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Discussion on: Have you made recent changes to your workflow to boost productivity?

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell

Not really a workflow thing, but I have started warning people that I only check my email 3 times a day. First thing on a morning, just after lunch, and about an hour before the end of the day.

I find I've then set expectations on when people can expect a response from me, and I'm not constantly checking to see if anyone is screaming via email for my attention. Those I actually work with know they can call me or use Hangouts to send get me if they need a faster response.

Sometimes I will read emails when I am between tasks, but for the most part, not being at the endless demand of an email chain means I can focus properly on the actual task at hand.

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radiomorillo profile image
Stephanie Morillo Author

It's great that you set proper expectations. I find that people generally find it helpful to know how you work and appreciate it when we communicate that. Have you found it has improved your productivity?

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell

I have. I find that I'm not checking my emails every 10 minutes because I have set email checking windows that people know about. Tgat means I can give whatever task I'm working on my full attention.

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learnbyexample profile image
Sundeep

I started doing something similar last week. I'm switching off internet completely for about 5-6 hours during workdays. I take breaks more often now instead of continuously checking social media and the likes. Somedays I can't switch off, as the work itself needs internet connection. I hope I can settle into this habit on more days than not.

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radiomorillo profile image
Stephanie Morillo Author

Really interesting, Sundeep — are those 5-6 hours outside of working hours? Or are you adjusting your work schedule to be more heads down, not as much social media/email/chat?

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learnbyexample profile image
Sundeep

The latter. I'm self employed and my schedule varies wildly, except during last stages of a project. I'm hoping to reduce internet distraction during what I consider to be my main working hours.

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radiomorillo profile image
Stephanie Morillo Author

That makes a lot of sense, thank you! If you haven't read it already, I think you'd like the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. Your approach to minimizing distractions reminds me a lot of what he discusses in the book (it's an excellent read). :)

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jennapederson profile image
Jenna Pederson

I have done this for years and highly recommend it! The setting of expectations is important.

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell

I think people have come to expect that email is delivered instantly, and therefore should be read instantly. If it's read instantly there should be a reply very soon after. Yet I still hear of people calling someone and say "I'm following up on the email I just sent you", as if people are sat waiting for emails to keep them occupied.

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destynova profile image
Oisín • Edited on

Ah yes, I've worked with a few people who would come to my desk and start the following conversation:

A: Did you get that email I sent?
B: No, when did you send it?
A: Just now.
B: Oh.
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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell

I've literally had the conversation with someone now. They have been informed it will be read tomorrow (as it has a large document with it).

Even when you have long established expectations, people still expect more.