Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
1. Neutralize your fear of missing out by using VIP email notifications
You’ve probably read plenty of articles suggesting that you maximize your focus and productivity by logging out of email when you’re trying to focus on other things and batch-processing email messages only at specific times throughout the day. And yes, this 99u.com article recommends those actions – but it also suggests something that doesn’t often come up in “manage your email” advice. Recognizing that many people have trouble ignoring email because of fear of missing an important message, the piece suggests setting up special notifications for VIPs – like your boss, or the client you’re anxiously waiting to hear back from, or anyone else whose message shouldn’t just sit. By setting your email to give you special alerts when you get a message from someone on your VIP list, you can more comfortably tune out the rest of your incoming mail while you focus on something else. “If I notice I can’t stop peeking at my inbox because I want to know if I scored the dream apartment I just applied for, or I’m awaiting a time-sensitive reply from a client for a project that’s on deadline, then I just pop that person onto my VIP list,” writes author Jocelyn K. Glei. “Now I no longer have to monitor my inbox like a maniac because I know I’ll be alerted as soon as the message arrives.”
2. Pinpoint the resistance to stop procrastinating
If you tend to put off important work, rationalizing that you need to wait until the time is somehow more right, you should read this piece in Fortune about how to break a procrastination habit. In particular, author Renita Kalhorn suggests “pinpointing the resistance,” or figuring out exactly what it is that you’re dreading about doing the work. “Identifying the precise point of resistance prevents emotion from coloring your whole attitude so you can come up with a specific action to work through the block,” she writes. She also recommends putting a limit on how long you’ll spend on the work, since you’ll be more likely to do it if you’re only committing yourself for, say, 15 minutes. And perhaps counter-intuitively, she suggests that with large, ongoing tasks, you stop in the middle when you know exactly what needs to happen next, since that will make it easier to pick up next time.
3. Is the paperless office finally coming?
Ten years ago, we were sure we’d all have gone paperless by 2016, but for most of us, it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, reports the Wall St. Journal, American office workers print or photocopy about one trillion pieces of paper every year. However, for the first time in history, that number is finally starting to decline, steadily decreasing by about 1-2 percent each year. The reasons for the delay so far? Apparently small- and medium-size businesses have been the slowest to digitize their workflows … and it also turns out that people still just like using paper. “Knowledge workers also still print out documents to markup, edit, learn from, and collaborate on them,” says the WSJ. “But, at least in part, this may be generational. One reason we are closer to the paperless office is new, digital native organizations tend not to use the stuff.” It also points out that as cloud-based collaboration tools like QuickBase are increasingly used in offices, we “may find ourselves simply accomplishing these tasks in ways that don’t perfectly map to the way we accomplished them on paper.”
Are you tired of manual processes slowing you down at work? Check out the free playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace.