Continue reading “Inbox Difficulties”

Email:Putting It All Together

jordan-arton45917-150x150.jpgOne of the easiest ways to check whether or not someone is at a higher belt level is to observe carefully how they handle email.

What do they have in their in-box? Is the number of emails always kept small? Does email get sent to them that they never reply to? Does email routinely get lost amid hundreds, or even thousands of items? Do their friends and colleagues prefer to call them knowing that they are “bad with email”? At the end of each year, do they simply delete everything in their in-box, and start all over with a fresh one?

Email failure is a sure sign they they have not mastered one or more of the fundamentals. This is because email management at the higher belt levels is a function of executing a group of fundamentals, rather than any single one.

To handle email well, a 2Time user must be Capturing, Emptying, Tossing, Scheduling and/or Listing, Acting Now, Warning and Reviewing in a smooth, coordinated way.

Why is this so? Continue reading “Email:Putting It All Together”

A Hard Habit to Break

ist2_2380326_happy_mobile_computing.jpgOne of the more difficult habits to break when using Outlook is hard to change because of how the program is designed.

Here is the typical scenario:

  • Several pieces of email come into the Outlook in-box
  • Each of them share a single characteristic, in that they require about ten minutes of work
  • They have nothing else in common

Here is what I would really want to do, that as far as I can tell is not programmed into the latest version of Outlook. Continue reading “A Hard Habit to Break”