99U Manage Your Day-to-Day – Tools

This year my team chose a book by Behance – 99U Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind.  This book is a collection of essays written by some of my favorite authors (Gretchen Rudin, Seth Godin, and Dan Ariely) and promises to help you tackle your day by better managing your focus and finding more time for creativity.

We’re starting the Taming Your Tools section this month, managing the technology you use every day to prevent it from interfering with your goals, creating stress or using it as an escape. Building on our last in depth conversation prompted by Dan Ariely’s statement that some people do you email as a quick hit to feel accomplished, I thought it would be good to tackle this as a what distractions are preventing you from achieving longer term goals.

The first essay is by Aaron Dignan and focuses on email solely. He states that the average person spends 28% or in our case 2.24 hours out of their day writing, reading and responding to emails, which honestly makes me want to throw up. He gives a number of idea on how to make this better including some which I think are pretty common; creating folders, using triaging techniques, applying rules to incoming messages and color coding. We all use these to varying degrees here and they do work very well. Shutting off email notification, desktop and phone, we all find is a good way to resist the urge for a quick hit. Something that we hadn’t considered was creating email templates that we could all share for common communications like server reboots, delayed warehouse loads and notifications of updates/upgrades. Doing that would server a couple of different purposes beyond saving the time to craft them. The idea of posting your goals on your monitor and checking any email action against them to see if their inline was also pretty interesting, something I think we should all give a shot next week.

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything. – Warren Buffett

The next two essays didn’t apply to folks on the team that much…

The second essay by Lori Deschene (I love Tiny Buddha!!) on using social media mindfully didn’t really apply to any of us, we’re all pretty mellow on the social media tools, in fact the majority of my team isn’t even on top three, which made the discussion pretty limited. Even though I’m on everything, I have a pretty structured posting schedule and don’t really veer off of it during the work day. I just don’t find the need to.

The final piece for discussion was Reconsidering Constant Connectivity a Q&A with Tiffany Shlain. I find that most people don’t believe they are on their phones that much so I’m challenging everyone to download an application like Checky on their phone for one weekend so we can compare notes on how often we really are on our phones. I suspect we’re on them more than we believe and I also suspect that I’m on mine the least…we’ll see! In this Q&A she proposes a tech Shabbat where you turn your devices off for 24hrs to give yourself a break. I’m going to give that a shot myself, putting my phone into airplane mode from sunset Friday through sunset on Saturday and see how it goes.

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