May 9, 2013

The Three Words that Dramatically Increased My Productivity

A couple of months ago, Crystal wrote about how she manages her email inbox, and her last tip really resonated with me. In essence, it boils down to three words:

Do it now.
I've been getting this message for a long time from Flylady, but I really "got it" in the context of Crystal's post. I began dealing with emails as they arrived in my inbox, and got my inbox down from 30 or so emails to one. The one that's left is an e-gift card that I need to spend.

Dealing with all of my email each day doesn't take anywhere near as long as I expected. I unsubscribe and delete liberally, which leaves me with just a handful of emails that actually require responses each day. Those responses usually don't take very long to compose, and I've shortened the time even further by using "Canned Responses" in Gmail for those inquiries that I receive frequently.

I felt so much more productive dealing with my emails every day that the "do it now" principle has carried over into other areas of my life as well. I pin recipes right away instead of saving them in my feed reader. I order Scholastic books as soon as my kids bring the flyers home instead of letting the flyers gather dust on my desk. I fill out forms sent home from school immediately and send them back the next day. I submit flexible spending account reimbursement requests right away instead of waiting until I've accumulated a few.

It turns out that tackling small tasks right away keeps things from piling up - in my brain, as well as my physical surroundings.

And next week, I'll share a tip on how to get the big tasks done while keeping the small tasks from piling up.

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