img_0105.jpgLike most of you, I care deeply about my personal productivity. And like many of you, I’m always disappointed on that dimension of my life.

One of my problems, verified by data from Rescue Time, is that I’m spending too much time on email, especially during the morning hours when I’m most productive.

So this week, I’m trying an experiment. I get 15 minutes in the morning to look at my email. That’s it. And the enforcement mechanism, suggested by the missus, is an old-fashioned egg timer (seen here atop my MacBook Pro).

I’ll report back next week whether this hack leaves me sunny-side up or in search of a more hardboiled technique.  

6 Responses to “Brrrrrng!!! My new productivity trick”

  1. Alice McLane says:

    Why do so many people treat email as a barrier to productivity. I do depend on email, but I still think it’s a great tool. I simply cannot imagine my life without email, can you? Honestly. I communicate mostly via email and in fact email does keep me productive. Spending time with email – I’m still doing my work. Isn’t it right? I can’t afford to miss an important email, can you? The thing I hate about email, or should I say email clients like Outlook, is that there’s no effective way to organize my emails. Folders and color coding is not enough for me. Fortunately, there are tools that integrate with Outlook and help me manage my emails efficiently.

  2. Catrina DiNapoli says:

    I just find that communicating via e-mail is more efficient for me than lengthy phone calls that are an interruption to whatever it is that I’m doing. I have the control over when I craft or respond to an e-mail whenever it’s convenient for me. I think that “e-mail ettiquette” is important – I close my door when responding or posting at work (15 minutes or so) a couple of times a day and I check it at home only when the family is asleep and I never check it on the weekends – family first!

  3. Chris Cav says:

    Hey Dan!

    I bet if you moved the timer off of your keyboard you’d sail through those emails in no time! Two hands are better than one!

  4. Chris VA says:

    Oh sure… I’ve used egg timers. I really love them. They’re so easy to reset when they ring. Better yet, you can reset them JUST before they ring so no one in the house will inadvertantly get programmed into responding to the bell with some kind of expectation that you’ll be quitting soon.

    I’m pretty sure, in my case, that the only way a timer will work is if it is hooked up diabolically to my computer and chair, shocking us both into moving along.

  5. Carolyn S. says:

    I like a digital timer that counts up as well as down. If I have to do a particularly onerous job, I set it to count up so I can see how much time it really takes. Usually not nearly as long as I imagined. Like cleaning the toilet – three minutes, tops. You probably didn’t need to know that. BTW,

  6. Ruth says:

    Have you created a corporate training program with your A Whole New Mind content? I REALLY enjoyed your book and would like to bring your message to corporations, particularly Senior Sales Rep’s in the Pharmaceutical Industry…how can I do this?