An email which is timely not sent is worth ten emails sent at wrong time.
Recently, my colleague and I delivered a lecture about personal productivity to other our colleagues. It is based on a course of my friend, and has this slide in it:
It is (in turn) based on Tim Urban theory about procrastination, but in this particular case is describing what our internal monkey may do with our regular work if we don’t formulate it good enough, or if we otherwise give it too much of free action time.
After that we showed that however hard and unpleasant it is, we can wake up our consciousness if:
1) we want to
2) we have enough time.
And the situation, like pictured in the slide, can be resolved quite easy. I saw the recipe so many times all over the internet, so I was blown away discovering that so many people in my audience don’t know about that trick. And almost no one uses it! And almost all of them do such mistakes from time to time.
What is the trick? That’s easy: delay sending your email. I know how to do it in MS Office Outlook. I know that the similar (but more simple) option presents in Gmail, and I know that there is not such option in Outlook.com. So choose wisely =)
What it does for us? It gives our intelligence time to take over steering controls from the monkey. And write “I don’t completely agree” instead of “you’re an idiot”. Or if you are naturally polite (which I am not), you may remember that not every person needs receive the letter just because you’ve hit “reply all”. Anything can happen if you take just several seconds to reflect on your latest action. Anything.
And here is how to configure it in Outlook 2016 and Gmail.
P.S. I was speaking about video with raccoon and cotton candy in the lecture. Here it is.
Not only mine, actually. I read many different books. Sometimes it’s real junk, sometimes it’s something very clever. It happens that the book changes my opinion on the book itself (Don Quixote turned out to be quite sad book and Moomintrolls can be source of citation for many life occurrences) or changes/throws doubts upon some particular aspect of my life.
For the last several years I’ve read only two books which influenced my life and behavior. I won’t recommend reading them, so that you don’t think I’m advertising anything 😉 I’ll just tell you what they mean for me and some other people.
The first book is David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. I started reading it when I just had started managing my group and besides my usual mail flow I was hit with nine more. Time zipped away, the head was about to blow because of information flow, tasks and necessity to control all of it. The situation was quite dire: I had to change or just give up and return to system administration. That was when I invented and adopted several tricks which slightly improved the situation and… someone suddenly gave out the book. It turned out that I already got about 30% of the tools mentioned in it (It’s, BTW, my definition of a good book: it’s good, if you had had to invent considerable part of the tools described in the book). From the remaining 70% I implemented about half, using the book as guide and about 10% picked up after one of the recent trainings. As a result, empty Inbox, couple of my own know-hows and Allen’s system gives me everything I need now to be cool and as productive as my laziness allows me 😉
My coach advised me to read the second book, which led to changes in my approach to the management of my team. Well, changes were brewing and I, again, had “invented” some of them, but hadn’t implemented them, because I was too hesitant: everything inside me screamed “It won’t work!!!” The book triggered the chain of changes: I shrugged off all doubts and decided to experiment. The result was rated high both by me and my team. I have now much more time and stopped wasting my time. My guys achieved greater freedom and space for creativity. I’m talking, of course, about Daniel Pink’s “Drive”.
As I told you previously, I don’t recommend read them. But if you are a fan to implement some counterproductive process for your employees or you have gazillion started tasks and 1500 emails in your inbox… Well, what you lose? =)