Take a moment to consider everything you know about being productive. Perhaps you think about methodologies and concepts; Getting Things Done, Inbox Zero, The Pomodoro Technique. Your thoughts go to the tools you use, like Evernote, OmniFocus, or Knowmail. And all kinds of productivity tips and advice can come to mind: “don’t multitask,” “eat the frog,” “no screen time after 9 pm.”
Information Overload is a large and growing problem that detrimentally affects individual, group, and organizational performance and productivity.
An interesting observation I can make about the victims of email overload: many of them think they’re doing just fine.
That is, they certainly feel the pain of having to endlessly try to clear their inbox, but they accept this state of affairs – and because they are still alive and active and manage to get their work done, they think it’s OK – this is the way things are supposed to be, and they can cope with it, so why complain?
A recurrent complaint I hear when consulting to companies on their email communication woes is Online Silence – the practice of not responding to email in a timely fashion.
Few people today remember what BCC actually stands for, but many knowledge workers don’t know how to use BCC in email effectively, adding it more often than they should.
Most productivity tips I give are nothing new – many books, blogs and other experts share them as well (with slight variations) over and over. Not surprising, since they make sense, they work – and nobody patents them…
Administrative assistants have been around since antiquity. Surely you don’t think Ramesses the great, who ruled a large chunk of the known world, processed his own email?
I often advise corporate knowledge workers how to be more productive – after all, I’m a productivity expert, aren’t I? But the truth is, while the individual corporate employee can see valuable gains in his or her productivity by adopting my advice, the real leverage comes from advising their managers on how to motivate employees.
Employee motivation is an important subject, and you can find many articles and books that tell you how to improve it, along with Employee productivity tips with just as much literature. And while I find both issues interesting, their intersection is outright fascinating: being unproductive is a huge – and often ignored – employee demotivator.