Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Never Check E-Mail in the Morning

I get approximately 300 emails a day, and I am always looking for ways to deal with them efficiently, so the title of this book caught my eye. I was disappointed to find that this is just a trendy new retitling of an old book with a clunky title: "Making Work Work".

Basically, this is a version of Getting Things Done that seems to be written for the ladies. It is not as pointed or draconian as GTD, but it does have a lot of generally useful tips for people who haven't spent any time engineering their work processes. The "Email" title is really just a single tip in the book, suggesting that before you get caught up in a torrent of emails, that you should take a little time to plan your day, so that it is as effective as possible. This is something that I'm learning to do myself. I'm trying a new thing where I try to kill off all my inboxes before I go to bed. Which is why I'm writing this at 12:40 AM. I didn't learn that from this book, I'm just mentioning it. We'll see how long I can keep it up. It continues to amaze me that there isn't more discussion in the world about how to deal with email efficiently and effectively... even in a book with a title like this.

One surprising chapter in this book is about working well with others. It has a very concrete idea in it, that whenever there is workplace frustration with a co-worker, it is about one of six things: Inaccessibility, Unreliability, Rigidity, Disrespectfulness, Vagueness, or Unfairness. This was a new list for me, and so far, I think it is spot on. So, conversely, avoid these six deadly sins, and people will like working with you. I think I'll use this in BVW next year...

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