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Archive for the ‘Daily Operations’ Category

How to use email filters to optimize your inbox processing

Apr 26, 2012 Leave a comment

If you are receiving about 30 to 50 or more emails per day, my email filter strategy might help you to optimize your inbox processing by prioritizing incoming email based on filters.

The underlying methodology of this strategy is the assumption that the information of the sender and the recipient of an email can be used to prioritize emails for processing: Read more…

How to organize emails

Mar 1, 2012 1 comment

About two months ago I had to restructure my company inbox due to a software change to Microsoft Outlook 2010. I used this opportunity to think about how I organize my emails and today I would like to share my findings with you. Read more…

TimePanic Review: Single-Tasking, Intruders and more…

Jan 4, 2012 2 comments

Before I started using TimePanic, I’ve often asked myself what I did during the past day and why I haven’t been able to complete all the tasks I had planned to complete that day.

About two years ago, I met a coach at a conference who told me about the tool TimePanic and I started to use TimePanic to track my time. – In the beginning, it was just for fun, but I continued to track my time because of the interesting insights and I’m still learning a lot about myself, today. Read more…

Using the early hours

Nov 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A few days ago, the headline “My secrets to productivity” within wordpress “Freshly pressed” caught my attention and I took the time to read Jolie O’Dell’s post about her productivity secrets.

I was really surprised about the similarities to my habits. Even if I try to get up at 5:00 am, compared to her late 6:30 am ;-), I try to make use of the early hours without interruptions by colleagues, incoming calls, or emails. Her advice is to “Wake up half an hour before anyone else” and I can definitely confirm this message. But most interestingly, she mentioned that this head start makes it possible to process emails without receiving answers right away. While reading her post, I realized that I am already using this “feature” without thinking about it for years. 🙂 Processing emails before others get up really reduces interruptions by incoming answers to your emails.

In addition, after cleaning the inbox in the early morning and after checking the tasks of the day, I have the time AND – most important – the calmness to work on my most important tasks even before other colleagues start working.

Jolie also talked about the downside of getting up early: Early to bed. For sure, this is not easy, but you can get used to it and if you want to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, you simply have to sleep earlier. Usually, I try to go to bed around 10 pm to get at least six hours of sleep. Yes, to be honest, it is really hard to wake up at 5 am. :-/ To make this easier, I started experimenting with sleep cycle software on my cell phone, but this could be another topic to write about. 😉

Thank you Jolie for sharing your secrets to productivity. Your post made me aware of the power of using the early hours. …and now, it is time to go to bed. 😉

Have a reliable task management system as backbone in busy times

Oct 31, 2011 Leave a comment

As my days were very busy during the last weeks, I used the time on a flight back home today to review and to think about what really helped me to stay on top of what I am doing.

Besides the support of my wife 🙂 the two tools I am using frequently are my target mind map and my task management system.

About my mind map I have written another post already. Now I would like to take the opportunity to share my task management experience in busy times with you.

Read more…

Quickstart after vacation: Overview in less than 60 minutes

Apr 6, 2011 Leave a comment

This week, my wife and I took two days off and we went for an extended weekend trip to a beautiful recreation area. But for today, I expected to get lost in a load of emails that flooded my company inbox during the last two days. Thus, I decided to quick start this morning by “speed processing” my inbox to get an overview as fast as possible. – This is how I achieved it:

1. I got up early to be one of the first people in the company to minimize interruptions by colleagues.

2. By screening my inbox for outdated and deletable emails, I could easily delete all newsflashes that came in during the days and I quickly checked for updated appointments or requests that were already answered by colleagues. This reduced my inbox by nearly 30 percent.

3. Finally: Strict application of my inbox processing methodology (delete, delegate, do within 2 minutes, schedule) to get to zero email in my inbox.

To be honest, I was a little bit surprised that I was really able to process all new emails (approx. 60) within less than 55 minutes. But I did! 🙂

What is your experience? How do you process your emails after a vacation? Please post or email your experience! Many thanks in advance!

Toodledo.com: HowTo get started in 4+2 steps… (Updated!)

Feb 15, 2011 1 comment

After explaining to a few people how to get started with Toodledo during the last weeks, I decided to write a short “HowTo get started with Toodledo in 4+2 steps”:

1. Register at Toodledo.com, it’s free and it takes only seconds!

2. Go to “Settings” (top right corner) and…

  • Set “Display Preferences” to “Entire page scrolls”, “Grid (One line with columns)” and activate “Show note and file attachment icons on the left”.
  • Activate the following “Fields/Functions Used”:
    Folder, Start Date, Due Date, Repeat, Length, Timer, Priority, Tag, Status, Star.
    To learn more about how I use these fields, please see “Task Management with Toodledo.com”.
  • Set “Row Style” to “Title is styled by priority” and “Completed tasks are dimmed”.
  • Set “Default View” to “Folder”.
  • Configure the following “New Task Defaults”:
    Start Date: Today, Status: Next Action
  • Set “Show Tab Counts” to “Show the number of tasks inside each list”.

3. Go to “Tools > More…” and activate e-mail importing within “Email Import / Export”. You can use this e-mail-address to mail tasks to toodledo.

4. Go to “Organize > Folders” and create folders (these are your to-do lists) for different areas like main job, bigger projects, private, shopping,…

Optional steps:

5. If you like to go to “Goals” and insert your goals. If you are interested in this topic please see “planning section”.

6. Finally, if you want to import tasks from an existing tool go to “Tools > Import / Export” and use the appropriate function.

This is it! Now you are ready to go to your “Tasks” and to add tasks via “Add Task”.

To read more about how to use Toodledo, I recommend to continue with “Daily Operations – How to manage my day?” or “Inbox processing”.

PS: If you have ideas or comments how to optimize this howto, please do not hesitate to post your thoughts.