May 7, 2010

E-Mail Is A DISTRACTION! | Manage Your Time

Did you every stop to think that e-mail was not intended for real-time communication. Most of us think it is. When we hear that "DING" we stop whatever we are doing and rush to read and respond to the e-mail. When you need to concentrate on what you are doing, e-mail can be a real DISTRACTION. Think of it as someone walking into your office, and interrupting you to ask a question or share some gossip.The simplest way to stop e-mail from dominating your day is to simply close your e-mail software. This will be difficult for most people so I suggest you do two other things.First, turn off the "DING." If you are using Microsoft Outlook go to Tools/Options/Preferences/E-mail Options/Advanced E-mail Options and uncheck the box that says "Play a sound."Next, set up your e-mail software to check for messages once an hour. By default, Microsoft Outlook checks for e-mail every five minutes meaning you can be interrupted every five minutes, 12 times an hour, or 108 times during a 9-hour workday. If you change this setting to every 60 minutes you will only be interrupted 9 times a day instead of 108, even if you didn't take the suggestion above and turn off the "DING." If you are using Microsoft Outlook go to Tools/Options/Mail Setup/Send Receive/Schedule Automatic Send/Receive Every 60 Minutes.Give these tips a try and see if you are more productive, less stressed, and have fewer unnecessary interruptions during your day.

May 4, 2010

Food For Thought | Six Tips To Become More Efficient

Here's six things to think about incorporating into your work day to make you more efficient.

1. Close your office door and concentrate on the biggest toughest project on your desk. Procrastination is a waste of valuable time.

2. Establish "quiet hours" for uninterrupted concentration and make sure people around you know what rules apply. Have all the materials you need so you can make maximum use of the allotted time.

3. Concentrate similar tasks into groups and do them all at once - things like returning phone calls, writing checks, going through mail and periodicals. These activities can often be done more efficiently once you get the appropriate pathways in your brain activated.

4. Keep track of how long you can concentrate on various tasks before being distracted. Capacity will differ depending on the nature of the task. Then set a goal to maintain it a bit longer the next time.

5. Consolidate free time into blocks to create more extended periods for deeper concentration. Maximizing concentration is a balancing act. Switching from one thing to another too often is inefficient because disconnecting and re-focusing both take time. On the other hand, trying to maintain focus for too long can be counterproductive because the mind naturally tends to shift depending on the sense of urgency.

6. Delegate effectively.
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