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October 14, 2020

What makes someone positively productive? Test your knowledge by answering yes or no to each of these questions.

  1. It’s a good idea to respond to e-mails when they arrive in the in-box.
  2. Multi-tasking saves time.
  3. Being productive means getting lots of things done each day.
  4. Putting “Urgent” in a subject line ensures a quick response. 
  5. Delegating takes too much time and doesn’t work.

How many yes answers are there? 

The correct number is zero! That’s right. None of these actions are positively productive.

  1. It’s a good idea to set aside specific times during the day to check e-mails rather than every time one comes in. When you stop what you are doing to check e-mail, it’s an interruption, and it can take up to 20 minutes to re-find your focus. 
  2. Multi-tasking does not save time. When you multi-task, your attention is actually flipping on and off, and it can take longer to perform each task than if you did them sequentially.
  3. Checking off items on a list is less important than checking off the right items. Being productive means getting the right things done each day. Always stay focused and plan your day so you contribute the most to your most important goals. Plan your day to produce the results you need. 
  4. Putting “Urgent” in the subject line will not ensure a quick response. No one pays attention to “Urgent” or exclamation points in e-mails. If it’s urgent, get on the phone and talk to the person about what you need from them and why you need it right away.
  5. Delegating correctly can work. You should not be working on activities that are better handled by someone on your team. It does take time to choose the right person for the task and bring them up to speed, but when a delegation is done correctly, you will save time in the future. 

See my blog posts Three Quick Tips for Improving Productivity and 10 Tips to Be More Positively Productive with E-mail for more information.

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