Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Venti Must Be The True Key To Productivity

Today I went to a talk given by Merlin Mann, from 43folders. This was part of the Duke Web Communicators Group lecture series. If you haven't checked it out, 43folders is a productivity blog for what Mann refers to as "knowledge workers" or people who process information rather than producing a tangible product. He stressed the importance of examining our lives to make sure that we're spending our time on what we really care about. I know from personal experience it's so easy to spend an entire evening looking at random stuff on the web, which contributes nothing to what I would like to accomplish or learn and isn't necessarily more enjoyable. At the same time, he said that it is horribly sad to get to the point that one avoids new information, so one must choose wisely. He, of course, said all this and much more with clarity and while repeatedly making us all laugh.

So, one of the things he said was practically mandatory was to remove everything from our e-mail inboxes and as each new piece of e-mail comes in, either archive it or tag it as requiring a response. Everything requiring an action should be added to a task list of some kind. I've been struggling with dealing with e-mail ever since I can remember, so I decided to give it a try. I just archived 6767 messages in my gmail account. As many of you know all too well, I've always had the hardest time remembering to reply to e-mail once it's no longer visible in my inbox. Now I can label messages as RESPOND, archive them and never think about them again either, but at least I will have labeled them appropriately. As always, it's the thought that counts. I'm trying the equivalent of this at work, too, where it's slightly more important that I don't forget to deal with things.

I also noticed that he was drinking the largest size of Starbuck's coffee (venti) and I'm betting it wasn't decaf.

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