We are surrounded by technology that is intended to help us boost our productivity. Email, cellphone apps, and video conferencing are just a few of the many technological improvements that should be helping us get more done in our workday.
However, many of us seem to be getting less done. Our time and energy are frittered away with answering a barrage of emails, attending long meetings, or getting stuck on conference calls. As a result, we are working more hours to push critical projects ahead and meet deadlines.
In a recent AIChE Engage discussion on habits and productivity, participants identified email as one of their biggest challenges. “Excessive email checking is my worst time waster,” says Bruce Janda, principal of the consulting firm Innovaspec (Hortonville, WI). “I try to review it twice a day but always end up checking as it comes in while in the middle of a task requiring focus. Then it takes a long time to get back on task.”
Answering emails at set times, closing Outlook, or turning off email notifications, and letting others know you will respond within 24 hours, are tactics you can employ to improve your focus on immediate tasks. Better email habits, however, are only one part of the productivity picture. It is also important to understand how your energy and ability to focus...
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