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Posts Tagged ‘Daily Operations’

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. 😉

Smart Feedback Management: 7 steps to take feedback the right way

Aug 8, 2011 Leave a comment

In business and also in private life, it is normal to get all types of feedback from time to time. Sometimes it is outspoken, sometimes you get it indirect. It does not matter if it is positive or negative feedback, the most important in my opinion is to take it the right way – a structured one – and to use it for your development.

This is what I learned and how I process feedback today:

1. Take the feedback without discussing it. Just listen, take the person serious, and say “Thank you!”. If possible, try to write the feedback down to look it up later.

2. In case of negative feedback, do not defend yourself. Accept the opinion of the other person – this does not mean to agree to the feedback itself – and ask for ideas to improve from the other ones point of view. Try to benefit from the feedback without being offended.

3. Explain that you will think about the feedback to improve yourself and – again – say “Thank you!”.

4. Take some minutes with yourself to lean back, breath, and think about the feedback. Try to filter the feedback, delete all emotions and identify the main points of the feedback. For complex feedback, I recommend to use a mind map to structure your thoughts.

5. Decide, if you want to do something about these main points. If yes, think about measures to improve and integrate these measures into your planning or your todo-list.

6. Think about a response to the person who provided the feedback. If you developed measures for improvement, the person might be happy to hear about it.

If you can not understand the feedback, decide if it makes sense to re-contact the person to explain that you thought about it but can not comprehend the given opinion. – This can be the starting position for a more detailed feedback to think about. But be careful to avoid an infinite loop. 😉

7. Finally, I recommend to archive the feedback. If you scan it, you can “dispose” the paper version of the feedback literally to complete feedback processing.

What do you think about this procedure? Can you provide me feedback to improve? 😉

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.

Daily Operations – How to manage my day?

Jan 19, 2011 6 comments

Basis for my daily operations is a reliable task management and a continuous inbox processing as well as a proper operational planning. While performing my daily operations, I follow three basic rules:

1. Single-tasking: I avoid working on several tasks at the same time because switching between active tasks just wastes my time by refocusing. Thus, I try to process one task after another.

2. Important tasks first: Every day, I start working on the most important tasks of the day before processing my inboxes or before reading news etc. Otherwise I might loose too much time without processing the important to-dos.

3. Buffer: Based on the findings of my time tracking, I started to structure my day more and more by adding buffers for several recurring activities:

– Inbox processing: I reserve about half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening for my daily mailbox processing and I “try” to keep my inbox closed for the rest of the day to stay focused on my tasks. I process my inbox as described in “inbox processing”.

– Unplanned activities: I add a buffer of about 30 minutes to my daily schedule for spontaneous ad hoc activities.

– Daily planning: Every morning, I need about 5 minutes to check what has to be done during the day. In the evening, I take about 10 minutes to reschedule tasks I could not complete and to update my journals. Every Friday, I widen my focus and check what is coming up during the next week.

Beside visiting meetings, I “simply” process my tasks according to the importance during the day. The importance is calculated based on the due date and the priority. Fortunately, toodledo.com is doing this for me.

Finally, whenever I complete a task, I decide what action has to follow the completed task to accomplish the overall measure/project and I add this to-do to my task management as next action.