streamline your email
You can accomplish more and thus save yourself time if when you work you actually are more productive. In the new book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, author Cal Newport suggests sharpening your ability to do productive work rather than wasting your time on busy work.
One major time suck is email. You might have noticed that some email threads seem to go back and forth needlessly–a classic example is when participants are deciding when to meet. Instead of the back and forth, Newport suggests offering three possible times and saying that someone’s choice will serve as their confirmation.
I also love his method for responding to emails which can reduce the number of incoming emails further. If you are part of a group that needlessly uses Reply All, stop it. Send an email to the group leader or participants and ask that this practice stop. A simple, “There’s no need to reply all to this email,” should stop it.
It’s up to you to define what you think is needless otherwise people are sucking your time away from you.
streamline your work
What do you find yourself doing more than once? For example, I’m often asked to provide my bio in different word counts. After the second request, I realized that I needed to have multiple bios: a 25-word, a 50-word, a 100-word, and a longer bio. I created a folder that has all the different bios in it with bio titles searchable by word count for quick access.
Proposals and their contents can also be streamlined. There is certain information that will be regularly inserted into every proposal, even if you are trying to customize your proposals. This regularly used information is what you should create and keep in a separate file and have readily available.
You should also create a template to use for creating proposals. That way you aren’t needlessly formatting documents.
Even more important is thinking about your work actions. Why have files buried several layers deep in your filing hierarchy? Figure out how to create fewer clicks to retrieve your most-used files. You could move those folders to your computer desktop. Just make sure your computer desktop doesn’t become a mess.
Who doesn’t want more relaxation time and less busy work? Only you can make the right choices so you get to relax.